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Scholarships + Awards

Amplifying opportunity

The College of Arts and Architecture and the University as a whole steward a wide range of awards and scholarships that recognize excellence, achievement, and the impact that individuals have on the Penn State, local, and global communities. Many awards also mitigate needs, and amplify opportunity by providing financial assistance.

Arts and Architecture’s units each have a variety of scholarships, and in many cases, incoming students are automatically considered for available scholarships. Some scholarships are reserved for advanced-standing students or groups, however, the College of Arts and Architecture has been blessed with numerous supporters who have created a deep pool of scholarships for individual students.

Applications and nominations are accepted at various times throughout the year, and new funding and recognition options arise regularly. Feel free to reach out to faculty and program administrators in your academic program to learn about new and upcoming scholarships. The resources listed below are excellent starting points to explore available opportunities.


Penn State Scholarship Facts

  • Both Pennsylvania and non-Pennsylvania residents receive equal consideration for scholarships and awards.
  • Penn State scholarships and awards comprise 9% of the available funding for undergraduate students.
  • Approximately 6,700 first-year students receive a University scholarship (all campuses).
  • 35% of first-year scholarship/award recipients are at University Park; the remaining 65% at Penn State campuses.
  • Typical Penn State scholarships/awards are between $1,500 to $7,000 per academic year.
  • Approximately 15% of first-year students receive private scholarship support.

First-year student awards


Across all Penn State campuses, approximately 6,700 first-year students receive a University scholarship.

Closeup of hands, with fingers poise on the keys of a Bosendorfer grand piano

2020 A&A Award Winners

The College of Arts and Architecture is pleased to announce its student, faculty, and staff special scholarship and award winners for 2019–20. It is an honor to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of these remarkable individuals in the arts and design community.

Student Awards | University Awards | Faculty & Staff Awards

Student kneeling over a series of printed design boards.

Student photographer poise, shooting artworks included in an undergraduate juried art exhibit in Zoller gallery at Penn State

University-Level Awards

President’s Award for Engagement with Students

Shannon Goff, Associate Professor of Art

Shannon Goff

Shannon Goff, associate professor in the College of Arts and Architecture, has received the 2020 President’s Award for Engagement with Students. The award is given to a faculty member who goes beyond his or her responsibilities to engage and encourage students in learning. The honorees have made themselves available to interact with students outside class, link students to opportunities and help them build their confidence as learners and potential contributors to society.

Colleagues say Goff has been instrumental in recruiting students to the School of Visual Arts and is a tireless supporter for students because she’s able to connect them to prestigious centers and institutions in the art world. She’s strengthened the program by further stressing experiences with visiting artists, exhibitions and public engagements. FULL STORY »

Faculty Scholar Medal in the Arts and Humanities

Marica Tacconi, Professor of Musicology

Marcica Tacconi

Marica Tacconi is a pre-eminent scholar on the music of 15th-, 16th- and 17th-century Italy, especially Florence and Venice. Her work shines light on the political and cultural history of the Italian Renaissance and early Baroque. Nominators said the way Tacconi combines the arts and humanities into her research is truly remarkable and qualifies her uniquely for the honor.

Last fall, Tacconi presented at Penn State the lecture-recital “Musical Gems from Three Newly Uncovered Venetian Manuscripts,” which was based on material she uncovered while on sabbatical in Venice, Italy, in Fall 2018. While there, she studied three music manuscripts preserving works that, in some cases, had not been heard in nearly 400 years. Tacconi transcribed several of the compositions into modern notation and brought the music back to the concert stage, performed by internationally acclaimed soprano Liesl Odenweller and harpsichordist Marija Jovanovic, both based in Venice. Additionally, she has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning early music ensemble Apollo’s Fire (The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra), exposing audiences to less familiar styles of music. FULL STORY »

Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award

Debora Verniz, Architecture Ph.D. Student

Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

Stella Murray, Architecture Master’s Student

Thomas and June Beaver Fund Award

Negar Ashrafi, Architecture Ph.D. Student

Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award

Yang Deng, Art Education Ph.D. Student
Karly Etz, Art History Ph.D. Student
Eric Mainzer, Architecture Ph.D. Student

