UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Twenty students will represent the College of the Liberal Arts as student marshals at the May 9 commencement ceremony. Approximately 1,600 undergraduates will receive their degrees at the event.
Katherine Rhodes, daughter of Anthony Rhodes and Diane Dietzen of South Hadley, Massachusetts, is the college marshal and the commencement speaker. She is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in biological anthropology and a bachelor of science degree in biology (genetics and development option) with a minor in Spanish. Named to the dean's list each semester, she is a Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar.
She is a research assistant in the laboratory led by Joan Richtsmeier, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, where she studies human evolution and development. She also has participated in study abroad at Oxford University, England, and paleoanthropology field schools in Spain and the Republic of Georgia. Rhodes will attend the University of Chicago for the doctoral program in human genetics. Richtsmeier will escort Rhodes as the faculty marshal.
The following students will represent 47 majors within the College of the Liberal Arts:
Charisma Ricksy is the daughter of LeRoy and Melissa Ricksy of New York City. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in African-American studies and criminology with a minor in philosophy. Ricksy was a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She was president of the Student Minority Advisory and Recruitment Team, a member of the student leadership board, FastStart Mentoring Program and program coordinator for the Be Engaged House residential program. After graduation, Ricksy will join Teach for America as an elementary education teacher in northeast Ohio. Anne Marie Mingo, assistant professor of African-American studies and women's studies, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Sean Carr is the son of Peter and Patricia Carr of Glenside. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in anthropology and history with a minor in Spanish as well as an master of arts degree in anthropology. He supervised research projects and undergraduates involved with the Mesoamerican Archaeology Laboratory. Carr conducted archaeological research in Belize and Mexico, and will return to Mexico this summer. After graduation, Carr will teach Spanish in the Greater Philadelphia area through Teach for America. His plans include graduate studies in archaeology. Kenneth Hirth, professor of anthropology, will escort him as the faculty marshal.
Charles Higgs is the son of Angela Pearce of DuBois. He is graduating with bachelor of art degrees in Chinese and Asian studies with minors in linguistics and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). During spring and summer 2014, Charles studied abroad in Beijing. He was a research assistant in the Center for Language Sciences at Penn State and a Penn State Global Ambassador. Charles has received the Janssen Family Prize in Asian Studies and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award-Senior. After graduation he will teach English in Beijing for a year before pursuing graduate studies in linguistics. Jia Yu, lecturer in Chinese, will escort him as the faculty marshal.
Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Maria Andrews is the daughter of Steven and Barbara Andrews of Spring Mills. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in classics and ancient Mediterranean studies and minors in ancient Greek, Latin, anthropology and Jewish studies. She has pursued the study of ancient languages and cultures of Greece, Rome, the ancient Near East and Egypt, among others. Andrews also studied Arabic and was awarded the Robert E. Dangler Classics Prize given to the outstanding student majoring in classical studies. She will pursue graduate work in classical studies at the University of Alberta. Christopher Moore, lecturer in philosophy, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Communication Arts and Sciences
James Hutchison is the son of Bruce and Lisa Hutchison of Bethany. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in communication arts and sciences, and political science. He completed an internship with the Office of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and was a reporter for PSN News and ComRadio. A member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society, he had leadership roles in Harvard National Model U.N. Club and student government. Hutchison plans to attend law school, become a criminal prosecutor and enter public service. Ellen Taricani, senior lecturer in communication arts and sciences will escort him as the faculty marshal.
Shelby Hallman is the daughter of Eric and Tara Hallman of Trumansburg, New York. She is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in comparative literature and German, and a minor in engineering mechanics. Hallman completed two internships at Cornell University's Mann Library as well as an internship at University Libraries, where she worked as the Stelts-Filippelli Intern in the Rare Books and Manuscripts and Conservation departments. Next year Hallman will attend the University of Illinois to pursue graduate studies in library and information science. Charlotte Eubanks, associate professor of comparative literature, Japanese and Asian studies will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Shannon Elias is the daughter of Jonathan and Irene Elias of Potomac, Maryland. She is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in criminology and minors in homeland security, sociology and women’s studies. Elias was a member and secretary of Phi Eta Sigma honor society and a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and THON committees. She was a teaching assistant and completed internships with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and the Maryland State Police. After graduation, Elias plans to attend law school to become a prosecutor. Jarl Ahlkvist, lecturer in sociology, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Benjamin Rogers is the son of Robert and Maggie Rogers of Yardley. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with bachelor of art degrees in economics and international politics and a minor in Russian area studies. He studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, and completed internships with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Washington, D.C.; Vilnius City Municipality, Lithuania; and the U.S. House of Representatives. He was president of Alliance Christian Fellowship, executive editor of the Penn State Journal of International Affairs, and held leadership roles in the Penn State International Affairs and Debate Association. After graduation, Benjamin will begin a career in government consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Bee-Yan Roberts, professor of economics and Asian studies, will escort him as the faculty marshal.
