Joy Garcia selected as Liberal Arts college marshal for summer commencement

Katie Moats
August 07, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Joy Garcia was selected to represent the College of the Liberal Arts as the student marshal for Penn State's summer commencement, which will be held virtually at 2 p.m. on Aug. 15.

Garcia will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in law and society and minors in finance and political science. Her faculty marshal is David Agler, assistant teaching professor of philosophy.

Garcia is the College of the Liberal Arts’ first World Campus college marshal and is graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade-point average. She has been working on her degree since 2012. In addition to taking classes over the last eight years, she worked a full-time job, cared for a sick parent, volunteered in her community, and homeschooled her daughter.

“You’re never too old to pursue a degree or your passion,” said Garcia. “My program director and advisers provided encouragement and perspective throughout challenging times. This was important as I’ve been told that I’m too hard on myself, but I’ve learned that hard work and persistence also require being kind to yourself. I think this is perhaps the key to being a non-traditional/adult student.”

Garcia also credits her professors for pushing her. “My professors challenged and helped me develop critical thinking abilities to better navigate through today’s polarized world," she said.

During her time at Penn State, Garcia received several awards and accolades in recognition of her academic success. In 2012, she was awarded the President’s Freshman Award, which is given to students with less than 36 credit hours who achieve a 4.0 grade-point average. She was given the President Sparks Award in 2014, allocated to students with greater than 36 credit hours and less than 60 with a 4.0 grade-point average, and also joined the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society, an honor society for adult learners, that same year. She is also a member of the Phi Delta Phi pre-law society and Phi Kappa Phi honor society. Garcia served as a teaching assistant for Penn State’s Explore Law program.

Outside of Penn State, Garcia is very involved in her community, serving as a team manager for her local youth soccer team from 2012 to 2016 and then again from 2019 until present. She is a frequent volunteer within the Catholic Church, serving from 2017 to 2019 as a Meal Ministry Coordinator at Emmaus Catholic Church as well as volunteering with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and St. John Neumann Catholic Church.

After graduation, Garcia plans to attend law school to pursue a career in sustainable development and human rights law.

In accordance with public health guidelines to minimize large gatherings and maintain social distancing, Penn State will once again livestream a virtual commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15, to honor the 2020 class of summer graduates. When it is safe for large gatherings to occur again, graduates and their families will be invited back for in-person celebrations.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 26, 2020