EMS Ambassadors highlight the best of what the college has to offer

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Choosing a college can be a stressful time. You scan websites, survey the academics and even tour campuses. But, even then, how do you know you’ve found the perfect fit?

That’s where the EMS Ambassadors come in. They’re seasoned students in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) who offer prospective students and their families detailed tours of the college, student living and dining areas, and research and educational facilities. Most importantly, prospective students can hear from their peers what college life at Penn State is like from the newly formed group.

“I know that’s one of the reasons I came to Penn State,” said Lydia Scheel, one of 22 EMS Ambassadors and a senior majoring in energy business and finance. “I had a one-on-one tour. That made me feel special. That’s why I became an ambassador. That’s why we’re here: to give back in this way, to encourage people to study in our college.”

Scheel has taken full advantage of her time at the University and wants to help others do the same. She’s a member of the Faculty Senate, the University Park Undergraduate Association, EMS Student Council, and the IFC Panhellenic Dance Marathon, known as THON. She’s also earned several internships, most recently with BP’s finance, risk and compliance division.

David Chae, a junior majoring in energy engineering, still remembers what it’s like to be a high school student unsure which university is the right fit, and how exciting it is to find the one that is. That’s why the EMS Ambassador is dedicated to helping others do the same.

“I took a campus tour and learned a lot about the University and its history, and I was sold,” Chae said. “The next week, when I came with my parents, I told them all about what I had learned and sold them on the idea that I should go here.”

With prospective students, Chae said he emphasizes things that he loves about the college. He said the Ryan Family Student Center, which offers academic advisers, tutoring, free printing, computers and just a place to hang out with peers, is a selling point.

So is the fact that the college has so many majors that are integral to both the American economy and to a path toward sustainability, he said.

“Interest in sustainability is rising and has experienced huge growth over the past several decades, and a lot of people want to be a part of that,” Chae said. “After looking at what energy engineering could do, which has a strong focus on renewable energy, I decided to pursue that path because I’m passionate about renewable energy.”

Because the EMS Ambassadors program just began this spring, Chae has just a handful of tours under his belt. He said he fields a lot of general questions about the University. Is it true you can walk across campus in 15 minutes? “No,” he said. Is the Berkey Creamery really that good? “Yes, he said, “and I’ll show you.”

Victoria Christensen, a Schreyer Scholar and junior majoring in materials science and engineering, said she first considered smaller universities because the idea of attending a school as large as Penn State intimidated her.

But “knowing Penn State was the place for materials science” nudged her to take a look. Soon she discovered the small college feel within the larger University community.

The EMS Ambassador tells interested students that you can have it both ways, a small college feel with nearly unlimited clubs, research opportunities and resources.

“I tell them ‘open your mind because you’re in control of the experiences you’ll have here,’” Christensen said. “There are tons of opportunities and you just have to take advantage of them.”

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Last Updated May 01, 2017