The Open Lab defined
Our vision is that Penn State Behrend is an Open Lab—a living laboratory where learning and discovery are applied to solve problems defined in partnership with external stakeholders. Our Open Lab creates a consistent flow of talent, technology, and innovation that advances the student experience, furthers the initiatives of business and organizational partners, and drives economic and community development.
The Open Lab strategy at Penn State Behrend provides opportunities for students to learn and grow beyond the classroom. The ability to apply on-campus learning to current challenges faced by the organizations that may eventually hire them is an important component of students' growth toward graduation. Behrend graduates are highly regarded and able to contribute to their employers' successes immediately. The Open Lab strategy positions students and faculty members to engage with external partners—in business and industry, non-profit and community organizations, and others. The goal may be to design a new product, analyze the feasibility of a new service, address a specific market challenge, solve a social challenge, or improve a business process.
In some programs of study, Penn State Behrend students are required to complete a practical experience such as a capstone project or student teaching. In all of our programs, pursuing opportunities to gain experience through internships, co-ops, undergraduate research projects, and other activities is strongly encouraged for all students.
The Open Lab is a win-win-win for students, faculty, and the external organizations: Students gain career-building, real-world experience; faculty enjoy the ability to keep their skills relevant and transfer their networks to students; external partners benefit from the energy and ingenuity of student talent.
Finding Open Lab faculty partners
Are you interested in working with Penn State Behrend to solve a problem, amplify an idea, or better understand a process? To identify faculty members who may be able to help you, use this link to match your requirements with the expertise of our University’s faculty. To learn about local (Penn State Behrend) capabilities, please include Behrend as a keyword.
Open Lab Award program
The Open Lab is an important distinguishing feature for Behrend that results in increased activity in research, recruitment, admissions, philanthropy, and, most importantly, student success. Every employee at Behrend has a role to play in the Open Lab, and the college is excited to recognize employee efforts! The Open Lab Award program recognizes those employees who actively work to develop, enhance, support, or encourage university-industry interaction. The awards can be used to reward direct Open Lab projects in which external partners work with faculty and students to create impact. The awards also can be used to reward indirect support for the Open Lab, such as creating a welcoming environment, presenting positive first impressions, and easing the integration of external partners into campus.
Any member of the student body, faculty, staff, administration, student organizations, or external organization/partner may enter a nomination. Nominators will remain anonymous. Any faculty or staff currently employed by the University is eligible to be nominated. Previous recipients are ineligible for a period of six months.
Want to nominate someone?
Open Lab impact videos
Behrend would love to hear from current students, alumni, faculty, or external partners who have experienced the impact of the Open Lab strategy. We are looking for short (ideally less than 45 seconds) video testimonials about how the Open Lab university-industry strategy has benefited you. Videos do not need to be professionally filmed—videos made on a cell phone will be welcomed! These videos may be used in whole or in part to illustrate the Open Lab in University media.
Some tips and tricks for making your own video:
- Stabilize the camera to limit movement.
- Shoot horizontally, not vertically (to accommodate the frame dimensions of traditional video).
- Frame the shot so your head and shoulders are visible.
- Don’t shoot in front of a window (that is, with extreme lighting behind you).
- Make sure your face is adequately lit.
- Be sure there’s nothing moving or distracting in the background.
- Choose a quiet place; make sure there’s no significant noise in the environment.
- Speak as close to the mic as possible.
- Check the audio level before the final recording.
- Speak clearly and at an even pace.
Thank you in advance for telling us about your experience!