First-Year Seminars

Fall 2022

AE 124: Architectural Engineering Orientation 

Section 001: Tu 10:35 – 11:50 a.m.

Section 002: Th 10:35-11:50 a.m.

Introduction to architectural engineering; lectures and discussions with special reference to the relation of architectural engineering to the building industry. This course is designed to help students decide whether they do or do not want to major in Architectural Engineering. It has four major goals. The first is to introduce the role of the architectural engineer in the building industry. The second is to introduce the concepts of integrated building systems design and construction management. The third is to familiarize students with the Architectural Engineering curriculum, department facilities, and faculty. The fourth and final goal is to develop an awareness and interest in the periodicals and publications related to buildings. This course will provide students with access to the regular faculty of the program, a feature that continues throughout the students' 5-year career in Architectural Engineering. Students and faculty will be connected through discussion of topics related to the building industry and the areas that future AE students will be studying. Since this program operates under enrollment control, this course will address entrance to the major, the requirements placed on the freshman year, and the selection process. Additionally, special features of the program will be discussed, including option selection, which takes place after 3 years, the study abroad program at the University of Leeds, and the integrated graduate/undergraduate program. Depending upon the semester in which the course is taken, students will be provided with either an opportunity to participate in the annual AE Career Fair or the 5th year thesis presentations. Students will take field trips to buildings and construction sites on campus to reinforce the material learned in class. As a result of this class, all students should be better prepared to make a decision as to whether or not the wish to apply for this major at the end of their first year.

AERSP 1:  Aerospace Explorer — First-Year Seminar

Section 001: M 3:35 – 4:25 p.m. 

Section 002: W 3:35 – 4:25 p.m. 

First-Year Seminar explores aerodynamics, structural mechanics, flight mechanics, rotorcraft systems, high-performance computers, air/space propulsion, and space systems. Aerospace Engineering deals with vehicles that fly—airplanes, sailplanes, jets, helicopters, rockets, satellites, the space shuttle, space stations, etc. Students with an interest in these subjects can learn more about the variety of challenges and opportunities in the aerospace field through the small-class environment of the Aerospace Explorer First-Year Seminar.  An introduction to both the academic major and career paths in Aerospace Engineering, this seminar deals with the design, analysis, and operation of aircraft and space vehicles. Students will learn about aerodynamics, structural mechanics, flight mechanics, rotorcraft systems, high-performance computers, air-breathing propulsion, space propulsion, and space systems. The classes will include presentations by the Aerospace Engineering faculty, tours of the Aerospace Engineering laboratories, and presentations by student officers in the Penn State chapters of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the American Helicopter Society (AHS), as well as introductions to the use of scientific plotting, graphing, and analysis software.

AERSP 97: Hands-On Helicopters

Section 001: Th 6:00 6:50 p.m.

Section 002: T 6:00 6:50 p.m.

This first-year seminar introduces you to the world of vertical flight. You will be introduced to the vocabulary that is unique to helicopters, will discuss the several vertical flight configurations, and will assess the strengths and weaknesses of those configurations. These discussions will be led by an experienced helicopter test pilot. You will have the opportunity to fly a helicopter simulator and will visit a Life Flight helicopter facility, get hands-on with their helicopter, and be briefed by its crew. You will, in addition, discuss goal setting, time management, resume construction, character development, library skills, and other topics intended to assure success in your studies at Penn State.

BME 100: Biomedical Engineering Seminar

Section 001: M 12:20 – 1:20 p.m.

First-year seminar to introduce the students to the field of biomedical engineering, and related opportunities in research, and industry. BME 100S is a first-year seminar designed for students interested in pursuing a career in Biomedical Engineering. Through a series of lectures, demonstrations and problem-solving sessions, the multifaceted world of biomedical engineering will be explored. Students will be: 1) introduced to Penn State as an academic community, including fields of study and research with an emphasis on Biomedical Engineering 2) acquainted with the learning tools and resources available at Penn State 3) given an opportunity to develop relationships with full-time faculty and other students interested in Biomedical Engineering 4) taught about their responsibilities as part of the University community 5) engaged in discussion about Biomedical Engineering and possible career paths that are available to Biomedical Engineering graduates.

