First-Year Seminars

Fall 2018

AERSP 1:001, 11040, M 3:35-4:25 pm; Section 002, 29352, M 2:30-3:20 pm: Aerospace Explorer

This course introduces the student to Aerospace Engineering, and in particular the five core areas: structures, fluids, propulsion, stability/control, and computing/software. We will discuss the importance of computing and software in the modern age of aerospace systems, including the IST Minor for Aerospace Engineers. Lectures will be given on the evolution of aircraft, the universe and space travel, drones, the aerospace engineering curriculum, and graduate school opportunities. Guest lectures will also be given by former students, career center experts, other faculty, librarians, and the study abroad program.

AERSP 97.001, 11041, R 6:00-6:50 pm: Hands-On Helicopters 

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 weakness of those configurations. These discussions will be led be 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.  

AE 124 Orientation to Architectural Engineering

Section 002, 24989, T 9:05-10:20 am

Section 003, 10853, R 9:05-10:20 am

Section 004, 10854, R 10:35-11:50 am

Section 005, 11792, R 4:40-5:30 pm

Designed for students intending to major in Architectural Engineering (AE), this course is an introduction to AE with emphasis on relationships with the building industry.

BE 001, 11001, R 1:35-2:50 pm: Growing Your Future

Introduce students to University life, the agricultural/biological/engineering program and profession; prepare them to succeed in academic life at Penn State.

BME 100.001;  Biomedical Engineering Seminar

Section 001, 11127, M 1:25-2:15 pm

Section 002, 11129, M 2:30-3:20 pm

Section 003, 11130, W 1:25-2:15 pm

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) acquainted with 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 100 Topics and Contemporary Issues in Civil and Environmental Engineering: First-Year Seminar

Section 001, 11126, W 10:10-11:00 am

Section 002, 11128, W 1:25-2:15 pm

Section 003, 26813, W 12:20-1:10 pm

First-Year Seminar exploring a specific topic or contemporary issue in civil and environmental engineering. 

CHE 97.001, 25538, M 9:05-9:55 am: Industrial Biotechnology

The biotechnology industry is one of the fastest growing segments of our economy, providing life-saving drugs to millions of patients while also leading the development of drought-resistant crops. This course will provide an overview of the field of industrial biotechnology, beginning with the basic science of recombinant DNA and moving to applications in medicine, agriculture, and industry. The class will be based largely on case studies highlighting advances in industrial biotechnology, with guest lectures provided by current researchers and practitioners from leading biotechnology companies. 

CHE 100 First-Year Seminar in Chemical Engineering

Section 001, 11545, T 9:45-11:00 am

Section 002, 11248, M 2:30-3:20 pm

Section 003, 11249, W 10:10-11:00 am

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. 

CMPEN 111 Computers and Computer Hardware

Section 001, 10984, T 4:35-5:50 pm

Section 002, 10985, R 4:35-5:50 pm

Section 003, 11824, W 4:00-5:15 pm

This course introduces some of the fundamental concepts, devices, and methodologies that are involved in the design and use of digital and computer hardware. Included is a look at some CAD tools and some logic design laboratory exercises. Using logic as a basic building block, the organization and design of a computer is then examined, ending in an exploration of some of the contemporary methods used to make computers faster and more efficient.  Students will be assessed through class participation and assignments.

EE 8.001, 10881, R 1:35-2:50 pm: Introduction to Digital Music

This first-year seminar course is a lab-oriented introduction to the electrical engineering sub-discipline of digital signal processing (DSP) as it applies to the field of digital music. Topics to be covered in the lectures/labs include

  • the physics of sound
  • sampling and quantization of music signals
  • generating audio special effects through the use of digital filters
  • compression techniques used in digital audio
  • Mathematically synthesizing instrument sounds

In addition, current computer audio formats such as WAV, MP3, and MIDI will be investigated. No musical experience/talent is necessary.

EE 9.001, 10882, R 3:05-4:20 pm: Intro to Ham Radio

This course will offer demonstrations and lectures to introduce the student to the world of Amateur "Ham" Radio. Additionally, this course will provide the knowledge necessary for the student to pass the FCC exam to obtain a first Ham Radio license.

EE 9.002, 11785, R 1:35-2:50 pm: 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 as provide a starting point for future personal projects using this inexpensive microcontroller.

