Panini Pandya selected as international politics marshal

Michaela Harpster
May 01, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As part of Penn State’s 2020 spring commencement activities, Panini Pandya will represent international studies in the College of the Liberal Arts as the program’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.

Pandya, a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar, will graduate with bachelor of arts degrees in international politics, Spanish and history, with a minor in geography. Her faculty marshal is Michael Berkman, professor of political science.

During her time at Penn State, Pandya engaged in an array of activities. She was the donor and alumni relations chair for Springfield Benefiting THON, where she helped raise nearly $150,000 in 2019. She also served as the camp programming director for PALS Programs, which is designed to foster fun and transformative experiences for individuals with Down syndrome and their peers.

Pandya was the executive director of the 2020 State of State, a TEDx-style conference that promotes dialogue about local issues. She had previously served on the executive board for three years. As executive director, she was able to guide her peers in creating a forum for important issues surrounding the Penn State and State College communities.

Pandya completed several internship experiences, both domestic and international. When she interned for Penn State’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy, she was a coder for their Mood of the Nation Poll. She was a legislative intern with Sen. Bob Casey where she worked with the Aging Committee on issues concerning Medicare, Medicaid and disabilities. Pandya spent several months in Argentina as a legal intern with the Governance Latam and several more months in Guatemala interning with Long Way Home, which uses sustainable design to promote education, employment and environmental stewardship.

After graduation, Pandya will complete a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Fellowship in Colombia.

“The education and the opportunities that I received through the College of the Liberal Arts are at the crux of my success in finding a postgraduate fellowship,” she said. “My ability to effectively communicate, both in written and oral form, will prove invaluable as I move forward in my career.”

Panini offers the following advice to first-year students about seeking opportunities at Penn State.

“While Penn State offers thousands of enrichment opportunities, they don't just fall into your lap,” she said. “You have to actively seek out activities and enrichment experiences, so act with sincerity and purpose as you strive to make your mark on the University ... Apply for internships, even as a freshman. My freshman year I received a singular offer from a nonprofit in a small town in Guatemala, and that summer was one of the most impactful and transformative experiences of my college experience. If you maintain your grades and demonstrate a commitment to the betterment of the University community, Penn State is willing to give you a world of opportunities, you just have to make the effort to find them.”

This is the 19th 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 03, 2020