Penn State Berks to host Student and Community Engagement Symposium, April 17

Berks staff member and student plant seeds in campus garden
Credit: Samantha Bower

WYOMISSING, Pa. — The Student and Community Engagement Symposium will provide an opportunity for faculty, staff, administrators and community members to connect, share experiences and explore innovative approaches to student and community engagement and engaged scholarship. It will be held from 8:15 a.m. – 4:15 p.m., Wednesday, April 17, 2024 in the Perkins Student Center Multipurpose Rooms 1 and 2 at Penn State Berks. This event is free and open to Penn State faculty and staff, as well as members of the community, but advanced registration is required by Monday, March 25.  

The symposium is organized by Mahsa Kazempour, associate professor of science education and chair of the sustainability council at Penn State Berks. She explains that the event is the culminating component of her 2022-24 Penn State Engagement Academy Scholar Award project.  

The symposium’s morning schedule is broken into three sections focusing on campus gardens and environmental engagement; collective and collaborative community action; and collaboration between higher education and local schools. These sessions will be followed by lunch and a poster session. The afternoon schedule will include two sections focusing on community-based student engagement and global / community engagement opportunities. 

Penn State CAN: Unifying Arboreta around the Commonwealth to Expand Research, Teaching and Outreach 
Presenters: Mary Ann Smith, Penn State University Commonwealth Arboretum Network, and  David Sanford, Penn State Berks 

Berks and Gring’s Mill Partnership to Remove Invasive and Plant Native Species 
Presenters: Jayné Park-Martínez, Penn State Berks, and Brendan Lederer, Gring’s Mill Recreation Area 

Brandywine Campus Garden 
Presenter: Emily Joy Dozor, Penn State Brandywine 

Building the Berks Campus Garden: Cultivating a Campus Community 
Presenter: Mahsa Kazempour, Penn State Berks 

Catalyzing Community-Led Action in Reading 
Presenters: Laura Cordero and Migdalia Garcia, Centro Hispano Daniel Torres 

Beyond Teamwork: Collaborative Efforts and Collective Impact 
Presenter: Courtney Shober, Penn Street Market / B.A.R.N. / Greater Reading Urban Ag Group / Downtown Wellness 

Board Membership: Taking Community Engagement to Another Level 
Presenters: Ryan Hassler, Todd Migliaccio, Michele Ramsey, Pauline Milwood, Lisa Baldi, Guadalupe Kasper, Penn State Berks 

Serving While Learning: Analyzing Students’ Reading and Writing to Develop Responsive Instruction 
Presenter: Xenia Hadjioannou, Penn State Berks 

Investing in After School and Community Partnerships to Expand Higher Education’s Reach 
Presenters: Guadalupe Kasper, Penn State Berks & PEPP and Michele Emerich, Reading High School 

School University Partnerships Foster Best Practices in Teaching Race, Representation and Equity 
Presenters: Jessica Schocker, Penn State Berks, and Kelly Whalen, Mosser Elementary School 

STEM and Environmental Education Collaborative Opportunities with Local School 
Presenters: Mahsa Kazempour & Hartono Tjoe, Penn State Berks 



Beyond the Classroom: Lessons Learned in Partnering with Local Organizations to Improve Student Learning and Engaging for Tree Identification and Conservation 
Presenter: Mary Ann Smith, Penn State Schuylkill 

Emerging Leaders for Sustainability: Short-Term Sustainability Immersion Program 
Presenters: Alicia Sprow, Spencer S. Stober, and Alex Roche, Alvernia University 

Lessons Learned: The Challenges and Rewards of a Student Veggie Research and Recipe Pilot Project 
Presenters: Pauline Milwood, Christina Scartozzi, Christina Houston, and Erica Kunkel, Penn State Berks 

Cyber Lions — Helping Our Seniors Navigate the Digital World with Confidence 
Presenters: Abdullah Konak and Tricia Clark, Penn State Berks 

Town and Gown Collaboration; Furthering Climate Resiliency in the City of Reading 
Presenters: David Osgood, Brian Jennings, Jenna Crosby, Gavin Daullary, Jennifer Fleming, Naja Jackson, Charles Leidig, Alexyia Taylor, Albright College 

Removing the Boundaries for Global Learning — Creating Opportunities Both In and Out of Classroom 
Presenters: Nikki Rosario-Flores, Penn State Global, and Ilona Ballreich, Penn State Sustainability 

Designing and Sustaining Meaningful Community-based Student Engagement Opportunities 
Presenters: Ryan Hassler, Penn State Berks, Lisa Panzner and Mitra Salari, VoiceUp 

Sustaining Community-based Student Engagement Opportunities 
Presenters: Mahsa Kazempour, Penn State Berks, and partnering community organizations 

For more information, visit the Student and Community Engagement Symposium website or contact Kazempour at [email protected]