News: Information Technology

Graduation Ends (for Now) Family’s 20-Year History at Penn College

The Bird family, of Canton, has sent five sons to Penn College since 1995. From left, Ross; Guston; their mother, Janice; Mitchell; their father, the late James ("Jim"); Jennings; and Seth.

When T. Mitchell Bird walks across the Community Arts Center’s stage on May 16 and receives a bachelor’s degree, he will turn the page toward a new life and end one of the longest, unique chapters in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s history.

Mitchell will become the last of five siblings to earn a degree from the college. Since 1995, at least one “Bird brother” has been enrolled at the institution. Counting Mitchell’s pending graduation, the five brothers, all Dean’s List students, have earned eight degrees.

“Some people will say they can’t afford Penn College. I say, ‘You cannot afford not to go to Penn College,’” says matriarch Janice Bird, 69. “You get a good job in your field after you graduate. All our boys are doing well. They received an education to obtain not only a beginning position, but they all moved up. I’m 100-percent Penn College.”

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Gaming/Simulation Major Set to Graduate First Class

The first graduates of the gaming and simulation major, begun in the Fall 2011 semester, celebrate with faculty.

The first graduates of the gaming and simulation major, begun in the Fall 2011 semester, celebrate with faculty.

After a long and wintry semester, IT students soak up the outdoor ambiance on the CC patio.

After a long and wintry semester, IT students soak up the outdoor ambiance on the CC patio.

The first graduates from Penn College’s information technology sciences-gaming and simulation major, who will be accorded their bachelor’s degrees during May commencement, recently celebrated the occasion with a cookout on the Bush Campus Center patio. IT faculty and the graduating seniors enjoyed grilled hamburgers and hot dogs – prepared by Spyke M. Krepshaw, instructor of computer information technology. The seniors received an additional sendoff from next year’s graduates, as juniors painted “The Rock” in acknowledgment of their upperclass colleagues’ accomplishment.
Photos provided

Eight Penn College Students Headed for SkillsUSA Nationals

Eight first-place winners from Pennsylvania College of Technology have advanced to the 51st annual National SkillsUSA Conference, to be held from June 22-26 in Kentucky.

Five other students from the college finished in the top four places in a variety of categories during the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference held April 8-10 in Hershey.

“The students did very well representing the college. It was the first time competing for some of the students, but they will be back next year for another go-around,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college’s SkillsUSA adviser. “Many of the students advancing have been to nationals before, either as a college competitor or when they were in high school. We’re looking forward to the change of venue, as nationals will be in Louisville instead of Kansas City.”

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IT Students Share Strategies for Staying Safe Online

William C. Blessing talks about the malicious methods employed to compromise computer security.

William C. Blessing talks about the malicious methods employed to compromise computer security.

Zachary L. Lundberg addresses the benefits (and more than occasional pitfalls) of geolocation, which pinpoints and shares one's physical whereabouts.

Zachary L. Lundberg addresses the benefits (and more than occasional pitfalls) of geolocation, which pinpoints and shares one’s physical whereabouts.

Several "cloud"-based systems for information backup are assessed by Adam T. Check.

Several “cloud”-based systems for information backup are assessed by Adam T. Check.

David M. Mossop (left) and Jeremy W. Rennicks cover multiple security considerations, including password strength, wireless security and the endless shelf life of Internet posts.

David M. Mossop (left) and Jeremy W. Rennicks cover multiple security considerations, including password strength, wireless security and the endless shelf life of Internet posts.

Members of Penn College’s Information Security Association observed Data Privacy Month on Wednesday with brief presentations on relevant topics about online protection. Intended mainly as a peer-to-peer supplement to the introductory Information, Technology and Society course, the afternoon program included valuable tips for anyone concerned about his or her digital footprint. Sharing their knowledge in the Student & Administrative Services Center were William C. Blessing, of Muncy; Zachary L. Lundberg, of Warren; Adam T. Check, of Great Falls, Virginia; David M. Mossop, of Newark, Delaware; and Jeremy W. Rennicks, of Williamsport. Blessing is enrolled in the information technology: network security concentration; the others major in information technology: information assurance and security concentration.

College’s Centennial Colloquia Culminate in Panel Discussion

Moderator James E. Cunningham, retired vice president for information technology and business process improvement, notes that campus lectures will continue as the Dan Doyle Science, Technology and Society Colloquia Series. Doyle, faculty emeritus and the college's Master Teacher in 1984, was a driving force behind the college's just-ended Centennial celebration.

Moderator James E. Cunningham, retired vice president for information technology and business process improvement, notes that campus lectures will continue as the Dan Doyle Science, Technology and Society Colloquia Series. Doyle, faculty emeritus and the college’s Master Teacher in 1984, was a driving force behind the college’s just-ended Centennial celebration.

