First-year students

First-year Engagement

How is learning engineering like learning to ride a bike?

Some of you may be thinking that engineering is all about math and science. Well, that’s partly true, but it is so much more than that.

When you first learn to ride a bicycle, your attention is focused first on balancing the bicycle. At that point in riding, it is all about balancing. Then once you get the hang of that, your next big challenge is pedaling. Then you have to learn how to steer. Only after you are able to balance, pedal, and steer, can you really start to go places on your bike.

The math and science that you learn in the first two years of your engineering education are like the balancing and pedaling that you learned with a bicycle. The general education courses you choose are like steering; they give you direction. When you get good enough at math, science, and general education courses, followed by engineering science courses, you can really start to envision and create the future.

So yes, engineers use math and science, but we do it almost without thinking. The real fun and satisfaction is what we make happen. Your time at Penn State has the potential to be an incredible experience of learning and building relationships. Study hard AND have fun.

Our First-Year Engagement plan in the College of Engineering is designed to give you a head start as you begin this exciting process of becoming an engineer. The five objectives are:

  1. To introduce you to university study
  2. To introduce you to Penn State as an academic community, including fields of study and areas of interest available to students
  3. To acquaint you with the learning tools and resources available at Penn State
  4. To provide an opportunity for you to develop relationships with full-time faculty and other students in an academic area of interest to you
  5. To introduce you to their responsibilities as part of the University community

We do this through three experiences: First Year Seminars (FYS), EDSGN 100, and the Engineering Orientation Network (EON).



The School of Engineering Design and Innovation delivers effective engineering education and unrivaled research opportunities through active, collaborative, project-based, and professionally oriented classroom experiences. The school offers a variety of programs that partner faculty, students, and industry in the study of real-life engineering problems. Our programs teach students to solve real-life problems with innovative solutions. 

School of Engineering Design and Innovation

304 Engineering Design and Innovation Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2952