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Preparing raised agricultural beds, learning about organic farming, and witnessing permaculture principles first hand is the way 14 freshmen started their Penn State college experience this summer. Students traveled to Ocho Rios, Jamaica for eight days as part of an international travel component of "Sustainability Research in Jamaica," a course offered through the Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP) and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS).

Dr. Neil Brown, research associate for The Alliance for Education, Science, Engineering, and Development in Africa (AESEDA), Ms. Kristin Thomas, director of global relations and promotions, and Ms. Kimberly Del Bright, Giles writer-in-residence for EMS team taught on the topics of sustainability, leadership, and communication.

The LEAP pride used the four sustainability principles adapted from "The Natural Step Framework," a comprehensive model that helps organizations integrate sustainable development into their strategic planning. An interdisciplinary approach helped students explore their roles as leaders in a global society, examine the social, environmental, and economic challenges of sustainable development, and practice the art of effective rhetoric and composition (English 15) to better understand and respond to arguments related to sustainability.

During the seven-week long semester, students were encouraged to integrate classroom lessons to their real world experiences. Self-discovery and changing perspectives is a common thread among their comments about their educational growth gained from this LEAP.

Alicia Janocsko, an energy, business, and finance major said, "Going to Jamaica, I didn't think I had much to offer. But I found through conversations with Jamaicans that we could respect each other, and this helped me see what they see. I gained a new perspective."
"I learned everyone can contribute to a community," said Sebastian Holler, a business major. "Even if you're young and don't know as much--I was inspired to find a way that works for the positive good."

"Through taking freezing cold showers, using a compostable toilet, climbing Dunn's River Falls, visiting the organic farms, talking to a lot of people, and eating ackee, plantains, and other foods--I think I learned a lot," said Ryan Belz, a meteorology major, "but I learned the most about myself."

Other students commented on changes in their worldview. "As Americans, I think we sometimes think we can copy and paste what we have to other places," said Tyler Thompson, an agriculture science major. "We often have good intentions, but sometimes we do it without understanding the other parts of the culture."

Adam Strickland, a biology major, was glad the group visited both tourist and non-tourist attractions. "The comparison showed us how we could see through different lenses. I didn't realize there are various ways to view a country: one as a tourist and one as a student."

To read more about what the students have to say about "Sustainability in Jamaica," go to Penn State Live.

Additional Comments from Students:
Speaking with people who are involved with sustainability and organic farming in Jamaica made me realize that some of these practices might be more possible than I originally thought.

I liked that Neil told us that he didn't bring us to Jamaica to make us feel bad. This made me feel okay to just be an observer. I didn't have to make a judgment or feel like I had to fix something. We did end up changing a small plot of land; I think we did leave an impression.
~Taylor Block

When we were at the organic farms, they made us lunch from things they had grown. I made some of the connections to my own experience with gardening, and it made me think it wasn't all that different.
I learned a lot about the U.S. and myself through this experience.
~Paige Lynch

I don't think we should come in as superiors and say let's fix it this way. We need to work together if we want to help change and make sustainability work.
~Bobby Leahey

I think as Americans we sometimes think we are entitled to tell others what to do. We need to allow Jamaicans to make their own choices.
~Saresa Stager-Hanes

I think about the future more than I did because of this experience.
~Rasheed Andrew

I learned it's about credibility, and when we listened to each other's viewpoints it was easier to establish our understanding and this helped with our credibility with our own group and also the people we came into contact with.
~Cody Dumont

This past weekend I went home, and I told my friends and family about what I did, and they're all so amazed that as a freshman in my first semester I had this kind of experience. It's just fun to talk about.
~Emily Vasko


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Six students from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) earned top awards in the annual Grundy Haven paper competition. The aim of the paper competition is to foster excellence in communicating science to the public.

