Penn State Scranton unveils new technology lab

campus alumna cuts ribbon for new IST lab opening

Campus alumna Suzanne "Nittany Sue" Thomas, cuts the ribbon Wednesday on Penn State Scranton's new IST Active Learning and Innovation Lab. Thomas, a longtime supporter of the campus donated $100,000 to the new lab project. From left are: Fred Aebli, lecturer in IST and IST program co-coordinator; Marilee Mulvey, campus director of information technology; Maria Russoniello, former director of development at Penn State Scranton; Bob Durkin, Penn State Scranton Advisory Board member and president, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce; Thomas; Dr. Alan Peslak, professor of information sciences and technology; Dr. Marwan Wafa, chancellor; Dr. Deb Smarkusky, associate professor of information sciences and technology and IST program co-coordinator; Christine Ostroski, Penn State Scranton director of development; Monique Robinson, president, Student Government Association; Emily Scarfo, vice president, Student Government Association; Shanie Mohamed, chief justice, Student Government Association; and Jack Tora, public relations director, student government association.

Credit: Amy Gruzesky

On Wednesday, March 13, Penn State Scranton officially unveiled its new Information Sciences and Technology (IST) Active Learning and Innovation Lab.

This new space provides an active learning classroom where students will work in groups for peer-to-peer and student-led learning; a corporate-like learning environment to prepare students for their internships and entry into the workforce; and a focus on learning using technology as the tool. 

There are 3 High Definition laser projectors and screens that allow students to see course materials from wherever they are seated and a state-of-the-art document camera that supports 3D and other types of instructional materials.

The room was also designed for using the robots that Dr. Deb Smarkusky, associate professor of IST and IST program co-coordinator, uses in her classes; and for the drones that Fred Aebli, lecturer in IST and IST program co-coordinator, uses in his course.

The room design also supports the campus’ cybersecurity curriculum, with a second network for hands-on exercises.

The lab’s understated modern design allows for technology that is ‘there when you need it and out of sight when you don’t’ and allows faculty to bring in guest speakers and share courses with others using Zoom Conferencing Cameras and microphones built right into the classroom.

Adjacent to the new instructional space is an IST suite, which houses faculty offices and a conference area, which provides a welcoming space designed for collaboration, research and advising.

Campus and University alumna Suzanne “Nittany Sue” Thomas donated $100,000 toward the development of the new lab and the Margaret Briggs Foundation provided a $25,000 grant for the project.

Both Thomas and the Margaret Briggs Foundation are longtime supporters of Penn State Scranton.

Thomas has created a memorial scholarship for her parents; an undergraduate student research endowment in Science; established a Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund; and has supported the Matt McGloin Baseball Field, along with other projects and programs.

The Margaret Briggs Foundation has an endowed scholarship at the campus – The Margaret Briggs Memorial Scholarship -- and has supported the campus’ Student Hardship Fund; the athletics fields’ project; Science Suite; and Nursing Suite.