Kennedy receives Diefenderfer Scholarship


Senior Alayna Kennedy was the recipient of the College of Engineering’s Diefenderfer Scholarship in Engineering. A Schreyer Scholar, Kennedy is completing a thesis titled “Policy Implications of Aligning Human and Machine Values,” which focuses on using natural language processing, a form of machine learning, to analyze emotional arcs in text. She is also analyzing the policy implications of teaching machines narrative techniques that could lead to mirroring human emotion.

Kennedy is also active outside the classroom. She is a member of the Presidential Leadership Academy, university relations director for Lion Ambassadors, director of career development for Schreyer for Women and an officer for Nittany Data Labs.

Following graduation in the spring, Kennedy plans to attend graduate school to study technology policy or pursue a consulting career in technology policy with companies such IBM, Microsoft and Google.


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Chris Spallino

Alayna Kennedy, senior in engineering science and mechanics

Alayna Kennedy, senior in engineering science and mechanics



The Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) is an internationally distinguished department that is recognized for its globally competitive excellence in engineering and scientific accomplishments, research, and educational leadership.

Our Engineering Science program is the official undergraduate honors program of the College of Engineering, attracting the University’s brightest engineering students. We also offer graduate degrees in ESM, engineering mechanics, engineering at the nano-scale, and an integrated undergraduate/graduate program.

Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics

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The Pennsylvania State University

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Phone: 814-865-4523