Abercrombie and Krecko named 2014 spring commencement student marshals

Daniel Abercrombie of Linden, Pa., and Laura Krecko, of Hershey, Pa., will be honored as student marshals during the Penn State Eberly College of Science’s spring commencement ceremonies on May 10. Sarah Shandera, assistant professor of physics, will serve as Abercrombie’s faculty escort. Krecko’s faculty escort will be James Strauss, senior lecturer in biology.

Daniel Abercrombie
Abercrombie will graduate from Penn State with a 4.0 grade-point average and bachelor’s degrees in physics and nuclear engineering and a minor in mathematics. He is a member of the Schreyer Honors College and was on the Dean’s List every semester of his undergraduate career.

During his time at Penn State, Abercrombie was named an Undergraduate Fellow and a Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Scholar by Toshiba-Westinghouse; was the recipient of scholarship awards from the Department of Energy University Program and the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation; and recognized with a national conference award for Best Undergraduate Presentation in Reactor Physics and an Accelerator Applications Division Scholarship from the American Nuclear Society.

Abercrombie also won many Penn State awards and scholarships, including the University-level President’s Freshman Award and President’s Sparks Award. Other Penn State scholarships and awards Abercrombie received were the John J. Brennan Excellence in Nuclear Engineering Award, the College of Engineering Research Symposium Poster Award, the Klevans Scholarship in Nuclear Engineering, the Schreyer Honors College Bain Family Scholarship, the Florence and Charles Haines Memorial Scholarship, the Paul Morrow Endowed Scholarship, the Monty Schultz Memorial Scholarship in Nuclear Engineering, the Professor H. A. Everett Memorial Scholarship, and the Ralph B. and Eleonora K. Strawbridge Memorial Trustee Scholarship. 

While he was an undergraduate at Penn State, Abercrombie had the opportunity to conduct research under Philip Harris, a staff physicist at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Abercrombie assisted Harris’s team at CERN and researchers from MIT and Northwestern University in the search for hypothesized dark matter that is produced in the decay of the Higgs boson particle. In particular, Abercrombie's research tries to characterize the spray of hadrons (particles made of quarks) that emerge during some collisions that generate a Higgs boson. Successful characterization will help find the Higgs, even when it decays into invisible dark matter.

Outside of the classroom and research lab, Abercrombie is a member of the Penn State Chapter of the American Nuclear Society. Active at the society’s national level, Abercrombie participated in the planning of the 2014 American Nuclear Society National Student Conference as Technical Lead. In his home chapter at Penn State, he is involved with the chapter’s outreach activities, including educating Boy Scouts groups and high school students about the field of nuclear science and engineering.

When informed he had been selected as student marshal, Abercrombie said he was “very surprised and honored to be selected as a representative for the entire college.” His time at Penn State taught him many important lessons, including learning to embrace change: “I came to Penn State thinking that I would obtain an engineering degree and get a job in design. However, I was drawn to pure science. Now, I will be attending graduate school for physics, even though it was only partway through my junior year that I started to realize that was what I wanted to do.”

After graduation, Abercrombie plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to obtain a doctorate degree in experimental high-energy physics. A graduate of Williamsport Area High School, Abercrombie will be accompanied by his parents, David and Diane Abercrombie, at the commencement ceremony.

Laura Krecko
Laura Krecko, a member of the Schreyer Honors College, will graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average and a bachelor’s degree in biology. She was on the Dean’s List every semester of her undergraduate career.

Krecko won many awards during her time at Penn State, including the University-level honors of the President’s Freshman Award, the President’s Sparks Award, and the Evan Pugh Scholar Senior Award. The Schreyer Honors College recognized her achievements with an award from the Pre-Eminence in Honors Education Fund and multiple Academic Excellence Scholarships. She also was the recipient of the Virginia L. Corson Headings Scholarship in the Eberly College of Science and inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. 

Krecko has served as a teaching assistant for James Strauss in his mammalian physiology and histology classes and also performed research in the Vascular Health Interventions Laboratory under the guidance of Sheila West, associate professor of biobehavioral health. Krecko’s research involved assisting with a variety of tests that measure or assess glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity, endothelial function, and cardiovascular responses to stress at the Penn State Clinical Research Center. She completed a Schreyer Honors College thesis investigating the association of clinic and 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure measurements with cardiovascular disease risk factors in adults with type-2 diabetes mellitus.

Krecko splits her free time between two student organizations, Peace.Love.Lyrical Dance Company and Global Medical Brigades. She is vice president of Peace.Love.Lyrical Dance Company and was selected as a THON dancer for the organization this year, helping the company to raise $26,000 this year for pediatric cancer. As part of Global Medical Brigades, Krecko spent her spring break in 2012 on a medical service trip to Panama, where her group helped to organize a mobile clinic to provide medical assistance for underprivileged rural Panamanian communities.

After graduation, Krecko will attend the Penn State College of Medicine to pursue a career as a physician. Krecko says she was “surprised and extremely honored” to be selected as a student marshal for the college. “The people I’ve met throughout my four years at Penn State are some of my greatest sources of happiness and inspiration. The warmth, pride, and strength of the Penn State community will continue to shape me for years to come.”

Krecko, a graduate of Hershey High School, will be accompanied by her parents, Valentins and Anne Krecko, along with her sisters Kristina and Ingrid, at the graduation ceremony. Her sisters are also Penn State graduates, with Kristina expected to graduate from the Penn State College of Medicine this year.


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Last Updated April 16, 2014