UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania — When senior Maria Howe found out she had been chosen as Penn State Smeal College of Business’ Spring Student Marshal 2022, it was the affirmation that all her hard work over the past four years had borne fruit. Of her impressive list of accomplishments, she says, this recognition is the one she is most proud of.
“By exploring and benefiting from the diversity of Smeal’s experiences, I learned and grew a lot,” said Howe. “I’m thrilled to be recognized as a student marshal and feel a lot of validation because of the effort I put into this college.”
Howe, a Schreyer scholar, will graduate on Saturday with a 4.0 GPA, a bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in economics. The Lancaster native has held several positions with the Volunteer Tax Assistance Program, including President, Site Coordinator and Tax Preparer, and Vice President of Operations for the Nittany Lion Fund. She has also served as Vice President of Operations, Senior Fund Manager of Finance and Director of Women on Wall Street.
After graduation, Howe will return to Perella Weinberg Partners where she previously interned to work as an investment banking analyst in the New York headquarters.
“Across every experience, from classes to organizations, Smeal really emphasizes the importance of networking and making the most of every connection,” Howe said. “It’s something I’ve really taken to heart, and it’s translated into my own success here.”
Howe described his journey into finance as “atypical”. Initially an actuarial student at Smeal, she experienced different fields of activity through courses and internships before embarking on finance. When she heard about the Nittany Lion Fund, she “fell in love” with what it offered and decided to get involved.
“The fund is an example of the extra incentives Smeal gives his students and the kind of values and culture he endorses,” Howe said. “I think college really challenges you to push yourself, make the most of every opportunity, and keep moving towards your goals.”
Her favorite course was Finance 301H, where she and her team prepared a comprehensive strategic business plan for North American Training Solutions LLC as the flagship project of her class, leading the preparation of the company’s five-year pro forma financial statements. company for the plan, she said.
“Business plan is a huge undertaking, and it was an amazing opportunity for me to manage a group and gain experience leading a real business plan,” Howe said. “Making the plan and learning about a business in depth cemented my interest in finance.”
The course is taught by Greg Pierce, an associate professor of finance, whom Howe described as a mentor to her throughout her college days. As a teaching assistant (TA) for his BA 301 and Finance 301H courses, Howe helped Pierce grade, invigilate exams, and train new TAs each academic year.
In 2020, when Pierce was hospitalized due to COVID-19, Howe and a second assistant helped him immensely by completing his three fall semester 2020 courses in collaboration with other professors, leading the revisions of final exams, arranging exams and compiling final grades for the three courses, “a function they had never done before,” he said.
In light of the support Howe gave him throughout this heartbreaking experience, he said he was “blessed” to have her as a teaching assistant.
“Ms. Maria Howe is an incredible student, volunteer and mentor who is well deserving of the honor of Marshal of Smeal College for the next intake in May 2022,” said Pierce.
Beyond her diversity of experiences, Howe’s academic prowess is exemplified by the long list of scholarships and awards she has received:
- The President’s Freshman Award
- The President Sparks Award
- Evan Pugh Scholarship
- Koch Family Scholarship
- Schreyer Academic Excellence Scholarship
- dean’s list
In addition to Howe, the Smeal College of Business also recognizes student marshals within each department based on their outstanding academic achievement and contributions to the college.
Ashley Reed will be recognized as a marshal of accounting students and will earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a minor in French and Francophone studies. Reed, a native of Port Matilda, is a recipient of the Evan Pugh Award and the President Sparks Award and is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society. After graduation, she will work at Strawser Construction Inc. in Columbus, Ohio.
A Pittsburgh native, Taylor Geppert is the Actuarial Science Student Marshal and is a recipient of the Evan Pugh Scholar Award and the President’s Freshman Award. A minor in mathematics, Geppert interned on the board of the Actuary of the Future Section of the Society of Actuaries and served as Director of Corporate Outreach for Smeal’s Actuarial Science Club. After passing four actuarial exams, she will join Cigna Health & Life Insurance Company in Connecticut after graduation.
The Marshal of Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation Students is Maria Cesare, from Pen Argl, who was awarded the Anthony “Tony” Warren Scholarship and the University Provost Award. Cesare was a teaching assistant at Smeal and is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society. She will attend graduate school at the University of Southern California to pursue a master’s degree in landscape architecture.
Finance student Marshal Grant Hopkins is a Schreyer Fellow with three Bachelor of Science degrees: Finance, Statistics, and Mathematics, as well as a Master’s degree in Applied Statistics. He has held leadership positions in the Sapphire Academic Leadership Program and was a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy and the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. Hopkins was a research assistant in Dr. Le Bao’s statistics lab and will pursue a doctorate in biostatistics after graduation.
Bennett Yousaitis, from Reading, was chosen as the marshal of the management students. Yousaitis will earn a bachelor’s degree in management and is a member of the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society and the THON Eclipse organization. He was also assistant director of the Antietam Valley Recreation and Community Center. Bennett foresees future employment in human resources.
The student marshal of management information systems is Sarah Sheils, from Palmyra, who will obtain a bachelor’s degree in management information systems. She has received the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, the President Sparks Award, and the Boeing Charity Trust Fellowship. Sheils served as vice president of the student organization of management information systems and interned at Ross Stores. She will join Clark Associates in Lancaster, Pennsylvania as a procurement analyst.
The marketing student marshal is Vincent Alois, from Lewes, Delaware, who majored in marketing and minored in Chinese and sports studies. Alois was President of the Penn State Sports Business Club, 2022 THON Dancer, and Chinese Language Program Certificate Recipient for Outstanding Achievement. He interned at the Penn State Center for the Study of Sports Intercollegiate Athletics Conference and plans to work in marketing or partnerships for a sports agency after graduation.
Hailing from Guangdong Province in China, Marshal Yushi Hou, a student of risk management, majored in the enterprise risk management option within enterprise risk management. She has concurrent majors in Japanese and Statistics and a minor in International Business. Hou served as President of the Enterprise Risk Management Association, Smeal Student Mentor, and Vice President of Penn State’s ERO Pool Club in 2018. She accepted a position with Kenja KK in Japan, a global entrepreneurial company specializing in blockchain technology .
Katherine Groves, of Port Matilda, is a student marshal in supply chain and information systems and will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain and information systems and a minor in French and Francophone studies. She was Captain of Smeal’s Business Ethics Team, Smeal’s Integrity Advocate, a member of Sigma Chi Mu Tau, the Supply Chain Honor Society, and a recipient of the Evan Pugh Scholar Awards. She accepted a position as a supply chain analyst at Hershey Company.
Finally, the ROTC student marshal is Daniel Hinton, from Dickson City, Pennsylvania, who majored in finance and has minors in management information systems and military studies. He served as the Penn State Lacrosse Club Team President and Operations Officer for the Nittany Lion Battalion for the fall 2021 semester. Daniel is a member of several honor societies. Upon graduation, he will work as a military intelligence officer with the active duty component of the US military.