Nelson, Scott named 2015 Graduate Student Service Award recipients

March 18, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Graduate students Heather C. Nelson and Jesse Scott have been honored with the 2015 Graduate Student Service Award, an award that recognizes graduate students who have best combined high academic achievement with leadership in University or other public activities.

Nelson, a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, received her master’s degree in aerospace engineering in 2014 from the College of Engineering, and has used her military background to help the Penn State fencing team, the local chapter of Trout Unlimited and fellow veterans.

After an accomplished tenure on the University fencing team, where Nelson finished 7th in the Mid-Atlantic Region while maintaining a 3.5 GPA, she served as a volunteer assistant coach where she “continued to lead conditioning and team-building exercises.”

“Penn State is doing great things when it comes to the inclusion of all people. I hope to make the University an even greater example to its peers."

— Heather Nelson, 2015 Graduate
Student Service Award winner

Additionally, Nelson helped start a veterans service program that teaches veterans to fly-fish while providing networking opportunities for those seeking resources and support groups.

Nelson also was a representative for Athlete Ally, a national organization dedicated to ending homophobia and transphobia in sports. There, she signed up more than 250 Division I student athletes.

“Penn State is doing great things when it comes to the inclusion of all people. I hope to make the University an even greater example to its peers,” said Nelson.

A nominator called Nelson “a dedicated and avid individual who is outspoken about her desire for equality for everyone.”

Scott, a doctoral candidate in computer science and engineering, has been involved in the American Red Cross since 2008 and has helped the organization attain 1,167 units of blood, including 46 units he personally donated.

“I have served as drive coordinator for 18 drives and assisted the coordinator for seven more in the past six years,” said Scott, who was lauded by the organization with the School Sponsor Coordinator Award.

A nominator said Scott has an “extraordinary record of student leadership and volunteering,” adding that few students have had a more positive impact on student life at Penn State.

Last Updated March 24, 2015