Madeline Kentner in chapel

Madeline Kentner ’20: Courage to conquer the unknown

For Madeline Kentner ’20, majoring in biology was a forgone conclusion when she enrolled at Albright. Her dad was a biology major as an undergrad, and she did well in her high school science classes. So well, in fact, that she received an ACES scholarship from the National Science Foundation.

What did come as a surprise was the ardor she developed for religious studies. All it took was one elective class and an observant professor to discover it. “Dr. Seesengood noticed my passion for what I was learning and knew that I would excel in the discipline. He told me to come during his office-hours to talk about it, and sure enough, that day I picked up the minor,” recalled the Philadelphia native.

Madeline Kentner in chapel
“Studying abroad was never something I planned on doing because I was nervous to be far from home, but it helped me grow immensely.” — Madeline Kentner ’20

Seesengood, associate professor of religious studies and chair of classical languages, is one of many faculty and staff members who helped Kentner enhance her Albright experience. The biology faculty have also played a crucial role in her journey. “They always have their door open and are ready to help me with any class, or to discuss my academic and career goals,” she said. 

Another key figure in Kentner’s Albright experience is cheerleading coach Kim Radka. “Whether she is encouraging me in my athletic, academic or personal life, she has helped me development time-management skills and perseverance on the field, in the classroom, and in my everyday life,” Kentner said.

Guided by nurturing faculty and staff, Kentner said she discovered that “learning does not stop in the classroom.” For her, it didn’t end at the edge of campus either.

Kentner spent the 2019 spring semester studying in Tanzania and Kenya, thanks to a Beall Scholarship for Study Abroad, established by former trustee Robert J. Beall, Ph.D. ’65 and his wife, Mary Ellen O’Connor Beall ’67. During her time abroad, Kentner researched the degradation of butterfly habitat in northern Tanzania, toured numerous national parks, and visited the Maasai and Hadzabe tribes. She even picked up a fair share of Swahili and honed her bargaining skills in urban open-air markets.

Seeking discomfort

“One of my biggest takeaways from my experience abroad was to seek discomfort,” said the aspiring health care administrator. “Studying abroad was never something I planned on doing because I was nervous to be far from home, but it helped me grow immensely.”

She acknowledges that the trip, and her Albright education overall, would not have been possible without the support of generous donors like the Bealls. “To those who have donated and helped support students like me, I could not be more grateful. My Albright experience has broadened my horizons and taken me places I never thought I would go.”

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