Blue Band member selected as student marshal

Brynn Boehler
May 01, 2018

Neil Shook didn’t expect to be chosen as this year’s student marshal for Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures, but maybe that’s why he was.

Shook wasn’t focused on earning the honor, but he earned it through his determination on building a range of experiences within the department which he considered his “home” for the past few years. Shook didn’t stop at getting involved within his own area of study though.

In reflecting on his time at Penn State, some of Shook’s favorite memories are from his time with the Penn State Blue Band. He had the opportunity to perform at the “deafening” quadruple overtime win against Michigan in Beaver Stadium, and he fondly remembers his last-ever performance at the Rose Bowl.

In playing music and providing much-needed spirit to fans during football games, Shook said he made unforgettable friends and memories. Through his studies, he found different enriching experiences courtesy of psycholinguistic research.

During his junior year, Shook began working in Associate Professor Carrie Jackson’s Second Language Acquisition Lab. It was this experience that set Shook on the academic and career path he now follows.

The research he conducted allowed Shook to gain essential experience abroad in Braunschweig, Germany. There, he created and conducted an original research experiment that he said truly made him “fall in love with research.”

After graduation, Shook plans to pursue a graduate degree in linguistics that will allow him to continue his passion for linguistic research. Like many liberal arts students, Shook was able to transform an enrichment experience into a unique career that interests him.

Shook echoed this sentiment when describing what the liberal arts experience meant to him.

“A liberal arts education doesn’t just expect you to memorize facts; it teaches you how to ask questions and think critically, how to grapple with complex issues and articulate arguments about them, how to escape your personal bubble and appreciate ideas and cultures that are different from your own,” Shook said.

He also felt that his academic experience challenged him—and that the challenges helped him to grow as a person in all of the communities to which he belonged. It was meeting these challenges that helped Shook become a student marshal.

This is the sixth in a series of stories on the 22 student marshals representing the College of the Liberal Arts at the spring 2018 commencement ceremony.

  • Neil Shook head shot
    IMAGE: Chuck Fong

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 01, 2018