The Engaged Scholarship Initiative
At Penn State, engaged scholarship is defined as out-of-classroom academic experiences that complement in-classroom learning. Members of the University community are working on ways to elevate the role of engaged scholarship in undergraduate education and to create more opportunities for students to have such experiences.
We invite you to learn more by exploring this site, attending an event, talking to your peers and colleagues, connecting with College and campus resources, and contacting us. We also invite you to contribute to this site by sharing examples, additional resources, and more. Please contact us with your contributions, questions, or suggestions.
VIDEO: Engaged Scholarship in Action at Penn State
This month we’re featuring the instructors and students of the Adventure Literature class series. These unique classes from the College of the Liberal Arts are not your average English classes. Students actually visit the locations that are the settings of the books they read in the class. They often combine humanities and kinesiology work that creates a memorable hands-on experience.
Engaged Scholarship News
Berks’ Marietta Scanlon making the most of Lehigh Valley LaunchBox grant —
Voices Renewed software program to help individuals with dementia
April 28, 2016
READING, Pa. – Marietta Scanlon, lecturer in engineering at Penn State Berks and formerly Penn State Lehigh Valley, received one of Lehigh Valley’s first LaunchBox grants for her team’s software program, Voices Renewed, which enhances the life-story collection process for individuals with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Team members included Lehigh Valley students Mahdi Chaker and Michael Cimerola.
The software was created as part of an engaged scholarship initiative developed by Scanlon that paired students at Penn State Lehigh Valley with residents at Phoebe Ministries, specifically Phoebe Allentown. Inspired by her mother, Scanlon and her students designed products to help care for and honor those affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Students pitch hotel recreation plans to executives
April 14, 2016
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – It’s not everyday that college students stand in front of corporate executives and pitch a detailed plan to improve an aspect of an already successful business.
However, Penn State students often have such real-world opportunities, including those enrolled in Resort Recreation Practicum in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management (RPTM).
Under the direction of Patty Kleban, senior instructor, students analyzed existing recreation programs and recommended new resort recreation programs for The Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Students also identified potential recreation programs for a sister resort, The Riverhouse at the Odettes in New Hope, Pennsylvania, which is under development.
Professor creates online Jewish history museum to engage students in research
April 8, 2016
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – When Logan Paiste scheduled his spring 2016 classes, he didn’t think he’d end up spending his spring break poking through old cemeteries and calling synagogue secretaries. But that’s exactly what happened when he signed up for Eliyana Adler’s American Jewish Experience course.
Adler, an associate professor of history and Jewish studies at Penn State, has always looked for new ways to introduce her students to research. But in Adler’s Eastern European history courses, the language barrier made engaging her students on the topic difficult.
“It’s so rare to have a Ukrainian or Latvian student in class who can read the original texts. So I have to use translated material, which is already a step removed from the original sources,” said Adler. “But then I realized I had another opportunity in my American Jewish history class to get students interested in research.”
Online students apply skills in out-of-class engaged scholarship opportunities
March 28, 2016
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Eric Ekobeni learned how to develop a work breakdown structure — organizing a project into smaller, more manageable components — in his online Penn State business management classes. When it came time to put those skills into practice in an internship, he chose an unconventional route: helping build a school in his native Cameroon.
Ekobeni’s path to a Penn State degree has also been unconventional. A refugee from Cameroon who came to the United States in 2002 and received political asylum, he completed two years at a community college in Philadelphia and transferred to Penn State World Campus in 2013. Ekobeni, who lives in northeast Philadelphia and works as a senior analyst for Barclays in Wilmington, Delaware, completes his schoolwork at night and on weekends, while also raising three children with his wife, Alice.
Ekobeni “is a great example of what the adult student embodies,” said Michelle M. Kline, the Penn State business and accounting faculty member who oversaw his internship project. Ekobeni wanted to combine his skills with his passion, she said, and despite running into various bureaucratic obstacles, “he never gave up and continues to push on.”
