'Major opportunity' event helps students choose a career path

March 18, 2016

What’s more difficult – choosing a major or surviving a zombie apocalypse?

Penn State Beaver students will have the chance to find out as communications professor Juliette Storr’s public relations (PR) students deliver a pair of activities designed to test undecided students’ skills and abilities. The goal of what they’re calling “Major Opportunity” is to help students decide which degree program matches their talents.

One of those activities is called the Escape Room and presents students with several timed, zombie-themed scenarios that are applicable to each of Beaver’s six majors. For example, in the psychology room, students will be asked to assess whether the person accused of spreading the zombie virus is competent to stand trial. In the information sciences and technology room, students will be tasked with repairing a faulty security system. And in the communications room, students will have to create a crisis communications plan that involves getting information to the media.

 “The activities are designed to demystify the majors and help students to prove their skill sets,” Storr said.

“Hopefully, you’ll learn where you already are and where you could go,” PR student Brianna D’Itri added.

The event kicks off on Monday, April 4 in the Student Union Building (SUB) Lodge, where students can register and grab free food before heading out on a scavenger hunt. On Wednesday, April 6, students return to complete the scavenger hunt. The zombie apocalypse comes to SUB rooms 14, 15 and 16 on Friday, April 8. The event concludes on Monday, April 11 in the Lodge with an awards ceremony (complete with free food and prizes) for participants and, hopefully, a “major decision.”

All activities take place during common hour. More than 100 undecided students are eligible to participate, and Storr is hoping to attract as many of them as possible to the event.

For public relations students, the Major Opportunity fulfills class requirements and allows them to work with real-world clients. This year, those clients are Beaver Director of Enrollment Dan Pinchot and Advising Program Coordinator Gretchen Samchuck, who want to encourage undecided students to pick a major before the end of their fourth semester for purposes of graduation and retention.

Though most of the PR students have dealt with Pinchot and Samchuck in the course of their Penn State Beaver careers, few have worked for them.

“They’ve been great. They very much treat you as people they’ve hired to do this job,” D’Itri said.

The event is funded by the clients with additional support from the Student Government Association.

If you are an undecided student who would like to participate, contact event managers Marlee Bandish at mgb5265@psu.edu and Rob Trhlin at ryt5088@psu.edu.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 25, 2016