Coral Flanagan is the daughter of Mike and Cyndi Flanagan of State College. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of art degree in English with minors in French, history and Middle East Studies. Flanagan is a member of the Paterno Fellows Student Advisory board, Penn State Crew Team and Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council. She has studied abroad in France and Morocco, and at the University of Oxford in England. Flanagan was a research assistant at the Hemingway Letters Project, an intern at WPSU Public Media and a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy. After graduation, Flanagan will teach English before pursuing graduate studies. Lisa Sternlieb, associate professor of English, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
French and Francophone Studies
Julia Kelsey is the daughter of Timothy and Alice Kelsey of State College. As a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of art degree in French and Francophone studies, and minors in English, biology and international studies. Julia studied abroad in Montpellier, France, and completed an internship with the charity organization Les Restaurants du Cœur. Kelsey worked as a French tutor for Penn State Learning and was engaged in community service. She received several awards including the Award for Excellence in Composition in French and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award. She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and Pi Delta Phi French honor society. After graduation, Kelsey plans to travel and volunteer before attending graduate school. Bénédicte Monicat, professor of French and women’s studies, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures
A Schreyer Honors Scholar, Mary Fisk is graduating with bachelor of art degrees in German studies and French and Francophone studies. She studied abroad in Paris. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Fisk is a member of the National Veterans Fraternity. She has one daughter, Kirsten, who is studying Kinesiology and Geology at Georgia Southern University. After graduation, Fisk will pursue graduate studies at the University of Oregon where she has been awarded a Graduate Teaching Fellowship. Samuel Frederick, assistant professor of German, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Trevor Brandt is the son of Bruce and Cynthia Brandt of Lansdale. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in history and political science with minors in German and classics and ancient Mediterranean studies. After studying abroad in Greece, Brandt completed an internship at a Pennsylvania museum and volunteer work at a public history institution. He has been a research assistant and a teaching assistant for American Colonial and Byzantine history courses. Brandt plans to travel in Germany before beginning graduate studies at the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in American Material Culture. A. Gregg Roeber, professor of early modern history and religious studies, will escort him as the faculty marshal.
Robert Chen is the son of Ben Chen and Jane Song of Wayne. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with a bachelor of art degree in international politics (with honors) and a bachelor of science degree in economics. He completed internships in Washington, D.C., at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Bates White Economic Consulting. He has also been both a research assistant and a teaching assistant for the Department of Political Science and the Department of Economics, respectively. In addition, Chen worked as a sports and news journalist, covering Penn State football as a photographer for Onward State; Penn State football's 2014 season opener in Dublin for the John Curley Center, College of Communications; and, this past semester, Penn State news and sports as a freelance photographer for The Patriot-News. Chen plans to work in legal services after graduation. Gretchen Casper, associate professor of political science and Asian Studies, will escort him as the faculty marshal.
Labor and Employment Relations
Cailin Hayes is the daughter of Dan and Sue Hayes of Chadds Ford. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she will be graduating with a bachelor of science degree in labor and employment relations with a minor in business in the liberal arts. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Hayes completed internships with the Arete Living Arts Foundation, conducting research on the American labor movement, and more recently, at Textron Systems in Hunt Valley, Maryland, focusing on human resources recruitment and compensation. Since summer, she has been working as a remote intern for their University Relations team. After graduation, Hayes will join the HR Development Program at Textron System in Wilmington, Massachusetts. Paul Whitehead, professor of practice in labor and employment relations, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Megan Romania is the daughter of Brian and Tammy Romania of Sayre. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of art degree in philosophy and a bachelor of science degree in community, environment and development, with a minor in French. Romania studied abroad in Australia and Ireland, was a research assistant in the College of Agricultural Sciences, and completed internships with the Bradford County Conservation District and Penn State’s Center for Global Studies. After graduation, Romania will be teaching English in Bordeaux, France, before pursuing a master’s degree in environmental policy in Europe. Vincent Colapietro, Liberal Arts Research Professor in Philosophy and African-American Studies, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Julia Warshafsky is the daughter of Gene Warshafsky and Diane Sober of Pittsburgh. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of art degrees in political science and Spanish. Warshafsky studied abroad in Spain and completed three internships: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), Penn State Strategic Intelligence Research Internship Program, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She received an Honorable Mention for the Information Literacy Award at the 2015 Undergraduate Research Exhibition, was recently presented with Pi Sigma Alpha’s Best Thesis of 2015 award, and she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Julia was assistant music director for the a cappella group Blue in the FACE. Future plans include working at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Darryl Farber, assistant professor of engineering and managing director of the engineering systems program, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Catherine Brett is the daughter of Mary Brett of Curwensville, and David Brett of Badger, Minnesota. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of art degree in psychology and a minor in education policy studies. Brett was a research assistant in the laboratory of Alysia Blandon, assistant professor of psychology, and was promoted to lab coordinator for the Family and Child Development Laboratory. Brett volunteered at a mobile medical clinic in Ghana, Africa, and was a member of the Penn State Blue Band. Future plans include graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania for a career in education. Alysia Blandon, assistant professor of psychology, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Jacqueline Roa is the daughter of Marino Roa of Bani, Dominican Republic, and Nidiana Morales of Patillas, Puerto Rico. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in sociology and a minor in biology. Roa studied abroad in Costa Rica and was part of a Global Brigade providing health care to an underprivileged community in Nicaragua. She completed an internship with the Central Pennsylvania Institute to tutor adult learners and has served as a teaching assistant. She plans to pursue a career in medicine and to continue her service to underprivileged communities abroad. Samar Farage, senior lecturer in sociology and criminology, will escort her as the faculty marshal.
Spanish, Italian and Portuguese
Mary Beth Spang is the daughter of Lisa Spang of Belle Vernon. A Paterno Fellow and a Schreyer Honors Scholar, she will be graduating with bachelor of art degrees in Spanish and English, and a bachelor of philosophy degree. Spang studied abroad in Mexico, was a research assistant in the Center for Language Science and conducted field research in linguistics in Colombia. She was awarded a National Science Foundation Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) Fellowship for extensive field research in Colombia and data analysis in the Netherlands. Elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board Senior Honor Societies, Spang also served as president of the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Council and a Liberal Arts Envoy. After graduation, she will work in the College of Engineering through Penn State’s Development and Alumni Relations Summer Internship Program. John Lipski, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Spanish and Linguistics, will escort her as the faculty marshal.