Home > News and Events > 2017 News > Sylvia Biscoveanu to Represent Penn State's Eberly College of Science as Student Marshal at Spring Commencement 2017

Sylvia Biscoveanu to Represent Penn State's Eberly College of Science as Student Marshal at Spring Commencement 2017

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01 May 2017

StudentMarshal4-2017Sylvia Biscoveanu of Yardley, Pennsylvania, will be honored as the student marshal for the Eberly College of Science during Penn State University’s spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 6, 2017, on the University Park campus. Biscoveanu’s faculty escort for the commencement exercises will be Miguel Mostafá, associate professor of physics and of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State.

Biscoveanu will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average and bachelor’s degrees in physics and Spanish. She was a Schreyer Honors College Scholar, a Paterno Fellow, and a member of the dean's list for every semester at Penn State. She was a recipient of the Penn State Provost Award from 2013 to 2015, the President’s Freshman Award in 2013, the President Sparks Award in 2015, the Evan Pugh Junior Award in 2016, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award in 2016, and the Evan Pugh Senior Award in 2017. Biscoveanu also received several scholarships and grants, including the Schreyer Honors College Academic Excellence Scholarship from 2013 to 2017, the NASA Space Grant for Women in Science and Engineering Research (WISER) in 2014, the Bert Elsbach Honors Scholarship in Physics in 2015, the John and Elizabeth Holmes Teas Scholarship in Physics in 2016, and the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Award in 2016.

While at Penn State, Biscoveanu conducted research in Mostafá’s laboratory studying the mass composition of ultra-high energy cosmic rays. She helped to describe a new method to determine the mass of the primary particles within cosmic rays, permitting analysis of particles at higher energies than previous methods. Biscoveanu continued this research during a study abroad program at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. She also traveled to the University of Melbourne in Australia and the California Institute of Technology to investigate gravitational waves -- ripples in the curvature of spacetime predicted by Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity over 100 years ago and only recently observed for the first time. Using data from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), she searched for evidence of gravitational waves from ancient random astrophysical events that make up what is called the stochastic gravitational wave background. Biscoveanu’s contribution to LIGO gravitational wave research led to her addition as a co-author on two papers published in the journal Physical Review Letters in 2016.

In addition to her academic achievements, Biscoveanu served as the vice president of membership for the Penn State Music Service Club. She is also a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society, the Phi Beta Kappa honors society, the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and the American Physical Society.

“I was beyond thrilled to be selected as student marshal,” said Biscoveanu. “I am honored to represent the Department of Physics and the Eberly College of Science and am grateful that my hard work is being recognized.”

After graduation, Biscoveanu will continue to study gravitational waves at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, through a Fulbright Postgraduate Student Award. She will begin a Ph.D. program in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018 and plans to pursue a career in university teaching and research.

“My time at Penn State has taught me the value of dedication and hard work,” said Biscoveanu. “I’m lucky to have ended up at an institution where I was able to pursue all my passions at a high level and where I found faculty who supported me and shaped me into the scientist I am today.”

Biscoveanu, a graduate of Pennsbury High School in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, will be accompanied at commencement by her mother, Mihaela Biscoveanu; her father, Adrian Biscoveanu (Penn State Great Valley ‘02); and her brother, Eric Biscoveanu.

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