College of Arts and Architecture selects student marshal

University Park, Pa. -- Elody Gyekis, daughter of Loanne Snavely and Gary Gyekis of Spring Mills, Pa., has been named the fall 2009 student marshal for the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture. The title of marshal is awarded to the student who has earned the highest overall grade-point average in the college. Gyekis will earn a bachelor of fine arts in ceramics and bachelor of fine arts in drawing and painting, with minors in sociology and civic and community engagement.

A Schreyer Honors College scholar, Gyekis has been on the Dean's List for every semester while participating in a diverse range of activities, including art exhibitions, community art projects, conference presentations and publications, and teaching. She has received public acclaim for her mural projects, which encompass her academic career in drawing/painting and civic/community engagement. As a part of two Keeping Pennsylvania Beautiful internships, Gyekis was the artist and head organizer for three murals in the inner-city neighborhood of Allison Hill in Harrisburg, an area of physical disrepair and a high crime rate. Her honors thesis project was the "Valley Roots Community Mural," a 30-foot by 15-foot mural on a local cafe wall in Millheim, Pa., featuring the people, activities, products and landscape that make up Penns Valley.

Gyekis has received numerous honors and awards including the Golumbic Award for Design Achievement (2008), which recognizes students who have demonstrated superior design, humanistic or performance records; Young People for (YP4) 2008 Fellow, a long-term leadership development program that engages and empowers members to promote social change in their communities; Evan Pugh Scholar Award (2007); Creative Achievement for Visual Arts Award (2009); and Simeon and Elizabeth Gallu Scholarship (2004). She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society; National Art Education Association; Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture; and past-president of the Penn State Chapter of Asha for Education/Free the Slaves.

Gyekis plans to pursue a master of fine arts degree and to continue teaching, and organizing community art projects similar to the murals in Harrisburg and Penns Valley.

Last Updated December 15, 2009