Alumni Association announces 2020-21 Young Alumni Ambassadors

Eleven recent graduates selected for leadership program
Young Alumni Ambassadors

The Alumni Association's 2020-21 ambassadors, who were selected after a competitive process, will receive personalized career support, gain knowledge about volunteer leadership, and enhance their sense of Penn State pride. 

Credit: Penn State Alumni Association

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Penn State Alumni Association has selected 11 recent graduates as 2020-21 Young Alumni Ambassadors. These young alumni will share a yearlong experience aimed at developing their skills to become the University's future volunteer leaders. 

The 2020-21 ambassadors were selected after an extensive interview process. They are as follows:

  • Akhil Maheshwari, Class of 2020

  • Ashley Au, Class of 2020

  • Alyssa D'Costa, Class of 2020

  • Connor Pardoe, Class of 2020

  • Isabella Webster, Class of 2020

  • Jacob Scioscia, Class of 2019

  • Lauren Dempsey, Class of 2020

  • Nichol Chery, Class of 2020

  • Nicholas Petrantis, Class of 2020

  • Samuel Gonzalez, Class of 2020

  • Sarah Roman, Class of 2020

Each ambassador is matched with an affiliate group of the Alumni Association, as well as a professional mentor from the Penn State network to provide learning opportunities. The graduates will receive personalized career support, gain knowledge about volunteer leadership, and enhance their sense of Penn State pride.

Personalized to each participant, the 2020-21 program offers the class an opportunity to pursue their own interests and Penn State passion with the goal of becoming lifelong volunteer leaders for their alma mater. The 11 ambassadors will be located across the country — including in Atlanta, Houston, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.

The Young Alumni Ambassador program was developed in part through the generosity of Peter and Ann Tombros, who provided seed funding in 2017 for a pilot initiative of the program, and have continued their generosity with gifts in 2018, 2019, and again in 2020.

“It’s an honor to once again partner with the Penn State Alumni Association and strengthen the impact of our young alumni leaders. We see the value and potential in these Penn State leaders whose voice and vision will help us continue to shape a relevant path forward for our alma mater,” Peter Tombros said.

“This program enhances life after graduation by pairing the ambassadors with seasoned mentors, resources and chapter leaders throughout the country. Now, more than ever, it’s important to keep alumni connected and engaged with Penn State and the Alumni Association.”

Below are brief bios for each of the 2020-21 Young Alumni Ambassadors:

Akhil Maheshwari
Maheshwari graduated from Penn State with a degree in finance from the Smeal College of Business. During his time at Penn State, Maheshwari has been an active member of Lion Ambassadors, THON, and the South Asian Student Association. He also was a Penn State football intern, where he worked with the operations and recruiting staff. This summer, Maheshwari will begin working with PNC as an analyst in the Asset Management Development Program in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Ashley Au
Au graduated from the Smeal College of Business with a degree in marketing. She was a Bunton-Waller scholarship recipient and a committee member for the Smeal Diversity Enhancement Program’s annual S.T.A.R.T. Conference. Au served as vice president of a Smeal marketing organization called Penn State Prime. She also was an active member of the Smeal Sapphire Leadership Academic Program. In her junior year, she spent her spring semester studying abroad in Paris. Upon graduation, she will begin her full-time career as an assistant marketing manager at The Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

Alyssa D’Costa
D’Costa is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering and a minor in service enterprise engineering. She is originally from Warren, New Jersey, and chose Penn State for its world-class engineering program, well established alumni network, and the overwhelming sense of pride and belonging of the student body. While at Penn State, she was heavily involved with Habitat for Humanity, Phi Sigma Rho, and LifeLink. She also was a member of the Industrial Engineering Honor Society, gave student and family tours through IME Ambassadors, and captained the women’s ultimate frisbee team. Additionally, she has worked as a teaching assistant for CAS 100, a project management intern for CBG, and a supply chain intern for PepsiCo. Upon graduation, she will be moving to Atlanta, Georgia, to work with Manhattan Associates as a software consultant.

Connor Pardoe
Pardoe graduated summa cum laude from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications with a degree in advertising/public relations and from the College of the Liberal Arts with a degree in communication arts and sciences. During his time at Penn State, Pardoe served as the administrative vice president of the Penn State Lion Ambassadors — the Penn State Alumni Association’s Student Alumni Corps — and president of the Penn State Performing Arts Council, among other campus leadership positions. With a vision to piece together Penn State perspectives, Pardoe sought to learn about others, educate others, and speak to the many unique and highly meaningful narratives that Penn State students possess. Most recently, he served as an alumni relations intern with the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. With an enduring Penn State passion, Pardoe looks forward to remaining connected to his alma mater in a multitude of purposeful ways for the rest of his life. Following graduation, Pardoe will be joining Highmark Health as a Leadership Acceleration Program associate in Pittsburgh.

