News about Health Sciences

Foundation’s Generosity Endows Scholarship, Creates Opportunity

A significant grant from the Tamaqua-based John E. Morgan Foundation will allow students from that area to enroll in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s distinctive “degrees that work.”

The nonprofit foundation’s $500,000 contribution establishes the John E. Morgan Scholarship, which will give first preference to graduates of Tamaqua Area High School who are pursuing “a degree that is not readily available from other institutions, at a comparable price, within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

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Nursing Students Travel to Guatemala Medical Clinic

Penn College student H. Alex Simcox takes a patient’s blood pressure during a study abroad experience at a medical clinic in Nueva Santa Rosa, Guatemala. He was among five Penn College students making the trip.

Five Pennsylvania College of Technology nursing students recently traveled to Guatemala, where they experienced firsthand the cultural diversity of health care that they had read about in their textbooks.

As part of a study abroad course, the students spent seven days at a medical clinic in the small community of Nueva Santa Rosa. They were accompanied by Christine B. Kavanagh, instructor of nursing programs, and joined by a larger group of volunteers from Glens Falls Medical Mission. Twice each year, the Glens Falls, New York-based group operates a weeklong medical clinic in a Nueva Santa Rosa church compound. The nearest major hospital for the community is almost two hours away.

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Students Hold Seminar on Health Information Careers

Students pursuing associate degrees in health information technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently held a seminar for other students in the major.

The focus of the seminar was job hunting and career advice. The students, all in their final semester, determined the topic and schedule and invited five speakers, four who are graduates of Penn College’s health information majors. Each offered practical guidance from the working-world perspective.

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Collaboration Helps Students Consider Accessibility in Home Design

While studying a floor plan and real world-inspired client case, Penn College students in architectural technology and occupational therapy assistant majors discuss options for making a home handicap-accessible. From left are Mackenzie L. Martin, of Thompsontown, and Jessica L. Osborne, of Cogan Station, both pursuing degrees in applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration; Jeanne L. Kerschner, director of occupational therapy assistant; Cayla L. Erisman, an architectural technology student from Johnstown; and Garrett A. Brown, a student in architectural technology from Pipersville.

Pennsylvania College of Technology students pursuing distinctively different career paths collaborated recently, learning from one another how to design homes that will be both beautiful and functional for anyone who might cross the threshold.

Architectural technology students worked with occupational therapy assistant students to modify building plans to suit real-world client-based scenarios for current or future accessibility needs, including guests who visit.

The collaboration capitalizes on both groups’ expertise: an occupational therapy assistant’s role is to help people who have a disability to do what they want and need to do. For those with physical disabilities, it could involve teaching them how to button a shirt with one hand or providing strategies and tools to get around their kitchens. Architects, meanwhile, know what building modifications are possible and how cost-effective they are.

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Penn College to Showcase ‘degrees that work’ at State Farm Show

Student Kassandra Sellinger, a culinary arts and systems student from Linden, and Chef Mike Ditchfield perform a cooking demonstration on the Culinary Connection stage at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January 2016.

Nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive entries and 300 commercial exhibits – and more than 100 rewarding career pathways uniquely represented by Pennsylvania College of Technology – will be on display as America’s largest indoor agricultural exposition celebrates its 101st anniversary next month.

In what has become a New Year’s custom, the college will show off its prestigious “degrees that work” from Jan. 7-14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, where visitors can get a participatory glimpse at a rewarding future.

“Attending the PA Farm Show is a beloved tradition for Penn College. During the weeklong event, Admissions, Alumni Relations and Academic Affairs will showcase all of the amazing opportunities that await students on our campuses,” said Claire Z. Biggs, coordinator of admissions events and services. “We hope that, through our hands-on activities, students, alumni and families will learn why we have so much Penn College Pride! We can’t wait to meet all of the Farm Show guests this year and share what makes applied technology education so special.”

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Case Study Aids Patient Understanding

From left: students Neil A. Ebert II, of Catawissa; Alicia A. Brant, of Mifflinburg; and Alexandra R. Harriman, of Montoursville; chest-trauma patient Wayne Brooks, his wife, Dawn, and son Joel, a part-time instructor of nursing; and students Sarah E. King, of Milton, and Kelsey J. Maneval, of McAlisterville.