Professional Master’s Excellence Award

Zsuzsanna Nagy, Art. M.F.A. Student
Lance Rautzhan, Art Education M.P.S. Student

Faculty and Staff Awards

Award for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring

Lisa Bontrager, Distinguished Professor of Music in Horn

Lisa Bontrager

Lisa Bontrager is known as an encouraging and caring presence among her students, guiding them in academics, in music, and in their personal lives. Fondly referred to by some former students as their “school mom,” she has a genuine concern for their wellbeing both inside and outside the classroom. An accomplished professional musician and longtime faculty member, she has the knowledge and experience to advise her students during their time at Penn State and beyond—and does so with a special touch that leads many of them to keep in touch with her long after graduation. According to one former student, whose sentiments echoed many others, “As an advisor, educator, and mentor, Professor Bontrager is of the highest kind and quality. She embodies the qualities that this award seeks to promote.”

Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching

Daniel Armstrong, Professor of Music in Percussion

Daniel Armstrong

Dan Armstrong, a School of Music faculty member for more than 30 years, has taught and mentored hundreds of students who have gone on to a wide range of successful careers in academia and the professional music industry. His faculty colleagues praise his dedication to his students, his creative pedagogy, and his leadership. Recognized by his former students for his superb mentorship and ability to tailor his teaching to each individual’s strengths, he prepares students to excel in their careers, calling on his own extensive experience as a professional musician and educator. One former student summed up Professor Armstrong’s lasting influence: “Through his dedication and hard work, he instills in his students an endless drive for excellence. His students learn a habit of self-determination and independence that can come only from consistently high expectations from one’s mentor.”

Barbara O. Korner Faculty Award for Outstanding Service

David Goldberg, Associate Clinical Professor in Landscape Architecture/Stuckeman School Technology Operations Manager

David Goldberg

According to his nominators, David Goldberg is devoted not just to “doing” service, but to making a difference that helps people in everything he does. His service efforts fall into three main areas: 1) Technology optimized for everyone; 2) Landscape architecture student scholarships and awards; and 3) Extracurricular professional leadership in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). In his role as the Stuckeman School’s technology operations manager, he is committed to providing faculty and students with optimal technology resources that allow them to advance and excel. In the awards arena, Professor Goldberg has long provided leadership on the departmental awards committee, innovating and streamlining the process for selecting student winners. His leadership at the department level is actually an extension of his leadership in ASLA. He has been involved in the Pennsylvania/Delaware chapter since 2007 and currently serves as co-chair of the Central Pennsylvania Section, and in that role facilitates networking among students, faculty, and professionals. One supporting letter sums up Professor Goldberg’s qualifications: “In these types of recommendation letters, it is customary to refer to one or two incidents that are worthy of praise, but for David there are too many occasions to even begin. He is the person faculty and students depend upon, respect, and know that he is there for us when we need help.”

Staff Award for Outstanding Service

Diane Kerstetter, Office of Academic Affairs and Outreach

Diane Kerstetter

Diane Kerstetter’s colleagues praise her for being a detail-oriented and self-motivated team player who is always happy to go the extra mile. She is recognized particularly for her efforts related to recruitment events, from placing directional signs around campus at 7 a.m. to prepping and delivering supplies to each academic unit to helping visitors. Her attention to detail shows in her meticulous record-keeping  and budget oversight. Known as the utmost professional who treats everyone with respect and kindness, her positive energy and welcoming attitude are a true asset to the Office of Academic Affairs and Outreach.

Student Awards

Reuben and Gladys Golumbic Scholarship

Humanistic Achievement

Freddie Miller

Frederick Miller is a second-year student in the School of Theatre pursuing a B.A. in theatre studies with a minor in world literature. He has worked extensively with Penn State Centre Stage, as a production dramaturg and assistant director on productions such as Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches; A Little Night Music; To Kill a Mockingbird; and Caroline, or Change. For his work on A Little Night Music, Frederick was the recipient of the 2020 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region II Award for Outstanding Dramaturgy and was a semi-finalist for the national competition. He is a teaching assistant for THEA 112 (Intro to Musical Theatre) and serves on the School of Theatre’s Student Advisory Board as the student representative for the Theatre Studies program. Frederick frequently collaborates with No Refund Theatre and, most recently, directed their production of Doubt: A Parable. He wrote the book and lyrics for Outcasts, a new musical receiving a developmental reading in New York City this fall.

