IST student marshals follow different paths, share determination to succeed

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On May 6, students from Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) graduating class of 2017 will don their caps and gowns and march down the aisle at commencement toward their future goals as graduates, following student marshals Jack "John" Hatzell and Joshua Parrish.

Hatzell, who will represent the College of IST, and Parrish, representing the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), will be escorted by their faculty marshals, senior lecturer of IST Edward Glantz and Lt. Col. Richard Garey, respectively.

The students said they were honored to be selected as IST’s student representatives. For both, effort and dedication, aided by strong family support, were the building blocks to their success.

”My family has always pushed me to be the best person that I can be, but they never put too much pressure on me,” said Hatzell, who will graduate Summa Cum Laude with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) and IST. “They have always encouraged me to do what I want to do [and] to take on challenges that have made me a better person.”

Hatzell, from Collingsworth, New Jersey, will be the fourth Penn State graduate in his family. He will join his parents, Jim and Silvia, and his brother, Jimmy — also an IST graduate — as Penn State alumni after commencement.

Like Hatzell, Parrish expressed gratitude to his parents, Shannon and Jim, for encouraging him to do his best. “My parents have always checked in on me and made sure that I was doing all of the right things, so that I would make my time here at Penn State as valuable as possible,” said the Bangor, Pennsylvania, native who will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in SRA and a minor in military studies. “I was taught that hard work pays off.”

Though they followed different paths during their time at IST, both men credited determination as the primary reason for their success as students. They have demonstrated a shared commitment to putting in long hours and hard work knowing that their perseverance would pay off. Now, they leave behind their books and exams for business suits and boardrooms for the careers they’ll pursue after graduation.

For most of his time in IST, Hatzell worked as a learning assistant (LA), helping instructors coach students, manage classrooms and assist with grading, which he did for four semesters before becoming director of the program this year. “This role helped me become a leader in the college and has given me the opportunity to work with a variety of faculty members,” he said, adding that it’s a leadership role that he believes will help him transition into his future career as a business technology analyst with Deloitte Consulting LLP, in Arlington, Virginia.

For Parrish, his ROTC commitment was a great responsibility and took up most of his free time, but developing great time-management skills in order to excel at both academics and ROTC was instrumental in landing his first choice of internships at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “Being an IST student taught me valuable technical skills, where ROTC taught me leadership and teamwork. I believe that the skills I gained through my ROTC career, combined with my education, helped me stand out from other applicants when I was applying for internships,” he said. In fact, Parrish’s time at PricewaterhouseCoopers was so successful that he will return for full-time employment at their National Security Practice as a technology consultant this summer. He also will serve as an infantry officer in the Maryland Army National Guard.

Both students have earned stellar academic credentials, achieving outstanding grade point averages and regular Dean’s List honors. Hatzell, a Schreyer Honors Scholar and Bunton-Waller Fellow, completed two internships and studied abroad in Spain and Brazil, in addition to serving on IST’s student committee to plan the Pro Expo career fair. In the past four years, Parrish served as a company executive officer and received multiple Joint Service Awards in Penn State’s Army ROTC program. He completed the Army’s Air Assault School and traveled to Eastern Europe for cultural understanding and language proficiency training with the Bosnian military.

“It’s a great honor to be selected as a student marshal and a great way to end my college and ROTC careers,” said Parrish.

Last Updated April 28, 2017