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Penn College News

On Cusp of Second Century, College Congratulates Final Centennial Class
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Faculty onlookers share in the joy of the class speaker's splendid day, captured with the help of chief student affairs officer Elliott Strickland.

Pennsylvania College of Technology held its Winter Commencement on Saturday at Williamsport’s Community Arts Center, honoring Fall 2014 graduates  and ringing down the curtain on a yearlong 100th-anniversary celebration. Student speaker Nicole Marie Reyes-Molina, of Lancaster, a deaf student who received an Associate of Applied Science in building construction technology: masonry emphasis, represented the year’s final Centennial class during the 11 a.m. event. Nearly 300 degrees were conferred by college President Davie Jane Gilmour and state Sen. Gene Yaw, chair of the Penn College Board of Directors, who was surprised with a leadership award during the ceremony.

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Sen. Yaw Honored With Leadership Award at Penn College
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State Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors, is presented with the Centennial Leadership Award by Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour at the college's Winter Commencement ceremonies.

State Sen. Gene Yaw was presented with a Centennial Leadership Award during Winter Commencement for Pennsylvania College of Technology, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014.

Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour bestowed the surprise award upon Yaw during the ceremony, which was held at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport. The award honors “a legacy of leadership and a continuing contribution to the vitality of the institution during its Centennial anniversary year.”

“For more than three decades – spanning one-third of the institution’s 100-year history – Gene Yaw has served in pivotal leadership roles as solicitor, adviser, advocate, director and chairman of the Board of Directors of Pennsylvania College of Technology,” Gilmour said.

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Countdown to the Centennial logo

2014 marks a milestone in the institution's rich history, from the inception of adult classes in the Williamsport Area School District in 1914, through its evolution into Williamsport Technical Institute, Williamsport Area Community College, and present-day Pennsylvania College of Technology. Read about the institution's history →

Student Achievement Awards Presented to December Graduates
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Pennsylvania College of Technology has presented student achievement awards to its December 2014 graduates.

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‘New’ Bardo Gym Court Levels Penn College Playing Field

One interesting facet of life is how many times things come full circle. A small example was the Dec, 14 Pennsylvania College of Technology men’s and women’s home basketball games against Lycoming College.

During the 2010-11 season, word came from Lycoming College, whose athletic director at the time was Scott Kennell, that its teams no longer would play at Bardo Gymnasium because the court, originally built in 1939 as part of the Williamsport High School campus, wasn’t regulation size for NCAA Division III schools such as Lycoming.

However, Kennell moved from Lycoming to Penn College and, under his leadership, the Wildcats now are in their first year as provisional members of NCAA Division III, which meant some changes were in order.

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Faculty Member Advances to Final Round of ‘Team USA’ Pastry Tryouts

And then there were three. Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II, an instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts at Penn College, will compete in Providence, Rhode Island, in March for a spot on the American team at the 2016 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie. The School of Business & Hospitality faculty member learned this weekend that he made the cut on the basis of a recent competition among seven bakers in North Carolina. The two-day, nine-hour final round to decide who will compete on Team USA in the Viennoiserie (breakfast pastry) category will be held March 5-7 at Johnson & Wales University. Watch PCToday after the holiday break for more on Team USA’s final round, which will help shape the three-person team that will represent America during the 2016 competition in France.

FYE Class Wins Pizza Party as ‘Most Engaging’ in Discussion of Financial Savvy

A "most engaging" class gathers 'round its instructor.

A “most engaging” class gathers ’round its instructor.

Jennifer L. McCracken celebrates with four of five students with unblemished attendance in her FYE class. From left are Justin C. Zetwick, a machine tool technology major from Rixford; Luke S. Orzechowski, of Newtown, studying plastics and polymer technology; Bradley R. Day, of Hawley, enrolled in information technology: information assurance and security concentration; and Jacob C. Weller, a welding and fabrication engineering technology major from Reading. Absent was Nicholas E. Mills, a residential builder student from Tyrone.

Jennifer L. McCracken celebrates with four of five students with unblemished attendance in her FYE class. From left are Justin C. Zetwick, a machine tool technology major from Rixford; Luke S. Orzechowski, of Newtown, studying plastics and polymer technology; Bradley R. Day, of Hawley, enrolled in information technology: information assurance and security concentration; and Jacob C. Weller, a welding and fabrication engineering technology major from Reading. Absent was Nicholas E. Mills, a residential builder student from Tyrone.