Design Achievement

Oscar Wegbreit

Oscar Wegbreit is a fourth-year landscape architecture student scheduled to graduate in December 2020. At Penn State, he is highly active in the Department of Landscape Architecture through his involvement with the Landscape Architecture Student Society and giving departmental tours to prospective students. Throughout his life, he practiced art in a variety of different mediums in numerous art classes. This background is demonstrated in his artistic approach to design, which he credits with his success in the program. Majoring in landscape architecture was an easy decision for him as it combined his interests in art, design, and sustainability, and his love for the outdoors. Last summer, he interned at a high-end residential landscape architecture firm where his skills were utilized through design visualization and rendering designs for clients. After graduation, his goal is to work at a firm that focuses on public spaces and shares a common design mission to his own. Ultimately, he hopes to open his own firm that focuses on community design projects.

Performance Achievement

Annie Liu

Annie Liu is a junior in the Schreyer Honors College pursuing a bachelor of musical arts in bassoon performance and a bachelor of science in general science. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Annie grew up in State College, studying bassoon with Professor Daryl Durran since 2013. She is a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the premier ensembles of the School of Music, and the Pentavalent Wind Quintet. Through a school-wide audition, Annie was selected to perform a solo with percussionist Gage Kroljic in the 2018 Mosaic concert, which showcases the school’s outstanding soloists and ensembles. She was a finalist in the Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, receiving an honorable mention in January 2020. Every semester of study, Annie has earned Jury Honors, a distinction awarded for excellence in final performance exams. She received the inaugural Sue Haug School of Music Leadership Award in 2019. In the 2020 School of Music Scholarship Competition, she was again a winner of the Haug Leadership Award and she also won the Presser Scholarship and a College of Arts and Architecture Creative Achievement Award. This semester Annie has worked as lab manager of the Pitch Exploration Lab, a music cognition research lab. Beyond her music activities, Annie serves as the engagement director of Science Lion Pride and volunteers at Discovery Space of Central PA. She interned with the German Academic Exchange Service RISE Germany program doing biology research at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Annie intends to pursue a master’s degree in bassoon performance.

Valley Family Scholarship

Madison Borsos

Madison Borsos is a third-year student in the landscape architecture program. She is involved within the department as a member of Landscape Architecture Leaders and the Landscape Architecture Student Society, and within the College of Arts and Architecture as the president of Students for Environmentally Enlightened Design. She especially enjoys this position because it allows her to engage in conversations about climate change and sustainability with her peers. Her involvement with these three groups offers her the chance to connect with her classmates, students from related disciplines, and prospective students. Studying landscape architecture has opened her eyes to the breadth of possibilities for her future and she eagerly shares this knowledge with others, including a recent presentation she gave at her high school, in hopes of encouraging people of many backgrounds to contribute to the larger discussion. From a young age, her family fostered within her a curiosity about the outdoors through gardening, hiking, camping, and backpacking. Although she came to Penn State to study architecture, she transferred to the landscape architecture program because the environmental goals of the profession resonated with her. Madison’s work is inspired by her connection with nature. She hopes that, as a professional, she can create spaces for those who have not had access to restored natural areas in order to share enjoyment of nature with others.

Jasmine Forsberg

Jasmine Forsberg is a junior B.F.A. musical theatre major. Originally from Orlando, Florida, she grew up performing on many professional Central Florida stages, including the Orlando Repertory Theatre (the REP), the Winter Park Playhouse, and the Garden Theatre. Jasmine made her professional theatre debut at the REP when she was 10 years old as Roo in The House at Pooh Corner. This past year, she made her Off-Broadway debut in Broadway Bounty Hunter, written by Tony Award-nominee Joe Iconis. She recently recorded the Original Cast Album for Broadway Bounty Hunter, which will be released on several music streaming platforms in mid-2020. Jasmine also originated the role of Brenda “Rat” Ratowski in Two River Theater’s world premiere production of Love in Hate Nation. Favorite Penn State Centre Stage credits include Almastasa in The Lucky Boy and Norma in Hands on a Hardbody. When she is not onstage, Jasmine is writing her own music. In 2018, Jasmine helped write Penn State’s New Student Orientation musical, Results Will Vary, and will be joining the cast this summer for a third installment of the production.

