Student Organizations | College of Information Sciences and Technology
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Student Organizations

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How do you make the most of your time at IST? Ask any student, and you’ll likely get the same response: Get involved!

The number of student organizations in IST keeps growing; it’s a great way to keep the learning going outside the classroom, connect with other students, and even network with potential employers! Explore the possibilities and get involved one of the College of IST’s student organizations.

“By being a member of different clubs, I have met so many IST students! It is always nice walking into class on the first day and seeing someone that you know or at least recognize. Penn State doesn’t feel so intimidating to me anymore because I know that I can always walk into IST and feel right at home.”—Maria Verardi, ’14 IST, 2013-2014 Women in IST (WIST) president, IST Diplomat

Room Reservations: Please go to the 25Live scheduling system and follow these instructions to reserve your event space on campus.

IST student organizations and committees:

The Competitive Cyber Security Organization (CCSO) at the Pennsylvania State University aims to educate those involved on current cyber security methods and practices and facilitate an informative environment where students from all educational levels and backgrounds can master safe computing practices. The club hosts trips to cyber security conferences and competitions locally and nationally where members can practice what they have learned. Members are not required to attend these competitions, but they are encouraged to continue learning.

The Information Assurance (IA) Club is designed to supplement and extend the information security concepts discussed in the IST and SRA majors. Through talks, demonstrations, interactive seminars, competitions, and guest speakers, they seek to keep members informed of cutting-edge concepts and explore the challenges of the future, while upholding the highest levels of ethics and responsibility.The club also invites corporations to speak about current issues facing the industry, as well as provide networking opportunities and information sessions for club members.

Ted Decker


The IST Consulting Group focuses on the “real life” of consultants, going beyond the classroom experience. Students with an interest in the consulting field get together to work on consulting projects within the community and learn from current consultants about what life is like in the industry.

The IST Diplomats are a select group of undergraduate students in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) at The Pennsylvania State University, University Park campus. The IST Diplomats are a vital constituent in assisting the College in the recruitment and retention of highly qualified students and serving as representatives of IST to prospective students and families, recruiters, and corporate partners, and friends.

The IST Diplomats work closely with the Office of the Dean, Development Office, Office of Inclusion & Diversity Engagement, Office of Career Solutions, IST Recruiting Office and Advising Center and have the opportunity to develop communication skills, network with professionals, mentor students, and establish working relationships with college and university faculty, students, staff and administrators across the Penn State system. Their mission is to create an awareness of the academic programs and career opportunities in or related to information technology, systems, security, risk analysis, and management sciences. IST Diplomats assist with prospective student visits to campus, open houses, orientation programs, professional information sessions, student panel sessions, new student orientation, alumni functions, building tours, and events and/or visits by corporate partners and executives.

Before becoming an IST Diplomat, students must apply to the IST Diplomat Leadership Academy. This one semester, one credit class focuses on various aspects of leadership and also touches on professional development topics. Click here for more information on the IST Diplomat Leadership Academy

Applications for the next diplomat class will open in Fall 2019.

For more information, please send questions to

2018-2019 Diplomats:

  • Patrick Bachman
  • Suhyeok Bang
  • Alex Blough, President
  • Alexandra "Allie" Bardusch
  • David Cruz, Vice President
  • Suraj Dalsania, Secretary
  • Kaitlyn Davis
  • Nicole Generose
  • Maria George
  • Grant Hart
  • Swarali Korgaonkar
  • Andrew Martin
  • Austen Maurer
  • Leah Miller, Events Coordinator
  • Julianna Murphy
  • Sean Parsons
  • Henry Pearce
  • Cara Schwartz
  • Lauren Vozel

A Sample of IST Diplomat Activities and Responsibilities:

  • Alumni Events
  • Parent’s Weekend
  • New Student Orientation
  • Building/Facilities Tours
  • Prospective Student Meetings
  • Open House
  • Accepted Student Programs
  • College Development Activities

IST Benefitting THON strives to bring the IST community together to support the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) and the Four Diamonds Fund. Through close partnerships among students, alumni, faculty and staff in the College, IST FTK will “Inspire Hope” by providing emotional and financial support. 

Executive Chair:
Sarah Hume

Don Shemanski

The purpose of Gamma Tau Phi is to recognize and encourage scholarship, leadership, and service among students enrolled in the College of Information Sciences and Technology. The Society strives to develop skilled, motivated, and ethical future leaders in the field of information technology. Students with high academic merits have the opportunity to network and attend special events together.

The IST Interest House is a special living option available to students who would like to live among other students with similar interests. By immersing students in the IST and SRA majors in an environment conducive to interaction with one another, students are able to assist each other with school work and build lasting friendships both in and out of the classroom.

The IST Student Government is the official voice of the student body to all faculty, staff, and administration. Students are given the opportunity to express feedback and discuss all matters surrounding any aspect of the IST experience and the general student population. Student Government serves to build a culture of learning and leadership that would be expected of tomorrow’s leaders.

