College of Health and Human Development names student marshals

Erika Exton will serve as college marshal

Erika Exton will be the college marshal for the College of Health and Human Development for the spring 2018 commencement ceremony. Credit: Rob Peeler / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Erika Exton, daughter of Ralph Erik Exton and Debra Exton, both of Horsham, Pennsylvania, will be the Health and Human Development college marshal for the spring 2018 commencement ceremony on May 5.

Exton is receiving a bachelor of science degree in communication sciences and disorders from Penn State.

As a student, she was a member, family relations chair, and president of Springfield benefiting THON, a special-interest organization that raises funds for the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.

She also served as a teaching assistant for Leadership JumpStart, a freshman honors seminar; a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy; and a research assistant for the Bilingualism and Language Development Laboratory.

She completed an undergraduate fellowship through a Partnerships for International Research and Education grant and the Center for Language Science, conducting research in the Netherlands.

Exton is the recipient of the President’s Freshman Award, Sparks Award and Evan Pugh Senior Award; and Communication Disorders, Academic Excellence, and Ruth B. Wodock scholarships.

A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Exton conducted the thesis project, “Lexical Decision and Semantic Relatedness Judgment Processing.”

Exton is also earning a bachelor of arts degree in linguistics through the Letters, Arts, and Sciences program in Liberal Arts and completed a minor in mathematics. She plans to attend graduate school in the fall to pursue a doctorate.

The following students will serve as program marshals for the academic majors and ROTC within the College of Health and Human Development.

Athletic Training

Claire Kelly, daughter of Tim and Nancy Kelly of Essex Junction, Vermont, was the primary Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon chair for the Kinesiology Club, a member of the Athletic Training Club, and an undergraduate learning assistant for Kinesiology courses 202, 334 and 335. Kelly was also a member of the College of Health and Human Development Honors Society and interned for the Pittsburgh Steelers. She was a recipient of the Sayers "Bud" Miller Jr. Memorial Award. Following graduation, Kelly will work as an athletic trainer before applying to graduate schools to pursue a career as a surgical orthopedic physician assistant.

Biobehavioral Health

Kelsey Nestro, daughter of Eugene and Tina Nestro of Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, served as a member of Penn State CHAARG, a rules and regulations committee member for Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon, a team leader for Fresh START, and a research assistant for the Geier Lab for Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. She volunteered with Weer Africa to assemble free health clinics in rural villages in Senegal, West Africa, as part of her Global Health Minor. She is a recipient of the President's Freshman Award, President Sparks Award, Evan Pugh Scholar Junior Award, and Evan Pugh Scholar Senior Award. Following graduation, Nestro will attend Tufts University to pursue a master of science degree in occupational therapy.

Communication Sciences And Disorders

Ann Marie Gardner, daughter of Michael and Donna Gardner of Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, served as a direct support professional for adults with special needs at Strawberry Fields; resident assistant for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Summer Academy; presenter for the Blind and Visually Impaired Summer Academy; guided study group leader for statistics courses at Penn State World Campus; program coordinator for Penn State Learning; lead presenter and trainer of tutoring at Penn State Learning; nonprofit fundraiser, supervisor and recruiter with Penn State Lion Line; student manager at Penn State Conference Services; and Medical Counselor at Upward Bound Programs.

Gardner also volunteered as an American Sign Language instructor at Discovery Space and as an English language tutor at the Mid-state Literacy Council; and served as teaching assistant for seven different courses and as a research assistant in six Penn State laboratories. She was a scholar in the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute, protégé in the Health and Human Development Alumni Mentoring Program, leader of the Associate Dean's Advisory Board, and mentor of LifeLink PSU. She received several honors, including the Bunton-Waller Fellowship Award and Alumni Recognition Award for Student Excellence. Following graduation, Gardner plans to attend Penn State to pursue a master’s degree in speech language pathology.

Health Policy And Administration

Katie Smith, daughter of Jo and Carlton Shank of York Haven, Pennsylvania, served as a HealthWorks peer health educator and Health Policy and Administration peer writing tutor. She served on the HealthWorks Eating Disorder and Body Image Team, THON Special Events Committee, and with Penn State Navigators. She was also a blog writer for the Female Athlete Triad Coalition. She is a member of Upsilon Phi Delta Honors Society. She received a first place award in Penn State’s 2017 HHD Alumni Society Research Poster Competition and a second place award in Penn State's 2017 Undergraduate Research Exhibition.

Smith is the recipient of several scholarships, including the Philip McCarty Scholarship, Virginia L. Mayers Memorial Scholarship, Francis Hoffman Award for Writing Excellence, Robert A. Love Memorial, and Society of Distinguished Alumni Trustee Academic Excellence Scholarship. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Smith conducted a thesis project, “Direct Primary Care: An Emerging Delivery Model for U.S. Health Care.” Following graduation, Smith will be working as a mental health technician in the children's inpatient unit at The Meadows, a behavioral health treatment facility located in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania.