John Kaufman

John Kaufman’s interest in lighting design was sparked at the age of 8 when he attended his first concert, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra during their 2008 tour. His focus was immediately drawn to the various production elements of the show. A native of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, he was the technical director for his high school theatre, while simultaneously serving as the lighting designer for a local community theatre. At Penn State, some of John’s most recent works include the School of Theatre’s She Kills Monsters and THON 2020. His upcoming projects include designing several shows for the School of Theatre, and he plans to continue working on outside projects. Additionally, John works professionally at Illuminated Integration, The State Theatre, and the Bryce Jordan Center.

Danielle Vickers

Danielle Vickers is a fourth-year architecture major and Schreyer Honors student minoring in global and international studies. She recently returned from studying in Rome and has also completed study abroad programs in Japan and South Korea. Although a native of Pittsburgh, she has always dreamed of living and working in another country (most likely Italy). She has always been passionate about learning other languages, cultures, religions, and worldviews because they teach her so much about different values and lifestyles that she often tries to incorporate into her work as a designer. Danielle serves as a mentor for freshman architecture students and has co-hosted the Student of Color welcome event series held during the fall semester. Prior to studying in Italy, she was the treasurer of the Penn State chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, for which she also planned workshops and social events. She says she loves being able to create a supportive community for minorities within the design majors so that everyone has a space where they feel like they belong.

Alumni Society Scholarship


Emily Troutman

Emily Troutman is a fourth-year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in architecture. During her time at Penn State, she has received multiple design and academic achievement awards including being selected as the winner of the Hajjar competition and placing second in the Corbelletti competition. Emily was also the winner of the essay competition for the Richard L. Grube Memorial Scholarship, which awarded her a trip to London to study adaptively reused buildings. In 2019, Emily worked as an intern with Norr Philadelphia, which led to her accepting a job offer from a firm that specializes in adaptive reuse. In addition to her architecture education, Emily has a passion for writing and is currently editing an original 25-chapter novel that she hopes to have published in 2020. Looking forward, Emily plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps and form her own small business as a licensed architect.

Art History

Lauren Rickert

Lauren Rickert is a Schreyer Honors College and Paterno Fellows Program student who has pursued two undergraduate degrees (B.A. in Art History and B.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences) and is on track to graduate one year early and with distinction. While at Penn State, Lauren was active with the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps as a tutor and was a member of the Schreyer for Women Club. She was also an active member of CHAARG, a women’s fitness club, and was a research assistant within the Department of Communications Arts and Sciences. After graduating, Lauren intends to spend one year participating in an internship, traveling, or working for the Teach for America program. With the year of real-world experience, she intends to continue her education by attending graduate school to pursue a higher degree in art history or enrolling in law school.

Graphic Design

Samantha Smith

Samantha Smith is a graphic design student who is on track to graduate in the spring of 2021 with distinction. Originally from Avondale, Pennsylvania, Samantha has leaned on her strong work ethic and faith to excel in and out of the classroom. While also working a part-time job, she has been a leader in the on-campus student ministry (Cru), where she has mentored youths, led weekly bible studies, and planned and executed the organization’s weekly large group meetings. After graduation, Samantha intends on entering the graphic design professional workforce.

Landscape Architecture

John Montefour

John Montefour is a fourth-year landscape architecture student on track to graduate in the fall of 2020. Within his department, he has been an LA Leader, Arts Ambassador, Landscape Architecture Student Society (LASS) member, upperclassmen mentor, and Professional Mentorship Program participant. John served as director of The Digital Beehive, where he was tasked with tutoring and assisting students with various computer programs and other design-related tasks. In addition, he was a Harris Township Tree Commission student assistant, landscape architecture intern at Thomas J. McLane & Associates, and a Penn State Architecture/Landscape Architecture Summer Camp counselor and teaching assistant. In addition to his studies, John was one of the founders of Overtime Performance Nutrition, a business that provides fresh “meal prep” meals.


