Mont Alto announces spring talk series, planetarium events

Events will include evening talks, star parties and planetarium programming

MONT ALTO, Pa. — Penn State Mont Alto has announced a lineup of events for the spring semester, including the Evening Talks lecture series and planetarium programming. Events are open to the public and cover a broad range of topics, from forestry during the Civil War to the nighttime sky.

Evening Talks

Penn State Mont Alto’s spring Evening Talks series will feature two speakers. The public talks will be offered both in-person at the General Studies Auditorium and via Zoom. Registration for an in-person event is required, and can be completed online.

"Around the World with Geography"

"Around the World with Geography" will feature former Penn State Mont Alto student Hunter Mitchell. The talk, set for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, will cover highlights of Mitchell's academic and professional journey since he left Mont Alto after Spring 2016. Mitchell majored in geography, graduating from Penn State's University Park campus in 2019.

Several study abroad research programs (mostly in Africa and Asia) defined his trajectory for wanting to travel and study the Earth. After graduating, he spent a few years in the industry surveying and mapping multiple regions, including Antarctica. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree at Oregon State University, studying geomatics and geodesy, and applying his research to projects with the National Geodetic Survey.

Register here to attend the March 26 talk virtually.

"Dr. Joseph Rothrock's Service in the Civil War"

Peter Linehan, associate professor of forest technology, will give a talk titled, “Dr. Joseph Rothrock’s Service in The Civil War,” at 7:30 p.m., Monday, April 15.

Joseph Rothrock, the founder of the Pennsylvania Forest Academy — later Penn State Mont Alto — is known as the "father of forestry" in Pennsylvania. As a young man, Rothrock interrupted his botanical studies at Harvard to serve as a soldier in the Civil War, where he was gravely injured in battle and rose to the rank of captain before eventually creating the State Forest network and the Bureau of Forestry. This talk will discuss his military record and show how his military service influenced his approach to public service and how he envisioned the forestry profession he was helping to create.

Register here to attend the April 15 talk virtually.

Post-Evening Talk Star Parties

Weather permitting, Kim Herrmann, associate professor of physics and astronomy, will lead a Star Party after each presentation in the field between Orchard Road and the Mont Alto campus’ General Studies Building parking lot from 8:45 to 10 p.m. Telescope viewing and night sky tours with green laser pointers will be part of the activities.

Multiple telescopes may be available courtesy of the TriState Astronomers, a local amateur astronomy club. In the event of cold weather, patrons should dress warmly and bring jackets, hats, and gloves. Star Parties may be canceled due to precipitation, cloud cover, or very cold temperatures.

Star Parties are free and open to the public. Advanced registration for both events is required. Register online to attend the events.

Planetarium Shows

In addition, Herrmann will offer multiple evening planetarium shows in the Allied Health Building White Box (Room 115). Shows are planned for 7-7:45 p.m. and 8-8:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, and Friday, April 26.

Explore the night sky, fly around solar system objects, and immerse yourself in one of many astronomy-themed full dome videos. Guests can bring pillows to sit on, though plastic chairs and foam mats will be available. Questions about the astronomical wonders in the sky, our solar system, and beyond are welcome.

These events are free and open to the public. To attend any of the in-person planetarium shows, please register online.

For more information about Penn State Mont Alto’s Evening Talks and Planetarium events, contact Kim Herrmann at [email protected]. Recordings from past Spring 2024 events (and earlier) are available here.