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Penn State York Celebrates Commencement Dec. 17

12/16/2010 —

Latashia GilkesLatashia L. Gilkes, “Tasha” as everyone knows her at Penn State York, wasn’t really interested in going to college when she was a senior at William Penn High School. Thanks to the gentle convincing of some people at the campus, Gilkes changed her mind and will cross the stage Friday night, Dec. 17, at Penn State York’s 10th annual fall commencement and accept her bachelor of science degree in human development and family studies. Commencement is set for 6 p.m. in the campus’ Pullo Family Performing Arts Center and is free and open to the public. For those who cannot attend the event, Penn State York's commencement can be viewed on Comcast cable channel 18 or streaming on the Web site at http://www2.yk.psu.edu/commencement.
Gilkes moved to York from Queens, New York, when she was 17-years-old and had to get accustomed to a new school and a new area at the same time. She started at William Penn High School as a senior so she didn’t have much time to get to know the school, she just had to get her work done, and she did.

Like many students at high school graduation, Gilkes didn’t really know what she wanted to do with her life. She now credits the campus and the opportunities she had there with her success and direction in life. Gilkes got started at the campus in 2005 through a summer bridge program which offered her the opportunity to earn college credits in the summer and just get off to a good start. She credits people in that program and in the admissions office for bringing her to the campus and is thankful she made that decision.

“Penn State York is a learning experience. When I first started classes I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Gilkes. “Now I have a focus and know what I want to do with my life. This is a small community within a community. You get to know everyone and everyone is very personable,” she said.

As a student at York, Gilkes served as a work-study in the student affairs office and then the admissions office. Through these jobs, she realized she wanted to pursue a career in college admissions. The human development and family studies degree she will receive has provided her with a background in individual and family development across the life span. Courses emphasize biological, psychological, social/cultural, and economic aspects of development. Through course work and undergraduate internships and research projects, she has developed skills such as counseling, human assessment, research, and program planning and evaluation, that will prepare her for admissions and recruitment work.

In addition to her work experience, Gilkes was involved with numerous campus organizations including the Lion Ambassadors, a group of students who give tours and promote the campus; Student Government Association; Hispanic Student Organization, Black Student Union, raising money for children with cancer through THON; to name a few. She also took part in numerous diversity activities from Unity Week on campus to helping with the Race Against Racism sponsored by the York County YWCA.

In addition to her goal of working in a college admissions office, she eventually hopes to earn a master’s degree in higher education or college counseling. Gilkes is looking for a job but first will be celebrating her accomplishments with family and friends at commencement.

In celebration of 25 years of service to the University, M. Abul Hasan, Ph.D., associate professor of physics, is the commencement speaker. Hasan, associate professor of physics, began his Penn State career in 1985 at Penn State York and this year celebrates twenty-five years of service to the University. He is a member of the graduate faculty at the University and has supervised graduate students working on their doctoral research at Penn State and the University of Ferrara, Italy, where he was on sabbatical leave in 1994-95.

During his tenure at the campus, Dr. Hasan has served on numerous campus and University committees. He served as a member of the University Senate from 2005-09 and served on the York Campus Senate as secretary, vice-chairman, and chairman. An advocate for promoting diversity, Dr. Hasan is a member of the Penn State York Diversity Committee and served as the chair of the group for a number of years. He continues to play an active role on that committee and works to promote cultural diversity through the campus and University. In addition to his work in diversity, Dr. Hasan started the faculty colloquium program on campus in 1986 and these faculty presentations continue today.

His scientific accomplishments include the discovery of 1h1 and 1P1 charmonium states in collaboration with seven institutions, including Penn State at Fermilab. In addition, he and other physics faculty at Penn State York and Mont Alto received $35,000 in National Science Foundation funding to create a computer aided lab at each location.

He holds a B.Sc. (honors) in physics and a M.Sc. (gold medalist) in physics from Karachi University in Pakistan and an M.S. in physics and Ph.D. in physics from Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa. In 1971, he earned the government of Pakistan’s Merit Scholarship for Higher Education Studies Abroad for being first in the College of Science at the University of Karachi.

He has presented at more than thirty conferences and has published in about fifty publications and refereed journals. Hasan’s complete bio is on the Web at http://www2.yk.psu.edu/commencement/speakers.html.

In addition to hearing from Hasan, Penn State York will continue its tradition of open microphone where graduates can speak for a moment. The top graduating senior in Penn State York’s baccalaureate programs, Magdalena J. Czyzykowski, a bachelor of science in electro- mechanical engineering technology with highest distinction; top associate degree graduate, Terry L. Hein, associate degree in electrical engineering technology; and top master’s degree graduate, Ashley S. Norris, master of education in teaching and curriculum; will also speak.

Penn State York will award 28 master of education in teaching and curriculum degrees; 50 baccalaureate degrees; 5 in bachelor of arts in communication arts and sciences; 3 bachelor of arts in English; 1 bachelor of arts in letters, arts, and sciences; 15 bachelor of science in business; 7 bachelor of science in electro-mechanical engineering technology; 8 bachelor of science in information sciences and technology; 8 bachelor of science in human development and family studies; and 3 bachelor of science in science. The campus will also award 23 associate degrees: 6 in business administration; 4 in electrical engineering technology; 5 in human development and family studies; 1 in information sciences and technology; 4 in letters, arts, and sciences (liberal arts); and 3 in mechanical engineering technology.

Four Penn State York students who completed their work at an upper division campus of Penn State will return to York, their home campus, to receive a degree during the ceremony. Penn State York offers the first two years of more than 160 Penn State majors and those students comprise most of the campus.

A reception in The Pullo Center follows commencement.

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