Meet the Political Science Class of 2021 with Professor Matt Golder

matt golder commencement speech 5/7/2021

Matt Golder, professor and co-director of undergraduate studies for the Penn State Department of Political Science, recognizes some of the accomplishments and shares some of the future plans of the department's graduating seniors:

Political Science student, Nyla Holland is 2021 College of the Liberal Art’s Marshal and African American Studies Marshal

5/5/21 Nyla Holland

Escorting Faculty Marshal: Candis Watts Smith, Brown-McCourtney Early Career Professor in the College of the Liberal Arts and associate professor of political science and African American studies. 

Nyla is the daughter of Donte and Rosalyn Holland of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is graduating with B.A. degrees in African American Studies and Political Science. Nyla is a fully-engaged member of the Penn State and State College community, serving as president of the Penn State Black Caucus as well as the former executive director of the MLK Jr. Commemoration Student Committee. Nyla was also a co-chair of the Student Code of Conduct Task Force and 2021 recipient of the Rock Ethics Institute Stand Up AwardFollowing graduation, she will complete one additional year in the Public Policy program to earn her master's degree, after which she plans to work in the social or environmental policy field at a nonprofit organization or in local government.  

My liberal arts education will help me to think critically in my future career in the public policy field. I will be able to make better sense of the world and connect with people of different backgrounds. 

2021 International Politics Student Marshal, Emily Kiver

5/5/21 Emily Kiver

Escorting Faculty Marshal: Susan Welch, Professor of Political Science 

Emily is the daughter of Christopher and Nicola Kiver of State College, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar, she is graduating with a B.A. degree in International Politics, a B.S. degree in Earth Science and Policy, and a minor in French. Some of her involvements at Penn State include being a research assistant to Susan Welch (professor of political science and former dean of the College of the Liberal Arts), a policy internship with the Pennsylvania Solar Center, and captain of the Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team. After graduation, Emily hopes to work in climate policy analysis, research, or advocacy in Washington, D.C. 

“The values and skills that I have learned from the College of the Liberal Arts, including communication, cultural awareness, and curiosity, will always go with me. These skills not only give you competitive advantage in your career, they also promote a global perspective, high ethical standards, and a lifelong appreciation for knowledge.” 

2021 Political Science Student, Brooke Przybylinski is Social Data Analytics Student Marshal

5/5/21 brooke przybylinski

Escorting Faculty Marshal: Marie Hojnacki, Associate Professor of Political Science  

Brooke is the daughter of Vin and Cathie Przybylinski of Wayne, New Jersey. A Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar, she is graduating with a B.S. degree in Social Data Analytics and a B.A. degree in Political Science. Brooke was a research assistant in the Department of Political Science, where she coded Twitter data for a doctoral student. Brooke was a marketing intern for Promotion in Motion, Inc. and served as a club officer for Penn State Club Track and Field for two years.  After graduating, Brooke will complete a master’s degree through Penn State’s Smeal College of Business. Afterward, she would like to pursue a career in sports analytics.  

“The College of the Liberal Arts gave me the opportunity to pursue an interdisciplinary major not offered through many other universities. I was able to become well-rounded in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM, which makes me a versatile candidate among my competition. I feel I was challenged to improve my skills in these fields, which has helped me in the professional world.” 

2021 Political Science Student Marshal, Charles Ryan

charles ryan 5/5/21

Escorting Faculty Marshal: Michael Nelson, Associate Professor of Political Science 

Charles is the son of Amy Linch and Pete Ryan of Riegelsville, Pennsylvania. A Paterno Fellow, Schreyer Scholar, and alumnus of the London School of Economics, Charles is graduating with B.S. degrees in Political Science and Economics. Charles was involved in the Presidential Leadership Academy and was the president of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society. Charles is currently a finalist for the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs and plans to relax for a few weeks while thinking about his next step.  

“Take your interests seriously, whether they be academic or extracurricular, and leverage the resources here at Penn State to learn and grow. Our faculty are the most generous people, and you should have the confidence to ask questions and learn from them, both in and outside of the classroom. Most of all, branch out, learn something new, take risks, and reflect on what you are learning from your engagements and how you are contributing to your community.”