College of the Liberal Arts announces spring 2021 student marshals

Kirsten Schlorff
April 26, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As part of Penn State’s spring 2021 commencement activities, 32 students will represent the College of the Liberal Arts as student marshals.

Student marshals are chosen to represent the college on the basis of outstanding academic achievement and their contributions to liberal arts student life. The college and its units will recognize the marshals in commencement programs and plan to honor their accomplishments in various ways in the upcoming year.

The College of the Liberal Arts' in-person commencement ceremony will take place, rain or shine, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 9, in Beaver Stadium. Penn State also will host a University-wide virtual commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 9, celebrating all undergraduate and graduate Commonwealth Campus, University Park, and World Campus students. For more information about spring 2021 commencement, visit commencement.psu.edu.

Nyla Holland is the college student marshal and African American studies major marshal. Her faculty marshal is Candis Watts Smith, Brown-McCourtney Early Career Professor in the College of the Liberal Arts and associate professor of political science and African American studies. Holland is the daughter of Donte and Rosalyn Holland of Philadelphia. She is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in African American studies and political science. Holland is a fully engaged member of the Penn State and State College community, serving as president of the Penn State Black Caucus as well as the former executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Student Committee. Holland was also a co-chair of the Student Code of Conduct Task Force and a 2021 recipient of the Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up Award. Following graduation, she will complete one additional year in the public policy program to earn her master's degree, after which she plans to work in the social or environmental policy field at a nonprofit organization or in local government.

Keep reading to learn more about the student marshals, each of whom were selected to represent a major offered within the College of the Liberal Arts.

African studies

Jenna Brooks is the daughter of Stacey Brooks of Zanesville, Ohio, and Doug Brooks of Eastview, Kentucky. She previously earned a degree in international politics and is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in African studies and history. Excelling in her academics and extracurriculars, Brooks was a member of Zeta Mu Phi sorority, the Blue and White Society, Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honor Society), and Phi Alpha Theta (National Honor Society in History). This past spring, she was invited to participate as a delegate at the International Model African Union. After graduation, Jenna will serve as a City Year AmeriCorps member in Columbus, Ohio, followed by graduate school for an advanced degree in African studies or international politics.

Anthropology

Sydney Ernst is the daughter of David and Samantha Ernst of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology. With great initiative in and out of the classroom, Ernst served as vice president of Lambda Alpha, the Anthropological Honors Society, and was also involved with THON and the Penn State Outing Club. After graduation, she plans to pursue opportunities in archaeological field work before eventually returning to graduate school to earn a master’s degree in museum studies.

Biological anthropology

Mariah Elser is the daughter of Wayne and Wendy Elser of Douglassville, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in biological anthropology and minors in Spanish, biology, and Classics and ancient Mediterranean studies. Elser was heavily involved in the Penn State Anthropological Genomics Lab, served as president of Planned Parenthood Generation Action, and was a member of the THON OPPerations committee. After graduation, she will be entering the doctor of chiropractic program at New York Chiropractic College.

Chinese

Erin Flannery is the daughter of Patrick Flannery of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Chinese language and culture and a bachelor of science degree in security and risk analysis. Flannery’s passion for learning extended beyond the classroom; she worked as a research assistant in the Penn State Center for Language Science and the College of Information Sciences and Technology. She also served as the director of content for the TEDxPSU 2020 conference. Flannery participated in Penn State’s cultural exchange program with Nanjing University, traveling to China and hosting visiting Nanjing students in return. She has also been selected as the College of Information Sciences and Technology’s spring 2021 college marshal. Next year, she will be working for the federal government in the Washington, D.C. area.

Classics and ancient Mediterranean studies

William McCarter is the son of Thomas and Anne McCarter of Unionville, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, he is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in classics and ancient Mediterranean studies and a bachelor of science degree in economics with minors in business as well as health policy and administration. During his time at Penn State, McCarter completed a legislative internship with State Sen. Tom Killion, presented a paper on Ovid's "Metamorphoses" at the Conference of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States, and volunteered for several state and local political races. He was also a recipient of the Phi Beta Kappa Key into Public Service Scholarship award. Next year, McCarter will attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania.

Communication arts and sciences

Erin Brown is the daughter of Frank and Michele Brown of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in communication arts and sciences and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies with a minor in rhetoric and a certificate in Holocaust and genocide studies. During her time at Penn State, Brown founded the Schreyer Gender Equity Task Force and was an intern at the Department of State’s Office of Global Women's Issues. She was recognized as a Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up Award Winner in 2020 for her efforts in sparking systemic change. After graduation, Brown plans to pursue job opportunities in government and public policy in the Washington, D.C., area or pursue a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Grant in Kosovo.

Comparative literature

Quin Brannaka is the daughter of Tracey Noviello of Pennsylvania Furnace, Pennsylvania, and Larry Brannaka of Julian, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in comparative literature and global and international studies and minors in teaching English as a second language and Spanish. Her intellectual and social commitments extend beyond the classroom; she was an English language tutor for the Mid-State Literacy Council and worked as a lead facilitator, climbing specialist, and climbing wall manager for Penn State’s Outdoor Adventures. After graduation, Brannaka plans to pursue a career in outdoor education or alternative education.