Nittany Data Labs provides students with education, exposure and experience in Data Science. It provides a comprehensive training program to teach and provide the tools and framework for students interested in better understanding Data Science - both in the fundamentals as well as the state-of-the-art techniques. After completing the internal training program, the club shifts to providing real corporate and research projects for students to test their skills. By building a community around Data Science, we hope to grow the field here at Penn State.

The Red Cell Analytics Lab promotes the research, practice, and application of structured analytics, critical thinking, and visual analytics. Through collaborating with university and external partners, the RCAL strives to bring real world problems into the hands of students to enhance analytic output.

McKenzie Powell

Jake Graham

The Security and Risk Analysis (SRA) Club was founded to help students learn more about the multi-disciplined SRA major and its applications in both the public and private sectors. Members of the SRA Club enjoy expanding their knowledge of the security and risk analysis field through a variety of activities including general meetings, speaker events, social events, special projects, seminars and networking events.

The purpose of the Women, International, Racial, Ethnic Diversity Intercultural Network (WIRED IN) is to unite underrepresented students in the College of IST, provide a supportive network that fosters an inclusive environment, and offer professional development opportunities for the success of the student body.

The purpose of Women in IST (WIST) is to promote a sense of unity among the women of IST by offering networking opportunities, career resources, community and academic presentations, and leadership training. The organization strives to support the recruitment and sustained interest of women in the College of Information Sciences and Technology, ensuring that female students and faculty members are equally and actively involved in all aspects of education and in the rapidly changing world of technology.

The Penn State World Campus Technology Club was founded to be a networking platform for students with interests relating to the IST and SRA programs offered through World Campus. While organizations exist that help students to network and meet, none had existed prior that allowed students to gather around the interest of technology. The Penn State World Campus Technology Club was founded in the Spring of 2014. The leadership is composed of 5 student board members, 3 advisers, and other collaborators within the World Campus programs.

IST student organizations focus primarily on IST topics and students. To form an IST organization, founders must have certain things in place as well as approval from the dean of IST. The following is a template for starting a new IST student organization:

1. Develop the organization concept
The first step in starting an IST organization is to determine its focus, which should be related to information technology. Try to envision what the organization would do on a regular basis or if it would have any special events. Also, read the current IST student organization descriptions and see if your ideas are already being carried out by another organization or if they could be integrated into another organization. After forming your own ideas about the organization, seek advice from others, including your professors and other knowledgeable people. Explain your reasoning for starting the organization and ask if they think the organization would benefit IST students. Listen to their suggestions and concerns.

2. Get an adviser
Your adviser should be a faculty or staff member who is knowledgeable about the subject matter of the organization. Ask IST faculty and staff who they think might be a suitable candidate for your adviser. Approach a potential adviser with your ideas about your club and its purpose and ask if he or she would be willing to help you with the organization and become the organization's official adviser. If you are turned down by one person, keep searching and speaking with faculty and staff; eventually you will find the right person for the job.

3. Write a proposal
Consider the following when writing a proposal:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with your organization?

  • What can the organization bring to the college?

  • How will this organization help IST students?

  • Why is your organization necessary?

  • Has something similar already been created?

  • What does your organization need to accomplish its goals (funding, room reservations, support from the college, corporate support, members, etc.)?

4. Submit proposal to the Dean
It is important to obtain the dean's approval because he will be able to provide your organization with funding and other resources. Once you have a finalized your proposal, it's time to discuss it with the Dean of IST. You will need to contact the Dean's office for an appointment. Present your proposal to the Dean explaining that you have support of your adviser and of other members of the faculty and staff. If the Dean rejects your proposal, find out why your proposal was not accepted. Consult with your adviser and other faculty and staff for advice. Rewrite your proposal based on the Dean's comments and present it again. Once the Dean accepts your proposal, you officially have a new IST organization.

5. Elect leadership
Once you are an official IST organization, you will need to create a strong base for the success of your organization. Care and consideration should be taken when electing your initial leadership, because your leaders will form the core of your organization. The executive board should be made up independent thinkers who voice their opinions, take initiative, and get things done.Possible executive officer positions: president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, Webmaster, social chair, corporate liaison, and public relations representative/historian. Look at other IST organizations and ask your adviser for examples of how to manage the executive board and how the executive board should manage the organization's members.

6. Recognition by the IST Student Government
The leadership of your organization must contact the IST Student Government for its approval and acknowledgment within the IST Student Government constitution. Once approved by the president of the IST Student Government and the executive board, the organization will be signed into the constitution. The head of the recognized IST organization will serve on the executive board of the IST Student Government.

7. Recruiting
For a successful organization, recruit members of all class years and with a variety of skills. The older or more experienced members can pass down their knowledge to the younger, less experienced members. It is necessary to have younger members because in a few years they will be the leadership and without them you organization cannot survive in the long run.