Andrew Dzambo, (meteorology) won first place for his paper, "Building a Better Tropical Cyclone Model: It's Resolution That Matters." His paper explains the importance of resolution in complex forecasting models the National Hurricane Center uses. He entered the competition to practice writing about science. "My goal is to become a professor, and in addition to teaching, I'll have to write a lot," he said.

Karen Bunavage (meteorology) won second place for her paper "Cool Bears + Warm Waters = Extinction. She got interested in climate change years ago when she saw the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. She's now studying meteorology, and chose her topic because she wanted the public to understand how melting ice caps caused by increases in global temperatures are affecting polar bears.  

Devin Tierney (geobiology) also won second place for his paper, Enceladus: A Lonely Snowball or a Haven of Life. He plans on working in environmental restoration consulting and sees communication as a key skill he'll use. The cosmic show of one of Saturn's moons, Enceladus, and the possibility of discovering life forms fascinated him, and he decided to write about it.

When Martin Antensteiner (materials science and engineering) learned how cyanoacrylates lock in place during a polymer science lecture, he knew he had a topic for the Grundy Haven Paper Competition. He won third place for his paper, "The Superman of the Adhesive World," which describes the bonding mechanism of super glue.  

Irena Gorski  (geosciences) was one of two honorable mention winners for her paper, "What's on Tap." In her hydrogeology classes, she learned a lot about agricultural contaminants of water. "I wanted to learn even more about the contaminants and inform others about them, so I explored them by writing about it," she said. She's already planning to enter the competition next year.

A recent trip to Panama inspired Annie Tamalavage to write about Bokashi: The Start of Change. "I was astounded that something so simple--organic composting (Bokashi)--could have such an immediate and profound effect. I entered the competition in part because people will care if we as scientists can explain a beneficial way to protect our environment. Using our communication skills can get society to listen and to make changes."

The William Grundy Haven Awards were established in 1950 in memory of a Penn State geology student who was killed in action during World War II. The Earth and Mineral Science College is grateful for these funds, and proud to recognize the achievements of these fine communicators.

To read the papers, go to the EMS website.

For more information on the Grundy Haven Student Paper Competition, contact Kimberly Del Bright, Giles writer-in-residence, Ryan Family Student Center, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, 14F Deike Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16801, Telephone: (814) 863-6077, Fax: (814) 863-3349, E-mail:, Blog:

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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.

Glenn De Angelis, a senior energy engineering student, put on his lucky SpongeBob arm bands that he wore last year when he successfully danced for the Penn State  IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon and headed to the Bryce Jordan Center (BJC).

As the EMS THON overall chair this year, he was ready. Although EMS students who participated in THON are quick to point out it's a team effort, under the leadership of DeAngelis, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) raised a record $87, 601.82. This was the second year in a row EMS was first among general organizations.

The doors of the BJC opened at 1 p.m. on Friday, February 17, 2012.  "As we went through the human tunnel of hundreds of THON committee members lining the hallways, the excitement was unbelievable. I was holding my clip board and waving my sky blue bandana high in the air trying to keep us all together," said DeAngelis.

DeAngelis acknowledges this was a very different year than last year. Students grieved for the loss of Coach Paterno and for the young freshman, Courtney O'Bryan, killed in a car accident en route to a THON canning trip. One of the four canning trips had to be cancelled because of inclement weather, and although DeAngelis and the EMS THON students supported the difficult decision, they worried about the effect it would have on the final fundraising total. The students also fought hard not to let the negativity of the events of the past year dampen their belief in the positive power of people working together for a common goal. The money raised supports the Four Diamonds Fund to help pediatric cancer patients, families and researchers.

On Sunday, when the overall THON total was revealed and was 12 percent higher than last year's $9.6 million, it felt like a rainbow. Brian Bastian, who served as the EMS donor and alumni relations chair, credits the strength of the EMS executive committee (Marla Korpar, canning chair; Caitlyn McCloy, fundraising chair; and Annie Tamalavage, family relations chair) for much of the success of EMS.

