College of the Liberal Arts selects spring 2017 student marshals

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — At Penn State's May 6 spring commencement ceremony, 21 students will represent the College of the Liberal Arts as student marshals. Approximately 1,400 undergraduates will receive their degrees at the event, which will be live streamed at wpsu.org/liberalarts beginning at 6:25 p.m.

Elizabeth Catchmark is the college student marshal and commencement speaker for the college's ceremony. She is the daughter of Jeffrey and Rose Mary Catchmark of Bellefonte. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Catchmark is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in African-American studies, English, philosophy, and women’s studies.

Catchmark worked as a writing tutor, a teaching assistant, and a research assistant during her time as a student. She taught in D.C. public schools as a Social Justice Fellow, served as a peer educator for Peers Helping Reaffirm, Educate, and Empower, and presented her work at three academic conferences. She was also a grant writer for the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County and received several awards, including the Jabir Shibley Memorial Scholarship in Philosophy and the Mimi Barash Coppersmith Endowed Scholarship in Women’s Studies. Next year, Elizabeth will attend a doctoral program in English literature, specializing in African-American literature. Her faculty escort at commencement will be Shirley Moody-Turner, associate professor of English and African-American studies.

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

AFRICAN STUDIES

Isabelle Helmich is the daughter of Bobbi Ann Helmich and the late James Helmich, of Ambler. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in African studies and international politics with a minor in Spanish. Helmich was an art coordinator and managing editor for Kalliope Undergraduate Literary Magazine and participated in Model African Union Conferences. She interned with the Penn State Extension/Teens4Good program, which helps to address community issues in Philadelphia, and served as the director's assistant at Camp Onas, a non-profit Quaker camp in Pennsylvania. Next year, following a summer internship with Penn State’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations, Helmich will work in the non-profit sector before pursuing degrees in law and public policy.

ANTHROPOLOGY

Leah Bader is the daughter of Jeffrey and Rosemary Bader, of Easton. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and a minor in global health. Bader was an active participant in the Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship program and served as the co-president of the Public Health Chapter of Global Brigades at Penn State. Through these programs she was able to travel to Zambia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Honduras and Ghana, to work with local communities. After graduation, Bader will apply to graduate schools to continue her studies in anthropology.

ASIAN STUDIES

Marlana Bosley is the daughter of Kenneth and Rachael Bosley, of Mechanicsburg. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Chinese and a bachelor of science degree in international politics. Bosley was a research assistant for the Department of Political Science and a marketing intern for the Office of Global Programs. She also served as president of Penn State’s Women in Politics organization as well as a founding member and secretary of the Chinese Major and Minor Association at Penn State. Next year, Bosley will work for Corning Inc. in North Carolina in their BRiTE Rotational Program, which will allow her to work closely with the company’s facilities in China and Taiwan.

COMMUNICATION ARTS AND SCIENCES

Matthew Crager is the son of Ed and Jill Crager, of Mount Joy. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Crager is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in communication arts and sciences and minors in Spanish and Portuguese. He studied abroad in Ecuador and volunteered as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor for the Mid-State Literacy Council. Crager was a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and a tutor in the Undergraduate Speaking Center. He was also a donor and alumni relations chair for Springfield, a special interest group benefiting THON. After graduation, he will travel to Brazil to complete a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship.

COMPARATIVE LITERATURE

Clayton McKee is the son of Leonard and Rebecca McKee, of Newville. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in comparative literature and bachelor of arts degrees in Spanish and French and Francophone studies with a minor in Arabic language. McKee served as an intern for Comparative Literature Studies, the discipline’s flagship journal which is housed at Penn State. He also served as an intern/outreach coordinator for Trafika Europe and studied abroad in Egypt, France and Spain. Next year, McKee will teach English as a Second Language in either France or Spain and then attend graduate school to pursue his doctorate in comparative literature.

CRIMINOLOGY

Natalia Ruggiero is the daughter of Mario and Fabiana Ruggiero, of Philadelphia. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in criminology and international politics with a minor in Italian. she studied abroad in Italy, received the Josephine Rhea Award for Excellence in Italian, and was inducted into the Gamma Kappa Alpha and Pi Sigma Alpha honors societies. Ruggiero served as a teaching assistant for the Department of Criminology and research assistant for the Association of Religion Data Archives. She was a legal intern for the Sachs Law Group and for Esperanza Immigration Legal Services. Next year, Ruggiero plans to attend Temple Law School.

ECONOMICS

Erlfang "Eleanor" Tsai is the daughter of Wenpin and Rachel Tsai, of State College. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in economics and a bachelor of arts degree in political science with minors in French and Francophone studies and mathematics. Tsai participated in the Department of Economics’ Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program, and spent her summers interning in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of the Budget and in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Tsai founded the Anti-Hunger Games Club, which seeks to raise awareness of and provide relief from hunger and homelessness in the local community. She was also vice president of education of the Economics Association. Next year, Tsai will begin her doctorate in economics at Yale.

ENGLISH

John Miller is the son of Kathy and Jeff Miller, of Hershey. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in English. He was a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and a recipient of the Evan Pugh Undergraduate Award. He was an undergraduate research assistant with Aligning Forces for Quality and completed internships with Lumos and the Association of American Medical Colleges. He also volunteered for Mount Nittany Health Services. After graduation, Miller will teach middle-school math and English as part of Teach For America and then plans to attend medical school.

FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES

Susan Nahvi is the daughter of Ahmad and Nancy Nahvi, of Chatham, New Jersey. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in French and Francophone studies and international politics. Nahvi spent a semester in France, was a foundation relations intern for Plan International USA, and interned for Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack. Nahvi was also an ambassador for Stand for State, a volunteer for Planned Parenthood, an English as a Second Language tutor, and treasurer of the Penn State Martial Arts Group. After graduation, she will work for the Friends Committee on National Legislation as a program assistant for policy on human rights and civil liberties.

