As a director and producer, Penn State World Campus alumnus Ian Truitner is usually on set interacting with his colleagues. But when he and his wife, Randall Scerbo Truitner, were inspired to produce a PSA to thank nurses who treat COVID-19 patients, he needed to be able to do it remotely. Using his experience as an online learner, Truitner was able to successfully direct and produce the video from his home. 

Four nurses wearing protective gear pose.

“It was certainly a challenge directing 30 people remotely without face-to-face contact, but I credit my time getting an MBA at Penn State World Campus for learning how to organize through an online environment and execute at a high level,” said Truitner, a 2010 graduate.  

Scerbo Truitner’s sister Tonya, a registered nurse in Georgia, had shared a powerful video of a doctor discussing the difficulties of treating COVID-19 patients. The video moved the couple to brainstorm their own way to say thank you. 

“With all the fear and uncertainty in the world, we wanted to do something that made people smile,” said Truitner. 

Actress Rita Wilson holds up a sheet of paper that has the word "National" on it.

The couple partnered with the American Nurses Foundation, pooled their resources using their production company RANDIAN, and began reaching out to celebrities who jumped at the chance to get involved. Rita Wilson, Constance Wu, Kate Flannery, Chris Chalk, Simon Helberg, and Joan Lunden are among those featured in the video.  

When remotely directing and producing the PSA from his home in Los Angeles, Truitner said, he was able to apply the tools he learned by earning his degree through World Campus without feeling out of his element. He said that communicating and organizing with others online was nothing new to him, thanks to his experience as an online learner.  

Truitner remains in contact with Penn State alumni in Los Angeles and said the Penn State spirit motivated him in promoting a message that would create a sense of community among viewers. 

“At World Campus, you're getting people from all over the world and everyone’s bringing their own unique perspective,” said Truitner. “But ultimately, you find a lot of commonality and everyone comes together.”