News: Faculty & Staff

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.”

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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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

‘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.

Relive ‘100 Moments’ in Magazine’s Latest Issue

One College Avenue Winter 2014 cover

One College Avenue Winter 2014 cover

Trolleys of the Williamsport Railway Co. outside the car barn that would later become an administrative and classroom building for Williamsport Technical Institute and Williamsport Area Community College.

Trolleys of the Williamsport Railway Co. outside the car barn that would later become an administrative and classroom building for Williamsport Technical Institute and Williamsport Area Community College.

Neil Diamond and the New York Subway perform for the college’s Fall Weekend in 1967.

Neil Diamond and the New York Subway perform for the college’s Fall Weekend in 1967.

Encompassing national firsts and fond personal memories, “100 Moments in College History” takes a look at the college’s first 100 years. Read it in the latest edition of One College Avenue, the Penn College magazine, along with the President’s Message and more.

Band of Ukuleles to Light Up CAC Stage

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra

The Penn College family is included in a holiday sale for next month’s Community Arts Center appearance by the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. Get half off adult tickets in the orchestra section (starting at $12.50) through Wednesday, Dec. 31. In addition, all student tickets are just $5 throughout the theater! Go online and enter promotional code XMASTREAT, then proceed to “Buy.” The discount price will appear once you click on a seat. This offer is not valid on previously purchased tickets. Full-price adult tickets are $35, $30 and $25. The loge and balcony are closed for this event. If you call or stop by the box office, please be sure to give the promotional code before purchasing tickets. Discounted student ticket prices are available for pre-school through college. College students must present valid student ID on the night of the show. Renowned for its winning combination of charming humor, its disarmingly small instruments and its sublime musicality, the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra is one of the world’s great modern ukulele acts. Hailing from the home of “The Hobbit” movies, the orchestra will bring an irresistible New Zealand heartland feel to the Arts Center’s stage at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8. The orchestra presents the ukulele as it’s never been played before, featuring songs made famous by such artists as Justin Timberlake, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Hall and Oates, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, Kenny Rogers, and Kings of Leon – alongside tunes from the South Pacific – packaged into a spectacular, unmissable funfest. The wildly popular ensemble creates instant joy and lasting magic wherever it goes, armed with high-octane ukulele solos, heavenly harmonies and outrageous costumes. Its members’ comedic banter is spontaneous, and, when the group bursts into song, the sweet sounds can silence a room in a nanosecond or bring a crowd of thousands to its feet. For more information on the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra and to hear its music, please visit the Arts Center’s website, click on “shows” in the header and choose “Music” from the dropdown menu. The Community Arts Center, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn College, is located just a few blocks from campus at 220 W. Fourth St. in downtown Williamsport.

Tree Decorations Honor Penn College’s Military Family

Student veterans – along with supportive friends from the Financial Aid, Admissions and Registrar’s offices at Penn College – pause for a photo during the tree’s decoration.

A seasonal accent to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s main entrance has gift-wrapped an opportunity for the institution to recognize its military family. A 25-foot-tall tree pays tribute to the students and employees who are veterans.

The Vanderwolf blue limber pine is adorned with 408 stars, fashioned by servicemen enrolled in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. The stars honor the 373 students and 35 employees who have identified themselves as veterans.

“We want to show all the veterans in the Penn College family that we are thinking about them,” said Chester M. Beaver, the college’s veterans affairs coordinator. “We also want the community to know how many veterans are on campus. By seeing the large number of stars on the tree, we hope people understand that veterans are an important part of the college community.”

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Faculty Member to Compete for Spot on Team USA of Baking

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts at Pennsylvania College of Technology, confers with students as they prepare desserts for a special event. Niedermyer is a candidate to join Team USA at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie – the World Cup of Baking – in 2016.

A member of the baking and pastry arts faculty at Pennsylvania College of Technology will compete this month to become a member of the team that will represent the United States at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie – sometimes called the World Cup of Baking – in France in 2016.

“Everybody tells me it’s an enormous amount of work and energy,” said Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, of State College, an instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts. “But on the other side, you become so much better at your craft.” (Niedermyer was interviewed by WBRE’s Valerie Tysanner for a piece that aired during Wednesday’s evening newscasts.)

Team USA is sponsored by the Bread Bakers Guild of America, for which Niedermyer has served as a volunteer for several years. Nine countries will be accepted to compete at the Coupe du Monde, held every four years. Team USA has an automatic bid to the competition based on its silver medal at the 2012 event.

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Penn College Welcomes New Employee

PCToday continues its regular feature – welcoming new full-time and regular part-time Pennsylvania College of Technology employees, as reported by the Human Resources Office.

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Entranceway Tree Decorated in Honor of College’s Military Family
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Jacob M. Heuman, of Boiling Springs, a building automation technology major and a Veterans Affairs Work-Study employee in the Financial Aid Office, rises in support of his colleagues.

A tree along the main campus entrance has been decorated with 408 stars, each representing a military member of the Penn College community – and each fashioned by a serviceman enrolled in the School of Industrial, Computing and Engineering Technologies. Using the 60-ton Minster 5 press in the Machining Technologies Center, students of Howard W. Troup, maintenance mechanic/millwright, and Keith H. English, instructor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing, stamped out the stars using leftover plastic from the school’s thermoforming lab. On Thursday afternoon, student veterans – along with supportive friends from the Financial Aid, Admissions and Registrar’s offices, as well as General Services personnel – adorned the red-, white- and blue-lighted tree in tribute to the 373 students and 35 employees who have identified themselves as veterans.

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