Alumni Association announces 2019-20 Young Alumni Ambassadors

Nine recent graduates selected for program to develop their skills as Penn State's future volunteer leaders

The 2019-20 ambassadors, who were selected after a competitive national process, will receive personalized career support, gain knowledge about volunteer leadership, and enhance their sense of Penn State pride. 

Credit: Penn State Alumni Association

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nine recent graduates have been selected as 2019-20 Young Alumni Ambassadors, who will share a yearlong experience aimed at developing their skills to become Penn State’s future volunteer leaders.

Each ambassador is matched with an affiliate group of the Alumni Association, as well as a professional mentor to provide a learning opportunity across the Penn State network. The graduates will receive personalized career support, gain knowledge about volunteer leadership, and enhance their sense of Penn State pride.

The 2019-20 ambassadors, who were selected after a competitive national process, are:

  •  Tom Beeby, class of 2019 
  •  Michaella Caruso, class of 2019 
  •  Hunter Davey, class of 2019 
  •  Johnna Hayward, class of 2018
  •  Katie Heininger, class of 2019 
  •  Allison Lenhart, class of 2019 
  •  Lauren Nelson, class of 2018 
  •  Camila Proano, class of 2018 
  •  Carolyn Riegel, class of 2019

Personalized to each participant, the 2019-20 program offers the class an opportunity to pursue their own interests and Penn State passion with the goal of becoming lifelong volunteer leaders. The nine ambassadors will be located across the country — including Philadelphia, Baltimore, Virginia and California. 

The Young Alumni Ambassador program was developed in part through the generosity of Peter and Ann Tombros, who provided seed funding in 2017 for a pilot initiative. In 2018, the Tombros’ continued their generosity with a $25,000 gift that was matched by the Alumni Association to create a $50,000 endowment to help fund a portion of the Young Alumni Ambassador experience in perpetuity.

“It’s an honor to continue partnering with the Alumni Association and continue to strengthen the ambassador program, which is now in its third year. We want these young alumni leaders to continue to be strong, impactful volunteers even after graduation, which previous classes have demonstrated with overwhelming success,” Peter Tombros said. 

“This program enhances life after graduation for Penn Staters by connecting them to seasoned mentors, resources and chapter leaders throughout the country. This generation of alumni engages with Penn State and the Alumni Association differently, and we want them to be involved in shaping the future.” 

The 2018-19 class participated in a number of Alumni Association events and activities. This includes: hosting events with local chapters; writing content for Countdown to Cap & Gown (the Alumni Association’s senior year newsletter); holding an ice cream social for alumni in their workplace; hosting a Blue & White Society student bus trip to Washington, D.C.; attending Alumni Association events like We Are Weekend; providing feedback on young alumni initiatives; and maintaining relationships with their alumni mentor.

A brief bio of each 2019-20 Young Alumni Ambassador follows:

Tom Beeby

As a Schreyer Scholar and Paterno Fellow, Beeby graduated with a degree in economics and political science from the College of the Liberal Arts. During his time at Penn State, Beeby served as executive director of the 2019 Class Gift Campaign, content director of the 2019 State of State Conference, director and editor-in-chief of the Student Handbook, a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy, and a member of Lion Ambassadors — the Penn State Alumni Association’s student alumni corps. Beeby also interned with the Division of Development and Alumni Relations in the Office of Volunteer Programs and continued with the Schreyer Honors College Development Office. Beeby will be joining Deloitte as a human capital consulting analyst in government and public services in Harrisburg. 

Michaella Caruso

Caruso earned a bachelor of science degree in engineering science with minors in engineering leadership development and engineering mechanics from Penn State’s College of Engineering. While an undergraduate student at Penn State University Park, she served as a Global Engineering Fellow, an Engineering Ambassador, and was involved with the Women in Engineering Program. Additionally, she worked as a teaching intern in ENGR 408, a course teaching engineering leadership principles; as a teaching assistant in CAS100E, a technical public speaking and presentation course for engineers; and was supported under a National Science Foundation grant for her undergraduate research in the realm of cognitive psychology, engineering design, and engineering teaming. Upon graduation, she will join Procter & Gamble in an entry-level management position in manufacturing engineering located in Scranton. 

Hunter Davey

Davey graduated from Penn State with both a degree in chemical engineering and an honors degree in supply chain management from the Schreyer Honors College. In addition, Davey volunteered with the Lion Ambassadors, Penn State’s student Alumni Corps, as well as the IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON). Davey's interests include playing soccer, reading nonfiction books, and watching Penn State football games with friends. Currently, he is working for Frito-Lay as a supply chain leader and living in Baltimore, Maryland. 

Johnna Hayward

Hayward graduated this past December from the Smeal College of Business, where she majored in marketing and minored in information systems management. During her time at Penn State, she served as president of the Smeal Student Council and was heavily involved in Women in Business. Upon graduation, Hayward was offered an international internship in Barcelona, Spain, which provided her with the opportunity to spend the past four months abroad. With her endless Penn State pride, accompanied by her unique experiences and background, Hayward hopes to serve as an effective resource for both current students and alumni.

Katie Heininger

Heininger is graduating with both her bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial engineering. During her time at Penn State, she was involved with Engineering Ambassadors, giving tours of campus and leading outreach presentations for middle and high school students in order to introduce them to engineering. She also was involved in research concerning creativity in engineering design, in addition to being a huge Penn State sports fan. 

Allison Lenhart

Lenhart earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architectural engineering. While at Penn State, Lenhart was a member of the Quidditch team and served as a sustainability ambassador on THON committees. Upon graduating, she went to work for Vanderweil Engineers in Alexandria, Virginia. She now works as a mechanical engineer in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning department.

Lauren Nelson

Nelson graduated from the College of Engineering with a degree in chemical engineering. During her time at Penn State, she served as the development director for THON and the executive director of the Class Gift Campaign. She interned within Penn State's Division of Development and Alumni Relations, and she is thankful for the professional growth the internship provided her. She is now working as an analyst for Arctos Ventures — a venture capital firm based in California that was founded by a Penn State alumnus. 

Camila Proano

Proano graduated with a mechanical engineering degree from Penn State Harrisburg. While on campus, she was treasurer of Lion Ambassadors, volunteered at the St. Peter's Middletown After School Program, worked as a lifeguard, and completed an honors thesis on 3D printed leg prosthetics for the Capital College Honors program. She is now working as a junior manufacturing engineer at ACDi in Frederick, Maryland. Proano hopes to share her love for Penn State with her younger sister as she starts her own Penn State journey. 

Carolyn Riegel

A Schreyer Scholar, Riegel graduated from the College of Engineering with a degree in industrial engineering, while also earning a minor in business and liberal arts. At Penn State, she served as an Engineering Ambassador, played on the women’s club lacrosse team, and served on the executive board for the Schreyer Career Development Program, among other leadership positions. Riegel will be working in consulting as an analyst for Accenture in Philadelphia.