UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Student marshals will represent the College of Health and Human Development and each department for Penn State's spring 2021 commencement.
Health and Human Development College marshal
Ellie Manca, daughter of Massimo and Suzanne Manca of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, is receiving a bachelor of science degree in biobehavioral health. Manca worked as a research assistant for the SNAP-Ed Healthy Bodies Project and volunteered as a HealthWorks peer educator and HIV counselor. She was also president and treasurer of Penn State Women’s Club Soccer and treasurer of the Italian Student Society.
Manca was a recipient of the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, the Morris Davis Scholarship Award, the President Sparks Award, the President’s Freshman Award and the Rhea Endowment for Excellence in Italian Studies. As a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she conducted a thesis project, “Point-of-purchase, child friendly marketing and parental decision making.”
Manca is participating in an Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program, which provides a pathway to earn an accelerated Master of Public Health (MPH) degree (with a focus in biostatistics and epidemiology), which she is expected to earn in August 2021. She is currently interning as a scientific quality and support intern at AlphaGroup Medical Communications. After graduating with her master’s degree, she will pursue a career in technical writing and editing.
Kayla Hawbaker, daughter of Patrick and Jennifer Hawbaker of Port Matilda, Pennsylvania, was a member of the Athletic Training Club and worked in the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) athletic training room during the event. She was a student member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association and served as an undergraduate learning assistant. Hawbaker was named to the Dean’s List numerous semesters.
Following graduation, Hawbaker will pursue a master’s degree in kinesiology with a focus in athletic training at Indiana University Bloomington.
Kaylee Lopez, daughter of Melissa Lopez and Stephen Fleming, and Matt Gibson and Abbey Klinepeter, of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, served as a research assistant in the Water, Health and Nutrition Lab and was a member of the Omega Chi Sigma business fraternity. She also worked as a home health aide for a cerebral palsy patient and as a patient care assistant at UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg hospital.
Lopez served the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) as a committee member for Rules and Regulations and Dancer Relations. She was a recipient of the President’s Freshman Award and was named to the Dean’s List every semester.
After graduation, Lopez will attend physician assistant school in 2022.
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Colleen McFadden, daughter of Daniel and Donna McFadden of Ambler, Pennsylvania, served as a research assistant in the Bilingual Sentence Processing and Code-switching Lab, and volunteered for LifeLink PSU, which facilitates opportunities for local special-needs students aged 18-21 to interact socially and academically with peers. She was a member of Penn State Project Haiti, serving as secretary, vice president and alumni relations director, and was a Hospitality Captain for the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON).
McFadden was a National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education fellow in 2020 and was a recipient of the Baynard and Ethel Kunkle Scholarship. She was named to the Dean’s List numerous times, and as a Schreyer Honors Scholar, McFadden conducted a thesis project, “Ambiguous Sentence Processing and the Effect of Referential Context in Spanish-English Bilinguals.”
After graduation, McFadden will pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at Boston University.
Health Policy and Administration
Kaylie Shojaie, daughter of Javid and Barbara Shojaie of Irwin, Pennsylvania, volunteered and worked as an instructor for Harmony, a Penn State performing arts club for children and adults with and without disabilities. She also served the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) as a Hospitality Committee member and Hospitality Captain.
Shojaie was a student ambassador for the College of Health and Human Development and was a recipient of the President Sparks Award, the Evan Pugh Scholar Junior Award, the Evan Pugh Scholar Senior Award, and the Student Leader Scholarship.
After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Shojaie will continue her Penn State education in an Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate program, where she will participate in an accelerated Master of Health Administration degree program which she is expected to earn in 2022. She will then pursue a career with an organization that advocates for individuals with disabilities.
Zhijing Zhou, daughter of Yibo Zhou of Changzhou, China, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management and a minor in business. She completed a summer internship as a front desk agent at the Holiday Inn in Changzhou, where she was responsible for guest services and maintaining quality standards. She also worked as a financial analyst for Tigress Financial Partners in New York, New York, where she analyzed financial reports and market trends for various business segments. She was named to the Dean’s List every semester.
