The Penn State Greater Allegheny campus hosts the Readiness Institute

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — For three days this week, Penn State Greater Allegheny's employees will share their idea of a BeGreater Community with 45 rising high school seniors as the campus hosts the Readiness Institute at Penn State's Summer Program. The institute, funded by the Heinz Endowments, is a Penn State Outreach initiative that creates personalized pathways to success for every learner.

The 45 rising high school seniors will participate in different activities that explore community topics through three lenses: entrepreneurial, unity and courageous conversations, and academic research.

Eric Ewell, coordinator for the Mon Valley Launchbox, works with many aspiring entrepreneurs and mentors them as they implement their business plans. Ewell will highlight local business owners and will share the ways they are revitalizing the community. Students will join Ewell for an interactive activity that will help them imagine the impact they could make as an entrepreneur.

The opportunity to make an impact extends beyond businesses and exists any time individuals engage in open dialog on important topics. That is the premise behind Greater Allegheny's Unity Talk series, which the Readiness Institute participants will also experience. Johnathan White, assistant teaching professor of history, and Anthony Mitchell, associate teaching professor of African and African American studies, will lead this session.

Unity Talks are a component of Greater Allegheny's signature program, The Crossing Bridges Summit. Since 2017, the summit has worked to bridge racial divides in the region. The Unity Talks are student led honest conversations that provide a space for students, faculty and staff to discuss issues that concern students.

"Inviting our community members to these courageous conversations provides a view of where we work, learn and live," noted Zack Rosen, public relations specialist. "It allows us to take a look at our community from a different point-of-view."

The final session in which the student will participate will be a mock lecture class. Faculty members Kate McLean, associate professor of criminal justice, and Sandra Trappen, assistant professor of criminal justice, will discuss public health and community perceptions within the Mon Valley and Kristal Tucker, assistant teaching professor of biology, will address healthcare inequity in our community. 

"This visit is to help students realize the possibilities that are available to them at Penn State and Penn State Greater Allegheny," said Mēlan Hasquet, director of admissions and student aid. "It is important for the students to recognize that they have a great opportunity to attend Penn State and earn a world-class education close to home."

Penn State Greater Allegheny's mission is to inspire students to be greater by offering transformative educational experiences. The campus is a catalyst for individual and social change, committed to improving the community and the world around us.