Two graduate students receive the Professional Master's Excellence Award

April 12, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two Penn State graduate students received the 2019 Professional Master’s Excellence Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in a professional master’s degree program, in any discipline, based upon the student’s academic record in the graduate program and the quality and impact of the student’s culminating experience, including creative works, performance, and projects conducted in a professional setting.

This year’s recipients are Jerry Fields, master’s student in international affairs, and Cynthia Hron, master's student in landscape architecture.

Fields completed an internship with the Defense and Foreign Policy Studies Department of the Niskanen Center in Washington, D.C. The center is a nonpartisan think tank that promotes a social order that is open to political, cultural and social change.

Fields assisted with research on projects related to defense organizational politics and war financing. After conducting independent research, Fields wrote an essay on the relationship between trade and national security, which the center published.

One of Fields' contributions was the creation of daily news and information brief, which included summaries of one to three lead stories; several secondary stories; new publications and events gathered from leading think tanks in Washington; and highlights of new reports from government agencies.

For her capstone project, Hron focused on illustrating ways that landscape architecture can be used to facilitate learning landscapes on public high school campuses in Pennsylvania. 

Hron seeks to provide opportunities to hold classes in outdoor classrooms near schools; take students to areas on school grounds for instructional purposes; and experience nature in less formal contexts that involve walking to school and socializing with other students.

Hron’s research included mapping studies, site visits, learning landscape program development, and a survey sent to 575 high school administrators.

Based on the information gathered, Hron is designing models of learning landscapes for six schools chosen from site visit assessments and school statistics criteria. She identified schools in which a landscape architecture intervention might have a substantial impact to address student well-being, academic enhancement and fitness.

As the nominator wrote, Hron’s research has implications for many public high schools in Pennsylvania.

Both students were recognized for their accomplishes at the Graduate Student Awards Luncheon on April 11 at the Nittany Lion Inn.

Last Updated April 12, 2019