Penn State Harrisburg announces spring 2023 commencement marshals

Collage of six headshot photos of student marshals

Penn State Harrisburg's spring 2023 student marshals. Top row, left to right: Kylie Lesher, Elizabeth Henry and Myah Koepfer. Bottom row, left to right: Tram Anh Pham, Aaron Olsen and Grace Adams.

Credit: Sharon Siegfried

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Penn State Harrisburg has named six graduates to represent each academic school and graduate studies as student marshals for the spring 2023 commencement ceremony. The graduates will bear the banners representing each academic school and, together with the faculty marshals, lead the graduating students during the commencement processional.

Student marshals were selected based on their GPAs from among students eligible to graduate. Other criteria considered included engagement with the academic school and the college, involvement in research and leadership activities, and faculty recommendations.

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Meet the Penn State Harrisburg spring 2023 commencement student marshals.

Credit: Dan Poeschl

The spring 2023 marshals are:

School of Behavioral Sciences and Education: Kylie Lesher (Elizabethville, Pennsylvania), bachelor of elementary education

At an early age, Lesher discovered a passion for teaching and helping others, especially children. She transferred to Penn State Harrisburg from Harrisburg Area Community College to pursue her degree in elementary education.

During her final year of studies, Lesher was a student teacher in an area elementary school, where she developed positive relationships with her third-grade students and taught them content from all subject areas.

While at Penn State Harrisburg, Lesher received the President Walker Award and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award. After graduation, she plans to pursue graduate studies in education.

Lesher will be escorted by faculty marshals Jane M. Wilburne, professor of mathematics education, and Nirmal Ahuja, assistant professor of biobehavioral health.

School of Business Administration: Elizabeth Henry (Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania), bachelor of science in marketing

While at Penn State Harrisburg, Henry was inducted into the Marketing Honor Society and the International Business Honor Society. She was active in the campus Pride and ProSales clubs.

Since May of 2022, Henry has been employed as an intern with Penn State’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations at the Harrisburg campus, where she has been able to work on a variety of communications projects and have direct engagement with Penn State Harrisburg alumni, supporters, faculty and staff. Her experience fueled a passion for university development and nonprofit fundraising work. After graduation, Henry plans to pursue graduate studies and a career in university development.

Prior to coming to Penn State Harrisburg, Henry studied graphic design at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, where she was able to gain a deeper understanding of historical art and architecture through travel to Italy.

Henry will be escorted by faculty marshals Darrell Bartholomew, associate professor of marketing, and Abbas Ali, associate professor of management.

School of Humanities: Myah Koepfer (Hershey, Pennsylvania), bachelor of arts in communications

Koepfer participated in numerous arts-related activities on campus while pursuing a communications major and theatre minor.

She served as secretary of the campus theatre club and received the Mukund S. Kulkarni Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her performance in the 2022 campus production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” She also designed costumes for the fall play, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and performed in this spring’s musical, “Cabaret.”

Koepfer had four poems published in campus literary magazines. She received the Penn State Harrisburg Board of Advisers Scholarship as well as the RADM Robert and HelenAnn G. Phillips Award in fall 2022.

While studying, Koepfer worked as a dance instructor as well as a social media manager and retail supervisor for a local company. She plans to pursue a career in production management, brand image or website design.

Koepfer will be escorted by faculty marshals Maria S. Enriquez, associate teaching professor of theater, and Charles D. Kupfer, associate professor of American studies.

School of Public Affairs: Tram Anh Pham (Hershey, Pennsylvania), bachelor of science in criminal justice and bachelor of science in sociology

Pham completed a rigorous double major in criminal justice and sociology while also studying abroad, completing internships and serving as a volunteer in the community.

Pham, who speaks both English and Vietnamese, spent the spring 2022 semester in a prestigious study abroad program in London. She also completed internships with a domestic violence intervention organization, where she helped individuals filing for protection from abuse orders, as well as with Dauphin County’s Conviction Integrity Unit, where she reviewed cases to help identify individuals who may have been unduly convicted. In addition, she volunteered as a track and field coach for an area middle school. Pham plans to attend law school in the fall.

Pham will be escorted by faculty marshals Jennifer C. Gibbs, associate professor of criminal justice, and Nicholas Eftimiades, assistant teaching professor of homeland security.

School of Science, Engineering, and Technology: Aaron Olsen (Mertztown, Pennsylvania), bachelor of science in electrical engineering

While at Penn State, Olsen was awarded the President’s Freshman Award, the President Sparks Award in his second year, and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award in his last two years. He was active in the Harrisburg campus branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and was part of the club’s Radio Telescope Project.

In addition, Olsen was involved in the men’s club and intramural volleyball teams, and he previously managed the Penn State Berks women’s volleyball team.

He completed an internship at Intel Corporation and will intern this summer at Amphenol, before continuing his education by pursuing a master’s degree in electrical engineering through the integrated undergraduate/graduate program.

Olsen will be escorted by faculty marshals AB Shafaye, associate teaching professor of electrical engineering, and Mohammad Tofighi, professor of electrical engineering.

Graduate Studies: Grace Adams (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), master of education in literacy education

Adams, a fourth-grade English language arts teacher and grade-level coordinator at an area school, has a keen interest in framing literacy teaching and learning as one of the most powerful levers to increase access, opportunity and equity for her students.

Adams received the Betty Fortner Literacy Education Award and was a Capital Area Writing Project Fellow and Teacher Consultant. For the fellowship, she prioritized student choice and writing engagement to co-create a multimodal classroom newspaper with students.

Adams holds a bachelor’s degree in childhood and early adolescent education from Penn State, University Park and also earned her Literacy Leadership Certificate in 2021. After graduation, she plans to become a certified literacy specialist and pursue an instructional coaching endorsement.

Adams will be escorted by faculty marshals Mary Napoli, associate professor of reading and children’s literature, and D. Beth Scott, assistant teaching professor of literacy education.