By: Greg Campbell, Penn State Strategic
probably the word that best describes Tyler Yazujian. A young man that has
placed his eggs in many baskets - both academically and athletically - but in
his own words thinks that he's "done pretty well, so far."
well is one way to put it, but when taking a closer look at what he has been
able to do while on the University Park campus, it is extraordinary. Every Penn
State student deals with classes and studies, while many of them are involved
in clubs and extracurricular activities, but what Yazujian has done in five
years is in some ways improbable.
completion of his bachelor's and master's degrees simultaneously in the College
of Information Science and Technology, a three-year starter at long snapper as
a member of the Penn State Football program, four years as a member of Penn
State's club baseball program, three summer internships with the Red Cell
Analytics Lab and membership in the Red Cell Student Group, all on top of everything
that goes along with being a college student.
a guy who comes in every day, does what is asked of him and doesn't need credit
when he is doing well," said Yazujian. "I would call myself a hard worker, which
is something that translates from the weight room to the practice field to the
classroom to club baseball, to pretty much anything I involve myself in."
of Royersford, a suburb 30 miles northwest of Philadelphia, he arrived on the
University Park campus with his sights set on playing club baseball alongside
his studies. He accomplished his first goal, making the club baseball roster -
a program that is a regular contender on the national scene - following tryouts
practicing for a couple of weeks, he decided he would take a chance on earning
a run-on spot for then-head football coach Bill O'Brien.
missed the [run-on] tryouts the first time, so I went out in when they had them
again in December," said Yazujian. "When I made the team, I thought I was going
to have to quit baseball, and that was tough for me because those were my
closest friends. I had just come to college and I knew those guys really well."
admits now that the opportunity to wear the iconic blue and white helmet was
too good to pass up, but O'Brien - and now head coach James Franklin - gave
Yazujian the opportunity to continue his interests with the club. In his four
seasons on the diamond, he owns a 5-1 record on the mound with a 3.03 ERA in
46.2 innings of work.
really made my college experience much more broad and fun."
fun? It sounds more like hectic and exhausting, but the laid back, mild
mannered fifth-year senior has taken it all in stride and excelled in every
role he has assumed.
has he excelled on the field, he was awarded a scholarship by Coach Franklin
during the winter of 2016. The scholarship was special to Yazujian, even though
he was already utilizing academic aid he was receiving from a CyberCorps
Scholarship for Service, but for him it was more about representing the special
teams unit and setting a great example each day.
scholarship wasn't about the money," said Yazujian, "it was more about gaining
that mutual respect from teammates, coaches and administrators. Getting that acknowledgement
from my teammates and coaches, especially as a long snapper, was great. We [specialists]
don't always get noticed, which can be a good thing."
decision wasn't hard for the coaching staff, as special teams coordinator
Charles Huff said there was no hesitation in providing Yazujian with the scholarship
he had earned, both on and off the field.
opportunities arise to reward someone for doing the right things on and off the
field Coach Franklin is sure to do that," said Huff. "Yaz is a perfect example.
He does the right things on and off the field and brings elite value to this
team in a multitude of ways. We were excited to be able to reward him for his
hard work, dedication and commitment to this program and this University."
his athletic pursuits have been many, his biggest role to date is being a
student. Many students arrive on campus with aspirations of chasing a double
major, but few rarely follow through. Yazujian has again impressed by working
on his undergraduate and master's degree coursework in chorus as a part of the
first cohort in the College of IST's first Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program
program allows me to take my undergraduate and master's courses at the same
time" he said. "The basis for the program is that instead of taking the
conventional path of doing four years as an undergraduate and two more years in
graduate school, you blend those together, shave a year off and get two degrees
in five years."
but still busy.
people get things done," said Yazujian.
motto he lives by and his résumé shows that. When not on the gridiron or
diamond, Yazujian has used his free time to work in the Red Cell Analytics Lab (RCAL)
each summer. In 2014, he had an internship all but locked up with the
Department of Homeland Security. The CoSIDA Academic All-American checked all
of the boxes - academic, coursework and social - along clearing the vetting
process for gaining top secret clearances, but the timing just wasn't right.
wasn't able to make it work [with the Department of Homeland Security]," said
Yazujian, "but I have done work relevant to homeland security. Working in the
Red Cell Analytics Lab, I've created some scenario based simulations that were
used in the classroom."
his samples found their way into U.S. Marine Corps Col. Jacob Graham's
400-level class based around deception and counter deception. Working with
teammate Chris Gulla, the pair recreated and modified the 2007 Russian
professor of practice, I do a lot of very hands on practical application
analytic exercises or analytic decision games," said Col. Graham. "These are
large scale simulations that allow students to solve the problems we see in our
world today. Tyler has done a masterful job with some of things I have asked
him to do over the last three years in helping create scenarios for my
past summer the RCAL utilized a program called GeoCue, software provided by the
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, to organizing freshman students in
gathering data from around campus using social media. They used GeoCue to
scrape that data off their devices and placed it into a geospatial tool to map
out geo-location information from the social media profiles.
program [GeoCue] is basically used by disaster and quick response teams. This is
software that can be used on a global level to help [government] departments
decide where to allocate resources and where to send help."
between Rec Hall and College Avenue, and spanning across Atherton Street, there
are not many student-athletes on the UP campus venturing deep into the uniquely
designed Information Sciences and Technology Building, but Yazujian spends
countless hours in one of the most sophisticated labs on any college campus.
graduate from Penn State this spring with a bachelor's degree in security risk
analysis and a master's degree in information science and technology.
now I am taking two graduate level courses," Yazujian said. "I've finished all
of my undergraduate coursework and now it is just a couple of graduate classes and
finishing up my thesis."
is to extend the football career, but realistically that is not an easy task.
Whenever football ends, I have a position waiting at the National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as an analyst. I will hopefully be working there
after graduation, but they understand my situation [with football]."
The comment rolled off his
tongue effortlessly, as if that was exactly what he had calculated when he
arrived in Happy Valley.