First-year Engagement Resources

Engineering Path to Success

To help engineering students succeed in their first year at Penn State, the College of Engineering developed the Engineering Path to Success. If a first-year seminar instructor uses this tool, students are expected to complete four activities, two required, and two chosen from a list of options. It is up to each student to consider what you will most benefit from (unless an instructor has specific requirements), plan when to do it, complete the activity, and complete the quiz/assignment for each activity in your class Canvas module.

Here are further resources for each of the activities.

Engineering Major Night – This is a REQUIRED activity

Attend a Major Night:
Each year, the Engineering Advising Center works with each engineering program to develop major nights. These nights are developed specifically for first-year students to talk to in-major students, learn about career opportunities, tour facilities, and ask questions about the fields that interest them. Many students enter the College of Engineering unsure of their major choice, and Major Nights are an effective way to learn more to help students make a well-informed decision. Learn more about College of Engineering majors

This semester's major night schedule thus far. 

Department Date Time Zoom Link Contact Name Email
Aerospace Engineering  TBA TBA Robert Melton 
Architectural Engineering TBA TBA Moses Ling 
Biomedical Engineering TBA TBA Justin Brown 
Biological Engineering TBA TBA Megan Marshall 
Chemical Engineering  TBA TBA Mike Janik 
Civil Engineering TBA TBA Martin Pietrucha 
Computer Engineering, Computer Science, and Data Science TBA TBA John Hannan 
Electrical Engineering TBA TBA David Salvia 
Engineering (B.S.) TBA TBA Ivan Esparragoza 
Engineering Science TBA TBA Lucas Passmore
Industrial Engineering TBA TBA Sarah Root 
Mechanical Engineering TBA TBA Eric Marsh  
Nuclear Engineering TBA TBA Leigh Winfrey 
SEDTAPP: Engineering Design, Engineering  Entrepreneurship,  Engineering Leadership Development, and Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship  TBA TBA Engineering Design: Sarah Ritter

Engineering Entrepreneurship: Ted Graef

Engineering Leadership Development: Meg Handley

Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship: John Gershenson


World In Conversation Dialogue – This is a REQUIRED activity

Attend a World in Conversation Dialogue:

World in Conversation is a student-driven center for true public diplomacy dedicated to expanding human understanding of complicated social challenges through facilitated dialogue.  These dialogues seek to examine society through the divergent views of people from different "sociological addresses". 

Your FYS instructor will arrange for you to be contacted by the World in Conversation program via email to schedule a time to participate in a dialogue. Please respond in a timely manner to this email.  

Additional Activities List

In addition to the two mandated first-year student activities, you must select two additional activities to participate in. Select from the list of activities below or some other PSU activity that is similar in nature (pre-approval from faculty is required). 

Regardless of which activity you select, you will write a 1-page reflective essay about the experience.

  • Attend an engineering student organization meeting: A list of organizations is located here. Link to the organization in which you’re interested to check their schedule of meetings and relevant contacts.
  • Tour the Engineering Library: The Engineering Library is located at the west end of the third floor of Hammond Building. They are working on a virtual tour of the facility that should be ready for release by the end of September 2020. The link to this video tour will be found here. [Under development]
  • Attend Fall Career Days: In Fall 2020 the Fall Career Days will be completely online. Please follow the instructions for signing up found here. The registration is short and asks basic questions like major, intended graduation date, etc. The day for internships and co-ops is September 24. This is the day that you should plan to visit with at least three companies.
  • Attend Drawdown Event led by various Penn State student organizations [under development]: Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind. To help foster a sustainability-mindset for engineering students, we are partnering with several Penn State student organizations and offices to offer “Sustainability Sessions” based on strategies provided in Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. In these sessions, student organizations will introduce first-year students to Drawdown solutions that they support. It is a great way for students to learn more about local sustainability applications and how to get involved. Choose an activity to attend from the list of participating organizations below. Please check back as more Sustainability Sessions will be added throughout the semester.
    • Attend a meeting of Collegiate Wind Competition and the Penn State Wind Energy Club. This club participates in an annual wind competition and there are lots of opportunities to get involved in designing and building wind turbines. They are planning to have some sort of presentation at each meeting plus some time for discussion and breakout groups at the end.  They meet on Mondays at 6 PM via Zoom. Password: weare
      • On Monday, September 14, the club will provide an overview of the wind turbine system which has been designed in previous years.  Then on the following Monday, September 21, Dr. Susan Stewart, the club advisor, will provide an overview of the Project Development part of the competition. After this, there will be more specific details of each part of our system or the competition in the weekly presentations. The first two weeks are best for this “Engineering Path to Success” activity, but students would be welcome to attend other meetings as well.
    • Attend a Sustainability Showcase presentation. The Sustainability Showcase Series makes connections between faculty research, personal and professional interest, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals while broadening the discourse surroundingsustainability. Speakers are invited to give a thirty-minute talk, answer questions and hang around to mingle with attendees. Events are on Fridays 12 pm - 1:30 pm and are held via Zoom. Check schedule and register here
    • Attend a presentation on Penn State’s Dining Services sustainability practices. Anna Sostarecz, Sustainability Coordinator for Dining Services, will provide a behind-the-scenes virtual tour of a Penn State Dining Hall and the LeanPath food waste prevention and measurement system. Come learn how Penn State’s Dining Services is addressing climate change and food insecurity, as well as what you can do to help. Presentation schedule will be released at the beginning of October.  
    • Attend a meeting of the Penn State Solar Decathlon Team. Penn State has been involved in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon Competition beginning in 2006. Student teams from all over the country conceptually, or completely, design a high-performance zero-energy home. Here is a virtual open house of this year’s project. The first meeting this semester is Saturday, October 3 at 1:30 p.m. on Zoom
  • Complete “Academic Integrity” module.

  • Attend a University (not engineering) student organization meeting.

    Find out about all of the Penn State student organizations here.

  • Attend second Major Night.


The Penn State Libraries are one of your greatest resources for information and knowledge. While the internet can be useful by itself, the Libraries have access to books and databases that are unparalleled and uncommon outside of academia. Did you know that the libraries has over 13,000,000 books, volumes, and e-books? Tours are available during the first few weeks of each semester. Throughout their college career, engineering students will find the Engineering Library located in 325 Hammond to be helpful as it contains a large reference collection of handbooks, directories, and other resources are available as are standards and technical reports collections. Engineering databases can be found using the Subject Guides.


Envoys are undergraduate and graduate students who have completed at least one co-op or internship experience and who help promote programs supported by both our office and the College of Engineering. They provide walk-in advising hours for engineering students and can answer questions about résumés, cover letters, interviews, and professionalism at work. They also reach out to engineering students, faculty, and employers through volunteerism at events, in special programs, and in classrooms.

Maker Commons

Brand new in Spring 2016 is the Pattee Library Maker Commons.

Maker Commons is a university-wide initiative to enrich the teaching and learning experience through 3D printing, rapid prototyping, design thinking and direct support for students, faculty and staff. We provide an open-access 3D printing service based on MakerBot technology that allows any member of the Penn State community to print-on-demand.  Rapid prototyping of electronic devices is made possible in the Invention Studio with an assortment of littleBits and Legos.

Student Affairs

The Student Affairs offices at University Park offer a multitude of services for students ranging from tutoring to health promotion and wellness



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