Zachary Weinstein, Class of 2019
Risk Mitigator for State Farm
“I knew going into college that there’d be a lot of opportunities to grow as a person, but I didn’t realize just how many opportunities.”
While a typical full-time student schedule sits around 12 credits per semester, Zachary Weinstein took on 26 credits at Penn State York and even took courses throughout the summer months. Between working closely with his program adviser to optimize his schedule and transferring credits he had earned as a dual enrollment student in high school, Weinstein was able to graduate in a short two-and-a-half-years. He earned his degree all while working at State Farm during the day and taking classes at night.
“I graduated from York Suburban High School in 2017 and had the mindset of going out to start working and making money. I felt like college was in the way of doing that, so I decided to take as many classes as I possibly could,” Weinstein said. “Ali Kara was my faculty adviser and he helped make that happen for me. I earned my business degree in December of 2019.”
Through management courses, relationships with faculty, and participation in campus organizations, Weinstein began to see how much he could grow. Within the business program at Penn State York, students can choose an area of focus. Weinstein’s focus was in marketing and management, which proved beneficial on many levels.
“My biggest takeaways were on the managerial side. My goal is to own my own State Farm franchise, so I needed to learn how to be a better manager,” said Weinstein. “Through the business program, I learned about personality types and how people’s traits mesh — it was eye opening and changed my outlook on a lot of things. I realized I wasn’t ready to manage my own team yet and I still have some growth to do.”
Weinstein’s participation in the Graham Fellows Program for Entrepreneurial Leadership (The Graham Program) and the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Collegiate chapter on campus also contributed to his personal growth.
“Graham was a big one. The business etiquette taught in the program relates directly to what I do now,” said Weinstein. “I golf with a lot of people; we do networking events and galas. Learning how to carry oneself in a professional setting — people think it’s easy, but there are a lot of things you should do to show your respect. The Graham Program teaches you how to present yourself.”
Participation in The Graham Program equips students with a toolbox of skills, including emotional intelligence training, which is an important factor in today’s business world.
Weinstein explained, “At State Farm, if you want to become a franchise owner, you need to pass a business acumen and psychological exam because they want to determine your mindset on both business strategies and ethics.”
In FBLA, Weinstein developed his business skills and competed with students from across the country and won awards at state and national conference. Now that Weinstein is officially a Penn State alumnus, he is enthusiastic about giving back to the university that gave so much to him.
“I’ve stayed connected as much as I can with people from FBLA and The Graham Program,” Weinstein said. “I’m the president of the Graham alumni group and recently helped prepare current FBLA students to compete at the national level. When we did a mock judging of their presentation, I said, ‘That’s a first-place presentation,’ and sure enough, they won first place. They killed it. It feels good to impact Penn State in a different way now that I’m out of college. When I was in school, people were there for me, now I want to be there for someone else,” he said.
The small size of the York campus and proximity to home were both factors in Weinstein’s decision to attend Penn State York.
“One of the reasons I picked Penn State York was the small atmosphere,” Weinstein said. “I got to know every professor really well and still get coffee with some of them.” Living at home while earning his degree was also an advantage of the campus location.
“Completing all my course assignments and maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average required a lot of focus. I needed time alone without interruptions and I’m not sure that would have worked living with a roommate,” he said.
Weinstein’s advice to incoming students considering the business program is to identify an area of focus.
“Dive deep into what you think you want to do with the degree and find the classes that closely match that goal,” Weinstein said. “Business can be overwhelming, but there are different classes for different types of business to help you narrow down to one area of expertise. If you feel like a course isn’t aligning with your goals, work with your faculty adviser during the add-drop period to find a better fit.”
Aneury Perez, Class of 2015
Multi-Center Financial Manager at Fulton Bank
“I wear many hats in my current career, but my education at Penn State York was well-rounded and prepared me for it.”
Aneury Perez did not initially plan on staying at Penn State York for all four years.
“I went to Penn State York thinking I would do two years at York and the remaining two years at University Park,” he said. “I quickly saw, however, the value in continuing taking advantage of learning with other students who were already in their profession and were local. I learned a lot from their life experiences, and I’m not sure I would have gotten that kind of exposure at a larger campus.”
Perez specifically remembers one interaction he had with a student that officially changed his mind about moving onto a larger campus.
“I remember there being a class I should have had taken a prerequisite for prior to enrolling in the course,” he said. “Once I realized I didn’t have the prerequisite accounting course needed that first week, I was tempted to give up. I was able to successfully complete it, however, because a nontraditional student talked me into staying in the class. He helped me stay on track, and it was one of the best experiences I had with Penn State as a whole.”
Remaining local became an important perk for Perez, one that he is glad he stuck around for.
“I was able to hit the ground running in community involvement thanks to the localized networking opportunities given to us through Penn State York,” he said. “I am really involved with the local little league, and I was able to remain working full-time while commuting to school full-time as well. I ended up getting to finish my schooling a semester early, which was amazing!”
Perez graduated in the winter of 2015 with a bachelor of science in Business, and is currently working as a multi-center financial manager at Fulton Bank. Despite working full-time while attending Penn State York, he stayed involved with the Spanish Club and even managed to land a job at an institution he took a final exam at.
“One of the professors had us take our final finance exam at a bank when something came up and forced him to rearrange the final exam schedule,” he said. “Because of this, I ended up being offered a position there as a financial center manager. From this job, I learned about human resources, how to build rapport with clients, understanding what common sales techniques are, and the importance of relationship management systems.”
“This was a great real-world experience that I only could have gotten by staying local,” Perez continued. “Penn State York helped me to get there and to where I am today, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Kyle Fullerton, Class of 2021
Procurement Analyst for New Standard Corporation
“Penn State York gave me ample opportunity to develop and ready myself for the business world.”
It wasn’t always easy for Kyle Fullerton to put himself out there and get involved.
“It was a slow and painful process trying to put myself out there when I started at Penn State York because I was totally out of my comfort zone,” Fullerton said. “I was fortunate enough, however, to meet people at York campus that pulled me along and encouraged me to be more sociable.”
Before Fullerton knew it, he was involved in a variety of extracurricular activities; he became a member of the Graham Fellows Program for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Phi Beta Lambda – Future Business Leaders of America, and the Student Athletic Club.
“I went from being a student whose involvement started and ended with showing up to a name and face known by many people on campus,” Fullerton said. “I ended up obtaining leadership positions in all of the clubs I was a part of, which gave me the confidence I needed entering the business industry.”
Fullerton’s involvement paid off; he won a number of national awards during his time in Phi Beta Lambda. In 2019, he placed 2nd for the Small Business Management Plan award at the Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBLA) national conference. He also placed 7th for Organizational Behavior and Leadership and 10th for Marketing Concepts at the 2020 national conference, and in 2021 he placed 1st in Business Decision-Making and Analysis and 2nd in Entrepreneurship Concepts.
“I took on a lot more responsibilities when I became president of Phi Beta Lambda,” Fullerton said. “It was hard for me to put more things on my plate, but accepting this role was a decision I am glad I made.”
Fullerton graduated in December of 2021 with his bachelor of science degree in Business Administration with a focus in Supply Chain Management, and has since obtained a position as a procurement analyst at New Standard Corporation located in York, Pennsylvania.
“My experience at Penn State York was a critical turning point in my young professional career,” he said. “The clubs I joined gave me the chance to travel all over the country, which gave me a well-rounded, real experience of the world around me.”
Along with the clubs offered at Penn State York, Fullerton’s experience within the business program also prepared him for his current career.
“The program was really thorough,” he said. “I completed standard course work, but I also got hands-on experience with various analysis techniques, applications of forecasting methods, and foundational work in finance, accounting, and business writing.”
Fullerton credits Penn State York for the acquisition of his current position and success within his career.
“At New Standard Corporation, I am responsible for sourcing and buying materials that are critical to daily operations,” he explained. “This is the job I really wanted. I would not have this position if it weren’t for the experiences Penn State York gave me within the program and the clubs!”