EMS students commented that the close knit feeling of family among EMS students, EMS alumni, and the THON families provide a lot of motivation. Many alumni visit throughout the weekend and support the students throughout the year-long fundraising.

"The families' strength inspires us too," said Marla Korpar. This year the Michael Woods and Troy Brewer families were paired with EMS through the Adopt-A-Family program. Michael is in fifth grade, and his cancer is in remission; however, Troy passed away in 2006. Throughout the year, EMS students interact with the families.

"The 'why we THON' is different for every person, but ultimately it's for those we love and those we lost--For the Kids. Their stories, both tragic and triumphant, inspire me to be a better person," said Katie Lukens (meteorology) who danced this year along with Brian Bastian (meteorology), Annie Tamalavage (geosciences), Caitlyn McCloy (energy, business and finance), Greg Smith (geobiology), and Marla Korpar (environmental systems engineering).

Marla Korpar, a junior, got involved in THON as a freshman and found the last four hours of THON as a dancer this year were especially memorable.

"I should have been exhausted. 'What a Wonderful World' was playing and the BJC was filled to capacity. I looked out on the floor and up to the stands and saw so many people--it was a sea of bright colors--all standing arms around each other swaying back and forth. I felt love radiating from the BJC. I could see it with my eyes, but I could also feel it in my soul."

As DeAngelis left the BJC at the end of THON weekend, the sky in Happy Valley was Penn State blue. "It's important to remember that when people come together for good, something miraculous can happen," he said.  


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The WPSU-FM Fall Pledge Drive, taking place through October 22, 2011, got a little extra help from two community-minded Earth and Mineral Science undergraduates: Annie Tamalavage (junior, geoscience) and Zak Khayat (sophomore, material science).

Although new to the idea of public broadcasting, Annie and Zak were quick studies as Pat Smith, associate director of development and membership, gave them a quick walk-through of how to man the phones as donors call in to make pledges. Soon after the phones started to ring, and Annie and Zak got their first experience with fund raising public broadcasting style.

In addition to answering the phones, they had the opportunity to speak with WPSU staff, eat donated goodies, and most of all, see how public radio relies on the generosity of their listeners to offer many of its popular programs, such as StoryCorps, Morning Edition, and This American Life.

At the end of their three hour shift, they had the satisfaction of knowing that the Pledge Drive had gotten closer to its $106,000 goal.

If you want to support public broadcasting like Annie and Zak, there's still time. Call 877-420-9778 or go online to 


Do you need $1,000.00 for spring break? Enter the Grundy Haven Paper Competition, and you might win money and get published on our EMS website!
You don't have to wait until next semester to submit your entry. Right now you can get interested in a topic. Speak with a faculty member to get a sponsor, and then write a short (approximately 1,500 words) entry. You have time to refine and submit your paper (the deadline isn't until 2/15/12). But start today.

If you're graduating this fall, you can enter too. Just make sure to submit your entry by December 17, 2011.

To find out more read past winning entries and the guidelines.

Make an appointment with me and get on your way to winning cool, hard cash.

Don't let that $1000.00 go to someone else!

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                  pictured from left to right: Thomas Rauch, Daniel Mills, Lindsay Kromel, Patrick Ritsko,

                        Robert Lydick, and Daniel Pollak

The six winners of the 2010-2011 Grundy Haven paper competition wrote on study breaks, weekends, late at night, and even while procrastinating completing other coursework. They wrote about habitable exoplanets, Chinese coal mine safety, lighting, Marcellus Shale, pool use forecasting, and ice-snow surface albedo feedback.  Some adapted a paper they had written in an academic setting, while others began from scratch. All sought to take the technical aspects of their research and knowledge and explain it to a lay audience. The aim of the Grundy Haven competition is to foster excellence in communicating science to the general public by students in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Six students achieved this excellence (three first prize winners and three honorable mentions). Congratulations to Daniel Mills (geobiology), Thomas Rauch (mining engineering and energy, business & finance), and Patrick Ritsco (meteorology) for their first place entries; and  Lindsay Kromel (environmental systems engineering), Robert Lydick (meteorology), and Daniel Pollack (meteorology) for their honorable mention entries.