Grace Everett

Grace Everett is a music education student who is on track to graduate in the spring of 2021 with distinction. Grace came to Penn State with an orchestral emphasis in violin, but expanded her education by participating in several organizations, including the Bravo! Violin Performance Club, Jazz Educators Network, American String Teachers Association, Vocal Dimensions, and Penn State NAfME Collegiate Chapter. In addition to her education, Grace was a marching band teaching assistant for the Hollidaysburg schools and a string teaching assistant at Altoona Youth Orchestra, Altoona Summer String Camp, and Interlochen.


Jasmine Forsberg

Jasmine Forsberg is a B.F.A. in musical theatre student and is on track to graduate with distinction in spring of 2021. During her time at Penn State, Jasmine has performed in several productions. Most recently, she played Almastasa, an immigrant who fled a war-torn country to find a better life for her child, in The Lucky Boy. In 2018, Jasmine joined a group of her School of Theatre classmates to write and perform Results Will Vary, a musical for New Student Orientation (NSO). In addition to her coursework, Jasmine served as co-cultural director of the Penn State Filipino Association, where she planned, wrote, directed, and hosted “Barrio Fiesta,” the organization’s annual cultural showcase. She was also on the Penn State Musical Theatre Student Committee and volunteered with Penn State Nittany Greyhounds, where she helped with upkeep of a local greyhound shelter.

Visual Arts

Marina Gurevich

Marina Gurevich is a Penn State World Campus student majoring in digital multimedia design on track to graduate in summer 2021 with distinction. Marina is an adult-learner and a mother of four who, after returning to school as a psychology major, enrolled in a sculpting class that unexpectedly steered her education and led to her discovering a passion for digital design. Since then Mariana has immersed herself in visual communication and design, which led to her volunteering as a beta-tester of newly released online courses. Her role as a tester has helped her to better understand UX/UI design and digital content creation, which she hopes will lead to a career as an illustrator and a UX designer.

Creative Achievement Award


Grant Davis

Grant Davis, of State College, graduated from Penn State in 2019 with a bachelor of architecture. He returned to complete his master of science in architecture in the 2019-20 academic year. His research chronicles the impact of maritime travels on the architectural writings and works of Le Corbusier, and the impact of maritime history on the metaphorical role of ships in modern architecture. His research interests include 20th-century theories of modernism, functionalism, and mid-century American design, as well as urban design and redevelopment, housing, historical preservation, maritime history and design, and architectural semiotics. Grant has served as a teaching assistant for first-year architecture students (2019-20) and given tours and helped with visit days for prospective students. He was a 2019 Stewardson Design Competition finalist in the Stuckeman School, and received the 2018 Steele Fund Architecture Scholarship and 2017 Arthur v. K. Anderson Jr. Award for Study Abroad. Grant has participated in architectural internships at Kohn Pedersen Fox, Schradergroup Architecture, and Fernsler-Hutchinson Architecture, and looks forward to entering the profession and gaining his architect’s license following graduation. He is interested in potentially returning to academia to continue his research and teaching after practicing professionally.

Ray Hanley

Ray Hanley will earn his master of architecture degree in May, the final chapter in his academic career. He already holds an associate’s degree in architecture and construction technology from Harrisburg Area Community College and a B.S. in architecture and environmental design from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Growing up, Ray was always fascinated by the deep, profound impact that the design of spaces has on our lives. For him, architecture is responding to the cultural needs and identity of a place, both using what is working and strengthens the community, as well as innovative methods to create new meaning that correlates to a cultural context. He says design is a powerful tool, but successful design has the ability to change people’s lives and the environment on which it sits for the better.

Thomas Leonard

Thomas Leonard, of St. Louis, Missouri, will graduate with his B.Arch. in May. He has a strong interest in architecture at the urban scale, as well as the psychological implications of the built environment. He was a finalist in the 2020 John Stewardson Memorial Fellowship in Architecture. He has been involved with the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), where he served as president of the Penn State chapter in 2017-18. At the national level, he has served on the AIAS Elections Committee and represented the AIAS on the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accreditation visits at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles, California, and Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. Thomas’s thesis focuses on the architectural implications of building in the Mississippi River alluvial plain, and the possible ways architecture can take advantage of the dynamic landscape. This summer he will enter professional practice at LSM Studio in Washington, D.C.

