Gurunathan and Johnson chosen as Earth and Mineral Sciences marshals

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two students will represent the spring 2016 graduating class for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS): Kyle Johnson, an environmental systems engineering student, and Ramya Gurunathan, a materials science and engineering student. The EMS commencement ceremony will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 6, in the Pegula Ice Arena on Penn State’s University Park campus.

Johnson will graduate with a bachelor of science in environmental systems engineering. He will graduate with highest distinction, earning a 4.0 grade-point average. He served as president of Environmental Brigades, a Penn State chapter of Global Brigades. Through this he led three groups of 20 students on service-learning trips to Panama. He also completed a sustainable development internship with Global Brigades through which he proposed a waste management strategy in Panama that will be implemented in May 2016. He also served as a teaching assistant and completed an engineering internship with ARM Group Inc., an environmental consulting group.

Johnson is the recipient of both the Chevron Corporation Environmental Health and Safety Scholarship and the Energy and Mineral Engineering Scholarship. Following graduation, he will work full time with ARM Group Inc. Johnson will be escorted by M. Thaddeus Ityokumbul, associate professor of mineral processing and geo-environmental engineering, during commencement.

“I feel honored to be selected as student marshal, and I’m excited to sit on stage during commencement and watch my peers graduate,” said Johnson, who hails from Julian, Pennsylvania.

Gurunathan, a Schreyer Scholar, will graduate with highest distinction, earning a bachelor of science in materials science and engineering, semiconductor option, and a minor in nanotechnology. As a student, Gurunathan conducted research at Leiden University, the Netherlands; Tohoku University, Japan; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California; the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute; and at Penn State.

She was a member of Penn State’s Presidential Leadership Academy, was co-captain of Penn State Natya, a classical Indian dance team, and volunteered at Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania. She received Penn State’s Evan Pugh Scholar Award and EMS’ Dean Edward Steidle Memorial Scholar Award. After graduation, Gurunathan will be studying at the University of Cambridge as a recipient of a prestigious Winston Churchill scholarship. She will be escorted at commencement by Suzanne Mohney, professor of materials science and engineering and electrical engineering.

“I feel particularly proud about representing the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences because I know this college is composed of students, faculty, staff and alumni who are hardworking, humble and intensely passionate about their work,” said Gurunathan, a native of Yardley, Pennsylvania. “I've seen, firsthand, that the eclectic group of individuals in EMS encourage each other to think about the broader impacts of their field, and I hope, as student marshal, to reflect that mindset.”

Seven students will represent their respective departments during commencement:

  • Michael Cavazza: John and Willie Leone Family of Energy and Mineral Engineering
  • Aaron Dennis and Blake Naito: Department of Geography
  • Zachary Richard: Department of Geosciences
  • Alexander Chichester-Constable and Matthew Rahn: Department of Materials Science and Engineering
  • Ryan Creedon: Department of Meteorology
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Last Updated May 12, 2016