Graduate & Professional School Court

Cierra Chandler

Cierra Chandler is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Material Science and Engineering program. She earned her BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Syracuse University where she was heavily involved with the National Society of Black Engineers and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Her current research interests include computational catalysis, machine learning, and energy storage. Cierra is a SLOAN scholar as well as an NSF CoMET fellow. Passionate about increasing the number of underrepresented persons in higher education as well as their retention rate, Cierra joined the Multicultural Engineering Graduate Association and the Black Graduate Student Association where she gets the opportunity to meet many great people who share the same goal.

Why do you love Penn State: I love Penn State because Penn State offers so many opportunities to grow and prepare you to be a world-class citizen. The support for both my professional and personal development is unmatched. I feel like I have people on my team and invested in my growth so I truly appreciate the support systems that Penn State has cultivated. It helped form my home away from home. Favorite Creamery Flavor: My favorite Creamery flavor is classic vanilla. Can’t go wrong 😊

Erin Griffon

My name is Erin Griffon, and I am a second-year graduate student studying Cyber Security and International Development in the School of International Affairs. In 2020 I graduated from the College of Liberal Arts with a major in International Relations/Politics and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from Penn State. I focus on women’s security in the Middle East and hope to continue in the field post-graduation. I was a Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholar for the US Department of State, which is where I

began my passion for international studies. Penn State has been my home for the last five years, and through that, I have been involved in many aspects of Penn State’s amazing campus. I am President and founder of the Middle Eastern Studies Club, a teaching assistant for the graduate school, and I love being a part of THON! In my free time, I enjoy spending it with family outside and exploring the National Parks; I have currently visited 32 and hoping to see them all one day. I am so honored to represent the Graduate Homecoming Court and looking forward to seeing all the past, present, and future Nittany Lions this Homecoming Week. We Are! Why do you love Penn State: I love Penn State because it has become a second home for me! I have had so many amazing experiences throughout my time at Penn State and it has always been a place where I can do what I enjoy all while seeking out new experiences. Favorite Creamery Flavor: WPSU Coffee Break

Hannah Nolte

Hannah Nolte is a third-year Ph.D. candidate in the Industrial Engineering program in the College of Engineering having earned her B.A. in Physics and Honors Psychological Science from Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota. At Penn State, Hannah completed a M.S. in Industrial Engineering by researching the impact of practicum style assessments on the design self-efficacy of first-year engineering students.

Her current research focuses on empowering undergraduate engineering students through interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research. Specifically, Hannah investigates the applicability of mindfulness-based interventions as a stress mitigating technique for engineering design to improve engineering design education, design outcomes, and student well-being. Hannah’s research has been presented at the International Design Conference, the International Design Engineering Technical Conference, and the Great Minds in Science Early-Career Faculty Symposium. Passionate about uplifting other women in STEM through mentoring, Hannah mentors multiple undergraduate research students through her research group and programs like the Multi-Campus Research Experience for Undergraduates. She supports new graduate students at Penn State through peer mentorship programs, contributing to new student orientations, and coordinating workshops and panels to introduce students to various resources. Hannah is a recipient of the Julie D. Erdley Graduate Scholarship Award, ASME-CIE Graduate Research Poster Award, and Julian A. Crawford Memorial Prize. While at Penn State, Hannah has been a leader and member in the Graduate Women in Engineering Group, Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), Graduate Council Student Caucus, and Penn State’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES). Hannah works to build a legacy of greater inclusion and to create increased equity through policy change and representing her fellow students. Outside of her academic pursuits, Hannah enjoys reading, spending time at the lake, embracing multi-generational interactions, and volunteering for children’s educational programs. Why do you love Penn State: I love Penn State because it has given me an amazing community of friends and colleagues that support, motive, inspire, and encourage me! I also greatly appreciate all the opportunities and experiences Penn State has provided me that have helped me to grow as a student, researcher, and person. Favorite Creamery Flavor: Alumni Swir

Shaheed Soligné

Shaheed Soligné (Shah) is a 2nd-year graduate student and Thomas R. Pickering Fellowship Recipient at the School of International Affairs. Prior to Penn State, Shah studied at the Univeristy of North Carolina at Wilmington and the Université Internationale de Rabat in Morocco. He is also a veteran of the U.S Army, serving from 2012 to 2018. He is currently studying Public Diplomacy in preparation for his first diplomatic post with The U.S. Department of State. Shah speaks 7 languages and is classically trained in operatic performance.

Why do you love Penn State: I love Penn State because I have been able to carve out my purpose here. I have gained lifelong family and friends who have helped me to reach my full potential. Favorite Creamery Flavor: My favorite Creamery ice cream flavor is a butter pecan. A southern favorite in my household.

For more information check out the Graduate & Professional School Court handbook.

Grad & Professional Court Handbook

Spring Nominations


Spring Nominations will open 8 a.m. All Nominations will need to be submitted online. Only one nomination is needed to receive an application. Nomination tables will be set up in the HUB on April 27th (Legacy Celebration). Nominations will close on August 31st at 5:00 pm, and no late submissions will be accepted.



Court applications will go out to all those nominated via email. Applications will be due electronically on September 5th at 11:59pm. No late applications will be accepted.

Faculty and Staff Panel Interviews

September 19, 2022

The selected 10 Court candidate’s will be interviewed by the Faculty panel.

Court Workshop

October 3rd, 6-8:30PM

Location will be in HUB 134. All Homecoming Courts (Grad, University and Student) will receive their schedule of events and important information for Homecoming Week.

Court Service Event

Date TBD

All Graduate and Professional School Court members will plan and implement a Campus-wide community service event.

Homecoming Week

October 16th – 22nd

All members of the Graduate and Professional Court are required to be present and active at all Homecoming Week Events.

Homecoming Football Game

October 22nd

Members of the Graduate and Professional Court will be recognized at the Homecoming Football Game.