UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — At Penn State's May 5 spring commencement ceremony, 22 students will represent the College of the Liberal Arts as student marshals. Approximately 1,500 undergraduates will receive their degrees at the event, which will be live streamed at www.commencement.psu.edu/media/live/ beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Schreyer Honors Scholar Benjamin Rowles is the college student marshal and commencement speaker for the college's ceremony. His faculty escort at commencement will be Carla J. Mulford, professor of English. Rowles is the son of Kelley Frank of Canadensis, Pennsylvania, and Leif Rowles of Ephrata, Pennsylvania. He is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Rowles volunteered with Housing Transitions, a nonprofit in Centre County, and interned with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Public Affairs and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. He also served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Philadelphia for a year. After graduation, Rowles plans to intern with the U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, before serving as a fellow with the Friends Committee on National Legislation in Washington, D.C. To read more about Rowles, click here.
This year’s group of student marshals volunteered with organizations like Special Olympics Pennsylvania, Alliance of Heroic Hearts, Trash To Treasure, THON, Centre Peace, PAWS, and the Oaks Retirement Community. They held 61 leadership positions in organizations all over campus and participated in 25 research opportunities and teaching assistantships with faculty. Countries like Morocco, Kenya, China, Sri Lanka and South Korea were considered home as they studied abroad. From marching on the football field in the Blue Band to co-founding a student publication on campus, these impressive students have left their mark on Penn State. Keep reading to learn more about the student marshals selected to represent the College of the Liberal Arts.
Elijah Hermitt is the son of Mandy and Joe Hermitt of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in anthropology and a minor in Spanish. Hermitt participated in several archaeological experiences, including the Palenque Pool Project, where he excavated a pool in the ancient Maya site of Palenque while also managing the project’s public outreach. He filmed a documentary on the impacts of whiskey production in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, as part of the Moonshine Archaeology Project. After graduation, Hermitt plans to pursue a career in anthropological documentary film and science outreach.
Benjamin Black is the son of Brian and Christina Black of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in Asian studies and international politics, a master of international affairs degree, and minors in history and Chinese language. Black studied abroad and completed research in China, interned with the US-ASEAN Business Council in Washington, and received a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. He was a research assistant in the political science department and served as president of both the International Affairs and Debate Association and the Essence of Joy choir. Black has received a full-tuition scholarship to attend Brooklyn Law School’s accelerated two-year J.D. program beginning in May.
CLASSICS AND ANCIENT MEDITERRANEAN STUDIES
Hannah Bisbing is the daughter of Lori Trostle and Richard Bisbing. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in classics and ancient Mediterranean studies and a bachelor of science degree in global and international studies with minors in history and psychology. She studied abroad in Athens, Greece, and conducted research in Shields’ Feminist and Gender Psychology Lab. Bisbing is a Phi Beta Kappa honor society member, a Schreyer mentor and a Stand for State ambassador. She is also a senior-level figure skater who continued her training while at Penn State. After graduation, she plans to travel and work for a few years, likely in publishing or the heritage sector, before attending graduate school.
COMMUNICATION ARTS AND SCIENCES
Erica Reeves is the daughter of Craig and Lisa Reeves of Montrose, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in communication arts and sciences and political science with a minor in business and the liberal arts. Reeves studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and completed a Social Justice Fellowship with Georgetown Law. She served as the community service chair for the Delta Sigma Pi Business Fraternity and as the alumni chair for the Phi Sigma Pi Honors Fraternity. After graduation, Reeves plans to attend law school.
Alexandra Aldarelli is the daughter of John and Paula Aldarelli of Jackson, New Jersey. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in comparative literature with minors in global and international studies, Medieval studies and Italian. Aldarelli studied abroad in London, England, and served as the president of Revive at Penn State. She also interned with New Jersey Natural Gas for three summers and served as an active and enthusiastic member of Impact, a Penn State Dance Marathon organization. After graduation, Aldarelli plans to look for an opportunity that will combine her analytical nature, passion for helping others, and desire to make a difference.
Candice Crutchfield is the daughter of William and Brenda Crutchfield of Woodbridge, Virginia. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in criminology and communication arts and sciences. Crutchfield participated in the Presidential Leadership Academy and is co-founder of the student publication The Underground. She also served as an honors intern for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Criminal Investigative Division. Next year, Crutchfield will attend Columbia University to pursue a master's in human rights studies. To learn more about Crutchfield, click here.
Jacob Foose is the son of Michael and Susan Foose of Altoona, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in economics and a bachelor of arts degree in political science. Foose studied abroad in Maastricht, The Netherlands, and interned with Healthy Democracy as a Nevins Fellow. He was also a Schreyer Honors College orientation team leader and served as team captain and attorney for Penn State Mock Trial. Foose is currently interviewing for jobs in the economics field and plans to pursue graduate work in public policy within the next few years.
Caitlyn Edgell is the daughter of John and Penne Edgell of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in English, political science, and history. Edgell received several awards at Penn State, including the President’s Freshman Award and the President’s Sparks Award. She helped create the Penn State chapter of the Sideline Cancer Club and served as the logistics project manager for the Griffith Family Foundation. She also volunteered with Penn State Dance Marathon and tutored a local exchange student. After graduation, Edgell plans to attend Penn State Law and hopes to pursue a career in public interest law.
FRENCH AND FRANCOPHONE STUDIES
Shenandoah Sims is the daughter of Thomas and Penny Sims of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in French and Francophone studies and a bachelor of science degree in supply chain management and information systems. Sims served as an au pair in Tournefeuille, France, and interned with Old Line Manufacturing in Baltimore, Maryland. She also served as an academic tutor with Varsity Tutors. Next year, she hopes to serve as an English Language Teaching Assistant in France.