Criminology

Katherine Staley is the daughter of Shawn and Pamela Staley of McDonald, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in criminology and minors in German, studio art and psychology. During her time at Penn State, Staley worked as a teaching assistant and a research assistant in the Department of Sociology and Criminology and took part in an embedded study abroad experience in Curaçao. She also participated in THON through her involvement with the Apollo organization and played intramural soccer. After graduation, she plans to further her experience and education in the justice system by interning with a local police force or courthouse, while simultaneously studying to take the Law School Admission Test.

Economics

David Weiss is the son of Leslie and Evan Weiss of Ambler, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, he is graduating with bachelor of science degrees in economics and applied statistics. In addition to his on-campus studies, Weiss studied abroad in Singapore. Outside of academics, he served as president of the Business Fraternity Council as well as president of his own business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. He also was the Schreyer Honors College representative for the University Park Undergraduate Association. After graduation, Weiss plans to work as a consultant for Bates White Economic Consulting in Washington, D.C.

English

Kiran Pandey is the son of Dianne Jacobetz and Prasant Pandey of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar, Paterno Fellow, and Phi Beta Kappa member, he is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in English and a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, with a minor in theater. During his time at Penn State, Pandey participated in No Refund Theatre, wrote opinion columns for The Underground, and completed internships with the Hemingway Letters Project, the Office of Planning and Assessment, and the Center for the Performing Arts. Currently, he is a writer and research assistant for the Smeal College of Business Center for Global Business Studies. After graduation, Pandey plans to enjoy wherever life takes him next.

French and Francophone studies

Samantha Doleno is the daughter of Sheri and Frank Doleno of Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in history, French language and culture, and classics and ancient Mediterranean studies, as well as minors in Latin and ancient Greek. She was a member of several honor societies, including Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and Eta Sigma Phi Classics Honor Society. Doleno was the founder and president of the Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies Club, and she served as the vice president for the Three Broomsticks Club. Following graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and ultimately earn her doctoral degree in classics.

German

Abigail Slate is the daughter of Chad and Elisabeth Slate of Wayne, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in German, French and Francophone studies, linguistics, and global and international studies. Her involvement at Penn State includes serving as a research assistant to Bettina Brandt and as an orientation mentor for the Schreyer Honors College. Slate spent two semesters studying at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in Germany through a direct enrollment program. Following graduation, she plans to spend a year teaching or volunteering abroad, after which she will apply to graduate schools in Germany.   

Global and international studies

Lindsey Toomer is the daughter of Terry and Walt Toomer of Milford, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in global and international studies and digital and print journalism, with a minor in French. She studied abroad in Paris, France, and spent most of her time at Penn State working for The Daily Collegian, where she is currently managing editor. She also works as a photographer for CommAgency and an intern for the Colorado Press Association. After graduation, Toomer will start her new career as a local government, education, and environment reporter for Summit Daily News in Frisco, Colorado.

History

Elinor Farber is the daughter of Rhonda and Bob Farber of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in history and bachelor of science degrees in French and economics, with a minor in Jewish studies. During her time at Penn State, Farber served as a supply logistics captain for THON 2021, the primary THON chair for Oriana Singers and Glee Club Benefitting THON, and the president of the GLOBE Honors Special Living Option. Following graduation, she plans to join Teach for America as a math teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Integrated social sciences

Kristin Cady is the daughter of Rose and Ed Anthony of Atlantic, Pennsylvania, and the mother of Dakotah White and Camden Millin. She is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in integrated social sciences, which she earned through Penn State World Campus. While a student, Cady continued to work as a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic and volunteered with Not One More of Northwestern Pennsylvania, a nonprofit organization supporting people with substance use disorder. Following graduation, she plans to work in a local recovery center before applying to the physician assistant program at Penn State College of Medicine. 

International politics

Emily Kiver is the daughter of Christopher and Nicola Kiver of State College, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in international politics, a bachelor of science degree in Earth science and policy, and a minor in French. Some of her involvements at Penn State include being a research assistant to Susan Welch, professor of political science and former dean of the College of the Liberal Arts; a policy internship with the Pennsylvania Solar Center; and captain of the Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team. After graduation, Kiver hopes to work in climate policy analysis, research or advocacy in Washington, D.C.

Italian

Amanda Talbot is the daughter of Lisa Talbot of Peabody, Massachusetts, and the late Scott Evans. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in Italian and Spanish, with a minor in Portuguese. Some of her involvements while at Penn State include serving as vice president and treasurer of the Penn State Incarnation Campus Fellowship as well as an interpretation volunteer for the Welcome and Help Committee of State College. Following graduation, Talbot plans to work either as an English assistant teacher in Paraguay as a Fulbright Scholar or enter the master of fine arts in literary translation program at the University of Iowa.

