People of the Year

Sara Wilkerson, Staff Writer

As the academic year comes to a close, the editors of The Bucknellian nominate and vote to determine three individuals – two students and one faculty or staff member – who have made a significant impact on the University community. This year, Harper Stewart ’19, Tyler Candelora ’19, and Field Experience Coordinator and Director of Professional Education Ellen Amarante were selected.


Student of the Year, Harper Stewart


Originally from Rochester, N.Y., Stewart came to the University after being recruited for the University’s track team. However, her reasons for picking the school were not only linked to athletics but also to the professors she initially met on campus and her interest in pursuing biomedical engineering. “I picked my major because I was really interested in biology when I was in high school, but my parents were both engineers, so I thought that was kind of a good mix,” Stewart said.


Stewart also cited the wide range of opportunities to get involved on campus as a reason for choosing the University as her place of study. “When I was a first year, I did BuckWild as my pre-orientation program. I feel like that changed my whole Bucknell experience because I just came in with eight friends that I felt super comfortable with, and they made me feel confident and inspired that I could do whatever I wanted when I got here,” Stewart said.


Due to her positive experience in BuckWild for pre-orientation, Stewart says she decided to become a BuckWild leader so she could be a mentor to incoming first years.


In addition to her involvement in the track team and being a BuckWild leader, Stewart said being a Speak UP peer mentor has been one of her top three extracurriculars during her time at the University.


Stewart’s interest in contributing to feminist causes outside of a classroom setting led her to become a Speak UP peer mentor. “Speak UP has been really important to me because I think it’s one of the only organizations on campus that is actually making a substantial change … I purposefully want to place my time into organizations that I think are actually making changes and impacting people,” Stewart said.


Stewart’s advocacy for feminist causes is connected to the Introduction to Women and Gender Studies course she took with Dr. Nikki Young, who she credits as one of her biggest inspirations and mentors on campus. It is because of Young and the Intro course that Stewart pursued a minor in women and gender studies.


This past summer, Stewart completed the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Wake Forest University, a 10-week biomechanics internship that she says functioned as a“mini Grad school.” She will be attending graduate school at the University of Southern California where she will continue to pursue biomechanics research.


Additionally, Stewart was the 2019 recipient of the University Department of Athletics and Recreation’s ’Ray Bucknell Diversity Award, an honor granted to the one student-athlete who displays a deep engagement with a multitude of campus communities.


To undergraduates, Stewart has some words of wisdom. “Put your time into things that you really care about. Don’t spread yourself too thin with things that you don’t think are making a difference. And if there’s something that you really care about and passionate about, don’t be afraid to speak up or go out and chase that,” Stewart said.



Student of the Year, Tyler Candelora


Having grown up in Shamokin, Pa., Candelora came to the University originally as an Accounting and Finance major; however, after his first semester, he realized he needed to switch the focus of his studies.


Under the Languages and Cultures Residential College, Candelora took a Foundation Seminar called “How We Do Things with Words” with Presidential Professor of German and Humanities Katherine Faull. Candelora says that this seminar course spurred him to pursue his real passion: learning foreign languages.


Candelora is a double major in comparative humanities and Spanish with a double minor in French and translation studies. This semester, he is taking three classes all in different languages – German, French, and Spanish. Apart from his language courses, Candelora also self-studies languages, such as Norwegian and Arabic.


Candelora’s fourth class is his Senior Honors Thesis class. Candelora’s thesis – entitled “Translation, Memory, and Place: The Ethics of Digital Hermeneutics” – is rooted in evaluating and critiquing previous research projects that he has done in the Digital Humanities that he has completed throughout his college career.


These projects consisted of mapping and digitizing monuments and memorials dedicated to coal mining on a local scale.  His research took place domestically in Shamokin and the northern Pennsylvania anthracite coal region, as well as globally in Chile, where Candelora studied abroad in his junior year. His thesis work consists of exploring whether translation studies theories can provide a means to understand the ethics of Physical Memorialization and Digital Memorialization. Thus, he interrogates how physical artifacts and spaces such as monuments and memorials are “translated” into a digital medium such as a digital gallery.


Candelora’s interest in digital scholarship was fostered through the resources provided by the University. Citing the faculty and staff in the Digital Scholarship Center as well as those in the Library and Information Technology (IT) Department, Candelora appreciates the opportunities to do his research under their guidance.


During his time at the University, Candelora has been an Executive Intern for the Library and Information Technology (IT) Department, a teaching assistant for a digital humanities course, and a junior fellow for the Languages and Cultures Residential College. Additionally, he was involved in the Lewisburg community through Rotaract in his first-year and sophomore year.


