A small-college feel just 17 miles from downtown Pittsburgh has long been a draw at Penn State New Kensington, but the 72-acre campus is working to make itself the destination, with a heightened focus on emerging technologies—a VR-based “Nexternship” program was piloted last summer—and innovative learning and research opportunities. “Technology is the disrupter, and we’re preparing our students for this new world,” says Chancellor Kevin Snider.
A “Corridor of Innovation” has emerged in the Rust Belt region of western Pennsylvania, thanks to the vision and resources of Penn State New Kensington. Stretching five blocks, the tech- and sustainability-driven corridor includes The Corner, which houses Invent Penn State’s LaunchBox and a co-working entrepreneurial space, as well as the Digital Foundry at New Kensington (pictured, left), an innovation and manufacturing lab aimed at building skill sets needed for “Industry 4.0.” “To me, the city of New Kensington is part of our campus now,” Snider says of the reinvigorated town just a few miles away. “It is a living, learning playground.”