GERMANIC AND SLAVIC LANGUAGES AND LITERATURES
Neil Shook is the son of Terry and Dawn Shook of Annville, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in German, a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics, and a minor in linguistics. Shook completed linguistics research in Carrie Jackson’s lab and presented his thesis research at the CUNY 2018 Human Sentence Processing Conference. He was also a member of the Penn State Blue Band and the Delta Phi Alpha and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies. Shook plans to pursue a graduate degree in linguistics and continue his research in language science. To learn more about Shook, click here.
GLOBAL AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
Johnna Purcell is the daughter of Jack and Annamarie Purcell of Farmington, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in global and international studies and political science with a minor in women’s studies. She was a justice on the University Park Undergraduate Association Judicial Board and president of Penn State Students for Hillary Clinton. She also interned with the Democratic National Committee and the office of Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. Next year, Purcell will attend Cornell Law School.
Stephanie Springer is the daughter of Denise and Eric Springer of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in history and political science and minors in French and Middle East studies. Springer studied abroad at St. Catherine’s College at the University of Oxford and in Aix-en-Provence, France. She also held internships with the Frick Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, and City of Asylum. After graduation, Springer will teach English to French students as part of a program through the French Embassy in the United States. To learn more about Springer, click here.
Alice Greider is the daughter of Penny and Doug Greider of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in international politics and global and international studies, a master of international affairs degree, and minors in French and history. Greider completed internships with the European Parliament and the Migration Policy Institute and served as the president and founder of the Penn State United Nations Advocates organization. She also served as Secretary General for the Pennsylvania High School United Nations Conference. After graduation, Greider will serve in the Peace Corps as a community youth worker in Ukraine. To learn more about Greider, click here.
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS
Erin Ferris is the daughter of James and Christine Ferris of Massapequa Park, New York. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in labor and employment relations and a minor in psychology with a concentration in business. Ferris has served as a peer career assistant in the Bank of America Career Services Center, as the executive director of Fresh START Day of Service, and in positions with the Penn State Leadership and Innovation Lab and Penn State Society for Human Resource Management. She interned with Morgan Stanley, New York Daily News, and Global Brands Group. After graduation, Ferris will join Morgan Stanley’s Human Resource Analyst Rotational Program in New York City. To learn more about Ferris, click here.
LETTERS, ARTS AND SCIENCES
Grace Benner is the daughter of Steven Benner and Bridget Donnelly of State College, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Benner is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in letters, arts and sciences, a master of arts degree in teaching English as a second language, and a minor in Korean. She traveled to South Korea four times as an undergraduate, where she attended an Advanced Academic Korean Language Program for ten weeks and a Korean Language Teachers’ Training Program for another five weeks. After graduation, Benner plans to teach and pursue further graduate study in Teaching Korean as a Foreign Language.
Alex Grigas is the son of Tom and Sue Grigas of Leola, Pennsylvania. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy, a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a minor in chemistry. Grigas has participated in research projects with the Keating, Zhu, and Rolls research groups. He also received the Rodney A. Erickson Discovery Grant and served as president of Penn State’s Philosophy Club. Next year, Grigas will pursue a doctorate in biophysics.
Ethan Paul is the son of Todd and Danielle Paul of Hanover, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, he is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a minor in economics. He was a Nevins Fellow, president of the Pi Sigma Alpha political science honors society, and the political department editor and executive board member of the student publication The Underground. Paul studied abroad in China and held several internships in Washington, D.C., and with the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Next year, Paul will attend the Yenching Academy at Peking University to pursue a master’s degree in China studies.
Abigail Cosgrove is the daughter of Bridget and Thomas Cosgrove of West Chester, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in psychology and Spanish. Cosgrove received an NSF-funded PIRE Fellowship and the Rodney A. Erickson Discovery Grant. She served as a teaching assistant for an introductory psychology course and as the vice president of the Love Your Melon Foundation. Next year, she plans to pursue a doctorate in cognitive psychology.
Brenna Fisher is the daughter of Erin and Matthew Fisher of Manassas, Virginia. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in sociology and criminology with a minor in military studies. She was a teaching assistant and research assistant for the criminology department and completed internships at two law offices and the State College Police Department. Fisher was a cadet in Army ROTC, president and public relations executive for the Penn State Justice Association, and a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy. She also studied abroad in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Sydney, Australia. Next year, she will attend the University of Wyoming Law School on a full-tuition scholarship.
SPANISH, ITALIAN AND PORTUGUESE
Jayme Rhoads is the daughter of Scott and Debbie Rhoads of State College, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, Rhoads is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in Italian, French and Francophone studies, global and international studies, and comparative literature. She is a member of the Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Honor Society and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. She was a tutor for Penn State Learning and studied abroad in France and Italy. After graduation, Rhoads plans to return to Italy to teach English as a second language and hopes to publish her trilingual children’s book, which she wrote for her honors thesis. To learn more about Rhoads, click here.
WOMEN’S, GENDER AND SEXUALITY STUDIES
Isabella Teti is the daughter of Laureen and Douglas Teti of Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar, she is graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in women’s studies and political science. She completed the Social Justice Fellowship in Washington, D.C., and worked as an advocacy corps organizer for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. She was a research assistant for three different faculty members and is a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy. After graduation, Teti will be a campus organizer with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group at the University of Maryland, College Park. To learn more about Teti, click here.
Editor's note: This is the final story in a series on the 22 student marshals representing the College of the Liberal Arts at the spring 2018 commencement ceremony.