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Gerhart-Hines Selected as Student Marshal for Eberly College of Science

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Zachary P. Gerhart-Hines of Mount Penn, Pennsylvania, will be honored as the Eberly College of Science student marshal during summer commencement ceremonies on Saturday, 14 August 2004, at the Penn State University Park campus.

Gerhart-Hines, who will be completing a major in biochemistry and molecular biology, is enrolled in the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State, has been on the Dean’s list every year, and has a 3.98 grade-point average. He received an Evan Pugh Scholar award in 2003 and was named a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society earlier this year. He also has earned Academic Excellence Awards each year.

“It’s nice to know that you are doing well academically, but it is not possible to know how your grades compare to those of your fellow students,” says Gerhart-Hines. “I was very excited when I learned that I had been selected as student marshal. Being recognized by the college in this way gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment.”

Gerhart-Hines had looked at several schools when he was deciding where he wanted to go to college. “When I started getting information about Penn State — especially about the Eberly College of Science and the Schreyer Honors College — I discovered academic opportunities that were not available at many of the private schools I had looked at,” he says. “Penn State has an amazing, unparalleled faculty. The opportunities to be involved in undergraduate research offers students a great head start for future studies.”

Gerhart-Hines has been involved in research on gene regulation in Joseph Reese’s lab for two and a half years, where he has worked with the yeast-transcriptional-repressor CRT1 as part of his honors-thesis research. "Many human-disease states result from damage to the genetic material caused by endogenous and exogenous mutagens,” says Joseph Reese. “Our laboratory studies how cells respond to DNA damage and how they express repair proteins. Zach studied the function of a protein critical for the expression of DNA-repair genes. His work has increased our understanding of how cells respond to DNA damage and prevent mutations.”

He received a Turock Fellowship for Outstanding Applicants from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and the Jack and Eleanor Petit Science Scholarship at Penn State. He won the Penn State/New York Times Civic Engagement Speech Competition, and has been a math tutor at the University Learning Center for four years. He also has participated in a mentoring program through the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) Society as both a mentee and as a mentor to a first-year student.

A graduate of Antietam High School in Reading, Pennsylvania, Gerhart-Hines will be accompanied at graduation by his parents, Charles Gerhart and Ruth Hines—who received both her bachelor’s degree, in 1971, and her master’s degree, in 1975, from Penn State — as well as his brother, Isaac Gerhart-Hines. He has selected Joseph C. Reese, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, to be his faculty escort for the commencement exercises.

Gerhart-Hines will continue his studies at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he has received a doctoral fellowship to study cellular and molecular biology and biochemistry. His long-term plan is to conduct biochemical research. “Research like I’ve been involved in here at Penn State is key to the general understanding of biochemistry, but I’d like to be involved closer to the application of that knowledge,” says Gerhart-Hines. He is particularly interested in the genetic factors indicated in human diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

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