CE 100S: Civil Engineering Topics/Issues 

Section 001S: M 1:25 – 2:15 p.m.

The first-year seminar in civil engineering will provide an opportunity for students to explore a specific topic or contemporary issue, which may fall within one of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering's technical emphasis areas or include many of the facets of civil engineering. Civil engineers plan, design, construct, operate, and maintain the physical works and facilities essential to modern life: highways, streets, bridges, dams and levees, water distribution and wastewater collection, and treatment systems. Civil engineers work with architects and other engineers in the design and construction of buildings and industrial structures and facilities. They also have a major responsibility for identifying and remediating environmental hazards. The specific course topic, chosen by the course instructor, will vary by section and semester and will be indicated by section subtitle. Examples of the topics that may form the core of a seminar section include droughts and floods, lessons from structural failures, engineers as environmental change agents, beneficial reuse of treated wastewater, highway accident reconstruction and engineering, and landmark civil engineering projects.  Within the context of the specific seminar topic, each section will provide students with an introduction to the civil engineering field, exposure to some of the professional skills and competencies associated with academic study and the practice of engineering, and access to relevant student and professional societies. Each seminar section will include an active learning element that may include laboratory experiments, group projects, class discussions, and possible trips, providing close interaction with the faculty member teaching the course. This seminar course will help incoming students become acclimated to University life and become aware of available resources and support services.

CHE 100: Explore Chemical Engineering First-Year Seminar

Section 001: W 11:15 – 12:05 p.m.

Section 002: W 1:25 – 2:15 p.m.

Designed for students intending to major in Chemical Engineering (ChE), this course is an introduction to ChE. Discussions with faculty and visiting engineers on job selection, patents, licensing, and professional ethics. The exploration of Chemical Engineering and available career opportunities.

CMPSC 111: Logic for Computer Science

Section 001: T 1:35 – 2:50 p.m.

Section 002: Th 1:35 – 2:50 p.m.

Section 003: W 2:30 – 3:45 p.m.

Section 004: T 1:35 – 2:50 p.m.

An introduction to logic and its application to problem-solving and computer science. CMPSC 111S Logic for Computer Science (1) Computer Science provides the fundamental tools for analyzing problems and designing solutions to these problems which can be implemented on a computer. Logic plays an important role in this process, from a general-purpose tool for reasoning about knowledge to a special-purpose language for specifying the behavior of programs and designing hardware. This course examines the role of logic in problem-solving and its application to computer science and computer engineering. Example problems will be drawn from a variety of sources, including brain teasers, puzzles, and mathematics. We will show how these problems and their solutions apply to real problems involving computers. We will also explore a number of important areas of computer science and computer engineering including Boolean and Digital Logic, Designing Arithmetic Hardware, Cryptography and Security Programming Languages, Networking and Wireless Communication, Artificial Intelligence, and Computer Ethics. 

EE 9: First-Year Seminar in Electrical Engineering

Section 001: T 1:35 – 2:50 p.m.

Section 002: Th 1:35 – 2:50 p.m.

Section 004: M 2:30 – 4:25 p.m.

Section 001: T 1:35 – 2:50 p.m.

WE ARE . . . DUINO — Are you interested in electronics and computers? In this first-year seminar course, students will learn to create control systems, feedback loops, and fun gadgets using the Arduino microcontroller. This course will provide a gentle introduction to Electrical Engineering as well provide a starting point for future personal projects using this inexpensive microcontroller.  This course is for first-year students only.

Section 002: T 1:35 – 2:50 p.m.

