Kalila Anne Steen of Danville, Pa., and Steven Tucker of Johnstown, Pa., will be honored as the student marshals for the Eberly College of Science during Penn State's spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, 14 May 2011 at the University Park campus. Faculty escorts for Steen and Tucker will be Kimberlyn Nelson of the Department of Biology and David Proctor of the Department of Kinesiology, respectively. Steen and Tucker have been close friends and classmates since their freshman year at Penn State.
KALILA ANNE STEEN
Kalila Anne Steen will graduate from Penn State with a 4.0 grade-point average and a bachelor's degree in premedicine. In addition, she is enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and she has been on the Dean's List every semester during her years at Penn State. Steen's awards and scholarships include an Evan Pugh Scholar Senior Award, a Premedicine Scholarship, a Duffy Premedicine Endowment, an Evan Pugh Scholar Award, a President Sparks Award, a President's Freshman Award, and a Schreyer Academic Excellence Scholarship.
In 2009, Steen participated in a laboratory-research internship at the Weis Research Center at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where she completed a project that demonstrated a never-before-seen step in an important immunological pathway. In 2008, she participated in a clinical-research internship at the Anesthesia Department of the Geisinger Medical Center, where she conducted a study on patients who experience hypothermia. At the conclusion of both internships, she formally presented her findings to the scientists at the Geisinger Medical Center.
In addition to her scientific pursuits, Steen studied the French horn during her four years at Penn State. Under the direction of Lisa Bontrager, a professor of music, Steen will complete an undergraduate honors thesis in music performance at the Schreyer Honors College. "I am extraordinarily thankful for the opportunity I have had to study and perform music with such incredibly motivated and talented faculty and students at Penn State," Steen said. Steen also has served as president of the Eberly College of Science Student Council and treasurer of the Chabad Student Jewish Organization. After graduation, Steen plans to attend medical school.
Steen, who attended Danville Area Senior High School, will be accompanied at graduation by her parents, Ted and Lynda Steen, and her identical twin sister, Talora Steen, who also plans to pursue a career in the medical profession after her graduation with a 4.0 grade-point average from the University of Pittsburgh. "I thank my loving parents," Steen said. "I am unbelievably blessed to be their daughter."
Steven Tucker, who will graduate from Penn State with a 4.0 grade-point average and a bachelor's degree in premedicine, also is enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. Tucker's other awards and scholarships include an Evan Pugh Scholar Senior Award, a Ruth E. Duffy Premedicine Endowment, a Schreyer Honors College Summer Research Grant, an Evan Pugh Scholar Junior Award, a President Sparks Award, a President's Freshman Award, an A+ Chem 113 Award, a National Society of Collegiate Scholars Award, and a Clarence Ritchie and Esther Welsh Wiedhahn Academic Excellence Scholarship.
During his undergraduate years, Tucker conducted research at the Vascular Aging and Exercise Laboratory under the direction of David Proctor, a Penn State professor of kinesiology. Tucker conducted projects on oxygen consumption and mechanical efficiency before focusing on his thesis research. For his thesis, he studied the influence of fitness on the peripheral circulation of women undergoing menopause and he plans to publish these results. In 2009, Tucker participated in Mentors in Medicine, a 12-week clinical shadowing program at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center. In 2008, he also held an internship at the John P. Murtha Neuroscience and Pain Institute located in Johnstown, where he assisted in the analysis of research protocols on traumatic brain injury and post-polio syndrome.
In addition to his scientific pursuits, Tucker has been active in clubs and service at Penn State. He served as director of team-leader training for Penn State's Fresh START program, the largest student-run day of service at Penn State. He also has served as a teaching assistant in the Department of Biology, a treasurer for the Eberly College of Science Student Council, and a curriculum mentor for the Eberly College of Science summer camps. He has been an active member of Springfield THON -- an independent organization that raises money to fight pediatric cancer. "Throughout my time at Penn State, I have realized the importance of staying involved in the activities I enjoy, from research and community service to training for a marathon," Tucker said. After his sophomore year, Tucker was accepted to Penn State's College of Medicine through an early acceptance program. He plans to become a physician and will begin his medical studies after graduation.
Tucker, who attended Richland Senior High School, will be accompanied at graduation by his parents, Steve and Judy Tucker.