First Year Summer Reading Program

First Year Summer Reading Program

Annual program for incoming students

All incoming students at Penn State New Kensington participate in the First Year Summer Reading Program.  Students are given a free copy of the book at Orientation, then asked to read it over the summer and come prepared to discuss it during Pride Days.  In addition to these book discussions, there is a colloquium event related to the book during the Fall semester.

The goals of the First Year Summer Reading Program are to:

  • encourage you to read and think critically. 
  • give you a taste of what skills will be required of you in college.
  • provide a shared experience for new students on the campus.
  • enhance a sense of community between students, faculty, and staff by giving us something in common to discuss.

The 2016 book selection is:

Flight 93: The Story, the Aftermath, and the Legacy of American Courage on 9/11, by Tom McMillan

The passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 have earned their rightful place among the pantheon of American heroes. Flight 93 provides a riveting narrative based on interviews, oral histories, transcripts, recordings, personal tours of the crash site, and voluminous trial evidence made public only in recent years. There also is plenty of chilling new detail for readers who think they know the story of the flight. Utilizing research tools that were not available in the years immediately after the crash, the book offers the most complete account of what actually took place aboard United 93 – from its delayed takeoff at Newark International Airport to the moment it plunged upside-down at 563 miles per hour into an open field in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

“Mr. McMillan created a compelling narrative of the plot's conception, the terrorist cell formation, pilots' training. . . .and the careful study of U.S. airline security that enabled the 19 hijackers to succeed at striking three targets, killing thousands and wounding a nation. He developed vivid portraits of the ordinary citizens on board thrust into the role of patriots as they desperately attempted to save their own lives and in doing so, spared the U.S Capitol just 20 minutes away. . . .[H]is book will help secure Flight 93's legacy and Somerset County's place in U.S. history.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

What do you need to do?

  • Read the book prior to Pride Day Orientation (August 19th, 2016).
  • Be prepared to talk about the book and its key points.
  • Think about what you already know about the 9/11 attacks and how this adds to it.
  • Come to Pride Day Orientation prepared to discuss the book and bring your copy with you!

Past reading selections include:

  • Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich (2005)
  • Strapped by Tamara Draut (2006)
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie (2007)
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi  (200
  • The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch  (2008)
  • Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland  (2010)
  • My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah by Robin Wiszowaty  (2011)
  • Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks (2012)
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (2013)
  • This I Believe, Life Lessons by Dan Gediman (2014)
  • The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World by Russell Gold (2015) (A Penn State Reads selection)

Future reading selections:

Have a suggestion for a future reading selection that you want to share with us?  Nominate a book for our next First Year Summer Reading Program!