Following graduation, Zhou plans to pursue a career as an analyst for a leading hotel consulting firm, with the goal of starting her own successful business in the hospitality industry.
Catherine Feder, daughter of David and Renee Feder of Boca Raton, Florida, volunteered with a local Girl Scouts troop and the American Red Cross. She was a member of Kappa Delta sorority, serving as the vice president of operations and participating in the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) on behalf of the sorority for four years. She was a member of the Hospitality Asset Management Association Club, including serving as treasurer, and participated in a study abroad program in Florence, Italy to learn about food and wine culture.
Feder was awarded the American Express College Scholarship and the Opening Doors Scholarship by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) Foundation. She was a member of Eta Sigma Delta, the International Hospitality Management Honors Society, and was named to the Dean’s List every semester. As a Schreyer Honors Scholar, Feder conducted a thesis project, “The Hotel-Within-a-Hotel Concept,” which studied the emerging trend in luxury hotels to carve out select spaces within an existing hotel to create a more upscale, exclusive experience.
Following graduation, Feder will pursue a career in hotel real estate development or asset management.
Human Development and Family Studies
Alexis Neimeyer, daughter of Kelly and Douglas Neimeyer of Mertztown, Pennsylvania, worked as an undergraduate research assistant with the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network, assisting with the Child Health Study and the Safe & Healthy Communities Initiative. She interned at Centre Safe — an agency providing safety and services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault — as a housing counselor and advocate intern, as well as a certified hotline counselor. She also worked as a group fitness instructor for Penn State Campus Recreation and served as the Family Relations Chair for the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) special interest organization, Ayuda.
Neimeyer was the recipient of the Goizueta Legacy Scholarship Award and was named to the Dean’s List seven semesters.
Following graduation, Neimeyer will pursue a Master of Social Work degree at Bryn Mawr College. She then plans a career as a clinical social worker to support and advocate for children and families in need.
Ryan Finn, son of Terry and Gino Finn of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, served as an anatomy and physiology teaching assistant and was a member of the Pre-Physical Therapy Club, serving as president his senior year. He was a member of the Penn State club wrestling team, serving as the organization’s IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON) chair and dancer his senior year. He was also a THON Dancer Relations committee member. Finn was a recipient of the Evan Pugh Scholar Junior Award.
Following graduation, Finn plans to work in a medical setting for a year, after which he will pursue additional education to become a physical therapist or physician assistant.
Hannah Testa, daughter of Katrin and Raymond Testa of Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, was a research assistant for the Cardiometabolic Nutrition Research Lab, for which she assisted in writing a manuscript review article about health outcomes related to herbs and spices. She also served as a teaching assistant for a number of courses, including anatomy and physiology labs. Testa was a wellness chairwoman for Gamma Phi Beta sorority and volunteered as a committee member for the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON).
Testa was a recipient of the President’s Freshman Award, the President Sparks Award, the Evan Pugh Scholar Senior Award, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics General Scholarship.
While at Penn State, Testa worked as a nursing assistant and volunteered at a local emergency department to prepare for a career as a physician assistant. Following graduation, she will attend Chatham University’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies program.
Recreation, Park and Tourism Management
Cole Klima, son of Jill and Mark Klima of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, will graduate with a double major in recreation, park and tourism management and accounting from the Smeal College of Business. He was a student leader for the New Life Student Fellowship and was named to the Dean’s List numerous semesters.
Klima worked at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park for two summers during his time at Penn State, the first as a ride operator and the second as a rides team leader, managing other staff and ride operators. Following graduation, he plans to pursue a career in the amusement park industry.
Reserve Officer's Training Corp (ROTC)
Jonathan Payack, son of Andrew Payack of Fort Plain, New York, and Eileen Payack of Heber City, Utah, is receiving a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology. Payack is a member of the Naval Reserve Officer’s Training Corp (NROTC) and served as vice president for the NROTC Ball Committee. He was a recipient of the Rodney P. Kirsch Renaissance Scholarship and the Kinesiology Scholarship. He will be graduating Cum Laude and was named to the Dean’s List every semester.
After graduation, Payack will be commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. After his military service, Payack plans to pursue a career as an athletic trainer.