Earth and Mineral Sciences hosts 'Explore Your World' open house

Rachel Isaacs, doctoral candidate in geography, explained tree cores in the Department of Geography’s Vegetation Dynamics Lab to interested high school students. Credit: Patricia Craig / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- “I felt welcomed by all of the enthusiastic students and faculty. Hearing students talk about their love for Penn State and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) made me realize this was the place for me,” said Ryan Breton, a sophomore in meteorology, about his visit to EMEX as a high school senior.

EMEX, or the Earth and Mineral Sciences Exposition, is an annual open house for prospective incoming students. On Saturday, March 29, this year’s event, with the theme “Explore Your World,” brought together interested high school students and their parents, as well as current Penn State students, faculty, staff and alumni. The open house allows potential students to learn about the various EMS majors and their curriculum requirements. Current students and faculty also speak about career opportunities, student life and special activities within the college.

Many prospective students arrived early Friday morning, to be greeted by undergraduate students who served as their hosts for the weekend. Students accompanied their hosts to various undergraduate classes throughout the day, including calculus, physics and chemistry. That evening, students and their hosts met with the representatives from GEMS (Graduates of Earth and Mineral Sciences) for a discussion on topics such as life after college and what students can do while in college to work towards their dream job. The discussion was followed by dinner at Irvin Hall, the college’s Special Living Option (Interest House). The entire crew then took a trip to the creamery to share one of University Park’s biggest attractions: homemade ice cream.  

Saturday morning came bright and early as some hosts arrived at 4:30 a.m. to begin the event’s setup. This year’s welcome speech was given by Dean William Easterling, who shared information about the college’s highly ranked departments and research capabilities.

Popular events throughout the rest of the day included the Department of Meteorology’s weather balloon launch, and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering’s glass-blowing demonstration.

Breton spoke highly of the department demonstrations, “The first time I visited Penn State was for EMEX during my senior year in high school and it really solidified my decision to come to Penn State. As a meteorology major, I was very interested in seeing the Joel N. Meyers Weather Center and watching a weather balloon launch.”

In addition to the department presentations, potential students and their parents also had the option to attend tours of Irvin Hall and the Millennium Science Complex, one of Penn State’s premier research facilities. The day’s activities also included an EMS student apparel sale, tours of the EMS museum and the opportunity to talk to college representatives about financial aid.

The entire day, EMEX hosts could be seen practically everywhere, helping out with the various events. Katie Sautter, a freshman majoring in materials science and engineering, attended EMEX during her senior year of high school and explained her decision to volunteer this year saying, “I love EMEX! It’s where I decided on Penn State and met my roommate, who is now one of my closest friends. It’s such a fun way to represent the college and Penn State as a whole, and I’m glad I was a part of it.”

The annual college event, which is all student-led, takes months of planning, a reason why EMS Student Council President and senior majoring in meteorology Dakota Smith and his four EMEX chairs: Brian Adams, junior majoring in meteorology; Cody Beaver, senior majoring in environmental engineering; Everleigh Stokes, junior majoring in geography; and Tyler White, freshman in meteorology; began preparations back in October.

Smith was very impressed with this year’s event, saying, “EMEX this year was AWESOME! The director and co-chairs who planned everything, were amazing. The student council as a whole deserves a huge round of applause for their relentless devotion to making this college an incredible place.” Smith was also very impressed with the student council’s mentorship qualities this year, noting, “I was completely shocked by how quick setup and cleanup took. Every moment of the day I had someone asking me if I needed help. It was amazing.”

This year, the EMEX apparel got a new look, thanks to a stylish new design courtesy of Devin Boyer, a senior majoring in meteorology. The candy apple red shirts were easy to spot in the crowd, and the student council hopes to use the same design in upcoming years.

The event drew in 149 students from 19 states, some from as far away as Texas and California. The total number of visitors was 492 individuals, a 16 percent increase from last year’s attendance. 

Smith commented, “I believe the interactions between the undergraduates and high school students sealed the deal for many prospective students to come to Penn State and this awesome college in the fall.” The EMS Student Council hopes one of the college’s most popular events will continue to draw in large crowds in the years to come and encourages everyone to come out again next year.

Last Updated April 28, 2014