Art History

Karly Etz

Karly Etz has distinguished herself academically as well as through teaching and service. Karly presented “Mapping the Body: Tattooed Cartographies in Twenty-First Century Art” at the College Art Association conference in February, and a related article has been accepted for inclusion in the forthcoming, peer-reviewed book, Traveling Bodies. Her research and writing will be supported in the coming months by a Humanities Institute Summer Residence Fellowship. A 2020 recipient of Penn State’s Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award in recognition of her excellence as a TA, Karly has also served as the instructor of record for two courses. She was a fundamental part of the College of Arts and Architecture’s redesign of the online version of “Introduction to International Arts” for the World Campus platform, and she delivered a presentation on this experience at the Digitally Engaged Learning conference held at York University in the fall of 2018. Karly’s dedication to service is likewise noteworthy. She has served as graduate coordinator for the Department of Art History’s Colloquia Series (2018-19) and as the elected graduate representative for the Department of Art History.

Jinny McGill

Jinny McGill, an outstanding graduate student, had a paper accepted for presentation at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference in Boston in March 2020, “Bugs and Bodhisattvas: Science Museums in Early 20th-Century Japan.” She received a prestigious travel fellowship from the Society of Architectural Historians to participate in their Field Seminar to Japan, which took place December 6-18, 2019. Jinny is also a recipient of a Penn State Department of Art History Dissertation Fellowship, and she presented a paper (based on a chapter of her dissertation), titled “An Ethos of Liminality: Shibakawa Mataemon’s Eight Scenic Views of Kōtōen,” at the 2019 Graduate Student Symposium. In 2018, Jinny received a grant from the Japan Foundation to participate in their “Japanese-Language Program for Specialists in Cultural and Academic Fields.” In her first year as a Ph.D. student, she presented a paper (based on her M.A. thesis), titled “Agents and Emissaries: Josiah Conder, Iwasaki Hisaya, and Japanese Modernism,” at the Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 8-9, 2016.

Sadie Middleton

Senior art history major Sadie Middleton has set a high bar as the first student representative on the Undergraduate Program Committee this year. Sadie has also been instrumental in restarting our undergraduate art history organization by meeting individually with fellow art history majors and by using a variety of social networking platforms to help majors connect with each other. She helped organize a fall ice cream social where art history students could meet faculty members in an informal setting, and she recruited new officers for the revamped and reenergized Undergraduate Art History Association. Sadie also lent her considerable energy and excellent organizational skills to THON, serving as a committee chair. A dedicated student who has contributed positively to the Penn State community, Sadie is featured in College of Arts and Architecture recruitment materials. Next year, she will begin graduate study in counseling.

Graphic Design

Anjana Padmakumar

Anjana Padmakumar graduated from Loughborough University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree (Hons) in 3D Design: New Practice. Originally from India, she studied and worked in Singapore and London, with experience in the advertising industry. Her experience in multicultural environments has affirmed her belief that design is a language used to create objects that reflect the value and purposes of any society. Given the ever-increasing problem of global waste in our lives, she believes that only truly innovative products can light the path to an inclusive future.Spanning different mediums and different forms of expression through making, her current practice lies at the flux of data and design. With her master’s education, she uses her work as a medium to talk about current world issues. Her recent project attempts to visualize data with a humanistic and emotional quality—such that it moves people from a personal standpoint, encouraging viewers to study data that would otherwise have been ignored. She focuses on topics like climate change, immigration, and children’s education with the understanding that interdisciplinary intersection creates depth and clarity for visual communication of complex information.

Taylor Mazzarella

Taylor Mazzarella will graduate from Penn State with a bachelor of design in graphic design. During her three years at the University she has been the merchandise chair of her THON organization, the vice president of Design Association, and a loyal Penn State football fan. After spending time studying abroad in Italy, she has expanded her cultural understanding of design and learned new techniques to broaden her ideation practices. Her biggest accomplishment at Penn State was her acceptance into her exclusive program of 18 students and her success within it—without having any previous design experience.

