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Antony Palocaren

Antony Palocaren“It gives me great honor to be a Penn State student. People all over the world know of this institution, and to be able to say that I’m from Penn State makes me very proud!”

Hometown:  I’m originally from Vellore, India. However, my family moved to West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, five years ago. My parents wanted to find a place in the U.S. that was known for its educational institutions, but without a high cost of living. We chose West Mifflin, a small borough in the outskirts of Pittsburgh with an outstanding school district and compassionate people. Most of my family is still in India, and I still keep in touch with them.

Why Penn State?  I chose Penn State because of its reputation in engineering. It was close to home, but at the same time, far enough away to give me a taste of life on my own. I’m now a senior in the engineering science and mechanics program, and I know I made the right choice. The best education doesn’t come from books—it comes from hands-on learning experiences. At Penn State, I was able to complete an honors project that went above and beyond the course syllabus; it introduced me to cutting-edge technology.

Scholarship experience:  I received scholarships through the Schreyer Honors College that helped me to pay for school and reduced the burden on my family. Receiving a scholarship isn’t just about finding a way to pay for school, though—it’s also about motivation. Being the beneficiary of a merit scholarship encouraged me to set higher academic goals every semester and work to achieve them. I was proud to be an honors student, and I tried to keep the flag flying high.

Experience with faculty:  The first person that comes to mind is my thesis adviser, Dr. Corina Drapaca. Even though she has a busy schedule, she always made time to meet with me and talk to me about my research. She is someone who truly believes in going the extra mile to help out her students, and that’s something that I’ve found to be true of all Penn State professors. Great faculty members are the cornerstone of a Penn State education. They take you under their wings and mold you into an exceptional citizen.

Extracurricular activities:  I’m the treasurer of the Society of Engineering Science, but the primary activity I’ve been involved with is Army ROTC. This program has truly changed me for the better. Before this, I would have been afraid to stand up and talk in front of a group of people. But after joining Army ROTC, not only can I fearlessly talk to a group of people, but I’m also learning to be a leader.

Future plans:  I’ll be graduating this May, and I’ve been accepted to my department’s graduate program. After earning my master’s degree, I hope to join the Army as a Second Lieutenant in the military intelligence corps or the military police corps. Perhaps I’ll eventually join the FBI or the CIA as a clandestine agent.

On the importance of giving back:  Scholarships and endowments boost our confidence as students and drive us to achieve more—to set high standards both in and out of the classroom. One day, we will repay this gratitude by helping the next generation of students who are struggling with rising college costs, and we will pass on the torch for generations to come.