UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two students have been selected to represent the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences as marshals for the college’s spring 2021 commencement: Mingsong Chen will represent the college as the student marshal, the top graduate overall, and Madeline Vailhe will represent the college as the engineering honor marshal, the top graduate from an engineering discipline. They will be recognized during the college’s undergraduate commencement ceremony slated for 6 p.m. Sunday, May 9, in Beaver Stadium.
Mingsong Chen: Student marshal
Chen, a Schreyer Scholar double majoring in energy business and finance and Earth sciences with a minor in statistics, will serve as the college’s student marshal. He is graduating summa cum laude with a 4.0 cumulative grade-point average.
“I was thrilled and honored when I received notification that I was selected to represent the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences as the student marshal,” Chen said. “I felt a sense of accomplishment that my academic performance was being recognized, and I felt grateful to the people who helped me along the way, especially my parents. Without their generous support, all of my accomplishments would not have been possible.”
Chen selected Joel Landry, assistant professor of environmental and energy economics, as his faculty marshal. Landry served as his research mentor and thesis supervisor.
Chen conducted research with Landry as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) project. RGGI is a market-based cap-and-trade system for managing greenhouse gas emissions from electric power generation. Pennsylvania has taken steps to join RGGI beginning in 2022 and the Penn State project is evaluating the legal and policy environment for joining RGGI.
“This research allowed me to directly research climate change and energy issues,” Chen said. “As a member of the power system modeling team, I constructed a comprehensive multipollutant emissions baseline based on data from the 2017 National Emissions Inventory and electricity generation units included in the model. For my honor thesis for the Schreyer Honors College, I formulated an estimate of the health co-benefits produced by the change in emissions if Pennsylvania joins the RGGI, which is an important component of this project.”
Chen received numerous awards, including the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, the President’s Freshman Award, and the Thomas A. Ortenzi Award in Energy and Mineral Engineering. He also was the recipient of many scholarships, including the Matthew J. Wilson Honors Scholarship, Energy Business and Finance Scholarship, and the John and Elizabeth Holmes Teas Scholarship.
Chen served as president of Penn State’s Chinese Chess Club and worked as a part-time research associate at Penn State’s Center for Energy Law and Policy.
After graduation, Chen plans to pursue a graduate degree in economics with the goal of conducting research in energy policy.
Madeline Vailhe: Engineering honor marshal
Vailhe, a Schreyer Scholar majoring in materials science and engineering with a minor in engineering mechanics, will serve as the college’s engineering honor marshal. She is graduating summa cum laude with a 3.98 cumulative grade-point average.
“I was surprised and genuinely excited when I heard that I was selected as the engineering honor marshal,” Vailhe said. “I am honored to be selected to represent the college. In my time here, I have found a home within the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and with my peers. I am sad to part ways, but also excited to see what my classmates will go on to do.”
Vailhe selected Allison Beese, associate professor of materials science and engineering, as her faculty marshal. She conducted research in Beese’s lab related to the relationship between microstructure and mechanical behavior of additively manufactured metallic materials.
“My research focused on investigating the multiaxial stress state and fracture behavior of Inconel 625, a nickel-based superalloy, manufactured with laser powder bed fusion,” Vailhe said. “I’ve been able to utilize experimental techniques such as hardness, uniaxial and notched tension testing, as well as simulation techniques like finite element analysis to compare its microstructure and properties.”
Vailhe received many awards, such as the President’s Freshman Award, and was inducted as a College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Academy for Global Experience Laureate. She also co-authored two research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.
She was the recipient of numerous scholarships, including the Matthew J. Wilson Honors Scholarship, Anthony J. and Alberta L. Perrotta Scholarship, Norris B. McFarlane Scholarship, Guy and Rae Rindone Award for Academic Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering, and National Merit Scholarships.
Vailhe was involved with many clubs and organizations, including the Penn State Chapter of Women in 3D Printing; Penn State Chapter of Material Advantage; Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (oSTEM); and the Penn State Racquetball Club.
After graduation, Vailhe plans to pursue a doctoral degree in materials science and engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
The marshals selected for the college’s five departments are:
- Hope Bodenschatz, Department of Geography
- Emily Kiver, Department of Geosciences
- Thad Nosar, John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering
- Xianqing Li, Department of Materials Science and Engineering
- Kaylen Woods, Department of Meteorology and Atmospheric Science