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Welcome to the Family

Alan Schaffranek Named Director of Alumni Relations.

Moving from Key West to State College in December may seem absurd to many, but for Alan Schaffranek, it meant an opportunity to pursue his dream job.

Schaffranek assumed the role of director of alumni relations on January 8, 2019. He replaced Naomi Knaub, who spent 11 years in the position and has moved on to take a position of conference coordinator in the College of Agricultural Sciences Office of Conferences and Short Courses.

Previously, Schaffranek was the general manager of a radio station in Key West, one that he helped to create.

"It took my friends in Key West six months to break me down and convince me to come help with the radio station," says Schaffranek, who said he enjoyed the experience immensely.

Meanwhile, he also was working for a startup mobile app, called Tassl, which focuses on increasing engagement among networks of people--in particular, alumni. Prior to those efforts, Schaffranek was the associate director of alumni relations in the Penn State Smeal College of Business.

"I really enjoyed working with a hardworking and fun team at Smeal; obviously, it was a very business-oriented atmosphere," says Schaffranek. "Here in Ag, there is certainly a business atmosphere, but I can already tell my new work family knows how to enjoy work too. It almost feels like the job was written just for me and the work I am doing has awakened childhood memories of my best friend's dairy farm."

Schaffranek says what he enjoys most about doing alumni relations work is the enthusiasm of his constituents.

"I love seeing the passion of our donors and alumni, especially when they are engaging with our students," he says. "Watching them interact and share their excitement for Penn State is invigorating."

In his new job in the college, Schaffranek says he is looking forward to working with the Ag Alumni Society Board.

"We have a spectacular board; their enthusiasm is above and beyond," he said. "I'm excited to honor Naomi's legacy and watch the program grow."

One of the tasks Schaffranek plans to focus on is bringing better awareness of Penn State Extension programs to the college's alumni.

"I'd like to make sure our alumni understand what the extension programs are and why they're so important," he says. "I want to help them see Penn State Extension as a lifelong learning opportunity."