Barnes & Noble announces 2021-22 grants benefiting 11 Penn State initiatives

Barnes & Noble College has awarded $165,000 in grants to support a range of programs and initiatives across Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Barnes & Noble College has awarded its 2021-22 round of grants to support a range of programs and initiatives across the University. The bookstore launched the grant program in 2015. This year the grant program distributed $165,000 across 11 University initiatives.

Over the past several years, the grants have had a significant impact on student and faculty life through targeted investments at Penn State campuses across the commonwealth. Barnes & Noble works through the Corporate Engagement Center to announce the grant program and facilitate the funding requests and awards. This latest call for proposals resulted in 25 funding requests from a range of units across the University.

“We were thoroughly impressed with the ingenuity and diversity of the applications we received for this most recent round of grants,” said Jennifer Guyer, general manager of the Penn State Bookstore. “We are thrilled to support a range of initiatives that, together, will help to make the Penn State student experience even more comprehensive and enriching.”

The following initiatives were selected to receive funding:

  • Penn State Abington Textbook Access in an Online Learning Environment

Penn State Abington is partnering with the local campus Barnes & Noble bookstore to purchase gift cards and distribute them to students with the highest level of financial need. The program will support Abington students who normally access free textbooks at the Abington campus library reserve desk. While the library has reopened, there are still significant challenges facing students due to the COVID pandemic and this program is intended to help alleviate some of the burden.

  • Penn State Beaver Common Read

Penn State Beaver works with the Community College of Beaver County and Geneva College on community development through the Bridges and Pathways College Partnership. Each year, Penn State Beaver, in partnership with the Bridges and Pathways member institutions, collaborate on a common read and associated cultural series. Faculty and library directors from the partner institutions choose a reading to be incorporated into the curriculum, and together, the institutions host author presentations and associated community events.

  • Penn State Berks Reading Program

The Common Reading Program at Penn State Berks seeks to provide a common experience for first-year learners to assist in the transition into the academic community of the college; to build an intellectual community among first-year learners, returning students, faculty and staff; to help students make connections between classroom and out-of-classroom experiences; and to engage students in discussions surrounding current societal issues.

  • Launch your Podcast through the Brandywine LaunchBox

The Brandywine LaunchBox is currently constructing a SoundLab to function as a community podcast studio and will offer podcast recording, photography and videography, and sound mixing and engineering services. The Brandywine LaunchBox plans to offer two to four podcasting courses during the academic year. The first podcasting class is geared toward small-business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

  • STEM Summer Camp at Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus

The goal of the STEM Summer Camp is to engage high school students in a hands-on experience in the STEM disciplines by combining experiments, lectures and field activities in an environment designed to spark their curiosity and passions in STEM. The program also encourages inquiry-based learning, promotes career awareness in STEM fields, and emphasizes the importance of communication skills.   

  • Barnes & Noble Scholarship and Book Support at Penn State Great Valley

Graduate scholarship support can make all the difference to future students, many of whom are already carrying significant debt from their undergraduate education or who have families depending upon them. Some students must go into debt to pursue their graduate education, and it is those students who the campus seeks to help with the Barnes & Noble Scholarship and Book Support. Having a more robust financial package will help ensure that students can achieve the intensive focus a graduate degree requires, and at the same time a student’s economic background will not limit their ability to pursue an advanced degree.

  • Barnes & Noble Book Club Boxes

The goal of the Barnes & Noble Book Club Boxes is to continue to foster a culture of reading while lowering the financial burdens and time constraints students may face in trying to create their own book clubs. The Madlyn Levine Hanes Library at Penn State Harrisburg will serve as a point of contact, helping to coordinate and publicize the book clubs, while serving as a hosting space as well. This is a new program designed to bring the campus community together in reading and conversation.

  • Barnes & Noble Healthcare Hero Book Scholarship

Each nursing cohort at Penn State Harrisburg is made up of 56 students that undergo an intensive, 16-month program. Students are enrolled full time from the beginning of the program until their cohort graduates at the conclusion of the following year.  Support from the Barnes & Noble Healthcare Hero Book Scholarship is invaluable to these students and will provide each member of the 2022 cohort with gift cards that help alleviate the heavy burdens associated with textbook purchases.

  • Using Financial Literacy to Reduce Student Debt

As part of an ongoing project in the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences to reduce delayed graduation through financial literacy, this funded project has two primary goals: to increase on-time graduation by raising awareness of the financial costs of delayed graduation and to promote more general financial literacy. An intermediate goal is to reduce the number of classes that students drop or fail so they are less likely to require more than four years to graduate.

  • PSU 6 Reading Assignment

The Smeal College of Business will choose a book to be incorporated into the curriculum of PSU 6, with instructors facilitating classroom discussions or students writing an essay about their own takeaway lessons from the material. PSU 6 classroom discussion about the chosen book will give students an opportunity to reflect on and discuss Smeal’s core values in a structured manner. By curating titles from authors that students might not be familiar with and that demonstrate how to live Smeal’s values in a pragmatic way, the college anticipates first-year students will be more engaged in the learning process.

  • Accelerate to Industry (A2i) Program Inaugural Immersion Week Sponsored by Barnes & Noble

Accelerate to Industry (A2i) is an innovative program originally developed by North Carolina State University that provides an avenue for companies to collaborate with the University to shape workforce training opportunities for graduate students to better meet company needs. Penn State is launching A2i for the 2021-22 academic year. This program embodies a bold new approach for Penn State to enhance graduate student success through exceptional career development opportunities and establish a pipeline of exceptional future leaders. This comprehensive A2i programming culminates in the A2i Immersion Week module, an intensive experiential learning opportunity that prepares graduate students for the corporate environment.

“The philanthropic partnership that Barnes & Noble forged with the University is having a tremendous impact on Penn State’s academic enterprise,” said Dave Lieb, Penn State’s senior associate vice president for development. “From extending outreach efforts to providing critical support to students with financial need, this most recent round of grants will elevate teaching and learning across the University.”

Contact Beth Colledge, director of corporate engagement, at [email protected] for more information about the grant program or awards.

This investment from Barnes & Noble will advance "A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence," a focused campaign that seeks to elevate Penn State’s position as a leading public university in a world defined by rapid change and global connections. With the support of alumni, friends and corporate partners like Barnes & Noble College, “A Greater Penn State” seeks to fulfill the three key imperatives of a 21st-century public university: keeping the doors to higher education open to hardworking students regardless of financial well-being; creating transformative experiences that go beyond the classroom; and impacting the world by fueling discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship. To learn more about “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” visit

About the Corporate Engagement Center

The Corporate Engagement Center connects industry partners to strategic opportunities at Penn State for research and development, philanthropy and talent recruitment. Brought together in 2019, the center serves as a hub for industry/University relationships, supporting companies as they navigate the vast resources of Penn State. The team is here to help build lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

The Corporate Engagement Center is a joint initiative of the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and the Office of University Development, working in partnership with Career Services.