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Spring 2018 Student Marshal

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Spring 2018 Student Marshal

Mackenzie Moon.

17 October 2018


Mackenzie Moon of Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, was honored as the student marshal for the Eberly College of Science during Penn State University’s spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 5, 2018, on the University Park campus. Moon’s faculty escort for the commencement exercises was Richard Ordway, professor of molecular neuroscience and genetics at Penn State.

Moon graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average and a bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in psychology. She was a Schreyer Scholar in Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College and a member of the Dean’s List every semester. Moon’s honors and awards while at Penn State included the Schreyer Academic Excellence Scholarship from 2014 to 2018; the Penn State Provost Scholarship from 2014 to 2018; a Pugh Scholar Senior Award in 2017; the Edward C. Hammond Jr. Memorial Scholarship for academic achievement in 2016 and 2017; the J. Ben and Helen D. Hill Memorial Scholarship Fund, awarded on the basis of nomination for research achievement, in 2016; the Louis A. Martarano Endowment for Education Abroad, awarded by the Eberly College of Science, in 2016; and the President’s Freshman Award, for outstanding first-year students earning a perfect 4.0 GPA, in 2015.

While at Penn State, Moon conducted research in Ordway’s laboratory, using fruit fly genetics to better understand how genetic and environmental factors interact in degenerative disease. She was a co-author on a research article on this topic, published in the journal Disease Models & Mechanisms. Moon’s thesis project focused on the identification and characterization of a mutant fly that exhibited marked resistance to environmental stress–induced degeneration. By identifying the mechanisms that confer this protection, she hopes to gain insight that can be applied to the development of gene-targeted therapies for degenerative diseases, whose burden on public health is projected to grow substantially over the next few decades.

In addition to her academic achievements, Moon was a member of Global Public Health Brigades, an international movement of university students working to improve health conditions in communities throughout Central America and West Africa. With Global Brigades, she traveled on two separate week-long medical/public-health hybrid trips to rural, medically underserved regions in Panama and Honduras, where she helped run medical clinics with local physicians and build infrastructure to reduce transmission of preventable diseases. Moon was also a patient floors and emergency department volunteer at Mount Nittany Medical Center from 2016 to 2017; a summer counselor at Royal Family Kids Camp in her hometown, a camp designed to provide children in the local foster care system with a week of positive memories in a safe, supportive environment, from 2013 to 2017; and she participated in two academic study abroad experiences: studying cancer biology in Beijing, China, as part of a month-long course (BIOL 416) via the Penn State–Peking University exchange; and, as part of an embedded spring- break course in Paris, France, meeting with and interviewing Holocaust survivors and members of resistance efforts. Through Honors English 202BH, an intensive course on literacy and literacy-related issues, Moon tutored an adult learner studying for the GED exam. She was also a learning assistant for BMB 401 and a teaching assistant for Honors BIOL 230M.