UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences recently recognized recipients of the Outstanding Senior Award and Outstanding Student Awards for the 2018-19 academic year.
The Outstanding Senior Award, sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society and the Coaly Society, honors the senior who best balances outstanding academics, extracurricular activities, work experience and communication skills. Candidates are selected based on resumes, grades, interviews and a short essay.
Victoria Herr, of Lancaster, was named the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Senior Award. Herr graduated in May with a degree in agricultural and extension education and a minor in international agriculture. During her undergraduate career, she maintained exceptional academic success and excelled in hands-on learning through internships and study abroad experiences.
She was a Global Teach Ag intern at Penn State, served as a conservation education intern at the Lehigh Valley Zoo, and worked with students at Penns Manor Area High School as a student teacher and FFA adviser. She also traveled to Costa Rica as an FFA chaperone and studied agriculture in Mexico and Belize through embedded courses.
Herr has been awarded numerous honors during her time at Penn State, including three College of Agricultural Sciences scholarships, an Ag Alumni Society award, the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators Student Teacher Scholarship, and a National Association of Agricultural Educators Upper Division Scholarship.
Marcus Lounello, of Glendale, Colorado, was the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Student in Turfgrass Management Award. Before attending Penn State, Lounello served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. He received a medical discharge and was introduced to the Semper Fi Foundation upon his return to the states. The foundation brings service members together through activities such as golf to promote physical healing through exercise and mental healing by learning about other soldiers’ experiences.
After returning to Colorado, Lounello intended to pursue a career in firefighting. While working at a summer job at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, he realized a degree in turfgrass management would give him the opportunity to enjoy his hobby while also helping others find fulfillment through the sport of golf.
Lounello was the recipient of the Mendenhall Award, the top award in the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America’s 2018 Scholars Competition. He intends to return to Denver and would like to develop a golf-centered veteran work program to assist fellow veterans in finding success as they transition back to civilian life.
Shaina Walker, of Halifax, received the 2019 Forest Technology Program Award. She graduated in May with an associate degree in forest technology from Penn State Mont Alto and will be continuing her education at the baccalaureate level.
Walker has been lauded for her scholastic and leadership abilities. At the top of her class academically, she was president of the Forestry Club and co-captain of the Penn State Woodsmen Team. She demonstrated leadership by organizing club activities, including tree planting projects on two riparian sites for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, hosting guest speakers, and leading the “Walk in Penn’s Woods” event.
Walker began working on a research project on the economics of teak in Belize last summer and has continued her research this summer. She currently is a part-time outdoor educator at Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve in Adams County. She is focusing on a career in outdoor education and will be working toward that goal at Unity College in Maine.