Audrey Arner selected as anthropology student marshal

Amanda Miller
April 27, 2020

As part of Penn State’s 2020 spring commencement activities, Audrey Arner will represent the Department of Anthropology in the College of the Liberal Arts as the department’s student marshal.

In response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, orders from the state government and recommendations from global public health organizations, Penn State will hold its spring 2020 commencement ceremony via livestream on May 9. The virtual ceremony will recognize all Penn State undergraduate students and all graduate students in the Penn State Graduate School.

Arner, a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar, will graduate with bachelor of science degrees in biological anthropology and biology. Her faculty marshal is George Perry, associate professor of anthropology and biology. 

During her time at Penn State, Arner participated in a number of research experiences. In 2018, she received an Erickson Discovery Grant that allowed her to complete research abroad at the University of Tübingen in Germany over the summer. She studied pleiotropic effects on the recent evolution of human hip circumference and infant body size. Arner completed two Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) summer research programs, one in 2017 at Kansas State University and one in 2019 at the University of Notre Dame, and conducted research in the Perry Anthropological Genomics Lab at Penn State. Her honors thesis project is the culmination of four years of work and examines the evolutionary genomic patterns of recent natural selection on body size sexual dimorphism in Homo Sapiens. 

Arner attributes her liberal arts education for helping her discover and grow her interest in anthropology. “The flexibility afforded by my liberal arts education allowed me to discover the love I have for anthropology and research by diving deep to understand the experiences and histories of people in both the past and present,” said Arner. “I have gained a more open mind with the guidance of my professors and peers that will continue to serve me throughout graduate school and my career.”

In addition to her research experiences, Arner was a member of the Millennium Scholars Program, a program designed to increase diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and prepare students for the pursuit of a doctoral degree. She also served as a mentor in the Millennium Scholars Program, was a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy, and served as a teaching assistant for several biology courses. She studied abroad in Tanzania in 2018 and Costa Rica in 2020, spending several weeks examining the regional ecology and conducting ecological research in both countries. 

After graduation, Arner plans to work as a research technician at a university before pursuing a doctoral degree in evolutionary anthropology. 

Arner encourages current and future liberal arts students to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available in the college. “The College of Liberal Arts has an incredible amount of experiences to enhance your academic coursework, resources to help you succeed, and faculty committed to supporting your goals during your time at Penn State. If you take advantage of them, you will be able to live out your wildest dreams and explore opportunities you may have never imagined.”

This is the ninth in a series of stories on the 24 student marshals representing the College of the Liberal Arts during the spring 2020 commencement activities.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated April 27, 2020