Students help themselves to pizza and soda in honor of their first-year success.

Students help themselves to pizza and soda in honor of their first-year success.

Congratulations to instructor Jennifer L. McCracken’s students for receiving the Fall 2014 Financial Literacy Challenge Award as the most “engaging” First-Year Experience class based on presentations by Career Services’ Dana R. Suter. (Second and third place, respectively, went to Ivy R. Avery and Shelley L. Moore.) “I started this friendly competition among the classes as I know talking about finances – budgeting, credit card debt, investing and student loan repayment – isn’t the most exciting topic of conversation, but a conversation that is needed,” Suter said. “Being financially healthy and understanding the importance of making smart financial choices while in school (and after graduation) is so important, and how those choices may impact you in getting that ‘rock star’ job!  Jennifer’s class asked very suitable questions throughout the presentation, as well as offering feedback about the financially healthy practices that they have experienced.” Suter, coordinator of part-time student employment and career programming, provided pizza and refreshments … and had fun with some additional awards, including honors for both perfect attendance and consistent tardiness. McCracken, assistant director of The College Store, is among the many faculty/staff who work with new students through the required FYE sessions.
Photos by Erin S. Shultz, coordinator of career development

Faculty Presenters Headline Instructional Technology Showcase

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II shows a segment of a video series that gives students an advanced demonstration of what they'll practice in lab.

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II shows a segment of a video series that gives students an advanced demonstration of what they’ll practice in lab.

JoAnn H. Pacenta details how she uses the Platform for Learning and Teaching – Online for gauging students' fulfillment of assignments.

JoAnn H. Pacenta details how she uses the Platform for Learning and Teaching – Online for gauging students’ fulfillment of assignments.

Eric K. Albert enhances his presentation with pass-around examples of additive manufacturing.

Eric K. Albert enhances his presentation with pass-around examples of additive manufacturing.

Three faculty members who have innovatively woven technology into their face-to-face and online classrooms were featured at this week’s Instructional Technology Showcase, held in a Madigan Library computer lab by Penn College’s Office of Instructional Technology. Presenters were Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, who discussed “Using Classroom Capture to Enhance Hands-On Demonstrations;” JoAnn H. Pacenta, instructor of business administration/accounting, who explained her process of “Keeping Students on Tasks With PLATO Checklists;” and Eric K. Albert, associate professor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing, who shared “3-D Printing in the Classroom: Adding New Dimensions to Learning.”

Penn College to Again Leave Mark on State Farm Show

America’s largest indoor agricultural exposition and one of the country’s leaders in applied technology education will converge in Harrisburg during the new year, as Pennsylvania College of Technology once again maintains a daily presence at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Representatives of Penn College’s Admissions Office will be available from Jan. 10-17 in the Farm Show Complex & Expo Center, 2300 N. Cameron St., and visitors can get acquainted with the college’s six academic schools throughout the traditional event.

“The 99th Pennsylvania Farm Show is an exciting opportunity for the college to showcase its 100-plus majors – associate and bachelor’s degrees that offer hands-on experience with industry-focused faculty,” said Dennis L. Correll, associate dean for admissions and financial aid. “Our degrees are proven ‘degrees that work,’ with over 94-percent placement rates at graduation. Be sure to stop by our booth and see our demonstrations each day.”

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Human Services Students Donate Funds to Veterans Group

From left: Jenice L. Phillips-Harrold, Williamsport; Amanda R. Tyler, Brockport; Erin L. Sullivan, Elizabethtown; Chad E. Hahn (presenter), Hughesville; Paul Spurgin (recipient), Keystone Wounded Warriors; Travis S. Draper, Williamsport; LaQuinn N. Thompson, York; April M. Tucker, Muncy; Jessica J. Eisely, Middleburg; Brittany E. Goldinger, Bainbridge; Chelsea D. Woodland, State College; Meagan R. Kolk, Blossburg; Deborah E. Wells, Montoursville; and Stacey L. French, Montoursville. Goldinger is a human services major; the rest are enrolled in applied human services.

Students enrolled in a Community and Organizational Change class at Pennsylvania College of Technology raised more than $3,000 for a worldwide fair-trade organization and donated a portion of their sales to a veterans group based in Berks County.

The human services class conducted a Ten Thousand Villages sale last month and was permitted to donate 10 percent of its sales total to another nonprofit of its choice. The class chose Keystone Wounded Warriors Inc., of Blandon.