Candelora elaborates on his time as a junior fellow for the Languages and Cultures Residential College by saying that it was “one of the greatest experiences I ever had [at the University].” As a junior fellow, he helped with academic programming and creating field trips for students in the Residential College.


Aside from the Languages and Cultures Residential College, Candelora says that his study abroad experiences in Chile and France were among his favorite experiences in college. “It was really a time for me where I can take those passions of learning foreign languages and different cultures and [engage] my want to gain a new perspective … I wanted to apply my foreign language skills in a practical way,” Candelora said.


For his post-graduation plans, Candelora will be an English Teaching Assistant in Argentina on a Fulbright Scholarship for an academic year. He will be teaching English and researching while he is abroad. Following his time in Argentina, he intends to pursue his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and become a professor.


Candelora encourages undergraduates to “definitely take advantage of the opportunities that Bucknell gives you. Make opportunities happen if they aren’t there for you. Be outspoken, critique things that you don’t think are right. Be an advocate for people, be a voice, be engaged … This is a time where you get to formulate your opinions and share them with peers and share them with faculty and staff. And hopefully, have an impact eventually. Also, enjoy it!”



Staff Member of the Year, Ellen Amarante


Amarante’s journey to being a faculty member at the University has been nothing short of inspiring.


Her journey began at Bloomsburg University where she studied early childhood education. However, her studies were put on hold when moved to Maryland to start a family. As she was raising her children, Amarante came to the University as a part-time non-traditional student to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in education.


Amarante explains that teaching has always been a childhood dream of hers. Amarante states that teaching is both a science and an art. “There’s a piece of me that is very analytical and wants to discover root causes, get to the bottom of something. And really try to figure out ‘What is it that we’re missing?’ It’s seeing a young mind. ‘What aren’t they getting about what I’m trying to convey and how can I shape that differently to try to re-explain it in a different way?’ So that’s both a science and an art at the same time, so there’s this creative process, an innovative process that I love that goes outside of that scientific process,” Amarante said.


Amarante also appreciates the humanistic component of teaching. “I want to make a difference. I want to do something meaningful. And when you’re dealing with children or with students who are learning how to be teachers themselves, I can’t imagine something that’s more important. To be able to have that kind of influence on young children, that’s inspiring to me,” Amarante said.


After Amarante received her teaching certificate in 2010, she taught in public school for five years as she continued her higher education towards getting a Masters in Educational Administration and Leadership. She worked at the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) and then began her position in the University’s Education Department, where she currently serves as Field Experience Coordinator and Director of Professional Education.


Among Amarante’s responsibilities on campus, she also serves as a member of the Service Learning Advisory Board, as well as the Catholic Campus Ministry Board.


The Service Learning Advisory Board allows Amarante to get to the know student life and the activities that students are involved in through what she says are “the numerous community engagement opportunities [that] provide a means for students to make lasting contributions to the Susquehanna Valley, and to become more culturally competent.”


One particular program that Amarante is proud to be a part of is the GenFirst! Mentorship program. As a first-generation college student herself, Amarante mentors students who are first-generation students working to navigate college.


Amarante spoke on the importance of fostering a mentorship with students. “It takes a while to forge, it takes a while to really grow. But helping them to understand that they do belong here … It [the mentorship] is kind of like having someone alongside you and that’s what you really need. You need to feel like you’re not alone,” she said.


When asked about what have been the most fulfilling aspects of her job as a faculty and staff member at the University, Amarante says that being surrounded by her fellow faculty, staff, and colleagues who are passionate about their work as much as she is something she loves. Additionally, she mentioned that student interactions, specifically one-on-one interactions, is another aspect of her job that she appreciates.


Amarante encourages students to consider teaching as a career path. Additionally, she offered advice for students who do not have their life plans figured out. “It’s okay to not know what you want to do with the rest of your life. You shouldn’t have it all figured out. There might be some people who are passionate about something like how I was passionate about teaching. But there are maybe juniors and seniors who aren’t really sure [and are wondering] ‘What the heck am I gonna do with this whole thing [college degree]?’ And that’s okay,” she said.


Amarante shared a final message to students on campus. “You don’t need to have it all figured out when you walk through those gates and you’re done. Life is a journey. Just get started, just put one foot in front of the other and look for the opportunities that Bucknell gives,” she said. “Such amazing networking opportunities, the connections that you can make through the CDC [Career Development Center] … you don’t have to have the end figured out. You just have to keep moving forward. And Bucknell will be here for you as a resource long after you’re gone … This is a community, you’re not in isolation.”

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