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Willaman Gateway to the Life Sciences at University Park during the spring 2024 semester.

Eberly student, Megan Conklin, among six graduating seniors honored with John W. White Fellowship

6 May 2024

The Faculty Senate Committee on Student Life recently awarded six graduating Penn State seniors, including Eberly's own Megan Conklin, who will be pursuing graduate-level education with the John W. White Graduate Fellowship. 

This purpose of the fellowship, considered one of the oldest continuing fellowships at the University, is to recognize and support outstanding students enrolled or planning to enroll in graduate degree programs. Students considered for this award are full-time seniors who have exhibited academic excellence, are graduating summa cum laude and intend to engage in graduate study.

The students were each recognized during the April meeting of the University Faculty Senate.  

“Not only do these students demonstrate excellence in academics, but they also have deeply rooted and multifaceted stories about how they have achieved their graduate study goals,” said Jennelle Malcos, chair of the Senate Committee on Student Life, while introducing the students. “Saying these stories are inspirational barely does them justice."

Malcos also thanked the members of the Student Life committee for helping her with the process of reviewing the 40 applicants and selecting the finalists. Those committee members are: Heather Parziek, Scott Roths, Jacob Levendosky, Namiko Yamamoto and Shane Johnson.

The rubric the committee used to select the six recipients emphasized post-graduation plans, strength in leadership, service to discipline or community, and effective communication. 

Megan Conklin is a biology major and Schreyer Scholar who earned honors for her thesis work in kinesiology. She will be enrolling in the Physician Assistant (PA) Program at DeSales University in the fall, with the goal of working in pediatrics. As an undergraduate researcher in the Women’s Health and Exercise Lab, Conklin investigated the relationships between nutrition, reproductive health and sleep. Conklin honed her patient care skills by clocking more than 1,000 hours as an emergency department technician. She also gave back to the State College community by volunteering as a certified domestic violence and sexual assault counselor through Centre Safe. During her time at Penn State, Conklin also served as the vice president for the Pre-Physician Assistant Club, where she helped fellow students learn more about the PA career path.  

“Throughout my time at Penn State and in State College, I developed within me a value of community that I will take with me through physician assistant school and also throughout my career as a PA, as I work with families and children and watch them grow up from infancy all the way through young adulthood,” Conklin said. “Thank you, so much, for this great honor.”