Penn State Lehigh Valley took over Lincoln Leadership Academy in Allentown for Penn State Engagement Day on Sept. 22. Faculty, staff and coaches from Penn State Lehigh Valley presented eight different rotating sessions all focused on different career pathways to the ninth to 12th grade Lincoln Leadership students.
The event was coordinated by the Penn State Engagement Day committee, including Hiba Moussa, admissions counselor; Michael Damweber, director of admissions; and Nancy Coco, director of continuing education and outreach.
“It was a very informative day. The students said they enjoyed how interactive our sessions were,” said Moussa. “The support of our faculty and staff made the event have a big impact. And everyone at Lincoln Leadership Academy, from the students to the teachers, were so excited to have us there, you could feel their energy.”
The days’ activities pushed the students out of their comfort zones.
“From 3-D printers to health care, Penn State Day was a day to explore possibilities for the future. We are glad that Penn State was the vehicle through which it was made possible,” said Scardy Maceus, college and career advisor at Lincoln Leadership Academy.
Every high school student attended the eight sessions, consisting of:
- Admissions overview
Hiba Moussa and Kaley Ebling, both admissions counselors, reviewed the high school requirements for certain majors, the wide variety in academic options at Penn State and the admissions requirements.
- Career pathways in communication
Bob Wolfe, coordinator of the corporate communication degree program, gave an overview of what corporate communication is and discussed the importance of brand recognition and creative storytelling. His co-presenter, Liz Keptner, director of the multimedia innovation center, described the multiple resources at the Lehigh Valley campus for students to take advantage of, including the video production studio.
- Career pathways in business
Mike Krajsa, instructor in business and faculty liaison for Lehigh Valley Launchbox, shared with the high school students the importance of standing out and thinking entrepreneurially. His co-presenter, Becky Guman, business development associate for Lehigh Valley LaunchBox, gave the students tips for stepping out of their comfort zones to grow as a leader in all situations, including during their high school years.
- Career exploration
Chris Landino, director of academic advising and career services; Jessica Dow, career services coordinator; and Marta DaSilva, academic adviser, told the students about the differences between careers versus jobs and shared with them the value of making a good first impression.
- Career pathways in the arts
Liz Flaherty, coordinator of the arts administration degree program, and Ann Lalik, gallery director and arts coordinator shared information about having a career in the arts and the opportunity to major in arts administration. They also led the students in a hands-on creative arts project.
- Career pathways in health
Heather Clark, licensed practical nurse program director, and Nancy Coco, director of continuing education and outreach, taught the high school students about the field of population health and the variety of careers in the health field.
- Career pathways in information sciences and technology (IST) and engineering
Kermit Burley, coordinator of the IST degree program, and Hal Scholz, instructor in engineering and physics, let the students put their IST and engineering skills to the test by using a 3-D printer to make miniature houses.
- Leadership and Penn State athletics
Lorie Khalil, coordinator of athletic programs and head women’s basketball coach, and Sarah Pasetsky, assistant women’s basketball coach, stressed the importance of getting involved, teamwork and showing discipline, and how those things can be applied to everyday life.
The day concluded with a pep rally celebrating Penn State's and Lincoln Leadership's spirit. The Nittany Lion and the Lincoln Leadership Academy’s mascot, the Lincoln Lion, faced off in a dance-off competition.
“The pep rally was a way to get the whole school from kindergarten to 12th grade involved in the day and it was nice to end the event with something fun,” said Moussa. “Lorie led the pep rally and got all of the kids excited about their futures.”
“Being a Penn State alumnus, it was near and dear to my heart to collaborate with my Alma Mater to put together such a great event,” said Maceus.