Christie Warren

Christie Warren is a third-year graphic design student specifically interested in user experience and user interface design. Her love for UI/UX design is inspired by the immense impact technology can make on nearly any area of people’s lives, especially when design is used to make this technology intuitive and enjoyable to use. Christie was the sole designer on the first place teams in the Nittany AI Challenge in both 2018 and 2019. In the 2018 Nittany AI Challenge, Christie’s team designed and developed LionPlanner, a web application that generates four-year academic plans for college students to eliminate the manual and tedious work of course planning. In the 2019 Nittany AI Challenge, Christie’s team created Revu, a web application that generates multiple-choice quizzes from readings to help teachers increase students’ out-of-class participation. LionPlanner was awarded $30,000, and Revu $18,000. Christie has continued her work on LionPlanner for three semesters as an intern in the Nittany AI Alliance, where she also works with other intern teams to design interfaces for their projects. She has also held internships at Pfizer in 2018 and West Arete in 2019, and will be a user experience design intern at the software development company Appian this summer. Christie has been invited to speak about her work and experiences at multiple events, including President Barron’s tailgate, the annual Penn State Outreach Appreciation Dinner, and the February 2020 Board of Trustees meeting.

Landscape Architecture

Chen Chen is a fourth-year undergraduate student in landscape architecture. The social and academic experience grounds her as an advocate of environment equality. She actively engages in cross-cultural studies while learning multiple languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, and German. Her practices in conservation, sustainability, and community design initiate her reflections on the paradox of human scale design in modernization, for which she wishes to pursue further education in landscape architecture after graduating in summer 2020. She plans to pursue a career in academia.

Hannah Gomez is a fifth-year landscape architecture student graduating this May. During her time at Penn State, Hannah has held internships at Bradley Site Design in Washington, D.C., and the campus planning department at Penn State, and has taught art camps and classes for young children, students, and faculty at the Center for Arts and Crafts. Hannah has taken studio courses in Barcelona, Spain, and Bonn, Germany, and this past summer she spent a month studying Aboriginal art and culture in Australia and New Zealand. In 2018, Hannah received a travel award for her work, which allowed her to travel to Utah to visit Bear Ears National Monument. Last spring, Hannah was awarded a Student Merit Award by the Pennsylvania Delaware ASLA Chapter. Hannah is currently working on her Schreyer honors thesis, a design and research project in collaboration with the Office of the Physical Plant exploring the possibility of reintroducing forested ecosystems into pockets of University Park, potentially increasing the habitat quality and ecological value of the Penn State flagship campus.

Shengwei Tan is a third-year master of landscape architecture student. The world of creating sustainable city environments and experiential landscape inspired him to pursue the major of landscape architecture. His master’s degree capstone project is particularly focused on the vision of urban micromobility, from current streetscapes to the city of the future. Shengwei had three years of urban planning study experience at Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture in China before coming to the United States to study landscape architecture.


Emmanuel Houndo

Emmanuel Houndo is a senior undergraduate student double-majoring in general music and health policy & administration. Throughout his time at Penn State, he has engaged in many ensembles; has performed solo at events like THON; and has taken on opportunities in the healthcare field that include research and internships. These opportunities have allowed him to explore the different ways in which music and healthcare can intersect. Going forward, he hopes to continue using his passion for music to connect with a wide range of people, from classical concertgoers to hospital patients. He intends to use music as a bridge and gateway to new connections, new ideas, and better understanding of the world.

Annie Liu

Annie Liu is a junior in the Schreyer Honors College pursuing a bachelor of musical arts in bassoon performance and a bachelor of science in general science. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Annie grew up in State College, studying bassoon with Professor Daryl Durran since 2013. She is a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the premier ensembles of the School of Music, and the Pentavalent Wind Quintet. Through a school-wide audition, Annie was selected to perform a solo with percussionist Gage Kroljic in the 2018 Mosaic concert, which showcases the school’s outstanding soloists and ensembles. She was a finalist in the Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, receiving an honorable mention in January 2020. Every semester of study, Annie has earned Jury Honors, a distinction awarded for excellence in final performance exams. She received the inaugural Sue Haug School of Music Leadership Award in 2019. In the 2020 School of Music Scholarship Competition, she was again a winner of the Haug Leadership Award and she also won the Presser Scholarship and a College of Arts and Architecture Creative Achievement Award. This semester Annie has worked as lab manager of the Pitch Exploration Lab, a music cognition research lab. Beyond her music activities, Annie serves as the engagement director of Science Lion Pride and volunteers at Discovery Space of Central PA. She interned with the German Academic Exchange Service RISE Germany program doing biology research at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Annie intends to pursue a master’s degree in bassoon performance.


