RHS student to serve as College of Education summer marshal

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of Education named Alyssa Helen Scala as its summer 2014 student marshal. She will lead the college’s procession of graduates during the Penn State Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony at the Bryce Jordan Center on Aug. 16. Wendy Ann Coduti, assistant professor of education, will escort her as faculty marshal.

Scala, a rehabilitation and human services (RHS) student, will graduate with a 3.99 cumulative grade point average. She was honored for her academic success during her junior year when she received the Evan Pugh Scholar award.

Scala’s Penn State experience extended far beyond just academics. Scala said her role as a teaching assistant for an RHS case management and communications skills class especially afforded her the opportunity to work closely with faculty and other students in her major. Additionally, Scala experienced unique responsibilities at her part-time job at downtown clothing store Connections.

“Working downtown and being a teaching assistant helped me develop my time management skills and gave me responsibilities outside of my own school work.”

Scala was also involved in Athletes Helping Athletes, an organization that honors student athletes with disabilities at high school sports events. She was also a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honors Society, Rehabilitation and Human Services Student Organization, and the Rules and Regulations Committee of the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.

Scala has known that she wanted to major in RHS since she was a high school senior.

“I knew I wanted to work in health care and to help people, but I was unsure of which specific profession,” Scala said. “I chose RHS because it had many career path options including occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling and drug/alcohol rehabilitation, so I was able to learn about those options and make a more informed decision on which specific profession I would choose.”

During her time at Penn State, Scala said she had numerous mentors who have been instrumental in her development. Scala’s freshman and sophomore year adviser Deirdre O’Sullivan helped her tremendously up until O’Sullivan went on leave.

“Luckily for me, Dr. James Herbert became my adviser for my final year of classes and put up with me as I stressed about getting my summer RHS internship approved throughout the year. Having both Dr. O'Sullivan and Dr. Herbert as my academic advisers definitely helped make my experience as a Penn State student an enjoyable one,” Scala said.

Alyssa’s parents, Mike and Kathy Scala; her sister, Lauren; and her aunt and uncle; will attend the ceremony.

Scala currently works at Holy Name Hospital as an intern in the Center for Rehabilitation. Upon graduation, she will then start as an aide at the same place. Scala plans to attend graduate school in fall 2015 to obtain a degree in occupational therapy.

“Throughout my internship, I have seen all of the things I’ve learned in my RHS classes come to life. While working at the hospital during the year, I hope to continue learning about occupational therapy treatments through observation, and to gain more experience and responsibility working in a physical rehabilitation facility.”

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Last Updated August 05, 2014