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Penn College News

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 →

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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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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Zimmerman Scholarship Established at Penn College

June and Thomas Zimmerman have established a scholarship at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Two faculty members at Pennsylvania College of Technology who are also alumni of the institution ­­have established a building-to-endowed scholarship at the college.

The scholarship was created by Thomas A. Zimmerman, an associate professor of psychology who has worked at Penn College since 1984, and June Kilgus Zimmerman, a part-time sociology faculty member who is also employed as an oncology social worker by the Susquehanna Health Cancer Center.

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Consider Penn College in Your Year-End Giving Plans

If you are considering making a charitable donation as the 2014 tax year comes to a close, please remember the Penn College employee campaign. Gifts of all sizes help students succeed and will be put to use immediately.

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Welding Student Takes Scrap Metal From Dumpster to Dazzling

Michael A. Cramer proudly displays his artistry in the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center.

Michael A. Cramer proudly displays his artistry in the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center.

The headdress took about a month to complete ...

The headdress took about a month to complete …

... with painstaking detail that confirms the work involved.

… with painstaking detail that confirms the work involved.

Inspired by a picture and encouraged by a faculty mentor, a first-year welding and fabrication engineering technology major has replicated a Native American headdress with impressive intricacy and realism. Michael A. Cramer, of Mahaffey, a student in Michael K. Patterson’s Oxy-Fuel Welding and Cutting course this past semester, fashioned his creation entirely from scrap steel. “I always wanted to make one out of metal, but never thought I could … until I got the chance to do any project I wanted,” he said. “I told Mike about it and he immediately gave me the OK and seemed excited about it.” Cramer said it took more than two weeks to form, hammer out and color all of the feathers, then another week and a half to make the headband and put it all together. “I really think that the details, such as the small engraving and the color, bring it to life,” said the student, who added that Patterson was never far away with ready answers to any questions. “I loved a quote that Mike wrote on a white board: ‘Take the metal to places it has never been,'” Cramer said. “I think I will use that for the rest of my life working with metal. I think that welding is seen by a lot of people as ‘just a dirty job that can pay well – ‘Why would anyone want to do this?’ – but I want to show people that working with metal is more than that. You can make such beautiful things out of scrap metal in a Dumpster. I want my work to be inspirational to others and maybe get them to try welding and working with metal.”
Photos by Matthew W. Nolan, welding lecturer

Four Penn College Wrestlers Get Wins at Nittany Lion Open

Pennsylvania College of Technology wrestlers gained some valuable experience while competing in the Penn State Nittany Lion Open and its men’s and women’s basketball teams split in action through Saturday.

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Students From Austria Study Semester of Business at Penn College

S. Jordan Stammer, center, a student in Penn College’s culinary arts technology major, takes the dinner order of Anita K. Fink, left, and Katharina M. Sutter, both exchange students from Fachhochschule Vorarlberg in Dornbirn, Austria, during a Classical Cuisines of the World dinner in the college’s Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. The meal featured foods from the Alsace region of France, just a few hours from the students’ home university.

Two Austrian students spending a semester exchange at Pennsylvania College of Technology will return with valuable perspectives from their months in the Keystone State.

“Our experience here showed us that it is important to be open to other cultures, other points of view and other opinions,” said Katharina M. Sutter. “Furthermore, it is important – especially in a new country – to be open to your classmates, neighbors and people you meet. An open attitude helps to come into contact with these people.”

The students recently talked about their experience over a student-prepared classic European dinner in the college’s Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

Sutter and travel mate, Anita K. Fink, are participants in a semester exchange program between Penn College and Fachhochschule Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences in Dornbirn, Austria. Students in their fifth semester of international business majors at FH Vorarlberg are encouraged to study abroad. During that semester, students from around the world study at Vorarlberg.

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‘Giving Tree’ Donors Brighten Holidays for Dozens

A colorful collection of holiday gifts awaits pickup in the Student Activities Office.

A colorful collection of holiday gifts awaits pickup in the Student Activities Office.

Steve Wenzel, from the Salvation Army in Williamsport, wheels a binload of donations through the Bush Campus Center.

Steve Wenzel, from the Salvation Army in Williamsport, wheels a binload of donations through the Bush Campus Center.

Co-workers in the Student Activities Office help shuttle gift bags to the Salvation Army van ...

Co-workers in the Student Activities Office help shuttle gift bags to the Salvation Army van …

... and accept the agency's appreciation for helping make the holidays happier for needy local residents.

… and accept the agency’s appreciation for helping make the holidays happier for needy local residents.

Forty less-fortunate members of the Williamsport community – infants, children and senior citizens – will benefit from the generous donations to the Student Activities Office’s “Giving Tree.” It didn’t take long for the tree to be stripped of its gift tags after it was installed in mid-November, as Penn College students and employees visited the Bush Campus Center to spread the holiday spirit. On Thursday afternoon, The Salvation Army’s Steve Wenzel collected the donations, helped during the load-in by Allison A. Bressler, assistant director of student activities for programming and Greek life; Anthony J. Pace, assistant director of student activities for student organizations/orientation; Shannon L. Skaluba, information center assistant; and Jessica R. Wiegand, student activities assistant.

A Frosty Farewell to Fall
Photo gallery

The Victorian House, dressed for the season

Penn College offers something to enjoy in all seasons, but takes on a particularly pleasant air as winter approaches. Several inches of snow fell across the area overnight, prompting a two-hour delay Thursday morning and offering a glacial glimpse at what’s ahead.

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