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Anderson Equipment Co. Lends Bulldozer to Penn College

A Komatsu bulldozer, on loan from Anderson Equipment Co., will be used through March by students and faculty in Penn College’s School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies. (Photo by Pamela A. Mix, secretary to the ESC executive director and assistant dean of transportation and natural resources technologiesPhotos by Pamela A. Mix, secretary to the ESC executive director and assistant dean of transportation and natural resources technologies)

An equipment loan from an Allegheny County-based company will provide Pennsylvania College of Technology students with a state-of-the-art learning tool through the middle of the Spring 2015 semester.

A Komatsu D 37PX bulldozer was made available to the college’s School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies by Anderson Equipment Co., with headquarters in Bridgeville and locations in six states.

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Centennial Documentary to Premiere in January on WVIA-TV

From its humble inception as a basement vocational-technical shop at Williamsport High School in 1914 to its standing today as a special-mission affiliate of Penn State, Pennsylvania College of Technology and its predecessor institutions have continually met workforce demands.

The college’s 100-year commitment to that noble objective is explored in a one-hour documentary airing throughout northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania in January on WVIA-TV. “Working Class: 100 Years of Hands-On Education” will premiere on the PBS-member station on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

Produced by Penn College and WVIA Public Media, the documentary reveals myriad challenges the college has overcome in honoring the dignity of work and embracing workforce needs. Through interviews with multiple generations of key college officials, and archival photos and video, the documentary brings to life the institution’s enduring commitment to the working class, defined not only as a group contributing to the workforce but also a classroom engaging students in traditional, general education and relevant, hands-on activities.

“We knew there were important stories to tell for our 100th anniversary about the founding of the institution and the many challenges that were faced over the past century,” said Elaine J. Lambert, special assistant to the president for creative development and public relations, and an executive producer of the documentary. “We chose to produce a film because we felt it was important to share the history in a video format in addition to printed materials.”

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Countdown to the Centennial logo

2014 marks a milestone in the institution's rich history, from the inception of adult classes in the Williamsport Area School District in 1914, through its evolution into Williamsport Technical Institute, Williamsport Area Community College, and present-day Pennsylvania College of Technology. Read about the institution's history →

Faculty Member Presents, Receives Honors at Autodesk Conference

J.D. Mather

A Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty member presented a paper and received multiple honors at the recent Autodesk University Conference in Las Vegas.

J.D. Mather, assistant professor of engineering design technology, presented “Finite Element Analysis for the Casual User in Inventor.” Autodesk Inventor is 3-D parametric design software used for product and mechanical design. Mather demonstrated how modern “expert systems” software makes complex calculations more accessible to design professionals.

Attended by 9,700 architects, engineers, designers, animators and industry leaders, the conference recognized Mather’s dedication to the Autodesk community.

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Penn College Has Seat at Roundtable on Value of Apprenticeships

Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development at Penn College, speaks with U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez during a Dec. 11 Philadelphia visit.

Three representatives of Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Pennsylvania College of Technology were on hand when the U.S. Department of Labor recently made available $100 million in grant funding for apprenticeships.

Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development; John F. Strittmatter, ShaleNET U.S. regional hub director; and David C. Pistner, director of energy initiatives, attended the Dec. 11 announcement in the Philadelphia School District by Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez.

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Frontier Communications Donates $5,000 to College’s K-12 Efforts

Frontier Communications’ Jennifer Sherwood, left, presents a check to Debra M. Miller, Penn College’s director of corporate relations.

Frontier Communications has contributed $5,000 to two Pennsylvania College of Technology initiatives that benefit high school students.

The company’s contribution, delivered by Jennifer Sherwood, a Frontier enterprise account executive, was made through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program in support of the college’s SMART Girls and Penn College NOW programs.

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Nine Students Pass State Agriculture Department’s Pesticide Exam

Nine students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies passed the Pennsylvania Pesticide Applicator Certification test administered Nov. 24.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture representative Jason Kehoe presided over the examination, which allows licensees to become applicators in one or more of 26 categories that cover a range of pest-control situations.

“This gives the students an opportunity to set themselves apart from their competition,” said Carl J. Bower Jr., a horticulture instructor at the college’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center. “Even if they don’t do any spraying, they are a much more informed employee for having taken and passed this test.”

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