Holding jet fuel, hand-blown glass, and a piece of Marcellus Shale in his hands as props to illustrate the diverse study opportunities available to students of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS), Dean William Easterling kicked-off the College’s annual recruiting event held on March 16-17 this year. All students who are considering an EMS major are invited to attend the Earth and Mineral Sciences Exposition (EMEX).
“This is the college you can study everything you want about the Earth and do ground breaking research while enjoying a small college atmosphere within a big research institution,” Easterling told prospective students and their families who came from all over the United States including Texas, Idaho, and California.
This year’s overall chair, Erica Marden (senior, Material Science Engineering) recalls the influence EMEX had on her decision to enroll. As a local from State College, Pennsylvania, she didn’t think she wanted to come to Penn State University because she thought a small liberal arts college would be a better fit.
“I came to EMEX and loved the feel of this college–very small and personal–it changed my mind.” said Marden.
She admits to being envious of those just starting out on this journey. “Looking back four years ago, I never would’ve thought I’d have the chance to study abroad, participate in research, and do an internship in Africa. They’re in for a treat,” she said. This year’s EMEX is a swan song for Marden as she is graduating in May and has been accepted by two medical schools.
“The biggest challenge of putting on EMEX which is all student-led,” said Marden, “is making sure the communication among faculty, students, alumni, and staff is strong. She credits her co-chairs, Natalie Gerber (sophomore, Energy Business and Finance), Nolan Maynard (sophomore, Environmental Systems Engineering) and Everleigh Stokes (freshman, Geography) with keeping everyone in the loop.
Seventy-two prospective students came on Friday to attend classes and shadow their student sponsors, meet with Penn State alumni in their fields, and speak to faculty and staff. Friday night, the residents of Irvin Hall, the Special Living Option for EMS, sponsor an evening of ice-breaking activities and help prospective students learn more about college life. While students socialize with their peers, parents and their families are treated to a dinner at the Atherton Hotel where they can ask questions of the deans, faculty, staff, alumni, and EMS students.
Andrew Paul (junior, Materials Science Engineering) had a student shadow him. He ended up not going to sleep until 2 a.m., yet despite having little rest, he arrived early Saturday morning to help with EMEX. More than 375 people came for the day-long events, and Paul was a guide for one of the most popular features of this year’s EMEX: a tour of the new Millennium Science Complex.
He gave a demonstration of the Molecular Beam Epitaxy machine and explained his participation in research on micromagnetic simulations. Afterwards, Sampath Kethavarapu (junior, Materials Science Engineering) led the group to the Materials Characterization Lab. He pointed out the methods that provide low acoustic and electromagnetic noise to create an optimal environment for imagery analysis techniques such as Scanning Electron Microscopy.
Throughout the day attendees had the opportunity to pick and choose among a variety of activities according to their interests and get more information on all five departments: Earth and Mineral Engineering, Geography, Geosciences, Materials Science Engineering, and Meteorology.
Kyle Spataro, a senior in high school, flew to State College, Pennsylvania from Braintree, Massachusetts to find out more about the Petroleum Natural Gas Engineering curriculum and to learn more about Penn State.
“There’s a whole lot more here than I realized!” he said at the end of the day.