Bryan Manzano of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, will be honored as the student marshal for the Penn State Eberly College of Science during the University’s spring commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 7, on the University Park campus. His escort for the commencement exercises is Cornelia Osbourne, graduate student in biology.
Manzano will graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average and bachelor’s degrees in biology and music performance. He is a Schreyer Scholar in the Schreyer Honors College and has been a member of the Dean’s List every semester. Manzano was honored with an Evan Pugh Scholar Award in 2022 and a School of Music Scholarship in 2019. He will also be recognized as the student marshal for the College of Art of Architecture.
“I am extremely humbled to be selected for this honor and am happy that my hard work as a double major has paid off,” he said.
While at Penn State, Manzano conducted research with Illiana Baums, then a professor of biology, as well as Osbourne. He used the hybrid coral species Acropora prolifera to study the mismatch that can occur between the genome in the nucleus of a cell and the separate genome within mitochondria in the cell, called mitonuclear conflict. He wrote a literature review about the effects of this conflict on the second-generation offspring of these coral hybrids. He later developed computer code using a gene coexpression network analysis approach to compare the genome of the coral hybrid to that of its two parental species to look for evidence of mitonuclear conflict, which could impact future offspring viability. Manzano also worked with the lab to carry out a protocol to extract genetic material called RNA from the tissues of various species of corals.
In addition to his research activities, Manzano served as a teaching assistant for the course BIOL 220W: Ecology and Evolution. He was also the president of the School of Music’s Encore Benefiting THON organization as well as a member of the Penn State Horn Society, the Penn State Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra. Manzano also performed as a part of the Nittany Valley Symphony and the Pennsylvania Chamber Orchestra.
“I think my most important experience was going to Carnegie Hall as part of the president’s concert for the Symphonic Wind Ensemble in March 2020,” he said. “It taught me that when one studies at university, it is important to be able to take advantage of any travel experience you can in order to make memories that you will never forget.”
After graduation, Manzano plans to work as a research technician in the lab of Song Tan, Verne M. Willaman Professor of Molecular Biology. He is excited to join this lab and help them work towards gaining further understanding of gene regulation, which could have implications for the development of future cancer treatments.
A graduate of Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, Manzano will be accompanied at commencement by his father, Patrick; sister, Alyssa; and partner, Carson Bechdel.
Student marshals are also selected to represent each of the majors associated with the college. The spring 2023 student marshals are:
- Maya Debski, Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Abigail J. Stolinas, Plantary Science and Astronomy
- Ellie Kim, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Grace K. Buddle, Biotechnology
- Kerry T. McCann, Forensic Science
- Aidan R. Donnelly, Microbiology
- Lizzie J. Giacobe, Microbiology
- Alexandria Auerbeck, Biology
- Ryan Lai, Chemistry
- Isabelle Stepler, Mathematics
- Jack Piazz, Mathematics
- Jackson Ross MacTaggart, Physics
- Marc Jason Lussier, Premedicine
- Joshua Warden Howells, Science
- Nathan Charles Howells, Science
- Candace L. Todd, Statistics
- Owen W. Lloyd, Data Sciences