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Graduation Bittersweet for Student from India

Graduation at Penn State York
Shantanu Rajadhyaksha talks about his experiences at Penn State York.
5/12/2010 —

Shantanu Rajadhyaksha traveled half way around the world to earn a bachelor of science in information sciences and technology and his graduation from Penn State York on May 14 will be bittersweet. While he is excited to complete the degree, he has mixed emotions about leaving the friends he made here in the United States and returning to his home country, India. Commencement is at 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.

Rajadhyaksha is part of the first group of students to take part in a 2+2 program between Penn State and Vidyalankar School of Information Technology in India. The program combines the first two years of university education in India with the final two years at Penn State York. The Vidyalankar School of Information Technology is affiliated with The University of Mumbai.

“Besides the top-notch education, I think there is so much to learn here from being independent, getting to learn different cultures, meeting new people, learning new subjects, and learning American values and culture,” said Rajadhyaksha. “I will miss everyone.”

Rajadhyaksha didn’t waste any time getting involved on campus and took part in a variety of cultural events including Unity Week, the campus’ weeklong celebration of diversity, and arranged a memorial service following the bombings in Mumbai. He was also a blogger on the Penn State York Admissions blog site and shared his experiences as an international student at the campus. He was active in promoting Penn State York in India and was the head student representative for the overall program. A familiar face throughout the campus, Rajadhyaksha made many new friends and that he says is what makes it so difficult to leave.

He already has a job and will return to Mumbai to work with Teach for India, a partner organization of Teach for America, for two years. Rajadhyaksha will be working in low income schools to change and reform their education system and infrastructure.

Rajadhyaksha will celebrate his graduation with the friends he has made in York, and his mother, who is here from India to watch him graduate.

In addition to Rajadhyaksha, other students in the program graduating are Rohan Chitalia, Krupali Kirti Desai, Kashmira Kundargi, Kiran Mody, Akhil Rane, Ashish Rane, Sayur Shah, and Bhaskar Suryakumar.

Penn State York’s commencement speaker is John J. Romano, Ph.D., vice president for commonwealth campuses at The Pennsylvania State University and a former campus executive officer at York. Romano became part of the Penn State community more than four decades ago and has diligently served the University in a variety of positions throughout those years. At the end of June, he will leave his post to spend time with his family and pursue his personal interests of sailing, traveling, reading, and golfing.

A familiar face in York, Romano served as the campus executive officer at Penn State York from 1985 to 1993 and during that time was successful in increasing campus enrollments and outreach activities in York and Lancaster. He led the campaign that resulted in the building of the M. S. Grumbacher Information Sciences and Technology Center and was instrumental in helping the campus gain funding and support for the Pullo Family Performing Arts Center, the Lee R. Glatfelter Library, and the John T. and Paige S. Smith Atrium, which opened in 2005. Romano was the commencement speaker at York in fall 2005 in celebration of the first commencement in the newly opened Pullo Center.

In addition to hearing from Romano, Penn State York will continue its tradition of the open microphone where graduates can briefly speak. Top associate degree graduate Keith Glatfelter, York, Pa., associate degree graduate in mechanical engineering technology; top baccalaureate degree graduate Eric S. Rohrer, Columbia, Md., bachelor of science in electro-mechanical engineering technology; and Michael J. Renoll, Spring Grove, Pa., representing the master of education program in teaching and curriculum; will also say a few words.

Penn State York will award 28 associate degrees: 6 in business administration; 2 in electrical engineering technology; 5 in human development and family studies; 3 in information sciences and technology; 5 in letters, arts, and sciences; 6 in mechanical engineering technology, and 1 in nanofabrication manufacturing technology. The campus will award 70 baccalaureate degrees: 1 in American studies; 4 in communication arts and sciences; 6 in English; 19 in business;, 5 in electro-mechanical engineering technology; 13 in human development and family studies; 18 in information sciences and technology, and 4 in science; and 28 master of education degrees in teaching and curriculum.

Six former Penn State York students who completed their degree work at another campus of Penn State will return to their home campus, York, to receive their degrees during the ceremony. The campus will also recognize 192 baccalaureate students who began their work at Penn State York and are now eligible to move on to University Park or other campuses to complete their degree work. 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 will follow the ceremony on the first and third floor atriums of The Pullo Center.

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