A Penn State World Campus student who is a Marine was recently recognized for her exceptional volunteer service with a national award.

Sgt. Nhatalyne Bordes received the 2023 American Legion Marine Corps Spirit of Service Award at the American Legion National Convention in August. The award recognizes an active-duty service member from each branch who has gone above and beyond the call of duty in their contributions to their community.

Bordes volunteered 867 hours over a year through multiple community initiatives.

“When I look at everything I’ve done, I don’t know how I had the time to do all of it,” she said.

Bordes has maintained a 4.0 GPA while studying psychology online and is active duty as a legal services specialist and transport aircrewman at Marine Corps Air Station New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She volunteers at a hospice home, homeless shelters, and a local children’s healthy eating program, and she coaches a variety of sports.

She attended the American Legion convention and award ceremony, where she was recognized on stage. Her family, squadron commanding officer, and sergeant major also attended to show support.

“I just felt very humble during that whole experience because I knew I wasn’t at the center of the story even though I was the one on stage,” Bordes said. “It was because of all the hard work that my family and my C.O. and sergeant major put forth for me to be able to do what I do.”

Two women stand back to back wearing military uniforms.
Sgt. Nhatalyne Bordes and her twin are both serving in the Marine Corps.
Courtesy photo

Through volunteering, she has supported others through both difficult and rewarding times during all stages of life. These experiences affirmed her decision to work toward a Bachelor of Science in Psychology online through Penn State World Campus.

“It’s very rewarding to be able to help very young people and very old people,” she said.

Bordes credits her passion for serving others to her religion and family. Her mother is a therapist and helped to inspire her career goal of being a psychiatrist.

Bordes lives by the mantra “always treat people like they’re important,” a lesson shared by a commanding officer.

“Everyone should always try their best to make other people’s lives better, and in that, you will make yourself better,” she said.

Bordes is from Tannersville, Pennsylvania, and chose Penn State because of its reputation.

“It’s known across the country, and I had to go. World Campus has a huge community for me as I get a Penn State degree,” she said.

Bordes is halfway through her undergraduate degree. She completes her course work throughout the day when she has time, often listening to her lessons.

“If it wasn’t for Penn State and the flexibility of the professors, I would not be in the academic standing I am right now,” Bordes said.

She expressed gratitude for faculty members who accommodate her flight schedule and times when unexpected events arise, like Hurricane Idalia, which changed her schedule and limited internet access.

“I thank Penn State for offering support to everybody who goes online,” she said.

Learn more about the more than 175 degree and certificate programs offered online at Penn State through Penn State World Campus.

About the cover photo: 2023 American Legion Spirit of Service Recipient U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Nhatalyne Bordes speaks during the Day 1 of The American Legion 104th National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, August 29. Photo by Hilary Ott/The American Legion. Copyright 2023 Hilary Ott/The American Legion.