UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Whether it’s mentoring younger college students about the rigors of business school or volunteering with a program for elementary and middle school students in the summer, Alexandra Cohen views helping others as paying it forward. It’s something that Penn State and the Smeal College of Business instilled in her.
Smeal has named Cohen — graduating with a 4.0 GPA in finance — as the student marshal for spring 2017. She will lead the college’s procession of 1,554 graduates during the Baccalaureate and Associate Degree Ceremony on Sunday, May 7, at the Bryce Jordan Center.
“I’m following the tradition of those that came before me. This tradition is facilitated by a sense of warmth and community that many would doubt a large university like Penn State could provide,” Cohen said. “But that is what makes Penn State and Smeal so special. The close-knit, comfortable and intimate learning experience I have had here, despite the size of the school, has left me feeling fulfilled academically, socially, and personally and infinitely grateful.”
Cohen has accepted a position in strategy and operations with Deloitte Consulting’s Philadelphia office.
“What is most thrilling about a career in consulting is that it will provide the opportunity to continue learning various aspects and intricacies of different industries,” she said.
Cohen was a Schreyer Scholar and was involved in the Smeal Sapphire Academic Leadership Program, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, and Sigma Delta Tau sorority. She has received the President’s Freshman Award, President Sparks Award, and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award.
In addition, Cohen studied abroad in Florence, Italy, participated in the Penn State Investment Association and Wall Street Boot Camp, and interned at L’Oreal and the Public Financial Management Group.
Cohen selected Greg Pierce, senior lecturer in finance, as her faculty marshal. She said he taught her first finance course, and that cemented her decision to major in finance, despite the rigor of the class.
“During that semester, my grandfather passed away. In addition to Greg being incredibly understanding and supportive, I was touched and surprised to receive a plant at my house as a condolence gift from his class,” she said.
“This was the first of several extraordinary relationships I formed with my Smeal professors and was the beginning of one of many revelations during my time at Penn State and Smeal that I realized how special this close-knit community is and that I am not just a number.”
Smeal has also named student marshals for each academic department, along with the corresponding faculty marshal. They include:
- Accounting: Hyeon (David) Jegal, escorted by Barbara Yener
- Finance: Karl Stafford, escorted by Christoph Hinkelmann
- Management: Carolyn Painter, escorted by Lisa O’Hara
- Marketing: Allison Rhodes, escorted by John Howell
- Risk Management: Stephen Rakoczy, escorted by Ron Gebhardtsbauer
- Supply Chain and Information Systems: Karen Burlingame, escorted by Bob Novack