Daniel Mills won first place for his paper, Charting the Islands of the Cosmic Ocean. "Somewhere in the universe, we have good reason to believe, are planets like our own," he writes. His intrigue with the discoveries of NASA's Kepler Mission and his appreciation for scientists, such as Carl Sagan, was the reason he entered the paper competition. "Getting people to care about science is just as important as getting people to know about science," according to Daniel. "Science as it's really practiced, is an emotional and creative enterprise--not just a body of dry facts learned by rote." He plans on being a research scientist who communicates his findings to a lay audience because he believes in public outreach.

Thomas Rauch also won first place for his paper, China's Conundrum: Coal Mine Safety. In the spring of 2010 he traveled to China and, as he described it, was a "young man in search of world citizenship." His observations of the Chinese mining industry led him to compare three types of mines in China and why their fatality rates differed. He wrote this paper because he wanted to reflect on his time in Asia and relate it to his studies. "This competition is relevant to my career. I'll be writing reports and investigating issues, particularly using statistics to evaluate situations in engineering and business."

Patrick Ritsko got interested in the science behind the switch from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent light (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LEDS) during his freshman LEAP experience. He adapted a paper he wrote and won a first place for, Flipping the On-Switch to Energy Efficient Lighting. Part of his motivation for writing was also to honor his father's efforts toward his education. Patrick said of his dad, "He works hard to fund my education. This honor is something I'd like to give back to him in appreciation for all his efforts to see me succeed in life."

Lindsay Kromel was one of three honorable mention winners for her paper, Marcellus Shale Flowback Water: It's Not Just About Gas. She worked with her faculty sponsor, Dr. Kamini Singha, who helped put her in touch with experts in the field. For example, she interviewed Dave Yoxtheimer, an expert hydrologist for the Marcellus Shale, and she gained a much better understanding of the issues involved in hydraulic fracturing. "Overall this experience has taught me to pursue my curiosity," she said. "I feel like I'm now able to communicate in a way that invites multiple audiences, which is necessary to make people care about my work as a scientist."

Rob Lydick's inspiration for his honorable mention winning entry, Forecasters Make a Spash, came from his summer job; he worked with Penn State and PPG Industries to supply pool use forecasting to Leslie's Poolmart Inc. In his paper, he explains the connection between the meteorological data of forecasting and the practical business of pool use. He recommends more students participate in the competition because it helped him learn "how to shorten sentences, be concise, remain focused on the topic, and write in a style for a popular magazine, which is a very useful skill!"

Daniel Pollak entered the competition because he hopes to communicate the science of climate change in his future career. In his paper, Treading on Thin Ice, he explains the significance of ice-snow surface albedo feedback. When asked what advice he would give future students who are considering entering the contest, he said, "Write an entry! As future scientists, it's critical that we're able to communicate what we do, otherwise our work doesn't have much relevance, does it?"

The William Grundy Haven Awards were established in 1950 in memory of a Penn State geology student who was killed in action during World War II. The Earth and Mineral Science College (EMS) is grateful for these funds, and proud to recognize the achievements of these fine communicators. If you're an undergraduate in EMS, and in your second-year or higher of attendance by February 15, 2012, you are eligible to enter. 

Read this story on PSU Live.


It was the reason I came to Penn State. I loved how students felt connected to the College," says Steven Curtis, student council president, remembering the influence the Earth and Mineral Sciences Exposition (EMEX) had on his college-choice decision. All students who are considering an Earth and Mineral Science (EMS) major are invited to attend the annual recruiting event. This year, EMEX was held on February 25-26, 2011.

Knowing that EMEX can have such a powerful effect is one of the reasons Steven and his co-chairs, Natalie Gerber (freshman, Energy Business and Finance), Zak Khayat (freshman, Energy Engineering), and Jackie Layer (sophomore, Meteorology) started preparing for it months in advance. "I think we're rare in EMS because this big event is really student led," Curtis said. "Certainly faculty and staff support us, but students take the leadership role."

