UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Students and faculty in Penn State’s Material Sciences and Engineering Department (MatSE) can take the heat when the furnaces are blazing in Penn State’s glass-blowing studio.
MatSE offers unique experiences for its students and MatSE junior Briana Bennett is among one of those students getting a special hands-on experience in the studio.
Bennett was first introduced to glass blowing while a student at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC). After transferring to Penn State, Bennett was eager to get involved in Penn State’s glass-blowing studio. During her first week on campus she sought out Carlo Pantano to learn more about how to get involved.
Pantano, then a distinguished professor of materials science and engineering and now an emeritus professor at Penn State, founded the glass-blowing studio about 15 years ago as a way for his students to get hands-on experience with the materials and theories being taught in the classroom.
Hands-on learning in the studio helps Bennett put theories she learns in the classroom to good use, making concrete connections between theory and practice.
Bennett said, “It’s nice to be able to learn the science and then go into the shop, and be like ‘Oh wow, this is doing this because of this.’ And that’s really cool because you can actually see what’s happening.”