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The Communicator


Six standout students selected as Bellisario College student marshals

Headshots of six student marshals
Bellisario College student marshals for spring 2021 include (clockwise from upper left): Bing Zhang, Nina Trach, Jake Jurich, Eva Rhule, Daryle Watkins and Justin Korman.

Six Penn State students who have completed stellar careers in the classroom and complemented those efforts with career-development opportunities, cocurricular and club activities were selected as student marshals for the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications for spring 2021 commencement exercises.

The honorees include an overall marshal and one each from the five academic majors in the Bellisario College. They are: Bing Zhang, overall; Nina Trach, advertising/public relations; Jake Jurich, film production; Justin Korman, journalism; Daryle Watkins, media studies; and Eva Rhule, telecommunications and media industries.

In-person commencement exercises will be conducted at 1:30 p.m. May 8 as part of a combined ceremony with the College of Education and the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Beaver Stadium. The University-wide virtual ceremony will be conducted at 6 p.m. May 9. More information may be found online.

Overall: Bing Zhang
Zhang, a dean’s list student from Changzhou, China, completed majors in advertising/public relations and psychology. She added a minor in digital media trends and analytics and completed several internships — including serving as a marketing and publicity intern for A24, an award-winning entertainment company, as a communications and social media strategist for the Sustainability Institute at Penn State and as a Summer Fellow with Ketchum, which was named Global Creative Agency of the Year in 2019.

She also participated in several student organizations, serving as publicity chair for the Ad/PR Club and as social media chair for the Communications Student Council. Zhang was a member CommRadio, Penn State Lion Scouts and participated in the Penn State team for the National Student Advertising Competition.

Zhang started her career at Penn State Abington, where she earned the Penn Stater of the Year Award in 2019 and served as an orientation leader.

“I feel extremely honored to be selected as the student marshal. I am so glad that my work has been recognized by Bellisario College of Communications, and I am utterly grateful for everyone who has helped me during my college career,” Zhang said. “I am so thankful for the people I have met, relationships I have made along the way.”

She selected Bob Martin, assistant dean for internships and career placement, as her faculty marshal.

Advertising/Public Relations: Nina Trach
Trach, a dean’s list student from Kendall Park, New Jersey, completed majors in advertising/public relations and Spanish. A Schreyer Honors Scholar, she served as a resident assistant, and was selected as a Bellisario College Fellow, Paterno Fellow and a member of the Homecoming Student Court in 2020.

She earned numerous awards and scholarships for academic excellence, studied abroad in Granada, Spain, was a member of Penn State Lion Ambassadors and participated in Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) as a committee member twice. Trach also completed seven different internships, including opportunities with the National Football League, as a summer intern; ABC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” as a production assistant; and Axalta Coating Systems, as a corporate communications intern.

Trach’s honors thesis focused on fan perception of professional sports as a social justice platform and in November 2020 she presented research on soft power in athletic mega-events as a guest lecturer at the University of Georgia.

After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in community relations or corporate social responsibility. She hopes to work in the athletics industry and help sports leagues, teams and players to give back to their communities.

“One of the most special moments in my time at Penn State was singing the alma mater after my first football game back from studying abroad. Standing with my closest friends, I knew I would always have a home with the sea of people dressed in blue and white surrounding me,” Trach said. “After returning from such a formative experience, I felt I had graduated from the verse ‘when we stood at childhood’s gate, shapeless in the hands of fate’ to being certain that ‘though didst mold us, Dear Old State.’”

She selected Steve Sampsell, the Bellisario College’s director of strategic communications, as her faculty marshal.

Film Production: Jake Jurich
Jurich, a dean’s list student from Ashburn, Virginia, completed a major in film production with minors in music technology and theatre. He was named a Bellisario College Fellow, served as a Bellisario College student tour guide and worked as a film equipment room assistant. He earned numerous awards and scholarships for academic excellence.

He wrote and directed two films as a student (“Take A Little Time” and “Wheat-19”) and served as a cinematographer on another (“Pulling Daisies”). He also served as a member and officer for FOTO, a THON special interest organization, and as a member of the Student Film Organization. He danced in THON as well.

Jurich, who plans to move to New York City after graduation to begin his film production career, completed three major-specific internships — working for Blue Lion Multimedia in Leesburg, Virginia, Red Ford Productions in Los Angeles, and Park Slope Productions in New York City. During that most recent internship he has been researching, developing and pitching reality show concepts for consideration by networks.

“As an underclassman, I got to know some previous student marshals through a few of my favorite classes and experiences,” Jurich said. “I was confident they deserved to represent their respective majors by receiving such distinction. I just hope I’ve used my time here to leave a similar impression on those coming up behind me, because that would truly be the highest honor.”

He selected Rod Bingaman, associate teaching professor of film production, as his faculty marshal.

Journalism: Justin Korman
Korman, a dean’s list student from State College, Pennsylvania, completed a major in journalism with minors in history and political science. He was selected as a member of the University-wide Presidential Leadership Academy and served as an associate justice of the University Park Undergraduate Association judicial board.

He served as a counselor for the Bellisario College’s digital journalism camp, a manager for the Penn State women’s volleyball team, was an assistant coach for the State High girls’ basketball team and was a co-producer and host of a sports-talk show on The Lion 90.7.

Korman also completed an independent study opportunity in fall 2020 that focused exclusively on covering the 2020 presidential election.

“I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to represent our journalism graduates. My classmates are some of the most innovative, determined, and compassionate people at Penn State,” Korman said. “It’s an honor to serve as the department’s student marshal because of the strength and resilience of our class.”

He selected Katie O’Toole, lecturer of journalism, as his faculty marshal.

Media Studies: Daryle Watkins
Watkins, a dean’s list student from Manahawkin, New Jersey, competed a major in media studies, as well as a major in political science. A Bellisario College Fellow, she earned numerous awards and scholarships for academic excellence.

She completed internships with the U.S. Department of Energy, Penn State’s Office of Government and Community Relations, and the Centre County Democratic Committee. She also served as a policy analyst for the Office of Detroit Council President Brenda Jones, and completed a fellowship with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

“The most important lesson I learned was to take advantage of all the opportunities at Penn State,” she said. “The amazing career and academic resources allowed me to be more successful here than I ever thought possible.”

After graduation she plans to travel to Washington, D.C., to pursue a career in government affairs.

She selected Michelle Rodino-Colocino, associate professor of film production and media studies, as her faculty marshal.

Telecommunications and Media Industries: Eva Rhule
Rhule, a dean’s list student from Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, completed a major in telecommunications and media industries, with minors in global and international studies as well as information sciences and technology. She earned numerous awards and scholarships for academic excellence.

She complemented her classroom experience with an internship with the U.S. Department of Student Affairs, and she studied abroad in Todi, Italy. She also conducted research summarizing appellate court cases involving Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

She participated in Penn State Mock Trial, serving as a team captain, judging and alumni coordinator and, eventually, and adviser. She was a member and leader in the Telecommunications Club and serves as a teaching assistant, summer tour guide and member of Happy Valley Communications.

“The most important lesson I learned at Penn State was that if you are proactive and go after what you want, you’ll get there,” Rhule said. “This was especially important for me because I had to teach myself to go outside my comfort zone, but once I learned how to do this, I was able to achieve any goal that I set for myself.”

After graduation she plans to attend law schools and pursue a career in public interest communications and technology law.

She selected Matt Jackson, associate professor of telecommunications and media industries, as her faculty marshal.