William “David” Starnes of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, will be honored as the student marshal for the Eberly College of Science during Penn State’s summer commencement ceremonies on Saturday, August 12, on the University Park campus.
Starnes will graduate with a 3.94 grade point average and a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a focus on neuroscience. He is a Schreyer Scholar in the Schreyer Honors College and has been a member of the Dean’s List for eight semesters. Starnes has been honored with numerous awards and scholarships, including the Delaware State Golf Association Scholarship Award, the Alma Newlin Undergraduate Scholarship Award for Science, an Academic Excellence Scholarship from Penn State, and the Braddock Scholarship Award from the Penn State Eberly College of Science in 2019; the Virginia L. Corson Headings Scholarship in the Eberly College of Science in 2022; and the Anita M. Collins Undergraduate Student Research Fund in Biology, the Penn State Student Leadership Scholarship, and the Alma Newlin Graduate Scholarship Award for Science in 2023.
“I was surprised and honored to learn that I would be representing the college,” Starnes said. “I have appreciated working with and getting to know all of my professors over the years and have a lot of respect for them. This recognition has made me proud to have learned from all of them and to have achieved so much as a student here at Penn State.”
While at Penn State, Starnes conducted research on the effects of alcohol on brain development using a mouse model in the lab of Nikki Crowley, assistant professor of biology and Huck Early Career Chair in Neurobiology and Neural Engineering. To support his research, Starnes was honored with a Student Engagement Network Grant in 2021, the Schreyer Honors College Summer Research Fund in 2021 and 2022, and Eberly Undergraduate Research Support in 2022 and 2023.
Starnes was president of the Remote Area Medical club at Penn State. Remote Area Medical is a recognized student-led chapter of the national non-profit Remote Area Medical, which operates pop-up clinics in communities across the country. Its mission is to prevent pain and alleviate suffering by delivering free dental, vision, and medical services to underserved communities. As president, Starnes managed the organization and participated on the clinic leadership committee.
“My most important experience during my time at Penn State was working to organize a free health clinic taking place in Spring Mills, PA and working to help the local community,” said Starnes.
After graduation, Starnes will attend Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
Starnes is a graduate of Unionville High School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. His parents are Bill and Lynda Starnes.