CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Penn State Lehigh Valley hosted an event titled “Unplug & Engage for your Future” for nearly 55 ninth-grade students from Notre Dame, Palisades, Southern Lehigh and Whitehall high schools on Nov. 22 at the Lehigh Valley campus.
The high schoolers were welcomed by Penn State Lehigh Valley professors, degree program coordinators and staff at information tables when they arrived. They shared information with students about admissions, academics, athletics, virtual education, entrepreneurship programs, student affairs and more.
Students were encouraged to walk around and learn about the campus’ offerings before breakfast was served. The program began with welcoming remarks from Sandy Kile, instructor in communication arts and sciences at Penn State Lehigh Valley.
“It helps to have a plan. It helps to start to think of a plan about career paths in ninth grade,” Kile said. “You all have a destiny; a path ahead of you. We wanted to give you an opportunity today to talk to professors and students and get to experience a college campus.”
“I was pleased to see an event for freshman because it gets them motivated to do well in high school as they prepare for the next step. I believe a lot of learning can take place by engaging students in the businesses or colleges here in the Lehigh Valley.”
— Ryan Allen, guidance counselor, Notre Dame High School
Nadine Yousef, a sophomore at Penn State Lehigh Valley, then gave a speech about how to avoid living an average life to inspire the attendees.
Penn State Lehigh Valley students from Kile’s corporate communication event-planning course organized the event in partnership with the campus’ enrollment management department. The goal of the event was to inspire high school students to have meaningful interactions with each other and with the campus community.
“We picked the theme because we wanted to focus on something important in this current age — unplugging and engaging. We wanted the students to interact with their peers and make valuable connections while they were here with professors and staff. We hope they get a taste of the atmosphere at this campus as well,” said Katy Wirth, a senior arts administration major at Penn State Lehigh Valley. “My classmates and I focused on teamwork and communication skills to plan this event, from choosing the theme and decorations to planning the program. Teamwork and communication were so important.”
Ryan Allen, a guidance counselor at Notre Dame High School, attended the event with several of his students who were nominated by Notre Dame teachers to attend.
“I was pleased to see an event for freshman because it gets them motivated to do well in high school as they prepare for the next step. I believe a lot of learning can take place by engaging students in the businesses or colleges here in the Lehigh Valley,” Allen said. “This event did not disappoint. It was a glimpse into life at Penn State Lehigh Valley, but also generally about what students should do in high school to be what is considered college or career ready. “
A student-led panel rounded out the program where Penn State Lehigh Valley students answered questions about what they wish they had learned or prepared for in high school, and also shared advice with the high school students in attendance. Then a Penn State trivia game was played, and tours of campus were offered.