On Friday, Aug. 24, Penn State Worthington Scranton held its 19th convocation ceremony and freshman orientation.
Faculty, staff, student leaders and volunteers, and administrators helped to welcome the incoming Class of 2016 as they began their college careers.
Over 220 students attended the convocation and orientation activities, which were deemed a huge success by organizers.
Students were welcomed by Dr. Mary-Beth Krogh-Jespersen, Chancellor, Dr. W. Charles Patrick, Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Debra Smarkusky, Associate Professor in Information Sciences and Technology and the 2012 recipient of the PSWS Advisory Board Award for Teaching. A PSWS alumna, Dr. Smarkusky was the convocation speaker and had plenty of advice for the new undergrads.
"Your academic career will be challenging, sometimes frustrating, but most importantly rewarding, and full of new experiences," said Dr. Smarkusky, known as 'Dr. Deb' to her students.
"If you are passionate about something, you will not only be happy, but you will be successful," she assured them. "Find your passion, select a major that allows you to follow that passion, and you are ready to start your academic career. You are here to build the academic foundation to jumpstart your career."
Sharing what she learned when she was an undergraduate, Dr. Smarkusky challenged this year's freshmen students to go outside of their comfort zones and offered some invaluable tips and insights aimed at helping them succeed.
"Pick courses in areas that you currently know nothing about, but sound interesting or may provide opportunities for future advancement or transfer in job locations."
"Get to know your professors; attend class; communicate; earn a good grade; manage your time; and apply for scholarships," she advised, adding that just as important to students' success is getting involved in co-curricular activities.
"To truly experience all that Penn State has to offer, you need to get involved," she stressed, urging students to attend interesting presentations on campus, to join clubs and groups, and/or volunteer. "These activities communicate to an employer that you are responsible, show up to work when scheduled, and that you can juggle more than one task at a time."
Echoing those sentiments was Student Government Association President Julia "Jewels" Greenlaw, who shared her personal experiences in getting involved in campus clubs and activities at the campus and how it enriched her college experience - helping her to make friends and in learning leadership and out-of-classroom skills.
After the convocation ceremony, students heard from orientation leaders who briefed them on all aspects of college life at Penn State Worthington Scranton -- from academics to financial aid to the various campus groups, clubs and athletic teams they can get involved with.
Students were then treated to a barbecue where they could mix and mingle with fellow freshmen, as well as current students, faculty and staff before meeting with their academic program advisors.
On Monday, the newly minted freshmen attended their first college classes as Penn State Worthington Scranton students.