Sophia Tepermeister

Sophia Tepermeister is graduating with a B.F.A. in theatre design and technology with an emphasis in scenic design, and a minor in anthropology. She is the recipient of the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, the President Sparks Award, and the President’s Freshman Award. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Oliver Smith Award for Excellence in Design and Production. During her senior year, she trained in the School of Theatre’s graduate design studio. Sophia has served as the set designer for two Penn State Centre Stage productions: Men on Boats and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. She was recently accepted to the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s (USITT) Emerging Creatives Showcase. Her work will be showcased at the 2020 USITT Conference in Houston. Sophia has worked as a scenic artist at various production companies in the Boston area, as well as the Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, Ohio. She has also worked as a resident assistant in East Halls for the last two years.

Tania Barrenechea

Tania Barrenechea is a third-year M.F.A. candidate in scenic design. She received her B.Arch. in architecture and urban planning from Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in 2015. Before coming to Penn State to pursue an M.F.A. in scenic design, Tania worked as an architect for five years in the studio Vicca Verde in Lima, Peru, starting as a trainee and working her way up to project manager. While at Penn State, Tania has designed the sets for the Penn State Centre Stage productions of A Little Night Music, directed by Phillip Fazio, and To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Susan Schulman. Other Penn State scenic design credits include Polaroid Stories and A Year with Frog and Toad. In addition to her scenic design work, Tania has been a graduate assistant for the School of Theatre’s prop shop and paint shop, and a TA teaching undergraduate classes in design and technology. After graduation, Tania plans to pursue an academic career while continuing to expand her portfolio as a professional scenic designer.

Phillip Fazio

Phillip Fazio is a third-year M.F.A. candidate in directing. Penn State directing credits include: A Little Night Music, which was his thesis project; Caroline, or ChangeMarry Me a Little; and Peter and the Starcatcher. New York City directing credits: The Book That I’m Going to Write, by Judy Garland (Jerry Orbach Theater); Gay Camp (HERE Arts Center); and Company (St. Bart’s Players). Regional directing credits: Parade, Ragtime, Follies, Grey Gardens, August: Osage County, Sunday in the Park with George, Proof, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, and City of Angels. Assistant director credits: Pippin (co-production with Center Theatre Group and Deaf West Theatre) and West Side Story (Signature Theatre). Associate member of SDC and alumnus of Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab.

Visual Arts

Min Gu

Min Gu is a Ph.D. candidate in art education. As an artist, educator, and researcher, she works with artists who have disabilities. Her research problematizes conceptions that consider disability as a personal, biological deficit. For her dissertation research, Min’s ethnographic study of the Creative Growth Art Center (California), serving artists with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities, offers a unique perspective on disability and art through her use of contemporary theories and innovative research methodologies. This work calls attention to the ways in which artists with disabilities engage with and conceive of artmaking that might otherwise either go unnoticed or be dismissed as “disabled” art.

Kaitlyn Innerst is a senior pursuing a B.A. in integrative arts with minors in photography and psychology. She has had work in several exhibitions over the past year, including the Creative Resolutions exhibition at the Palmer Museum of Art, where she displayed “End the Stigma.” Additionally, she became published for a piece, “The French Dancer,” in the art magazines Folio and Kaleidoscope. She is driven to create work that makes a difference in the world and her ultimate goal is to pursue her M.F.A. to further hone her photography skills.

Cairus Larsen is an M.F.A. candidate in the sculpture program whose work, research, and teaching explore familiar materials and objects from domestic spaces as transformed through a lens of cultural critique. Cairus’ works reflect upon living as a differently abled individual making sense of the world via making, particularly when struggling with words. Cairus utilizes a broad range of techniques, including metal casting, sewing and needlework, and digital fabrication. Her work subtly tweaks found objects ranging from the iconic to the mundane in ways that make us question what exactly we are seeing. Cairus has recently been nominated for an International Sculpture Center Award and has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions.