Penn State Outreach in 2022 

Penn State Outreach will continue its mission of making a positive impact on society by engaging diverse audiences in the design and delivery of compelling content and meaningful, evidence-based programs in 2022. We’ve highlighted some programs, events, and projects that will make an impact on our University, Pennsylvania, and beyond. 

Nittany AI Alliance

The 2022 Nittany AI Challenge offers Penn State students the opportunity to use AI to make the world a better place while competing for funds from a $50,000 prize pool. The Challenge is open to all majors, regardless of technical expertise. The 2022 Challenge submission deadline is January 31. 

Additionally, students of all majors, academic backgrounds, and technical expertise are encouraged to attend the 2022 Nittany AI Challenge Ideation Workshop. Subject matter experts representing the four AI for Good pillars (education, the environment, health, and humanitarianism) will be in attendance to help inspire new ideas, give feedback on existing ideas, and discuss feasibility, viability, and pragmatic approaches to potential solutions.

Each semester, Nittany AI provides hands-on internship opportunities to students through Nittany AI Advance, enabling them to interact with real clients and create AI proofs of concept. Internship roles include data scientist, development, project leader, and more. Spring 2022 Nittany AI Advance projects will include partnerships with Lockheed Martin, IBM, CADCA, Leidos, and the City of Philadelphia.

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center 

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center is planning a wealth of spring programming for the Lost Bird Project, which recognizes the tragedy of modern extinction by immortalizing five North American birds in sculpture. Shaver’s Creek and our four Lost Bird Project partner sites — The Arboretum at Penn State, the Hintz Family Alumni Center, the Penn State Altoona Reflecting Pond, and Millbrook Marsh Nature Center — will offer bird walks, movie screenings, presentations, and more as they urge humanity to keep common species common.

Shaver’s Creek will once again host the Maple Harvest Festival and Pancake Breakfast on March 26 and 27 from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at their location in Petersburg. Since 1984, they have hosted this event to help people learn about the maple sugaring process — both in colonial times and the present day.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) 

This year, OLLI at Penn State is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Previously known as the Community Academy of Lifelong Learning (CALL), the organization offered it first nine courses to 57 members in the spring of 1997. It has grown quite a bit since then, affiliating with Penn State Outreach in 2006 and officially becoming the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Penn State in 2007. The OLLI staff and a special 25th anniversary planning committee of member-volunteers are planning multiple events to commemorate this milestone throughout the year. A signature event will be held on June 8, 2022, in partnership with The Arboretum at Penn State. This free event will offer the public a sample of the unique courses and special events OLLI offers its members. 

OLLI, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, the Center for Healthy Aging, and the College of Geriatric Nursing Excellence have also partnered to offer a day-long event to provide a forum for knowledge-sharing, personal development, and community-building. This “living well” event, which will be held on September 13, 2022, at the Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, will be open to the public and is designed to provide mature adults with actionable knowledge or skills centered around topics of physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. Registration for this event will open in spring 2022. 


WPSU will host the 30th Annual Connoisseur’s Cooking Event and Auction featuring PBS Chef Julie Taboulie on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. (ET) in an online format. Julie will offer a live demonstration of her favorite signature dishes of Lebanon. You can download the recipes in advance and cook along with her, or just enjoy the show. 

Online auction packages include local and regional family fun, hotel stays, gift cards for dining out, beautiful items for your home, and much more. 

Readiness Institute at Penn State  

The Readiness Institute Summer Program is returning in June 2022. Forty-five rising high school seniors in Allegheny County will participate in essential skill workshops, projects that address real-world problems, and more. The program encourages learners to create a personalized road map for future success and offers continued mentorship, peer networking, and learning experiences from the Readiness Institute well beyond the summer. 

The Readiness Institute Speaker Series will also continue until May 2022. The free monthly Speaker Series webinars help high school counselors prepare their students to graduate with the skills needed to achieve success in life after high school. Each webinar features an education, industry, or community leader who takes a deep dive into the experience and skills required to enter and thrive in a career field.

Penn State Center Pittsburgh

The Penn State Center Pittsburgh is hosting the Penn State Regional Student Engagement Expo on Thursday, March 31. Penn State students from campuses in the Pittsburgh region will be invited to showcase their engaged scholarship experiences for faculty, staff, and local businesses at the Penn State Center Pittsburgh in the Energy Innovation Center.

The Arboretum at Penn State

The Arboretum at Penn State’s education staff are eagerly anticipating their first full year together to develop and deliver an expanded slate of nature-based programs. Visitors can expect not only a full summer’s worth of drop-in activities in Childhood’s Gate Children’s Garden, but also new engagement opportunities for all ages during the spring and fall months. The Arboretum will offer its first week-long camp programs, art and gardening workshops, and the second iteration of Cave Day: Explore the World Below Us!, a new community art day planned collaboratively with the Palmer Museum of Art. Now that the Pollinator and Bird Garden has opened and there is an education specialist, the Arboretum hopes to develop some collaborative offerings with the Insect Biodiversity Center and Penn State Center for Pollinator Research.

The 2022 Pumpkin Festival, the Arboretum’s largest community event, will be held in early October with the Pumpkin Giveaway on Sunday, October 2, and the main festival on Friday, October 7, and Saturday, October 8. They also anticipate reinstating Winter Celebration on the last day of classes in the fall semester (Friday, December 9); Shakespearean performances by students in the School of Theatre in April; and Music in the Gardens at its traditional time in mid-June.

Please check our Facebook and Twitter accounts frequently for additional engagement opportunities with our many units and partners.