Alumni Association intern takes on NASA
March 14, 2016
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in AlumnInsider, the Penn State Alumni Association’s monthly member e-newsletter. You can click through to the full article for information on becoming a member, and you can follow the Alumni Association on Facebook and Twitter for more stories and updates on events.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Alumni Association or NASA? The internship that showed me what it means to be a Penn Stater or the internship with some of the best social media accounts in the world?
Turns out, I didn’t have to choose.
I’m currently interning at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and at the Penn State Alumni Association. Even though I work remotely from Houston, it seems I know even more about what’s going on with the Penn State community now than when I was there.
On the trail of research —
Penn State Berks professor unites community with the help of undergraduate research
January 28, 2016
READING, Pa. – The Schuylkill River Trail has a bit of a reputation in Reading.
Local residents see the one-mile stretch of the river and its accompanying trail that runs through their town as a place marred by poverty, pollution and crime, thanks in part to a homicide that happened on the trail several years ago.
But Laurie Grobman, a professor of English and women’s studies at Penn State Berks, (along with several colleagues, students and community partners) sees the trail as something the community desperately needs: the potential for a safe place for children and other members of the community to interact with nature.
This spring, Grobman is using digital technologies to spread positive stories about the trail to the people of Reading. She hopes the stories — which will be written and published by students in her spring 2016 English 472 course — will change people’s minds and raise awareness about cleaning up the trail.
“I’m hoping that publishing these stories digitally as an eBook will get more people reading these stories than if we published them traditionally,” said Grobman. “We’d love to get as many people from the community involved in cleaning up the trail as we can — it’s essential for turning the trail into a well-maintained recreational spot.”
Abington IST student networks her way to success
January 14, 2016
ABINGTON, Pa. – When Amy Pertuset enrolled at Penn State Abington, she was fresh out of high school with a year’s worth of college courses and a respected technology program to her credit. Now, as she prepares to graduate, she reflects on the value of study abroad, an internship, and an active life on campus.
Amy, an information sciences and technology (IST) major, talked about the program’s absorbing academic component recently while her team restlessly waited to present a project to outside tech experts.
“The IST major is very immersive and applies new technologies so we are learning what is current in industry,” she said. “We work on team projects, which gives a great representation of what it’s like out in the world.”
First Penn State students to study in Ankara develop deep cultural appreciation
January 8, 2016
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Ryan McCann and Luke Schramm had the chance to experience something that no other undergraduate Penn State student has experienced — studying for a semester at the prestigious Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey.
From the moment the two petroleum and natural gas engineering (PNGE) students set foot in Turkey, the trip was filled with new sights and activities, as well as many interactions that helped the students feel at home.
“I was wearing a Penn State hat during our flight, and as soon as we got off the plane in Ankara, someone saw my hat and started talking to us. It turned out to be a Penn State grad. That made the trip easier at first,” said Schramm, who hails from Butler, Pennsylvania.
Chemical engineering student applies research to op-ed article
December 11, 2015
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Chemical engineering student Natalie Morrissey’s outlook on running in her free time corresponds to how the sophomore handles her time at Penn State: Making it to the end goal is great, but it is important to enjoy the journey along the way.
Recently, the Pittsburgh native and Schreyer Honors student’s research under the guidance of Darrell Velegol, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, in the Physics of Community research lab, led to an opportunity to have her work published as an op-ed for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“It was really exciting to see it published, but it was also really fun to write,” Morrissey said. “With this article and many other things I do, I enjoy not just the final result, but also having fun and learning a lot along the way.”
Penn State students show off projects at sustainability expo
December 3, 2015
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State Sustainable Communities Collaborative held its Campus and Community Sustainability Expo on Thursday and packed the house.
More than 250 people attended the event held at the Land and Water Research Building on campus. State College Police Chief Tom King and State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham were among the distinguished guests, along with a host of students and community members.
The event featured more than 34 student-led booths, with a wide range of social, political, economic and environmental infrastructure based ideas, all seeking to enhance the State College borough.