A Linden-area man who survived serious chest injuries after a farm wagon rolled over him in August attended a case-study presentation made by nursing students who attended to him during his two-and-a-half week stay in Geisinger’s intensive care unit. The students were serving a rotation in Geisinger’s ICU when they encountered Wayne Brooks, who sustained 29 broken bones. Brooks’ son Joel, a part-time instructor of nursing at the college, said it’s the most severe chest trauma Geisinger has seen in a patient who survived. “A big part was the nursing staff that saved his life because they were so diligent,” said Wayne’s wife, Dawn. “Your students got to be a part of that.” Wayne Brooks, a K-12 teacher and part-time farmer, remembers the accident, calling 911 from his cellphone, shifting his position and feeling his ribs scrape together “like broken pretzels.” He can remember everything up to the time that paramedics began treating him. But he can’t remember his time in the ICU, so Joel suggested he attend the students’ presentation to learn more about what he went through. Alexandra R. Harriman was the primary student working with Brooks, who presented her first experience with a chest-trauma patient. She quickly gained experience with ventilator and chest care. “It was a very complex case,” she said. Brooks spent a total of five weeks in the hospital. When he attended the Nov. 30 presentation, he was back to farming a few hours a day, which will increase as he regains stamina and muscle strength, and looks forward to returning to teaching at Walnut Street Christian School in early 2017.

Community Outreach Turns Inward as Seniors Visit Nursing Lab

Nursing students Alexis E. Jones (left), of Watsontown, and Brittney J. Barrett, of Mill Hall, review signs that a loved one has had a stroke, FAST: Face drooping, Arm weakness and Speech difficulty, followed by Time to call 911.

Marissa N. Herb, of Williamsport, talks about the learning activities surrounding the facility’s 35 static manikins.

Samantha M. Weaver, learning laboratory coordinator for nursing education, shows the functions of SimMom, one of five high-fidelity manikins that can be programmed to imitate real health conditions.

Students and faculty from the Fundamentals of Nursing course gather with visitors from Albright Life Center.

After students in the Fundamentals of Nursing course spent the semester visiting Albright Life Center of Lycoming, the center’s clients visited the students on their own turf in the college’s Nursing Education Center. Each week, a group of four from the NUR 211 class visited the center, where they presented a health-related topic, often accompanied by a hands-on activity. Many of the clients asked the students about their education, so the students invited Albright to campus during the last week of the semester, providing a tour and mini health fair, where they reviewed the information they had presented during their earlier visits. Presentations included such practical subjects as hypertension, signs of stroke, bone and joint health, physical activity, injury prevention, home safety, and influenza prevention. Fundamentals of Nursing introduces basic principles of nursing practice. Their visits to Albright Life – a daytime care center for seniors – provided an educational opportunity for the students to go out into the community and teach, a key responsibility for working nurses.

Student Intern Coordinates Brunch for Veterans at Rose View

Air Force veteran Willie Keyes sits alongside Bradly M. Lantz, a Navy veteran and physician assistant student.

Ray Fisher, a Marine Corps veteran, shares his appreciation for the event. Next to him is health information technology student Sylvia Bidelspach, of Williamsport, who coordinated the get-together.

The group gathers for a photo.

Chet Beaver (left), financial aid specialist and veterans service coordinator for the college, jokes with Rose View residents and staff.

Rose View resident Joseph Bolden, a Navy veteran, and employee/Army veteran Jeff Fenstermacher chat during the event.

A student serving a health information internship at Rose View Center arranged a Veterans Day gathering for resident veterans to swap stories with student veterans from Penn College, as well as veterans on the nursing facility’s staff. Five students – members of Omega Delta Sigma veterans fraternity and the Veterans Club – ate brunch Friday with eight residents. Health information technology student Sylvia B. Bidelspach suggested and coordinated the event to provide a forum for younger generations to learn from the older group. In addition to brunch, Bidelspach arranged for musical entertainment by her grandmother, professional vocalist/pianist Coleen Renshaw. The Penn College veterans groups, with veterans services specialist Chet Beaver at the helm, presented a photo collage of the large American flag on campus to the nursing facility. The collage was made by photographer and Penn College alumnus and retiree Fred Gilmour.

Scholarship Memorializing EMS Trailblazer Fully Endowed

From left, Mark A. Trueman, director of the Paramedic Technology Program; Linda Patrick, daughter of the late William E. Henry; Kelle Johnson, his fiancée; Molly J. Durland, recipient of the William E. Henry Memorial Scholarship; Heather, Matthew and Lilly Henry, William’s daughter-in-law, son and granddaughter; and Robb Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation.

The family of William E. Henry gathered on campus Thursday to deliver a check that brings the scholarship fund established in his name to fully endowed status. Henry was a pioneer in Lycoming County’s emergency medical services. He was in the first graduating class from the Williamsport Hospital School of Paramedic Training – the Penn College emergency medical services program’s predecessor – and served many vital roles as a leader, instructor and paramedic. The William E. Henry Memorial Scholarship is open to students in the college’s emergency medical services associate-degree major or paramedic technician certificate major who are residents of Bradford, Clinton, Lycoming, Potter, Sullivan Tioga and Union counties and who have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Molly J. Durland, an emergency medical services student from Dushore, is the 2016-17 recipient and joined the family for a photo. The family gathered later Thursday evening to celebrate the scholarship becoming fully endowed and to remember the life and contributions of Henry.

