Incoming New Kensington students finish preparations for college

August 20, 2015

UPPER BURRELL, Pa. -- Members of the class of 2019 at Penn State New Kensington concluded their final preparations for their college careers Aug. 20 with the third day of the annual academic and campus orientation program.

Known as New Student Orientation, the annual three-day program is a series of sessions spread out over the summer and designed to give first-year students the tools necessary to make a smooth transition into University life. Incoming students meet with staff, faculty and peers, and they participate in activities designed to help them adjust to life at Penn State.

The program provides students with a basic understanding of what will be expected of them at Penn State and how their particular abilities and interests may fit with one or more of the University's majors.

-- Day One featured six sessions in June, July and August. New students were required to attend one of the sessions where they planned a course schedule, registered for classes and received general campus service information. Families were encouraged to participate to get acquainted with the campus, its policies, procedures and services. Topics of interest for parents were "Partnering with the University" and "Billing and Financial Aid."

-- Day Two brought together all new students for the campus tradition of orientation prides. Each student was assigned to one of eight pride groups headed by an orientation leader who is an upperclassman. As a pride, students attended interactive workshops to learn about academic procedures, electronic resources and extracurricular activities. Faculty led discussions on the summer reading assignment, “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World” by Russell Gold. For more about the book, visit

-- Day Three included the Academic Convocation, Pride Olympics and meeting faculty and current students in their chosen fields of study. The convocation is a formal ceremony led by Chancellor Kevin Snider. Faculty and staff, replete in their academic robes, officially welcome students to the campus. Reuniting the eight prides, the Olympics gives students the opportunity to compete in a variety of challenges that encourage teamwork and leadership. It also gives the newcomers another opportunity to mingle with fellow freshmen. The day concludes with the traditional “Rainbow Arch” photograph. Wearing their pride colors, the new students stand together under the campus’ iconic arch for a class of 2019 portrait.

After orientation, students will have the opportunity on Aug. 21 to enjoy a maritime journey on Pittsburgh's three rivers. The annual midnight cruise aboard the Gateway Clipper brings together more than 200 freshmen from the campuses of Penn State Beaver and Penn State New Kensington.

Orientation Leaders
First-year students have a wealth of resources at their disposal as they take the helm of their academic careers and navigate the mercurial seas of the inaugural year of college.The newcomers can draw upon the experiences of a crew of upperclassmen, known as Orientation Leaders, who were chosen to guide the class of 2019 through their first academic year. Orientation Leaders are among the campus’ most selective student leaders. The selection process is a rigorous one, and only the best of the best earn the moniker.

The 2015 Orientation Leaders are Erica Bolcato, Jake Boney, Millie Barta De Brasser, Bill Carney, Tyler Delancey, Brianna Delle Donne, Kayla Dowling, Ariel Festa, Laura Gensamer, Trevor Guercio, Lynsie Headley, R. J. Hines, Shannon Josefoski, Wati Kumwenda, Ben Lesko, Anthony Maiolo, Leonard Morris, Alain Niyibizi, Jadyn Perry, Cody Shoemaker, Zac Smith and Zack Wolford.

To view orientation leaders' stories, visit

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 20, 2015