College of the Liberal Arts selects spring 2016 student marshals

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – At the May 7 commencement ceremony, 22 students will represent the College of the Liberal Arts as student marshals. Approximately 1,500 undergraduates will receive their degrees at the event, which will be live streamed at wpsu.org/liberalarts beginning at 6:25 p.m.

Lasanthi Fernando, daughter of Nimali Fonseka and Pathmasiri Fernando of Gaithersburg, Maryland, is the college marshal and the commencement speaker. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and a bachelor of science degree in economics, along with minors in bioethics and medical humanities and business and the liberal arts.

In addition to working part-time at the HUB-Robeson Center, Fernando was a legislative intern with Capitol Associates in Arlington, Virginia, completed research in the Netherlands, and volunteered in Panama. Next year, she will continue her studies in public policy at Johns Hopkins University. Her faculty escort at commencement will be Vincent Colapietro, liberal arts research professor of philosophy and African-American studies.

The following students will represent 49 majors within the College of the Liberal Arts:

African studies

Talia Sainclair is the daughter of Thomas Sainclair and Suzanne Sklaney of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in African studies and a minor in French. Talia was president of the Model African Union on campus and interned with the Literacy Empowerment Action Project in Washington, D.C. She studied abroad in Paris, Morocco, and London and Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. In addition to volunteering in Panama, Sainclair volunteered annually in Rwanda, where she also completed field research for her thesis. Next year, Talia will continue her studies in globalization and development communications at Temple University.

Anthropology

Hannah Toombs is the daughter of Andrew and Lisa Toombs of Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in anthropology and Spanish. Toombs worked as a museum assistant at Penn State’s Matson Museum of Anthropology. In addition to completing research on Mesoamerican figurines and Southwest Pueblo culture, Toombs studied abroad in Peru. She also served as president of UNICEF Penn State, played on the club tennis team, and was active in THON and the PSUkulele music group. Next year, Toombs will complete research through a museum internship and will ultimately attend graduate school to pursue a doctorate in anthropology.

Asian studies

Bridget Adduce is the daughter of David and Lori Adduce of Lititz, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Chinese and minors in Spanish and linguistics. Adduce was a research assistant in the Center for Language Science and interned with the Center for Global Studies. She also studied abroad in Shanghai and was active in THON. Next year, Adduce will work as a project coordinator for TransPerfect, a translating company located in New York City.

Classics and ancient Mediterranean studies

Stephen Shiflett is the son of Brian and Sherri Shiflett of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. He is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in classics and ancient Mediterranean studies, and journalism, as well as minors in geography, Latin, and Greek. He studied abroad in Rome and Athens. Next year, Shiflett will continue his studies at the University of Michigan in their Interdepartmental Program in Greek and Roman History.

Communication arts and sciences

Briana Patrice Adams is the daughter of Cyril Brandtford and Patricia Adams of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Adams is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in communication arts and sciences and Spanish. In addition to serving on the advisory board of the Paterno Fellows Program, she founded the Collegiate Laws of Life Essay Contest and helped create the Diversity Council for the Schreyer Honors College. Adams completed two internships in St. Thomas, one working for the Office of the Governor and another at a talent and management company. Adams plans to attend law school after working for one year.

Comparative literature

Shannon E. Cantor is the daughter of Kirk and Patricia Cantor of Montoursville, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Cantor is graduating with bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in comparative literature, as well as a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and a minor in international arts. She studied abroad in Ecuador and did service work in Finland and Nicaragua. She also volunteered with her church in State College. In addition, she served as a writing tutor at the Penn State Learning Center. Next year, Cantor will return to Ecuador to do a year-long Program Leadership Fellowship with the Tandana Foundation.

Criminology

Michael A. Banerjee is the son of Indra and Dalfoni Banerjee of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Banerjee is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in criminology and African-American studies. Banerjee served as a research assistant and teaching assistant and completed internships with the Law Offices of Frederick K. Brewington and the Montgomery County Office of the Public Defender. In addition to being president of the Multicultural Undergraduate Law Association, Michael was treasurer of Penn State’s NAACP chapter. Banerjee is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. Next year, Banerjee will continue his studies at Harvard Law School.

Economics

Chenyue Lei is the daughter of Mengjue Lei and Yali Wu of Jiangxi, China. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of science degrees in economics and statistics and a minor in mathematics. She completed research with Kala Krishna, liberal arts research professor of economics, on the topics of international economics and economics of education. She was also a teaching assistant and tutored for the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes. In addition, Lei completed a corporate finance internship with China Everbright Bank in China. Next year, she will attend Boston University to pursue a doctoral degree in economics.

English

Elyse Mark is the daughter of Howard and Joanne Mark of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in English and Chinese and minors in business, German, and international studies. She studied abroad in Germany and China and interned with Panjiva in China. Next year, she will continue her studies at the National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan, through a Fulbright grant.

French and francophone studies

Molly Lynn O’Brien is the daughter of Chris and Sheri O’Brien of New Britain, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with bachelor of science degrees in French and francophone studies, and electrical engineering. She studied abroad in France and completed research at Johns Hopkins University; she also completed an electrical engineering and construction internship with Air Liquide in Houston. Next year, O’Brien will continue her studies in computer science at Johns Hopkins University.  

Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures

Anna Cecilia Bahnfleth is the daughter of William and Mary Bahnfleth of State College, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in German and a minor in international studies. She was a research assistant in translation under Bettina Brandt and studied abroad in Freiburg, Germany. Bahnfleth received the Stanley R. Townsend Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in German studies and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Delta Phi Alpha honor societies. She was also president and secretary of the German Club. Next year, Bahnfleth will pursue a master's degree in translation and explore career opportunities in New York City.

Global and international studies

Esther (Joo Hee) Park is the daughter of Sang Soo and Eun Young Park of North Wales, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of science degrees in global and international studies, and French and francophone studies; and, a bachelor of arts degree in advertising and public relations. She was active in the Presidential Leadership Academy, Lion Ambassadors, and THON; she was also A cappella marshal for the Performing Arts Council and president of the award-winning a cappella group The Coda Conduct. Park interned with Haitian Partners for Christian Development, Live It, and L’Oréal. Next year, she will return to L’Oréal in New York City to work in their management development program.

History

Jule Walsh is the daughter of Jim and Anne Walsh of Canadensis, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in history, anthropology, and political science, and a minor in business and the liberal arts. She was active in the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council, Liberal Arts Envoys, the Schreyer Honors Student Council, and THON. In addition, she completed internships with the Office of Senator Robert P. Casey and the Schreyer Honors College. Next year, Walsh will continue her studies at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

International politics

Teressa Hamsher is the daughter of Brad and Leslie Hamsher of Bath, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in international politics and psychology and a minor in Spanish. In addition to completing study abroad programs in Greece, Israel, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa, and London, Hamsher interned with the U.S. Department of State, The Malini Foundation, and Lehigh Valley Health Network. She also served as the executive director of State of State and was on the mock trial team. Next year, Hamsher will work as a Fellow with the Friends Committee on National Legislation in their Peacebuilding Policy Program.

Labor studies and employment relations

Kelsey Louise Wetzel is the daughter of Peter and Kathleen Wetzel of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Wetzel is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in labor and employment relations, and Spanish and a minor in psychology. She studied abroad in Spain and volunteered at an orphanage in Peru. In addition to interning with JFC Staffing Companies in Carlisle, Wetzel tutored for the Morgan Academic Support Center for Student-Athletes. She was also a recruitment and involvement director for Relay For Life and THON chair for the women’s club water polo team. Next year, Wetzel will participate in ServiceMaster’s Leadership Development Program in Memphis.

Philosophy

Michelle Perry is the daughter of Andrew and Judy Perry of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and minors in English and psychology. In addition to acting with No Refund Theatre, Perry was president of the Philosophy Club and a research assistant in the Developmental Personality Neuroscience Lab. She also interned with the Army Heritage Center Foundation in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and volunteered as a literacy tutor with the Mid-State Literacy Council in State College. Next year, she will work as a research assistant in the Decision Neuroscience and Psychopathology Lab at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Political science

Adam L. Terragnoli is the son of Lou and Melanie Terragnoli of Buffalo, New York. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a minor in communication arts and sciences. In addition to being a research assistant, Terragnoli studied abroad in Colombia and Brazil. He was also active in the University Park Undergraduate Association and the mock trial team. Next year, Terragnoli will be teaching in the greater New Orleans Louisiana Delta region with Teach for America.

Psychology

Tim Kundro is the son of Christopher Kundro and Pamela Davies of Glen Gardner, New Jersey. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Kundro is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a minor in business and the liberal arts. He was a research assistant in the Leadership and Innovation Lab at Penn State and in the Social and Organizational Psychology Lab at Rutgers University. He interned with Deloitte Consulting in Chicago and with Textron in Providence, Rhode Island. In addition, Kundro was president of the Industrial/Organizational Psychology Society. Next year, he will continue his studies in organizational behavior at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Sociology

Megan M. Wisniewski is the daughter of Mark and Laureen Wisniewski of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in sociology and a minor in international studies. In addition to studying abroad in Prague, Wisniewski was a research assistant for numerous projects on campus and a market research intern with MSI International, Inc. Passionate about community service, Wisniewski was a volunteer at Hearts for Homeless and Community Cafe, both serving the homeless community in State College. Next year, Wisniewski will pursue research opportunities in quantitative sociology in order to prepare for graduate studies in demography.

Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese

Adison Godfrey is the daughter of Keith Godfrey and Pam Bartholomew, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in English and Spanish. Godfrey was a research intern for the Department of English and University Libraries. She also completed internships with Comparative Literature Studies and the Center for American Literary Studies. In addition, Godfrey held various leadership positions within THON and Relay For Life. She studied abroad in Spain, and completed Penn State's Teaching ESL Certificate Program in Ecuador. Next year, she will return to Ecuador on a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to teach English.

Women’s, gender, and sexuality studies

Olivia Lubrano Pecora is the daughter of Richard Pecora and Francine Lubrano-Pecora of Westfield, New Jersey. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in women’s studies and sociology. Pecora was a teaching assistant and studied abroad in Ireland and Croatia. She also interned with the nonprofit organizations Library For All and the Malini Foundation. Pecora was inducted into the Women's Studies Honors Society and Phi Beta Kappa; she also received the Outstanding Undergraduate Award and the Laura Richardson Whitaker Memorial Award in Women's Studies. Next year, Olivia will participate in Vanguard’s Accelerated Development Program in Malvern, Pennsylvania.

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Last Updated April 26, 2016