Lena Becker selected as psychology student marshal

Michael Harpster
May 05, 2020

As part of Penn State’s 2020 spring commencement activities, Lena Becker will represent the Department of Psychology in the College of the Liberal Arts as its 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.


Becker, a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar, will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in psychology and a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish. Her faculty marshal is Kenneth Levy, associate professor of psychology. 


During her time at Penn State, Becker engaged in multiple extracurricular activities. She was a lab manager and clinical interviewer for the Personality, Psychopathology and Psychotherapy Lab, where she had the unique opportunity to conduct structured clinical interviews for depression, anxiety and personality disorders — a task that is usually only given to graduate students. During her four years with the lab, Becker also recruited participants, proctored experiments, conducted library research, and more. Continuing on the path of research, Becker had the incredible opportunity to intern with the Yale-New Haven Hospital Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. Her research projects centered around sickle cell anemia and pediatric cancer survivorship. In this role, she also created a battery of measures used for assessing parent well-being. 


Volunteering was a consistent and important part of Becker’s Penn State career. She volunteered as an English tutor, helping an adult English as a Second Language learner work towards literacy. She also volunteered weekly with Centre County Paws, where she walked, fed and cared for the shelter animals. On top of that, Becker was a teaching assistant for an organic chemistry course for two semesters. In this role, she helped students learn difficult material and assisted in grading work. 


Becker attributes the development of her interests and abilities to her Liberal Arts degree. She explained, “Penn State is a large school, but the College of the Liberal Arts helped me find a niche in which to grow and develop my interests and abilities. Not only does the education help you get the job, it will help you succeed because Penn State Liberal Arts encourages free thinking, communication skills, and a drive to explore.”


After graduation, Becker will be a researcher and diagnostician at Brown University's Medical School. Eventually, she wants to attend medical school and pursue psychiatry.


Becker offers the following advice to Liberal Arts first-year students about making use of their time at Penn State. 


“It's never too early to start getting involved, but it's also never too late!” said Becker. “People of all ages at Penn State are always willing to help you out and make new connections, so don't be afraid to reach out to a professor in office hours or ask someone in a club to grab dinner.”


This is the 21st in a series of stories on the 24 student marshals representing the College of the Liberal Arts during the spring 2020 commencement activities.

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Last Updated May 05, 2020