Learning a new way to think and learn was key to Smeal student marshal

May 12, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Many successful students point to a professor and think about the information they learned. Faith Hatchard points to Gus Colangelo and credits him with teaching her a new way to think and learn.

“I always think back to my Sapphire (Leadership Academic Program) management class in the spring of 2017 with Dr. Gus Colangelo (assistant professor of management). Gus was the first professor I had at Penn State that truly challenged how I had been taught to learn in high school and charged me to think more critically about the information I was being presented with,” Hatchard said.

“Taking his class changed how I engaged with my classes for the rest of my college career, and I can’t imagine how different my academic trajectory would have been had I not had the opportunity through Sapphire to take Management 397A.”

Hatchard, who graduated Saturday with a 4.0 GPA in management (with a focus in organizational leadership), was Smeal’s spring 2020 student marshal.

To be chosen from among her many, many talented peers was unexpected.

“I was completely shocked; I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was happy to apply to possibly represent my department when asked, but never expected to represent the college. I was at work when I saw the email, so as soon as I told my co-workers, who reacted to my audible ‘Wait, what?’ reaction, I called my mom right away,” she said.

“As I reflected on the honor, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that I didn’t take a perfect path that was predetermined for me, but followed my passions and built incredible relationships along the way. To have this honor of college marshal as a management major is something that I recognize is not common. I do not take it lightly, and I hope it empowers those after me to be creative in finding valuable experiences along their college journey.”

Hatchard said she had planned to major in corporate innovation and entrepreneurship, minor in Spanish, and earn a certificate in humanitarian engineering and social entrepreneurship (CIENT). However, she made a last-minute change to management.

“I felt that it would allow me the flexibility to pursue opportunities in the realm of CIENT if I was still interested in it, but would also give me a broad experience to be able to look into many different opportunities as my passions and interests evolved throughout my time at Penn State,” she said.

“I specifically chose the organizational leadership focus because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do at the time of declaring my major, but knew that I loved learning about leadership and the psychological and behavioral factors related to it. People, in general, have just always fascinated me, and I figured this major was a great way to explore that while getting an education from an incredible business school at an amazing university.”

Graduating seniors typically leave Smeal with a long list of accolades, accomplishments and involvements in extracurricular activities. Hatchard’s list, not surprisingly, is a tad longer than most:

·      Arnold Scholarship

·      Anthony Buzzelli Sapphire Scholarship

·      President’s Freshman Award

·      President Sparks Award

·      Evan Pugh Senior Award

·      Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society Member

·      Smeal Leaders Celebration Student Keynote Speaker 2018

·      Sapphire Leadership Academic Program Business Logistics Overall (Co-President) in 2018

·      Member of Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations

·      Smeal Alumni Mentoring Program participant

·      Presidential Leadership Academy

·      Lion Ambassador

·      THON dancer (representing Sapphire in 2018) and development captain (2019)

·      Management 296/496 Consulting Practicum with Gus Colangelo

She also volunteered with the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Seminar and The Starfish Foundation, which provides secondary educational opportunities to students in Ecuador. She has interned with the Penn State Engagement Network and Penn State’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations. She also took advantage of a Teach for America Accelerate Fellowship in Chicago and McAllen, Texas.

Hatchard admitted that it wasn’t always easy to honor all of her time commitments, but she said each individual experience added to the whole of her academic experience.

“I continuously reminded myself that I was attending college to get an education, so I couldn’t let my classes fall to the wayside to focus on extracurriculars. However, the learning opportunities I had through my extracurricular roles have immensely complemented my classroom learning,” she said.

“I think this is one of the greatest assets of a Penn State education — you learn just as much from opportunities available to you outside of the classroom as you do in the classroom, no matter your field or your passions. There were definitely a few times where I had to learn the hard way to take care of myself better among all of the time commitments I’d given myself, but the people I’ve met along the way have always made it worth it.”

She listed nearly a dozen faculty and staff who have impacted her directly. One of them, Dave Lenze, assistant teaching professor in management and the director of Smeal’s Applied Professional Experience Program, highlighted Hatchard’s drive, attitude, and intellectual curiosity as her distinguishing characteristics.

“I have found Faith to be truly exceptional in several areas: 1. Her commitment to doing her very best in everything she does. Faith holds herself to a very high standard. 2. Her desire to having a positive impact in her community and our society as a whole. Faith has made conscious choices about how to spend her time in order to be a difference-maker and a leader; 3. Her intellectual curiosity. Faith doesn’t just seek to know how to best do things. She wants to understand “why” and genuinely enjoys learning,” he said.

As her time at Smeal drew to a close, Hatchard found it hard to look back over her four years and pick out one favorite memory; she settled on two.

“One memory I have in particular is being inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma at the same time as one of my favorite professors, Dr. Jennifer Eury. Dr. Eury has been an incredible role model, advocate, and mentor for me throughout my time in Smeal, and it was neat to share that honor with her,” she said.

“Another favorite memory would be dancing in THON, representing Sapphire at THON 2018 with two of my close friends in the program, Jenny Ho & Kensie Verratti. I lost a friend and teammate, Maddie Hill, to cancer the summer before my freshman year, so it was so special to dance in her memory and do so with people that have made such an impact on my Smeal experience.”

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 12, 2020