Penn State Harrisburg announces fall 2023 commencement marshals

Collage of six headshots of student marshals

Penn State Harrisburg's fall 2023 student marshals.Top (l-r): Drake Collins, Ainsley Perry, Dustin Hyder. Bottom (l-r): Sydney Trostel, Sydney Hemler, Jennifer Drissel.

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 fall 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.

Fall 2023 student marshals

Meet the Penn State Harrisburg fall 2023 commencement student marshals.

Credit: Dan Poeschl

The fall 2023 marshals are:

School of Behavioral Sciences and Education: Drake Collins (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), bachelor of science in psychology

Drake Collins balanced his responsibilities as a student with being a member of the Air National Guard.

While at Penn State Harrisburg, Collins engaged in research activities with the Applied Community Engagement (ACE) lab and worked as a student assistant at the Douglas W. Pollock Center for Addiction Outreach and Research. He played an integral role in two research projects centered around opioid use disorder, and he contributed to the development of a veteran student survey, which aims to identify ways the university can better support students who are veterans.

Collins participated in the Global Engagement Leadership Experience and the Chancellor's Leadership Development Program. He earned a place on the Dean's List every semester since the spring of 2021, and he is a recipient of the Rotary Veterans Initiative and C. Pollock Memorial scholarships.

He intends to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology and become a licensed professional counselor specializing in addiction, adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and trauma.

Collins will be escorted by faculty marshals Christopher Whipple, assistant professor of psychology, and Nicole Siffrinn, assistant teaching professor of education.

School of Business Administration: Ainsley Perry (Hershey, Pennsylvania), bachelor of science in marketing

Ainsley Perry serves as president of the Penn State Harrisburg chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society, and she received the Beta Gamma Sigma Undergraduate Student Award.

Perry completed an internship with Joni and Friends in Lancaster, where she was able to serve people affected by disability by creating social media content and promotional materials.

With a love for serving her community, Perry has also volunteered in her church’s disability ministry, with Special Olympics, and for Susquehanna Service Dogs. Additionally, she was a Young Life Leader in Hershey and volunteered at the WE cARE Food Pantry on campus.

After graduation, Perry plans to put her education to use by working for a nonprofit organization.

Perry will be escorted by Darrell Bartholomew, associate professor of marketing, and Raymond Gibney, associate professor of management.

School of Humanities: Dustin Hyder (New Cumberland, Pennsylvania), bachelor of humanities in English and bachelor of arts in American studies

Dustin Hyder, who transferred to Penn State Harrisburg from Harrisburg Area Community College after years away from higher education, has been on the Dean’s List every semester while pursuing a double major in English and American studies.

Hyder was the recipient of the George D. Wolf Award for Academic Excellence in American Studies for his first two semesters in the program, and the School of Humanities Outstanding Analytical/Scholarly Research Writing Award for several of his English papers. He is a member of the college chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, and a contributing writer to “From the Fallout Shelter” and “Fission,” the campus literary magazines.

Hyder completed copywriting and communications internships and worked as a career ambassador in the college’s John Crain Kunkel Career Center. He plans to pursue graduate studies and eventually work in higher education.

Hyder will be escorted by John Haddad, professor of American studies, and Russell Kirkscey, assistant professor of English and technical and professional writing.

School of Public Affairs: Sydney Trostel (Biglerville, Pennsylvania) bachelor of science in criminal justice

Sydney Trostel began her academic career during the COVID-19 pandemic, and while shifting to online learning and working as a retail manager, she received the President’s Freshman Award for earning a 4.0 cumulative grade point average.

She joined the Middletown Borough Police Department in 2022 as an administrative assistant, after working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder as a registered behavior technician. She holds several certifications from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is pursuing EMT certification.

Trostel played soccer at Penn State Mont Alto, earning individual awards as well as team recognitions. She received the Penn State University Athletic Conference Academic All-Conference Award for maintaining a 3.0 or higher GPA while playing soccer and was a member of the 2021 USCAA Women’s Soccer D11 All-American 2nd Team. She also served as assistant coach for the Upper Adams Middle School girls soccer team.

Trostel will be escorted by Jennifer Gibbs, associate professor of criminal justice, and Sung Choi, assistant professor of health administration.

School of Science, Engineering, and Technology: Sydney Hemler (Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania), bachelor of science in biology

Sydney Hemler made the Dean’s List seven times while also competing as a dual-sport varsity athlete in women’s soccer and basketball.

She is treasurer of the Pre-medicine Club and a member of the Health Science Club. She served as a teaching assistant for an upper-level biology class, volunteered to tutor peers, and participated in the Emergency Medicine Research Associate Program at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

Her athletic accomplishments include being named the United East Defensive Player of the Year and a Scholar All-American by United Soccer Coaches in 2022. She was the United East’s inaugural women’s soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and she was named to the United East’s all-sportsmanship team for both women’s soccer and basketball. She has been named to the United East’s all-conference team every season of her career.

Outside of campus, she volunteers with her church and is involved with the Hershey Soccer Club. She plans to pursue graduate education in physician assistant studies.

Hemler will be escorted by Brenna Hill, assistant teaching professor of physiology, and Issam Abu-Mahfouz, professor of mechanical engineering.

Graduate Studies: Jennifer Drissel (Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania), doctor of philosophy in American studies

With a background in film and media studies, Jennifer Drissel came to Penn State Harrisburg to pursue a doctoral degree in American studies, investigating depictions of the apocalypse through an interdisciplinary lens. She was awarded the Capital College Graduate Assistantship in 2015 and the Bailey Fellowship in 2019. She served as vice president of the Purple Hand Society, when the club was revived in 2017.

Drissel is working to have her dissertation, “Apocalypse Mania: American Fascination with the End of the World in the 21st Century,” published as a book, and she has also begun a subsequent writing project examining the significance of women in the horror genre. She holds a bachelor of arts in media studies from Hunter College and a master of arts in cinema studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Drissel will be escorted by Charles Kupfer, associate professor of American studies, and Anthony Buccitelli, associate professor of American studies and communication.