Pierce named fall 2019 College of Education student marshal

December 02, 2019

The Penn State College of Education has named Olivia R. Pierce as its student marshal for fall 2019. She will be recognized during the Penn State undergraduate commencement ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. Pierce has chosen Anne Elrod Whitney, professor of education, to escort her as the college's faculty marshal. Stephanie Hopkins has served as her academic adviser.

"To be named student marshal for the College of Education is an unbelievable honor; my experiences within this college have shaped me into a lifelong learner, and I could not feel more blessed to have been awarded this distinction," Pierce said. "The professors I have met at Penn State have been instrumental in forming my understanding of literature as a way to understand the world."

Regarding her choice of Whitney as her faculty escort, Pierce said, "I asked her to be my faculty escort because many of the opportunities presented to me within the past year and a half would never have been available without her help. She was named my new honors adviser in the fall of my junior year, and I expressed interest in accelerating my educational timeline so I could continue challenging myself as a learner. She was immediately supportive and worked with me as a professor and adviser to make sure I was taking advantage of the opportunities available in education, including graduate classes and student teaching at the Delta Program" in the State College Area School District.

Pierce said more recently that Whitney worked closely with her as her thesis supervisor. "She guided me from a vague notion of a project into a work in progress of which I am immensely proud," she said.

Pierce, a student in the College of Education, College of the Liberal Arts and Schreyer Honors College, will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in secondary education, English and communication, and a bachelor of arts degree in English.

At Penn State, she was a teacher at Universidad de Cuenca through the College of Education Teaching ESL with Ecuador Immersion Program. Through the program, she taught Ecuadorian learners of English in a five-week immersion program, and earned her Pennsylvania ESL Program Specialist Certificate. Pierce also was a mentor for the Schreyer Honors College orientation program; a dancer relations committee member for THON; mentor for PSU Lifelink; and a performer with Music Service Club.

Currently, she works as a paraprofessional teacher's aide in the BLaST (Bradford, Lycoming, Sullivan and Tioga County region) IU17 Extended School Year special education summer program in Williamsport, and assists students in reading, writing, mathematics and life skills. She also is the chief development officer with F.O.R.M. Consulting (Future Opportunity Reached by Mentorship), where she previously served as president, consultant; and partnerships director, consultant.

Her parents, Robert and Maria Pierce; her brother, Joseph; sister, Michelle; and grandparents, Robert and Renee Pierce, plan to attend the ceremony. Pierce will be seeking a position in the State College area as a long-term substitute teacher or as a paraprofessional until the end of the school year. She hopes to earn a master's degree in special education at the Peabody College of Education within Vanderbilt University, and wants to specialize in students with severe disabilities and/or behaviors, preferably students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 02, 2019