Maria Badanova selected as Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures marshal

Amanda Miller
April 30, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As part of Penn State’s 2020 spring commencement activities, Maria Badanova will represent the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures 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.

Badanova, a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar, will graduate with bachelor of arts degrees in Russian and psychology. Her faculty marshal is Michael Naydan, Woskob Family Professor of Ukranian Studies and professor of Slavic languages and literatures.

Throughout her undergraduate career, Badanova engaged in various research opportunities, both at Penn State and abroad. Since 2017, she has served as a research assistant at the Penn State Language and Aging Lab. There, she worked with graduate students on projects that examined bilingualism, language, and aging. Badanova completed her Schreyer honors thesis at the lab, focusing on bilingualism and executive cognitive function. 

Last summer, Badanova interned in Tübingen, Germany, as part of the Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) program by The Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Dienst (DAAD), which offers undergraduate students the opportunity to assist German doctoral students with their research projects. At the University of Tübingen, Badanova conducted research on cognitive offloading and as completed a two-week intensive German language course in Cologne, Germany. 

Badanova received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE) grant that allowed her to complete research abroad at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland during the summer of 2018. At the Langusta Lab, she studied language-switching and inhibition in Polish-English bilinguals. 

Reflecting on her time at Penn State, Badanova said, “Penn State is a big college, yet it has a close-knit, welcoming community. It provided me not only with a professional network, but also a ‘safety net’ of support, giving me the confidence to pursue the most ambitious opportunities.”

One of her most ambitious opportunities was working with Naydan on his book project titled, Nikolai Gumilev’s Africa. Initially she served as a research assistant, but her significant contributions in editing and translating Gumilev’s poetry and prose led to her being recognized as a co-author of the book. 

In addition to her various research experiences, Badanova was a member of the Russian Club and served as the secretary and vice president. For two years she was president of the GLOBE, a special living option for students in the Schreyer Honors College. Badanova is also a volunteer interpreter at Mount Nittany Residences. She assists Russian-speaking residents with daily tasks, translates written materials, and helps eldery residents maintain their cognitive skills. 

After graduation, Badanova will pursue a doctoral degree at the Max Planck School of Cognition in Berlin, Germany where she will continue to study human cognition and mental phenomena. 

To students in the College of the Liberal Arts, Badanova encourages them to take advantage of all of the resources available to them. “Attend Paterno Fellows and Liberal Arts events,” she said. “Check out books from the library. Join a club. Involvement in extracurricular activities will help you to learn what you're passionate about, broaden your perspective, and make lasting connections.”

This is the 18th 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 May 01, 2020