Hospitality Management

Lindsay Empfield, daughter of Jeffrey and Ann Empfield of Shavertown, Pennsylvania, served as vice president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association Penn State Chapter, food and beverage chair of the School of Hospitality Management THON student club, and student government representative for the Business Club at Penn State. She is also a graduate of Intercollegiate Leadership Wilkes-Barre. She is a member of Eta Sigma Delta Honor Society and recipient of the Evan Pugh Scholar Award and Louis E. and Patricia Harvey Silvi Scholarship. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Empfield conducted a thesis project, “The Effects on Consumers of Rate Negotiation in Hotels.” Following graduation, Empfield will be moving to Bethesda, Maryland, to work for Marriott International as a revenue manager.

Human Development And Family Studies

Hannah Yeager, daughter of Bud and Dawn Crandall of Erie, Pennsylvania, and Kevin Yeager and Julia Johnson of Lexington, Kentucky, was a dancer relations committee member of Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon; a program assistant for Discover House, a special living option in Beaver Hall for undecided freshmen residents; a Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters; and treasurer and vice president for the Human Development and Family Studies Undergraduate Student Organization. Yeager was also a member of the Ambitions Dance Team, an extern with The Nurse Family Partnership, and a reunification advocate intern at The Youth Services Bureau.

Yeager is a recipient of the Lydia A. Gerhardt Child Development Memorial Scholarship, Mary Burket Morrow Scholarship, Edith Pitt Chace Award, Evan Pugh Scholar Award, President Sparks Award, President's Freshman Award, and Alumni Association Trustee Scholarship for the Lake Erie Chapter of Penn State. Following graduation, Yeager plans to pursue opportunities that allow her to positively impact adversely affected people.


Samantha Kronenbitter, daughter of Steven and Kathleen Kronenbitter of Holland, Pennsylvania, served as a programming committee member of the Kinesiology Club and merchandise committee member of Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. She was a member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative and volunteered at Phoenix Rehabilitation and Health Services. She is the recipient of the President’s Freshman Award, President Sparks Award, and Evan Pugh Scholar Award. Following graduation, Kronenbitter plans to pursue a doctor of physical therapy degree at Arcadia University.

Nutritional Sciences

Carissa Heine, daughter of Robert and Jill Heine of New Holland, Pennsylvania, was co-founder of the Student Farm Club and was a farm intern at the Student Farm at Penn State. She also served as a member of the Penn State Student Sustainability Advisory Council and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. She is the recipient of the Alumni Recognition for Student Excellence Award and Mary Burket Morrow Scholarship, Karen Louise Weber Scholarship, and Mary Boyle Weaver and Rebecca Boyle Sutherland Scholarships in the College of Health and Human Development, as well as the Provost Fund Scholarship, LORD Academic Excellence Scholarship and Schreyer Honors College Academic Excellence Scholarship.

A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Heine conducted a thesis project, “Using Positive Deviance by Micronutrient Status to Identify Differences in Food Behaviors in Women of Reproductive Age in Ghana.” Following graduation, Heine plans to pursue a dietetic internship with a public health emphasis to become a registered dietitian.

Recreation, Park, And Tourism Management

Aubrey Tallon, daughter of Robin Tallon of Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania, and Joseph Tallon of Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, was a member of the RPTM Student Society, volunteer for Shaver’s Creek Raptor Center, and counselor and learning group leader for Shaver’s Creek Outdoor School. She is the recipient of the Alumni Recognition for Student Excellence Award in the College of Health and Human Development, and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award. She is the recipient of the Schumacher Honors Scholarship, Pennsylvania Outdoor Writer’s Association Scholarship, AAUW State College Branch Scholarship, Fred M. Coombs Scholarship, and Thomas W. and Jane Mason Tewksbury Trustee Scholarship.

A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Tallon conducted a thesis project, “Only I Can Sexualize Me: Examining Themes of Empowerment in Northeastern Renaissance Faires.” Currently, she works as an environmental education intern at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center. Following graduation, Tallon plans to move to Tennessee to work as an experiential education intern for the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.

Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)

Bailey Moore, daughter of Paul and Wendi Moore of Ashburn, Virginia, is receiving a bachelor of science degree in human development and family studies. In addition to the Army ROTC, she served as a member of the Cadet Recruitment Team and Kaizen. She also served as an executive team member and campus Bible study leader for DiscipleMakers Christian Fellowship, and she was a youth and children’s ministry volunteer and community outreach intern at Calvary Church. She is the recipient of several honors, including the Army ROTC Veterans of Foreign Wars Academic Excellence Award and the Special Forces Association’s William A. Will Memorial Chapter 67, MSG Kenneth C. Gillin Memorial Scholarship. Following graduation, she will serve in the U.S. Army Reserves as an adjutant general officer. She plans to apply to graduate school for school counseling upon completion of training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, this fall.

Last Updated April 25, 2018