Engagement Outside of the Classroom

young female student taking a photoDuring Summer Start, you will become familiar with college studies and you will grow personally, too. You will develop an engagement plan, where you can begin to map out what your full college experience might look like, including academics, employment, career planning, networking, research opportunities, community service, club and activity participation, and much more.

Right from the start, you will be part of a learning community, working through the summer together with a group of other students. You will begin to build a network of friends and mentors. Programs throughout the summer, including new student orientation, will help you learn about activities beyond the classroom and ways for you to expand your Penn State experience academically and socially.

Summer Start features a daily common hour when students can gather with Penn State leaders, alumni, faculty, staff, and peer mentors to join in presentations and discussions on topics centered around a different theme each week. The themes and topics are all designed to help you make the most of your time at Penn State, from start to finish, and include:

  • Joining the Penn State Family: Building your personalized Penn State experience
  • Academic Success: Developing the skills to succeed, from year one through graduation
  • Resilience: Navigating challenges and growing from them
  • Health and Safety: Taking care of your health and well-being
  • Financial Literacy: Managing your financial resources
  • Here's the Plan: Finalizing your personal student success plan

Common Hour Highlights

Tech academy is two-tiered tech program.  Tier One is a module-based interactive program for students to complete in the week before July 1 at their own pace. Students will be registered in the tech academy based on their enrollment campus, and it will be “facilitated” by the campus librarians.  The Second Tier includes the modules embedded within the courses to reinforce the lessons of the modules and serve as co-instructional support for students and instructors as a reference.  The modules will focus on communication on campus, document creation and storage, libraries and research, and digital fluency.  Aspects of the tech academy will also be supported by embedded librarians, who will be assigned to each course and support faculty and students with digital literacy, research, and learning resources. 

In order to access Tech Academy, students will need a Penn State access account which is provided few days prior to your New Student Orientation (NSO). Beginning the week of June 22, 2020, students will automatically be enrolled in a Tech Academy CANVAS course.

Technology Academy is required for all PaSSS/Summer Start students and will open for students on June 22 and must be completed by July 3.

  • Welcome and overview
    Penny Carlson, Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses
  • Student Expectations and Responsibilities
    Dr. Liz Wright, Director of Academic Affairs, Penn State Hazleton
  • Lion Legacy
    Tracy Garnick, Director of Student Affairs, Penn State Hazleton
  • Fitness Challenge
    Lorie A. Khalil, Head Women's Basketball Coach/Coordinator of Athletic Programs
    Certified NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist
  • Campus Breakouts

Katina Moten, Ed.D.
Director of Academic Support and Advising Services, Penn State Harrisburg

Erica Clarke Tachoir, Ph.D.
Manager of Academic Advising and Career Education & Development, Penn State Greater Allegheny

Drs. Moten and Tachoir will present an introduction to the Personal Academic Planning process.

Dr. Eric Barron, President of Penn State, will welcome students and talk about building a positive Penn State experience.

Joe Webb
Director Student Affairs, Penn State Berks

This workshop is geared towards helping students develop a personal mission statement that helps them identify their core values and beliefs. Students will complete the following steps in developing their personal mission statements:

  • Identify Past Successes
    Spend some time identifying four or five examples where you have had personal success in recent years. These successes could be in school, in your community, at home, etc. Write them down. Try to identify whether there is a common theme (or themes) to these examples.
  • Identify Core Values
    Develop a list of attributes that you believe identify who you are and what your priorities are. The list can be as long as you need. Once the students list is complete, have them narrow their values down to around five or six of the most important values. Finally, students will choose the one value that is most important to them.
  • Identify Contributions
    Make a list of the ways you could make a difference. In an ideal situation, how could you contribute best to: the world in general | your family | your institution | your friends | your community.
  • Identify Goals
    Have students thinking about their priorities in life and the goals they have for themselves. Student will then make a list of personal goals, perhaps in the short-term (1 year) and the long-term (beyond three years).
  • Write Mission Statement
    Based on the first four steps and a better understanding of yourself, students will begin writing their personal mission statement.

Sharon Pitterson-Ogaldez
Coordinator of Diversity & International Programs, Penn State Berks

In this diversity and inclusion workshop, students will:

  • Learn about key concepts related to identity, bias, power, privilege and oppression
  • Understand the benefits of being part of a diverse community
  • Develop skills related to ally behavior, self-care, and creating inclusive spaces
  • Understand the University's Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

James Franklin, Head Coach of Penn State's football program, will welcome students to the Penn State community.

In addition, a panel of current students and recent Penn State graduates will share their personal stories of involvement and success.

American female sprint track cyclist, Mandy Marquardt represents the United States and Team Novo Nordisk, the world's first-all diabetes professional cycling team. Marquardt was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 16. Marquardt is an 18-time U.S National Champion, 2-time U.S National Record Holder in the 500m and Team Sprint, and an Olympic hopeful for the postponed Tokyo Summer Games. Marquardt graduated from Penn State Lehigh Valley in 2014 with a degree in Business Management and Marketing.

Barbara Cole
Nurse Practitioner, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

This webinar will introduce some best practices related to nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

Angela Hissong
Occupational Therapy Assistant Program faculty, Penn State Mont Alto

Students will share and explore the power of Penn Staters engaging in and embracing The Mindful Nittany Pause across the commonwealth as the promise of building healthy relationships, a knowledge-base, and skill set of pausing on PSU soil. The foundation of exploring the pause will provide a means to navigate and negotiate mindful collaborations of mind and spirit to broaden the power of creating outstanding ideas and fruitful outcomes for self and community. The platform will engage individuals and groups in pausing to consider what they are able to accomplish as a whole — from the starting point of mindful collaborative practice in their everyday journey at Penn State.

Linda Salavarria
Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Life Skills Center

Students will learn the meaning of Financial Literacy and how to engage with the resources at Penn State:

  • Five core competencies of financial literacy
  • Four elements of financial well-being
  • Steps to financial literacy
  • Freedom from debts
  • Resources and ways to connect with the Financial Literacy Center

Linda Salavarria
Sokolov-Miller Family Financial and Life Skills Center

Going to college is an opportunity for individuals to prepare holistically for a successful future through personal, academic, social and professional growth. Budgeting concepts apply to all students,and lie at the foundation of every financial plan. It does not matter if you live paycheck to paycheck or make $300,000 a year, a budget can help you account for that income, analyze spending habits and make informed financial decisions.

Students will:

  • Set Goals
  • Collect Financial Information
  • Track money coming in
  • Track money going out
  • Review cash flow and set up a budget

Angie DiJiacomo
Assistant Director of Campus Life, Penn State Berks

Leadership is more than title and position, telling others what to do, or having authority and power. Rather, it is a process of collaborating with others to create positive change. During this workshop, students will:

  • Understand the complexity of leadership theory and practice
  • Develop an awareness of their identity as a leader
  • Understand how to build their leadership skills throughout their collegiate experience
  • Begin to build their co-curricular transcript

Barbara Cole
Nurse Practitioner, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

This webinar will focus on health standards related to Covid-19 and returning to classes in fall. It will also teach concepts and best practices that will provide opportunities for students to develop resilience and the ability to cope with negative life events and challenges.