EDSGN 11 (Multiple sections – SEE SECTION-SPECIFIC TOPICS BELOW.): Explorations in Design First-Year Seminar

Engineering Design is a diverse field of study with many emerging topics and applications. The goal of this first-year seminar is to introduce students to a particular topic or set of topics related to design. The specific course topic, chosen by the course instructor, may vary each semester.  Some current topics include sustainability, global awareness, community engagement, humanitarian engineering, critical thinking, additive manufacturing, and ethics.  

Section 163, 11567, M 12:20-1:10 pm: Engineering and Community Engagement

Penn State is big! Exploration of available resources and the seeking of networking opportunities are a must!  The Engineering and Community Engagement FYS seeks to promote engineering student engagement throughout the university and beyond. Students interact with practicing engineers, engineering faculty and graduate students in their intended field of study to learn more of their intended disciplines. Teams of students explore the university via field trips to a power generation site, wastewater treatment facility, research labs, consulting engineering offices, manufacturing facilities, and the MorningStar Solar Home. Students present their experiences to the class through presentations and reports.

Section 169, 11568, T 1:35-2:50 pm; Section 170, 11569, T 3:05-4:20 pm: Engineering in China

In this First-Year Seminar, you’ll learn about Chinese engineering education and practice using case studies of some big engineering projects in China such as the Three Gorges Dam, Qinghai-Tibet Railway, and the Yangshan Port. Students are assigned into teams for a team project: “profile an engineering firm in the United States that has a huge investment in China”. Some Chinese cultural issues will be discussed in class as well. Up to six students might be selected from this course to go to China for an internship.

Section 173, [Not yet scheduled]: Additive Manufacturing

This is a First-Year Seminar (FYS) based on the method of Additive Manufacturing (AM). Helpful methods and resources for class work are described along with details of university assets such as libraries, study spaces, websites, etc. Student clubs and other organizations that promote awareness and involvement with Additive Manufacturing are highlighted, including contact and location information.

The evolution, current condition and future trends of A.M are covered, along with basic configuration of the process and all steps in the creation of parts or assemblies. The impact of this manufacturing method on engineering design is emphasized and demonstrated. Working in small teams, students learn basic theory of the method, using the Solidworks CAD program to create computer-generated models and building parts from those models on machines such as Makerbots and Rep-Raps. Students identify, design, fabricate, and write reports about an object that is suitable for AM, explaining why additive is the preferred method to make the chosen object. For example, AM is often driven by the need for customization, rapid cycle times, small lot sizes or economic efficiency.

Professional-level technical communication is emphasized, including project presentations and reports and engineering ethics, from the canons of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) to the requirements of Penn State academic integrity, is covered in light of the capabilities of this emerging technology.

EDSGN 13.001, 11101, W 2:30-3:45 pm: The Ethics of Star Trek

Based on the book, The Ethics of Star Trek, this First-Year Seminar introduces students to engineering ethics via the Star Trek series, from the original series with Capt. James T. Kirk, through The Next Generation with Capt. Jean Luc Picard. We will watch selected episodes of Star Trek followed by discussion and application of the ethical principles. Students will work individually and in teams to apply the lessons learned to student life and engineering practice.

ENGR 97.150, 27445, W 10:10-11:00: Engineering Professional Development for International Students

This seminar is for first-year international students in the College of Engineering. This course covers different topics each week that will help students to identify the best resources for success both at Penn State and in future careers. There will be a series of speakers to cover a variety of topics geared towards helping students succeed at Penn State and familiarizing them with U.S. university culture. Students will be assessed on participation in activities inside and outside of the classroom as well as on a series of reflective assignments throughout the semester.

ENGR 97.167, 29337, T 10:35-11:25 am: Success 101

A Roadmap for the Successful Student – you will learn more about the engineering profession and acquire the tools you'll need to succeed. And best of all, you'll meet other minority engineering students who share your hopes, dreams, and questions.

ENGR 97.172, 11803, T 12:20-1:10 pm; Section 178, 24991, R 12:20-1:10 pm: Sustainable State

This First Year Seminar explores the meaning of sustainability and its relevance to the work of engineers. In this class, we will explore and deal openly and honestly with the following: core principles of sustainability; 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 our dominant ways of life. We will use field trips, guest speakers, readings, videos, assessments, research, 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, you will create your own definition of sustainability and explore the various ways Engineers might work to address issues of sustainability in the global community. 

