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The Penn State Forward team is supporting three candidates during the 2022 Penn State Alumni Trustee Election: Dr. Edward J. Smith ('06, '10), Dr. Christa Hasenkopf ('03), and Dr. Farnaz Farhi ('10). These candidates bring a broad range of expertise, together holding nine degrees — including a doctorate in atmospheric science, a doctorate and master's in higher education, a master's in global health, and a medical degree. At Penn State, they gained degrees from four different academic colleges, led student organizations, and supported students and community members. Their experiences teaching and mentoring, and tackling global environmental inequalities, educational injustices, sexual violence, and untransparent and exclusive governance structures prepare them to lead Penn State Forward

Dr. Edward J. Smith '06, '10

College of the Liberal Arts, B.S. in Economics
College of Education, Masters in College Student Affairs

Ed Smith.jpeg

Ed's work as a student, educator, and community leader reveals his devotion to making affordable, high-quality postsecondary education a reality for all. He's a program officer at the Kresge Foundation, where he leverages 10 years of education-policy research to promote college opportunities for marginalized student groups. At Penn State, Ed served as President of Black Caucus and he advocated for a just, safe, and culturally inclusive campus for Black students and built coalitions to ensure the protection of all minoritized communities; he was involved in many other groups, including SMART,  CSA, and the Black Male Leadership Symposium. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Christa Hasenkopf '03

Eberly College of Science, B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics
Schreyer Honors College


Christa's commitment to global environmental equity drives her work to open up data, networks, and resources so that more people can solve air pollution — an issue that causes one in eight deaths worldwide. She co-founded OpenAQ, the world’s largest open-air quality database with many accolades, and Airglow Labs. She's worked for the United States government and taught environmental policy at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown University. As a first-generation college student, she's excited about creating new ways to support access to education and resources to support students in addition to finding ways that Penn State can lead on environmental and climate action. Christa holds a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from the University of Colorado. 

Farnaz has spent 15 years studying sexual violence and caring for its victims and survivors. She's an obstetrician and gynecologist at George Washington University. An advocate for social justice and health equity, Farnaz works to reduce inequities GW's Anti-Racism Coalition, address racial disparities in pregnancy outcomes, and care for people of all backgrounds. While at Penn State, Farnaz volunteered with Centre Safe and wrote her Schreyer Honors thesis on sexual violence at Penn State. She completed graduate studies at the University of Oxford (Global Health), her MD at the Boston University School of Medicine, and her residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dr. Farnaz Farhi '10

Eberly College of Science, B.S. in Biology
College of the Liberal Arts, B.A. in Women's Studies
Schreyer Honors College

Farnaz Farhi.jpeg

Selection Process

This summer, Penn State Forward solicited nominations from students, staff, faculty, and community members for potential Penn State Forward candidates. Interested prospective candidates submitted a resume and questionnare about their qualifications. We then asked a group of student leaders and student organizations — focusing on those with experience of or missions to advance racial justice, LGBTQ+ equity, sustainability, sexual violence prevention, and inclusive governance — to partake in this selection process by participating in or selecting a member to participate in our candidate selection committee. This selection committee reviewed these potential candidates' responses and achievements and selected these three candidates through a competitive blind selection process.

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