 Prospective students who arrived on Friday attended classes with their student sponsors and met with alumni in their fields to learn more about college choice and careers. Joel Reed, a 1982 materials science and engineering graduate emphasized the "amazing network of Penn State alumni" as one of the reasons he chose Penn State. Cheryl Nelson, a 2002 meteorology graduate, credited the College with her diverse skill set that has allowed her to easily transition from a broadcast journalist to a weather forecaster to her current position, making disaster training films for the military.

Also on Friday night, the residents of Irvin Hall, the Special Living Option for EMS, sponsored an evening of icebreaking activities, including a dance with a DJ, sports, and games. While students were socializing, parents and their families were treated to dinner at the Atherton Hotel where they had the opportunity to meet other families and ask questions of the deans, faculty, staff, and EMS students.

Saturday morning came early to the hearty set-up crew that began inflating balloons at 4:30 a.m. to line the pathways to the Deike Building. Popular each year is the complimentary breakfast of tasty donuts and bagels. At 9 a.m. Dean Easterling gave his opening remarks.

He highlighted the "small feel" of the College whose faculty to student ratio is 12:1. He mentioned that students are "trained by the best faculty in the world," and "all five of the College's departments rank within the top 10 nationally." He spoke of the College's leading research in many areas including energy security, climate change, mine safety, and understanding the world's biosphere. Associate Dean for Education John Hellmann also welcomed the families and encouraged them to explore the College and its offerings.

Throughout the day, prospective students spoke with members of Earth and Mineral Engineering, Geography, Geosciences, Materials Science Engineering and Meteorology and took advantage of the unique exhibits from each of these departments. This year, the glass blowing station, the weather balloon launch, and the ceramic fabrication were particularly popular. The Lion Scouts were also on hand to give campus tours.

Each year feedback is collected from the attendees to tweak the event toward perfection. "We always hear that there's too much to do, but we see that as a good thing," Curtis said as he glanced down at the large notebook he maintains to keep track of the all the details. "One of this year's goals was to increase the number of volunteers, and we accomplished this through the use of new digital recruitment forms."

Lots of faculty, staff, and student volunteers interacted with over 204 prospective students who came from as far away as California and as close as Centre County. The volunteers were easy to spot in their blue EMEX t-shirts designed by sophomores Pam Remetta and Katie Calais. This year's design incorporated Twitter, the social network site, into the theme. At the close of EMEX 2011, there was nothing but sweet tweets of success.

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A recipe for success: mix one part supreme leader,  one part amazing motivator, six parts energetic dancers, and many parts enthusiastic and committed Earth and Mineral Science (EMS) students and you get a record $85,900 raised for Penn State's IFC/Panhellenic Dance MaraTHON.
Simone Gleicher, a senior meteorology student, used her leadership talents for the second year in a row as the overall chair of the EMS Dance Marathon (THON) committee to help EMS earn first place among general organizations in fund raising for THON 2011. "I never danced and I probably never will," she said, as she explained how the dancers are an important part of the event, but "lots of students are responsible for increasing the success of EMS THON. Every student who went canning, made THONvelopes, worked pizza sales, participated in fundraisers, or communicated with their friends and family about THON made this possible," she said.  Her ability to easily share the spotlight may be because she is a triplet. "I had to come to college before I even had my very own birthday cake," she said laughingly. She's quick to point out the talents of many members of the EMS team.