GERMANIC AND SLAVIC LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES

Brian Zdancewicz is the son of Thomas and Carol Zdancewicz, of Fallsington. He is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in Russian and letters, arts and sciences. Zdancewicz participated in the Penn State Association of Students of Russian and assisted with linguistics research on bilingualism. He has received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship to study in St. Petersburg, as well as the Joseph Paternost Award in Russian, and the Julianne and David Vaughn Scholarship for Russian Study. After graduation, he will continue to pursue his passion for languages through work in teaching or translation.

GLOBAL AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES

Aviva Doery is the daughter of Amy Handmaker and Michael Doery, of Monroe. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in international politics and global and international studies with minors in history and Jewish studies. Doery studied abroad at the University of Freiburg and received the Rodney A. Erickson Discovery Grant and the Rock Ethics Institute Honors Thesis Research Award to support her independent research. Doery also served as a special events captain for THON and assistant music director for Savoir Faire A Cappella. After graduation, she plans to spend time abroad furthering her education in global studies.

HISTORY

Caroline Briselli is the daughter of Diana and Sec Briselli, of Hummelstown. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in history and minors in business and the liberal arts and Middle East studies. Briselli interned with Penn State’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations and the All-Sports Museum and gained external experience at the Hershey Company, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the U.S. State Department. Briselli also wrote for The Daily Collegian and is a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy. After graduation, she will join IBM as a consultant in Washington, D.C.

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Megan Cichocki is the daughter of Tom and Gayle Cichocki, of Zionsville. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in international politics and a bachelor of science degree in economics with minors in German and international studies. Cichocki participated in economics and global business research, interned with Morgan Stanley and the federal government, and held leading roles in the Penn State Economics Association. She is a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and studied abroad in Germany. After graduation, Cichocki will work with the federal government as an economic analyst.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS

Meghan Stouter is the daughter of Kelley and David Stouter, of Emmitsburg. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology, a bachelor of science degree in labor and employment relations, and a master of science degree in human resources and employment relations with a minor in Spanish. Stouter served as vice president for the Society for Human Resource Management, volunteered for and danced in THON, and received multiple academic and citizenship awards. She was a teaching assistant for both sociology and labor and employment relations courses and served as a research assistant in the School of Labor and Employment Relations. In addition, she studied abroad in Spain and completed internships with Schoolwires (now Blackboard) and Ernst & Young. After graduation, Stouter will join EY in its Advisory Services department.

PHILOSOPHY

Stephen A. Messimer is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in philosophy and English. He was an active member of the Philosophy Club, served as a writing tutor, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. Messimer is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies, received the Phi Sigma Delta Sigma Education Foundation Dean’s Scholarship, and presented a research paper on “Appetite and Gender in Victorian Children’s Fantasy” at a Pennsylvania College English Association conference. His academic studies converged upon the subjects of continental philosophy, ancient Greek philosophy, and Jewish American literature. After graduation, Messimer will pursue graduate study in either philosophy or creative writing.

POLITICAL SCIENCE

Jaden Rankin-Wahlers is the daughter of Laine Rankin and Don Wahlers, of Doylestown. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in political science and criminology with a minor in religious studies. As a student, Rankin-Wahlers took a leadership role in combating the stigma associated with poverty and homelessness in Centre County and in Mexico. She was recognized with the Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up Award and the John S. Oswald Award for her work. After graduation, Rankin-Wahlers plans to attend law school to pursue studies in constitutional law.

PSYCHOLOGY

Caroline Gooch is the daughter of S. Janai Burnett and Steven Gooch, of Midlothian, Virginia. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in psychology. Gooch worked in the lab of Kenneth Levy, where she co-authored research soon to be published by Oxford University Press. She also served as a teaching assistant in both introductory and advanced psychology courses. She was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and recipient of numerous awards, including the Charles N. Cofer Memorial Award in Psychology. Next year, she will begin a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Ohio University.

SOCIOLOGY

Haydn Hornstein-Platt is the daughter of Robin Hornstein and Randi Platt of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and a bachelor of science degree in psychology. Hornstein-Platt worked as an Eco Rep and as a dialogue facilitator for the World In Conversation Center for Public Diplomacy. She also completed two internships in the field of public health including a position as community outreach intern for the Public Health Management Corporation. After graduation, she will begin a career in the field of integrated health care after spending the summer traveling to Cambodia and Vietnam.

SPANISH, ITALIAN, AND PORTUGUESE

Andrea Sylvia Biscoveanu is the daughter of Adrian and Mihaela Biscoveanu, of Yardley. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and a bachelor of science degree in physics with minors in mathematics and music performance. Biscoveanu worked as a research assistant at Penn State, Monash University, Caltech, and the Complutense University of Madrid. During her time in Spain, she applied her Spanish language skills to introduce middle school students to scientific concepts like cosmic rays and particle interactions. Next year, she will conduct research with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, through a Fulbright Postgraduate Open Research Grant.

WOMEN’S, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY STUDIES

Chelsea McGhee is the daughter of Christine M. Andrus, of State College, and Kenneth E. McGhee, of Mill Hall. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in women’s studies and psychology with a minor in theatre. She conducted undergraduate research in the areas of gender, creativity and feminist psychology. She also served on the executive boards of The National Women’s Studies Honors Society (Triota) and Planned Parenthood Generation Action (PPGEN) and studied abroad in India and England. After graduation, McGhee will work as a research assistant for a non-profit and apply to graduate school.

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Last Updated May 11, 2017