Isabella Webster
Webster graduated with a bachelor of science degree in security and risk analysis from the College of Information Sciences and Technology. During her time at Penn State, Webster served as the executive director of Penn State’s 100th Homecoming, A Century of Stories. Additionally, she served on the University Park Undergraduate Association’s 14th Assembly as the academic representative for the College of IST, on Movin’ On’s Executive Committee, as the two-time lead copy editor for the Student Handbook, and as a research assistant for Penn State’s Applied Cognitive Science Lab. After graduation, Webster will be joining IBM as a federal consultant in the Enterprise Applications group in Washington, D.C.

Jacob Scioscia
Scioscia graduated from the Schreyer Honors College with a degree in chemical engineering. At Penn State he was a Lion Ambassador serving on the strategic planning committee, spent two years as a Dancer Relations Committee member for THON, and was an active member in the Penn State CrossFit Club. His interests include playing soccer, basketball and ultimate frisbee; watching Penn State sports and the Pittsburgh Steelers; seeing concerts, plays and comedy shows; and playing the piano. Scioscia will be working for Anheuser-Busch as a shift supervisor in a location yet to be determined.

Lauren Dempsey
Dempsey graduated cum laude with a degree in advertising/public relations and a triple-minor in business, psychology, and digital media trends and analytics. During her time at Penn State, she served as the executive leader and presenter for multiple years for the American Advertising Federation Competition Team. She also served as the alumni relations chair for the Advertising/Public Relations Club, as well as the student representative for the Advertising/Public Relations Alumni Board. Dempsey was selected as one of 15 students nationwide to be an American Advertising Federation 2019 Stickell Intern. She also served as the vice president for the Bellisario College of Communications Student Council. In her senior year, she attended every Penn State football game, home and away. She danced in THON, was an avid Penn State sports fan — especially wrestling, basketball, hockey and football — and was an IM basketball and dodgeball champion.

Nichol Chery
Chery earned her bachelor's degree in advertising and a minor in digital media trends and analytics from the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. She served as the second vice president of the Black Caucus, where she scheduled social events for minority students attending Penn State and represented the Black Caucus on the PRCC Liaison Board and Hub Advisory Board. She was an account executive for Penn State Comm Radio’s ad sales, interned with Penn State Athletics as a customer relations representative during the fall 2019 football season, and worked for Penn State Lion Line in support of the University's fundraising efforts. Chery was inducted into the American Advertising Federation and National Society of Leadership and Success college chapter at Penn State. She hopes to assist current Penn State students by providing them with resources and advising them throughout their college years. 

Nicholas Petrantis
Petrantis graduated this past May from the Smeal College of Business with a degree in finance. As a student at Penn State, Petrantis was involved with the Sapphire Leadership Academic Program and the Penn State Asset Management Group. Upon graduation, he will join The Blackstone Group in New York City. Petrantis' interests include watching the New York Yankees, New York Jets, and Penn State football, as well as listening to classic rock music and playing the piano.

Samuel Gonzalez
Gonzalez is a graduate of the College of Education with a bachelor of science degree in elementary and early childhood education and a teaching English as a second language certification. During his time at Penn State, Gonzalez was elected the secretary, chief of staff, and ultimately the vice president of the Abington Student Government. He was hired as an orientation leader and eventually head orientation leader at the Abington campus. Additionally, Gonzalez was hired and served as a Student Affairs affiliated front desk support, a founding position holder at Abington as a peer career adviser, and served on Abington's Academic Affairs Committee as a student fellow and spearheaded the addition of a health policy administration minor into the campus' academic offerings. Gonzalez also contributed as a founding member of the “Lions Read” initiative, which is a mentoring program designed to enhance the early reading, math and science skills of children in the communities surrounding Penn State's campuses. Gonzalez has been hired as an instructor at Abington for the campus' summer camp program. He will be a full-time teacher in Philadelphia this September while pursuing a master of education degree in reading/writing/literacy with reading specialist certification from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

Sarah Roman
Roman graduated from the Smeal College of Business with a bachelor of science in supply chain and information systems, as well as minors in international business and Spanish. During her four years at Penn State, Roman served as the overall chair for the Sapphire Leadership Academic Program and the THON and volunteer chair for the Business and Society House. Additionally, she was involved with Lion Scouts, Mortar Board, and the finance committee for THON. Her most cherished Penn State memories are dancing in THON 2018, studying abroad in the Netherlands, and cheering on the football team. She is extremely grateful for her professional experiences as a co-op at The Hershey Company in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and an intern at Danone North America in Broomfield, Colorado. She looks forward to beginning her career as a district manager with ALDI Grocery Stores.