ENGR 97.175, 11878, W 9:05-9:55 am; Section 178, 27724, R 9:05-9:55 am: Engineering Research

This First-Year Seminar prepares first-year students to succeed in engineering through the lens of research.  During the course students learn more about engineering research and majors, develop success skills including time management and goal setting, and become familiar with Penn State resources. At the end of the course, students will have an appreciation for the research happening here at University Park and tools to get involved on a research team during their undergraduate career. 

ENGR 100 Introduction to Engineering

Section 1, 11097, M 9:05-9:55 am

Section 2, 11098, R 12:05-1:20 pm

Section 3, 11099, R 1:35-2:50 pm

Section 4, 11100, R 3:05-4:20 pm

Section 5, 11694, R 3:05-4:20 pm

Section 6, 11818, W 3:35-4:25 pm

Section 7, 29620, M 3:35-4:25 pm

Section 8, 29621, M 4:40-5:30 pm

This course is a First-Year Seminar (FYS) designed as an introduction to the engineering field. More specifically, it is about studying engineering, succeeding in engineering, and the engineering profession.  In this seminar you should 1) learn if an engineering career is right for you; 2) develop success skills including goal setting, time management, effective studying, working in teams, library research, and oral presentations; 3) explore engineering challenges; 4) become familiar with the University, the College of Engineering, your responsibilities as a student, and the learning tools and resources; and 5) interact with and develop a relationship with your faculty member and other students.

ESC 97.001, 11057, M 3:35-4:25 pm: Respect the environment: ‘cool’ technological advances for clean living

Our task as modern engineers is to keep the environment clean, free of debris and highly effective in providing and maintaining productive lives of human beings. This FYS will discuss recent technological advancements focused on limiting amount of ‘waste left behind’. We will learn about living in a passive house, designing cradle to cradle materials, and how to implement circular economy in everyday life. We’ll use film clips, press releases and social media in discussing these issues. Working in teams you will design a ‘clean life’ pyramid (think about food or energy pyramid).

ESC 120.001, 10951, W 9:05-9:55 am: Design for Failure

Although an important facet of engineering design is to minimize the possibility of failure of a system component, there are many devices that 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.

ESC 121.001, 10950, M 11:15 am – 12:05 pm: Science/Engineering Fiction and the Engineering Sciences

From the times of Jules Verne, books, then movies and TV, have utilized engineering/science and pseudo-engineering, in envisioning devices which were not then available, but perhaps became so in later times. From Verne's nuclear-driven submarine to his voyage to the moon; to Mary Shelly's electrically created monster; to Dick Tracy's wrist radio (cell phone); to the warp speed of the Jedi, there are successes and failures as to predictions of what would someday be possible. These are examined and discussed.

IE 100.001, 11505, TR 10:35-11:50 am, 8/20-9/28/18 (7-1/2 weeks): Discover Industrial Engineering

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.

ME 97.001, 25449, M 1:25-2:15 pm; Section 002, 25480, M 2:30-3:20 pm: Explore Mechanical Engineering Research

Students will learn about and discuss the wide breadth of research topics in mechanical engineering and how to prepare for an undergraduate research position. Throughout the course, students will participate in tours of state-of-the-art research labs in the MNE department, interact with undergraduate students currently involved in conducting research in the MNE department, practice writing correspondence, developing short videos, and making presentations.

ME 101.101, 10858, TR 9:05-10:20 am, 8/27-10/5/2018 (7-1/2 weeks): Toy FUNdamentals

Toy FUNdamentals is a first-year seminar designed to introduce mechanical engineering design and prototyping through a product type familiar to everyone: TOYS!  This 6-week class explores the engineering design process through dissection and design, discussion and application of products that appeal to children of both genders. Projects include prototyping, teamwork, and field-testing an original design.  This class will run the first 6 weeks of fall semester.

ME 102.201, 11525, TR 9:05-10:20 am, 10/8-11/30/2018 (7-1/2 weeks):  Smart Lego Robots and Design

In this course, we will explore mechanical engineering technology utilizing a product familiar to all: Legos! This class utilizes Lego Robotics, a sub-group of educational toys.  By constructing Lego robots, students engage in hands-on learning, a recognized method for enriching student outcomes. This class explores the engineering design process through prototyping, teamwork, and field-testing an original Lego robot design.  This class will run the last 8 weeks of fall semester.



The School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs (SEDTAPP) delivers effective engineering education 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