 "Greg Ferro, another senior meteorology student, is the overall canning chair, and he's a master at motivation," she said. He spent hours putting together the canning trips coordinating the overnight accommodations, pairing new EMS THON recruits with older, experienced ones, and ensuring that students raised money safely, and also enjoyed themselves. After each trip, he put together a slide show highlighting the canning experience that reinforced the message of the mission of THON: to conquer pediatric cancer.
This year EMS had six dancers, up from four in 2010. The number of dancers an organization has is determined by how much the organization raised the previous year, and because EMS raised $55,035 last year, they gained two slots for 2011. The six dancers were Laura Schell (materials science and engineering), Christine Hardos (geography), Lauren Kohl (energy, business, and finance), Ryan Leddy (meteorology), Glenn DeAngelis (energy engineering), and Dan Vecellio (meteorology).

Throughout the year, EMS students interact with the families they are paired with through the Adopt-A-Family program. This year, the Michael Woods and Troy Brewer families were assigned to EMS. Michael is ten years old, and his cancer is in remission; however, Troy passed away in 2006. The relationships the students have with the families inspire them.  Students commented that whenever they felt overwhelmed with academic and fund-raising commitments, they reminded themselves of the children battling cancer, and they realized their own challenges were small in comparison.

The connection to the families who have or are experiencing pediatric cancer is also felt intensely during Family Hour which takes place on Sunday of THON weekend.  It includes a slideshow of cancer survivors, family speakers, and the "Celebration of Life," which commemorates those who have died. "Family Hour should be a graduation requirement," said Dan Vecellio. "I believe everyone should experience that number of people coming together for one cause. It puts everything into perspective."

THON began in 1973 when 39 couples danced for 30 hours in Penn State's HUB ballroom. Now it's a 46-hour, no sitting, no sleeping dance marathon with a yearlong fund raising effort of more than 15,000 students raising a record $9,563,016.09 for the Four Diamonds Fund. EMS students are pleased to be the top general organization for money raised, but it's all because they kept the focus of the overall event: for the kids, or FTK, they say.

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Forty-three undergraduate meteorology students from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences attended the annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) conference in Seattle, Washington in the last week of January. This was the largest group of student attendees from Penn State and represented one percent of the overall attendees at the conference. Students are members of the Penn State Branch of the AMS (PSUBAMS), Campus Weather Service, and the meteorology honors society.

The theme of the meeting was "Communicating Weather and Climate." At the students 'recent meeting back at University Park, they discussed the many lessons they learned. Secretary of the honors society, Chris Slocum stated, "I discovered that it's important to consider the end-user when communicating scientifically correct forecasts, and also how difficult this can be when forecasts are more uncertain."  He was also surprised to learn how meteorological data informs US intelligence agencies on piracy threats.

Burkely Twiest was surprised to learn that Weather is the most popular Mobile App, but on average people spend only 30 seconds on it. "The whole job of communicating science with the public has to be done quickly," she commented, and "you have to give them a context they understand."  Ryan Leddy learned that "trust and responsibility are key to effective climate communication."

Many students commented that their job skills improved by attending the conference. Christine McEnrue and Simone Gliecher found networking to be awkward at first, but as a tag team they approached people and were pleased to find how easy it became. Jeremy Geiger was also amazed to find himself networking on an elevator with the Chief of the National Weather Service.

Information on jobs and graduate schools was helpful to many students. "The biggest thing I took away was not scientific," stated Jesse Schwakoff. "Even if you think you know what you want to do, keep an open mind." He discovered that he may want to join the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps Officers. As he toured one of their ships, he found himself interested in learning more about their operations under the sea combining meteorology and oceanography. On the other hand, Mary Morris decided after talking to a number of graduate schools, that she'll probably pursue a higher degree.

Hailey Mitchell announced she learned a new impressive word at the conference: magnetohydrodynamics. Even though she proudly pronounced it with ease, she said her most important lesson was, "The atmospheric science community as a whole is very supportive and encouraging of young scientists." 

This was the first time many students had been to Seattle, and Krista Gibbons made them all laugh when she said, "I learned that pictures lie--the Space Needle is actually smaller than I imagined!" Listening to this lively, dedicated group of Penn State meteorological students come away with so many perceptive observations about their field and their futures is proof of the value of this experience.

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