Lion Shrine

Give to Kiusalaas Fund

Letter from the GEMS president:

As we enter the twenty-eighth year of the college’s alumni society, Graduates of Earth and Mineral Sciences (GEMS), I wanted to start by celebrating a few of our accomplishments:

  • Won five PSAA awards for our innovative programming and student engagement—and are one of the most awarded alumni boards at the University.
  • Continued to select an annual recipient for the GEMS Alumni Achievement Award
  • Created the GEMS Diamond Award, an honor given to a graduating EMS senior with academic talent and dedication to community and University volunteerism.
  • Continued to connect alumni and students through programs like:
    • TOTEMS first year orientation
    • Industry seminars
    • Design and support of departmental classes,
    • Recently launched EMS Student-Alumni Mentoring Program
    • Prospective student letter-writing campaigns
    • Support of EMEX
  • This year we are also developing a comprehensive volunteer engagement framework to help alumni identify volunteer opportunities that meet their interests and time limitations.

All of this just a small snapshot of the good work that the board continues to do for the college.

As the president of GEMS, it has been an honor to work with the alumni, students, faculty, and administration of what I think is the best college at Penn State. And as my tenure comes to a close, I want to set a course for continued success.

Though the scope of our programming continues to expand, this all-volunteer board has faced significant cuts in funding. GEMS activities have always been predominantly supported by the dean and the central budget. But as competition for discretionary funds has steadily increased, access to this type of support has dwindled significantly. Difficult decisions are being made on where to focus resources across the college, and I think you will agree that none of us want funding to be redirected from academic priorities.

Give to the Judy Kiusalaas Fund

Today, I would like to ask you to support the future of GEMS by making a gift to the Judy Kiusalaas Fund. When Judy Kiusalaas, GEMS first staff liaison, retired, the founding board created a fund in her honor to support the college’s alumni society activities.

1:1 Match

As an alum who is committed to the work of GEMS, your support for this fund can help to give our group—and the students we support—the resources to keep succeeding. Past presidents of the GEMS board and I believe so strongly in the work of this group that we have agreed to provide a 1:1 match for the first $15,000 given to this fund. This match will be available only for ninety days, starting on February 9, 2018.

Please join us in pledging your support for student and alumni engagement within the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. You can contact Colleen Swetland directly at or 814-863-4667 and the Development and Alumni Relations team will work with you to help manage your gift.

I believe that together, we can continue to fulfill our mission to serve the EMS family. Thank you for your continued commitment to GEMS.