College of IST announces spring 2022 student marshals | #education | #technology | #training

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) will honor Schreyer Honors Scholar Kaitlyn Bridge as student marshal and Charles Hickey as the ROTC student marshal at spring 2022 commencement, which will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, in the Pegula Ice Arena.

Kaitlyn Bridge, IST student marshal

Bridge, who will earn dual bachelor’s degrees in information sciences and technology and communication arts and sciences, is honored to have been selected to represent the College of IST.

“I feel so lucky to have had an amazing experience over the past four years at IST,” Bridge said. “I have not only learned so much from the amazing faculty and staff, but I am in constant awe of my fellow students. The students in the College of IST are some of the brightest, most innovative and hardworking people that I have ever had the pleasure to work with. It is a privilege to be recognized among the talent of the Class of 2022.”

Bridge earned a spot on the dean’s list every semester during her time at Penn State while simultaneously getting involved in extracurricular activities and leadership opportunities in the college, including serving as an IST Diplomat and a learning assistant.

She has served as a fierce advocate for encouraging more women to get involved with technology and an IST diversity mentor for the Schreyer Honors College. Attending the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing — the world’s largest gathering of women technologists — in both 2019 and 2021 was especially significant to Bridge.

“Both experiences were extremely empowering and a testament to how women are changing technology for the better,” Bridge said. “This conference showed me the power and strength that comes when we amplify female voices in technology and when women support each other.”

Bridge greatly benefited from the expertise of IST faculty who either led her courses or otherwise made an especially positive impact on her education and experience, including Steve Haynes, teaching professor, who served as Bridge’s honors adviser.

“Kaitlyn is a very intellectually curious student but also possesses the diligence to act on this curiosity and get things done,” said Haynes. “I’m confident that these traits will serve her well in her future career, and that she will be an excellent representative for the College of IST long after she leaves Penn State.” 

Within the larger University community, Bridge was a member of the Association for Women in Computing, and was involved in orientation and diversity, equity and inclusion programs at Schreyer.

One of her most impactful experiences was serving as a technology captain for the Penn State Dance Marathon, through which she applied skills learned at IST to help support the world’s largest student-run philanthropy. This past February, she had the opportunity to stand on the dance floor during the final four hours of THON weekend when the fundraising total was revealed.

“The moment when they announced that we broke $13 million filled me with a surge of gratitude and pride for this organization and for my technology co-captains,” Bridge said. “I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone who donated toward that total visited a THON website that my committee and I worked on. I truly realized the impact we can have on the world through technology, hard work, and passion for a cause.”

Bridge has won multiple awards during her time at Penn State, including the University Park Four-Year Provost Award, the President’s Freshman Award, the President Sparks Award, the Frymoyer Honors Scholarship and the Evan Pugh Scholar Award. She also completed education abroad experiences in London and Dublin.

Originally from River Edge, New Jersey, Bridge will move to Poughkeepsie, New York, after graduation to work as a software developer at IBM, where she completed three internships.

Gunnery Sgt. Charles Hickey, ROTC student marshal

Gunnery Sgt. Charles Hickey, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in security and risk analysis (SRA), is representing Penn State’s Naval ROTC for the College of IST.

A native of Bedford, Pennsylvania, Hickey enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2008, beginning his career with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Division. He deployed twice to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He served as a drill instructor training recruits, then completed two more deployments in Japan, Australia and South Korea.

“I’m proud to be a Marine because of the things that I’ve witnessed and seen my fellow Marines do — the odds that they’ve overcome and the sacrifices that they make, putting other people above themselves,” he said.

In 2017, Hickey came to Penn State after being selected to serve as the assistant Marine officer instructor, during which time he began taking classes through Penn State World Campus. Halfway through that tour, he was accepted to the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program — an enlisted-to-officer path that ends with a commission as a second lieutenant — to become a full-time Naval ROTC student at University Park.

His personal military awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars in lieu of third award, and the Combat Action Ribbon. His academic awards include the Evan Pugh Scholar Award.

Retired Marine Col. Jake Graham, professor of practice in the College of IST, has served as a mentor to Hickey over the past few years. Hickey attributes his desire to pursue a degree in SRA and his subsequent successes to Graham’s guidance and advice.

Likewise, Graham has high expectations for Hickey as he progresses through the officer ranks after graduation.

“After more than 26 years of active service with the Marine Corps, I have come to recognize and seek out the tenets of sound leadership — character, integrity and selflessness — all traits that befit Charles Hickey,” said Graham. “I would seek his services in time of war or peace — he is that good!” 

Earning his degree as an adult learner, Hickey and his wife, Denielle, have three children, Ella, Sawyer and Miles. He is extremely grateful to the Marine Corps for the opportunity to earn his degree at Penn State as a full-time student through the commissioning education program, pausing deployment and operational commitments and allowing him to focus on his studies and his family. He hopes that through his experience, he can be a role model for others.

“Hopefully, my path is an example that others who may be starting college after the military or with a large gap after high school and before college can follow,” Hickey said.

After graduation, Hickey will attend The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, for six months, where he will receive further military training that will allow him to continue to advance his military career.

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