Bradley Stroup favors a road less traveled.
His Penn College experience took him to observe industry and culture in Japan, to explore art and history in Italy, and to study plastics manufacturing in Northern Ireland.
"Every time I try something new or put myself in an uncomfortable environment, I discover hidden capabilities and learn more about myself," he said.
It's in his nature to seek the new and different, and that is part of what attracted him to the plastics and polymer engineering technology major at the college.
"Every time I try something new or put myself in an uncomfortable environment, I discover hidden capabilities and learn more about myself."
"Nobody really knows or hears about plastics engineering or knows what it means or entails," he said. "This fits my personality as, generally speaking, I enjoy doing things just because they're different or go against 'the norm.' No mechanical, chemical, electrical or civil engineering for this guy!"
It's also what helped spur him to challenge himself with new experiences.
"I took advantage of almost every opportunity Penn College offered, both academic and professional," he said.
The college's industry ties gave him chances to rub elbows with potential employers during industry events around the nation, as well as on campus.
But he hadn't intended to get so involved.
"To be honest, I planned to just get through school, get my degree so I could say I got a degree and get a job," he said. Then he discovered how much he enjoyed the challenges of his studies and the enthusiasm of his faculty.
"I began to take pride in Penn College plastics and what I was doing," he said. "With the encouragement of my professors and the opportunities that arose, I found myself willing, able and excited to take on new challenges."
At Penn College, he found his love for discovery.
One of Stroup's current challenges – along with four fellow Penn College plastics and polymer engineering technology grads – is pursuit of a master's degree in polymer engineering at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland. Next on his agenda are a nanofabrication manufacturing technology capstone semester at Penn State's Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization and a contract to work in Antarctica.