Labor and employment relations

Hannah Oleynik is the daughter of Mark and Kelly Oleynik of Port Matilda, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in labor and employment relations and political science, with a minor in French. Her leadership experiences at Penn State include serving as a resident assistant, a Student Engagement Network intern, and a New Student Orientation leader. Following graduation, Oleynik plans to attend law school.

Latin American studies

Eliza Mull is the daughter of Mark and Patrice Mull of Ephrata, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in Latin American studies and international politics. Some of her involvements include being a service director for Schreyer for Women, a legal intern with Diaspora Law LLC, and an international affairs intern with the Mennonite Central Committee. She also studied abroad in Chile, Israel, Kenya and Tanzania. Following graduation, Mull plans to spend a year teaching in Spain.

Law and society

Ashley Moore is the daughter of Andrea Thompson of Okemos, Michigan, and Raymond Moore of Westland, Michigan. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in law and society. While at Penn State, she was a member of Phi Delta Phi, the international legal honor society, and she participated in The Kakehashi Project, a highly selective international exchange program through the Japan International Cooperation Exchange. Following graduation, Moore plans to complete an internship with the Central Intelligence Agency, after which she will attend law school.

Linguistics

Erli Tang is the daughter of Mingjie Tang and Tongmei Wang of Shanghai, China. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in linguistics and Japanese. Tang was a Japanese language peer tutor as well as a research assistant at the Bilingualism and Language Development Lab in the Center for Language Sciences. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to continue to study and conduct research in linguistics.

Organizational leadership

Sam Kraus is the son of Robert and Cindy Kraus of Argyle, Texas. He is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in organizational leadership. A Penn State World Campus student who lives and works full-time in Barcelona, Spain, Kraus plans to continue his career specializing in customer success and working in tech start-ups after graduation.

Philosophy

Tian Qi Jing is the daughter of Yang Huang and Hao Jing of Auckland, New Zealand. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy with minors in English and information sciences and technology. Jing was involved in the Philosophy Club and was a teaching assistant for an information science and technology course. After graduating, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in philosophy.

Political science

Charles Ryan is the son of Amy Linch and Pete Ryan of Riegelsville, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar, Paterno Fellow, and alumnus of the London School of Economics, Ryan is graduating with bachelor of science degrees in political science and economics. He was involved in the Presidential Leadership Academy and was the president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. Ryan is currently a finalist for the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and plans to relax for a few weeks while thinking about his next step.

Psychology

Emma Win is the daughter of Rivka Win and Maung Ne Win of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in psychology. Win was the lab manager and research assistant for Michelle Newman’s Center for the Treatment of Anxiety and Depression. She is also an artist whose work has been featured in the Zoller Art Gallery. Win will pursue a master’s degree to work toward a career in clinical social work, psychotherapy, and research.

ROTC

Abigail Givens is the daughter of Karen and Kristopher Givens of Elverson, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in psychology (neuroscience concentration), and a minor in military studies. During her senior year in Army ROTC at Penn State, Givens served as the battalion executive officer and a company commander in the Nittany Lion Battalion. She also worked for two years as a research assistant in the Department of Psychology and led a THON Explorers event for Army ROTC. After graduation, Givens will commission as an active-duty field artillery officer in the U.S. Army.

Russian

Nicholas Shea is the son of Dennis and Jennifer Shea of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, he is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Russian and a bachelor of science degree in economics. Shea studied abroad at Saint Petersburg University in Russia during summer 2019 and was a grading assistant with the Department of Economics. After graduating, he will join PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as an analyst in the Quantitative Analytics Development Program.

Social data analytics

Brooke Przybylinski is the daughter of Vin and Cathie Przybylinski of Wayne, New Jersey. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in social data analytics and a bachelor of arts degree in political science. Przybylinski was a research assistant in the Department of Political Science, where she coded Twitter data for a doctoral student. She was a marketing intern for Promotion in Motion Inc. and served as a club officer for Penn State Club Track and Field for two years. After graduating, Przybylinski will complete a master’s degree through Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Afterward, she would like to pursue a career in sports analytics.

Sociology

Liam McCall is the son of Mia and Michael McCall of St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in sociology and political science. He served as president of the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council and treasurer of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. McCall spent the summer of 2018 as an intern for the Delaware state attorney general campaign. After graduation, he plans to attend law school.

Spanish

Mikayla Casey is the daughter of Debra and Michael Casey of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, she is graduating with bachelor of science degrees in Spanish and security and risk analysis, with a minor in Arabic. Casey was involved in Lion Ambassadors, Spanish Club and Relay for Life. After graduation, she will work with Deloitte in Arlington, Virginia., as an analyst in the Government and Public Services department.

Women's, gender and sexuality studies

Emily Newton is the daughter of Gregory and Melanie Newton of Rochester, New York. She is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in women’s, gender and sexuality studies; comparative literature; and criminology. She was the president of Iota Iota Iota, the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Honor Society. She was also president of the Comparative Literature Club. Newton served as a teaching assistant for Reproductive Justice Issues, a class taught by Jill Wood. After graduating, she will attend Penn State Law with future plans to fight for reproductive justice as a public interest lawyer.

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Last Updated May 03, 2021