Media studies major selected as Bellisario College's commencement marshal

Alana Fiero packed her three and a half years at Penn State with countless experiences and opportunities to help prepare herself for the future. In December, she’ll add student marshal to that list.

Fiero will graduate with a degree in media studies with minors in environmental inquiry and entrepreneurship and innovation. She will represent the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications during fall commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 16, in the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus.

“Penn State has treated me extremely well,” said Fiero. “I really have enjoyed being here. It’s great to be student marshal because it feels like the capstone to a really great experience here.”

Fiero knew she wanted to be involved in communications from the time she was attended Clayton A. Bouton High School. Her school offered tech programs and classes, which were always her favorite. A self-described curious person, media studies was the perfect fit.

“I think diving into topics and knowing the background details is what I really love about media studies,” said Fiero.

The Albany, New York, native is also interested in the environment, hence the first of her minors. Then, last year, when she had her own kitchen for the first time, she discovered additional interests.

She started to find her love for cooking and her love for food. Countless Netflix documentaries and hours of reading later, she’s looking to combine her passions for the environment and food into a career path.

“The naturally curious media studies in me wants to know everything about my food,” said Fiero. “I realized there are a lot of problems with our food system.

“My main interest in the food industry would be to try to use communications and my writing to enact change either on the consumer level or even on the corporate level -- just trying to convince people that there are better ways we can go about this. Or even just telling the story behind food because I think people care.”

Fiero recently accepted a position in the C&S Wholesale Grocers Leadership Development Program beginning in July. C&S Wholesale Grocers is a lead supply chain company in the food industry, and the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S. 

During college, she completed a variety of internship experiences that helped shape her idea for her future. During the summer of 2015, she was a communications intern for Environmental Advocates of New York. The next summer, she completed a marketing internship with Howard Schaffer Media Marketing in Albany. Each opportunity gave her valuable skills she could carry through the rest of her college career.

When she’s not cooking or reading for class, Fiero may be found playing her ukulele, which she initially bought at a garage sale. She always wanted to learn to play guitar, but thought a four-string ukulele might be easier than a six-string guitar.

Fast forward and she’s now co-president of the Ukulele Club at Penn State.

“It’s such a great group of people,” said Fiero. “Everybody is so down to earth and into various parts of campus. It’s a really cool group of people that are very friendly. I think that’s why I’ve stuck with it.”

For Fiero, a rapidly-approaching graduation day is bittersweet. She remembers thinking how far away graduation seemed as a freshman. Now, she can’t believe her college career is coming to a close.

“My whole life has been academics thus far, so just to get out there in the real world and maybe affect some of this policy change that I’ve been talking about in my classes and that sort of thing,” said Fiero. “But at the same time, Penn State is such a great place. There is such a great sense of community and so many untapped little outlets that you can always be looking at. It’ll be sad, but hopefully I can come back and visit.”

After graduation, Fiero plans to study abroad for a semester in the Czech Republic through a program that started at Penn State.

Last Updated November 13, 2017