Youth of Firetree Place Well-Served by Donation of Sports Gear

Volleyballs, tennis balls, pingpong balls and badminton equipment are among equipment donated to Firetree Place.

Exercise science students Connor J. Nettles, of Pottsville, and Daniel S. Fertig, of Turbotville, carry a pingpong table to Quinti’s pickup truck.

A cart carries a sample of the pieces as they wait to be loaded.

Nia M. Romanowicz, of Altoona, adds donated pieces that she later helped deliver to Firetree Place.

Students in Penn College’s exercise science major joined Judy Quinti, assistant professor of exercise science, in loading a delivery of sports equipment for Firetree Place, a community center just a few blocks from Penn College. The college offered equipment it no longer uses in Fitness & Lifetime Sports classes. In keeping with their career goals to promote wellness, the students delivered a pingpong table, paddles and balls; several badminton racquets with shuttlecocks; volleyballs; tennis balls; and goggles. The mission of Firetree Place is to engage youth through enrichment activities and to provide resources that will strengthen the community at large.

Brushing Up on a New Dental Hygiene Clinic

Penn College dental hygiene students are applying their extensive hands-on skills in a newly renovated clinic. The 5,300-square-foot facility, dedicated in late September and featured in a video on college’s YouTube channel, features advanced technology and continues the college’s tradition of offering low-cost dental care to the community.”The clinic has made an amazing transformation. It’s modern, state-of-the-art,” said Alexandra D. Petrizzi, a dental hygiene: health policy and administration concentration major from Langhorne. “I walked in and a big smile came on my face!”

Donated Pink Gowns Help Focus Attention on Breast Cancer

Dental hygiene students, colorfully cloaked as special agents for awareness

Students completing rounds in the Dental Hygiene Clinic showed their support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donning pink gowns during the week of Oct. 10. The gowns were donated by Matt P. Branca, director of The College Store. Other Breast Cancer Awareness-related activities have included a bake sale hosted by College Health Services and Sigma Pi, informational tables in the Bush Campus Center and at the Madigan Library Reference Desk, and a Wear Pink Day for employees on Oct. 7.

Students Head to Guatemala on Nursing’s First Study Abroad Trip

Students Ashley M. Otto and Kelsey L. Maneval pack Penn College backpacks that they’ll leave behind for residents of Nueva Santa Rosa, Guatemala.

Picture books and Penn College backpacks are among items donated by the campus community for the remote village.

Friend Bear finds a seat in a suitcase for the trip to Central America.

Students glean details from nursing instructor Christine B. Kavanagh. From left are H. Alex Simcox, Christina M. Mossman, Ashley M. Otto, Katherine Santoianni, Maneval and Kavanagh.

A pile of books will help supply a library or serve as waiting-room entertainment.

Five nursing students packed supplies this week that they’ll take to the small village of Nueva Santa Rosa in Guatemala. The students are enrolled in a short-term study abroad course, the first for nursing. They’ll be joined by Christine B. Kavanagh, instructor of nursing, at a clinic in a remote area of coffee plantations southeast of the capital, Guatemala City. The Penn College group will join a larger group of volunteers from Glens Falls Medical Mission, a group based in Glens Falls, New York. The students gathered this week to pack luggage with a variety of donated items, including picture books, toothbrushes, stuffed animals, and touches of Penn College that include Wildcat hand sanitizer donated by Penn College Health Services, and Penn College backpacks donated by Admissions. Many of the other items were donated by fellow students and nursing faculty via collection stations set up by the Student Nurses Association. Students making the trip are Kelsey L. Maneval, of McAlisterville; Christina M. Mossman, of Wellsboro; Ashley M. Otto, of Lehighton; H. Alex Simcox, of Montgomery; and Katherine Santoianni, of Williamsport.

Board Approves Master’s Degree Program in Physician Assistant

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Board of Directors has approved a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies – the first graduate degree program ever to be offered at the institution, a special mission affiliate of Penn State.

Penn College plans to begin offering courses leading to the master’s degree in the fall of 2017, with conferring of degrees to begin in 2022.

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Ten Weeks to Fitness Victory

During a 10-week cardiovascular training program, Kay E. Dunkleberger meets fitness goals while exercise science student Hailey J. Heistand puts her classroom knowledge into practice.

Colorful equipment lines an exercise science lab in Bardo Gym.

From the Fall 2016 Penn College Magazine: Exercise science students put their knowledge into practice as they help employees meet their fitness goals. Read “Ten Weeks to Fitness Victory.”