DRAWDOWN: ENVIRONMENT AND REMOTE SENSING — The Penn State College of Engineering (COE) recognizes that to be competitive throughout your career, you must attain rigorous core knowledge and problem-solving skills to develop innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges¿. There is arguably no greater global challenge today than climate change: there is scientific consensus that the Earth’s climate is warming due to human activities, and that immediate interventions are required to stop it. There is increasing understanding that we must not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stop global warming, but also ¿draw down¿ and sequester carbon to reverse it. Fortunately, there are many innovative methods of reducing and reversing carbon emissions, spanning technological, ecological, and social solutions across all sectors of the economy and society. In this interactive seminar, we will explore some of the 100 strategies that have been identified for reducing and reversing carbon emissions within the broad categories of: Buildings; Electricity; Food, Agriculture, & Land Use; Health & Education; Industry; Sinks (Coastal & Ocean, Land); and Transportation. Overall, the course will focus on a hands-on approach in using Electrical Engineering remote sensing tools to tackle these issues.

Section 004: M 2:30 – 4:25 p.m.

BUILD YOUR OWN USB CELL PHONE CHARGER — Do you want to learn how to build a useful circuit? The objective of the course is to give first-year students an introduction to practical design considerations involved in designing, implementing, testing and packaging an electronic device for consumer use.  The device to be designed is a portable power bank for USB charging.  To avoid safety issues with recharging lithium-ion batteries, the design utilizes primary batteries as the power source. We will provide each student with a NI myDAQ to give each student the capability to make a suite of electrical measurements necessary for testing components in their design.  Each student will design and implement a circuit board for their battery bank that regulates the battery power to USB power standards.  Students will also design and 3-D print a housing for their battery bank. This course is for first-year students only.

ENGR 100: Intro to Engineering

Section 001 W 11:15-12:05 pm

Section 002 Th 12:05-1:20 pm

Section 003 M 3:35-4:25 pm

Section 004 Th 1:35-2:50 pm

Section 005 T 12:20-1:10 pm

Section 006 M 9:05-9:55 am

Section 007 W 12:20 pm- 1:10 pm

Section 008 Th 3:05-4:20 pm

Section 009 W 10:10-11:00 am

Section 010 Th 12:20-1:10 pm

Section 011 W 11:15-12:05 pm

Section 012 T 12:20-1:10 pm

Section 013 W 12:20-1:10 pm

Section 014 Th 12:05-1:20 pm

A seminar providing information about different engineering majors, coping with college life, and exploring educational and career goals. ENGR 100S ENGR 100S Introduction to Engineering (1) (FYS)Engineering 100 is a First-Year Seminar designed as an introduction to the majors available to students in engineering. There are three main goals:1. To introduce students to the areas of study that the college has to offer - this is to assist students in deciding whether engineering is for them. It also helps students decide which major within engineering is for them. This introduction is accomplished through homework exercises and guest speakers - graduates in industry, graduate students, department heads, faculty, and current undergraduates.2. To introduce students to the university in general - what resources are available and what it means to be a student at a university instead of high school. This is accomplished through guest speakers, lectures by your professor, and homework exercises.3. To provide students with an opportunity to interact with faculty members, academic advisers, and other students. The class meets twice a week. All sections meet together once a week to listen to presentations from people representing each major. On the other class day, sections meet separately with their professor for presentations and activities unique to that instructor.

ENGR 97: First Year Seminar

Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest.

Section 51 Humanitarian Engineering: T 3:35 – 4:25 p.m.

Humanitarian engineering is the development of product and services that directly improve the well-being of poor, marginalized, or under-served communities, namely through improved access to basic human needs (e.g., clean water, clean energy), an improved quality of life, or improved level of community resilience (e.g., disaster mitigation, economic resilience). In this course, we will explore how humanitarian products and services are developed and see examples of successful solutions from around the globe. We will also see the important impact of community understanding, social entrepreneurship, and human-centered design in these successes.

Section 172 Sustainable State: T 12:20 – 1:10 p.m.

