Graduate student excellence celebrated at virtual awards ceremony


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Graduate student award recipients were celebrated during the annual Graduate Student Recognition Ceremony, where 10 awards to more than 30 graduate students were given in recognition of outstanding achievement.

All of the Graduate Student Award recipients are the embodiment and hope of the future. They are the spark that begins the next level of groundbreaking research. They are the future of the academy, poised to train generations of scholars across every discipline. They are the innovators of technology startups, the advisers to world leaders, the artists who will showcase dramatic new perspectives and the economic engine of our nation and the world.

Award recipients are listed below, by award category.

Intercollege Graduate Student Outreach Achievement Award: Megan Sylvia, doctoral student in plant biology

Ardeth and Norman Frisbey International Student Award: Francisco Reyes Rocha, doctoral student in rural sociology with a dual title in international agriculture and development

Graduate Student Service Award: Anna Zhou, doctoral student in psychology

Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award: Shantanab Dinda, doctoral student in industrial engineering; Valerie Keppenne, doctoral student in German with a dual title in language science; Sayali Phadke, doctoral student in statistics; Nicole Yokum, doctoral student in philosophy with a dual title in women’s studies; Emma Rossby, doctoral student in French and francophone studies with a dual title in visual studies; Saumya Vaishnava, doctoral student in geography; Daniel Petrie, doctoral student in human development and family studies; Rebeka Yocum, doctoral student in civil engineering; Cassidy Cornblatt, doctoral student in plant biology; and Thomas Snyder, master’s student in music

Professional Master’s Excellence Award: Sanga Jung, master’s student in nursing; Kaj Althaus, master’s student in public policy; and Mark Kleinginna, master’s student in renewable energy and sustainability systems

Graduate Student Excellence in Mentoring Award: Angela Snyder, doctoral student in neuroscience

Graduate Student International Research Award: Magdalena Madany-Saa, doctoral student in curriculum and instruction

Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award: Tazrin Islam, master’s student in architecture; Celeste Belknap, master's student in music; Suyash Agrawal, master’s student in mechanical engineering; and Alexander Curtze, master’s student in forest resources

Penn State Alumni Association Scholarship for Penn State Alumni in the Graduate School: Katelyn Kirchner, doctoral student in materials science and engineering, and Zhenyuan Yuan, doctoral student in electrical engineering

Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award, Distinguished Doctoral Scholar Medals: Anushka Bansal, doctoral student in materials science and engineering; Samantha Billing, doctoral student in history; Matthew Brooks, doctoral student in rural sociology with a dual title in demography; Amanda Burton, doctoral student in agronomy; Blake Colaianne, doctoral student in human development and family studies; Karly Etz, doctoral student in art history; Stephanie Herbstritt, doctoral student in agricultural and biological engineering; Sarah Isbell, doctoral student in ecology; Curry Kennedy, doctoral student in English; Mariah MacDonald, doctoral student in astronomy and astrophysics with a dual title in astrobiology; Julian Scheffer, doctoral student in psychology; Patricia Yee, doctoral student in neuroscience; and Xiufan Yu, doctoral student in statistics

View the full description of each of the Graduate Student Awards with contacts for further information.


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Megan Lakatos