Section 177 Sustainable State: Th 12:20 – 1:10 p.m.

This First-Year Seminar explores the meaning of sustainability and its relevance to the work of engineers. In this class, we will explore Penn State's efforts to implement sustainable actions and the realities of being a first-year student. Through class discussion, activities, and readings, you will be asked to investigate the social, economic, and environmental impacts of operating a university. We will use field trips and class discussions to engage in this endeavor. We will look at what Penn State is doing to address this mega-challenge. Over the course of the semester, we will explore the various ways Engineers might work to address issues of sustainability in the global community.

Section 183 Introduction to Engineering Leadership: W 12:20 – 1:10 p.m.

This course will introduce Engineering Leadership practices using Stephen Covey’s timeless “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” (30th Edition) as a framework. Content will include readings, short online quizzes, group discussion posts, and personal reflection assignments. There is no final exam! The course will equip students with habits to enhance their academic and professional performance — and introduce them to the Engineering Leadership Development (ELD) program. Optional extra-credit experiences include in-person and virtual meetings with ELD faculty and Engineering Executives from industry.

ESC 97: Respect the Environment

Section 001: W 12:20 – 1:10 p.m.

Formal courses given infrequently to explore, in depth, a comparatively narrow subject which may be topical or of special interest.

ESC 120: Design for Failure

Section 001: W 10:10 – 11:00 a.m.

This seminar, through the utilization of commonly used examples, discusses the engineering principles which are exploited by such designs. Although an important facet of engineering design is to minimize the possibility of failure of a system component, there are many devices which actually protect a system by their controlled 'failure'. Further, some components are designed to "work" through failure. In the former situation are such devices as: a shear pin in an outboard motor driveline, a fuse in an electrical circuit, a valve actuated by heat in a sprinkler system. In the latter situation, "tab tops " allow one to open a beverage can, perforations cause the paper towel to "tear" in a prescribed manner, plasticity/elasticity allows stamped parts, such as automobile hoods, to retain their new shape following stamping.

IE 100: Discover Industrial Engineering

Section 001: T, Th 12:05 – 1:20 p.m. (7-weeks - starts 1/9/23 through 2/17/23)

Informational First-year Seminar on Industrial Engineering as a career choice and profession; lab exercises; guest speakers; real world problems. The objective of this first-year seminar course is to provide information on industrial engineering as a career choice and as a profession. It is a fact that most first-year students have never heard of Industrial Engineering (IE), or the many varied opportunities that exist within the IE major. This course explores the many aspects of the major and also offers the opportunity to interact with IE faculty and students, something that is an uncommon occurrence during the first year of engineering study. Class time is used for a variety of activities including: interactive class sessions where students work in teams to analyze and solve applied "real-world" problems in industrial and manufacturing engineering; IE faculty guest speakers addressing career opportunities in a particular area within IE; Lab experiences or demonstrations; Alumni guest speakers or panels; Plant tours (1 per semester); IE student panels on topics such as Co-op. The class atmosphere is relaxed and there are no examinations. Homework assignments are given throughout the semester on relevant topics.

ME 190: First-Year Engagement Program - Special Topics in ME

Section 001: M 1:25 – 2:15 p.m.

A First-Year Seminar focusing on issues related to Mechanical Engineering. M E 190S M E 190S Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering: First-Year Seminar (1) (FYS)In this First-Year Seminar, students will explore the Mechanical Engineering profession by means of treatment of a particular topic in M E. Students will be assigned pertinent readings and the professor will lead discussions on the ethical, professional, and societal aspects of the topic area. The seminar will also feature group activities and encourage participation in the classroom setting.



The School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP) delivers effective engineering education and unrivaled research opportunities through active, collaborative, project-based, and professionally oriented classroom experiences. SEDTAPP offers a variety of programs that partner faculty, students, and industry in the study of real-life engineering problems. Our programs teach students to solve real-life problems with innovative solutions. 

School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs

213 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2952