Faculty panelists drawn from this past year's Centennial Colloquia Series field a question from the audience. From left are Dorothy J. Gerring and Robert A. Wozniak, associate professors of architectural technology; Lisa R. Bock, assistant professor of computer information technology; Mark D. Noe, professor of English-composition; Rob Cooley, assistant professor of anthropology/environmental science; and Craig A. Miller, assistant professor of history/political science.

Faculty panelists drawn from this past year’s Centennial Colloquia Series field a question from the audience. From left are Dorothy J. Gerring and Robert A. Wozniak, associate professors of architectural technology; Lisa R. Bock, assistant professor of computer information technology; Mark D. Noe, professor of English-composition; Rob Cooley, assistant professor of anthropology/environmental science; and Craig A. Miller, assistant professor of history/political science.

A biometric image on a smartphone – technology only recently embraced by Bock (third from left) – recalls her September lecture on identity protection.

A biometric image on a smartphone – technology only recently embraced by Bock (third from left) – recalls her September lecture on identity protection.

While recognizing the role of technology in effecting change, Gerring said it is but one factor in converting public will into progressive action.

While recognizing the role of technology in effecting change, Gerring said it is but one factor in converting public will into progressive action.

Nursing major Sadie E. Bebko, of Allegany, N.Y., defends her generation against the suggestion that reliance on technology has left her peers unable to read a map or finish a book. While she and her peers avail themselves of shortcuts, she rebutted, they are more than capable of processing and retaining the complex information necessary to be critical thinkers and responsible citizens.

Nursing major Sadie E. Bebko, of Allegany, N.Y., defends her generation against the suggestion that reliance on technology has left her peers unable to read a map or finish a book. While she and her peers avail themselves of shortcuts, she rebutted, they are more than capable of processing and retaining the complex information necessary to be critical thinkers and responsible citizens.

Six Penn College faculty members, who combined for four enlightening and provocative lectures during 2014’s Centennial Colloquia Series, reconvened on campus Wednesday night for a roundtable recap. The discussion, titled “Riding the Wave of Technological Change: Revolution or Evolution?” was held in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium. The group (Dorothy J. Gerring, Robert A. Wozniak, Lisa R. Bock, Mark D. Noe, Rob Cooley and Craig A. Miller) ably kicked around the connection between technology and progress, entertaining questions from moderator James E. Cunningham and the audience.
Photos by Elizabeth S. Greis, student photographer

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 →

It’s Safe to Say: IT Students Make Impression at Security Convention

Faculty members, alumni and students alike attend ShmooCon2015.

Faculty members, alumni and students alike attend ShmooCon2015.

A sizable Penn College contingent attended ShmooCon, the East Coast “hacker” convention, held Jan. 16-18 at the Washington (D.C.) Hilton. Three faculty members in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies – along with 11 graduates, 18 current students and a former student – were among those attending. The annual event covers such related topics as demonstrating technology exploitation, inventive software and hardware solutions to security issues, and provides for open discussions of critical information security issues. Two information technology: information assurance and security concentration majors, David M. Mossop, of Newark, Delaware, and Joseph M. Eak, of Bayville, New Jersey, attended on merit-based “Shmooze a Student” scholarships that paid their $150 registration fee and gave them $200 each to offset travel and meal costs. Students attended presentations and Fire Talks (15-minute presentations that challenge speakers to dive into the core of their content in a more relaxed environment than the traditional 30- to 90-minute conference format), explored Lockpick Village and teamed with professional hackers for the Hack Fortress competition. Each team comprises members playing Team Fortress 2 and members solving hacking challenges. Both gamers and hackers can contribute to the overall score of the team: Hackers can earn points for the gamers to purchase “equipment” in the game and gamers can find clues to assist hackers in solving the puzzles. The Penn College team, which won that event at ShmooCon 2014, placed second this year. Students had the opportunity to speak with the many vendors in attendance about job opportunities, and many submitted resumes for internships and permanent positions.
Photo provided by Sandra Gorka, associate professor of computer information technology

Students, Faculty Treated to IT-Related Conference in Indiana

Penn College students, faculty among conference attendees

Penn College students, faculty among conference attendees

Five students and two professors recently traveled to Indianapolis to attend the COMMON 2014 Fall Conference and Expo, sponsored by the world’s largest professional association of IBM technology users. Their attendance was made possible through a scholarship from the COMMON Education Foundation, which provided registration, travel and lodging. Participating Penn College students were information technology: network specialist concentration majors Michael A. Gideon, of York, and Connor M. Ream, of Lititz; Kyle J. Rosales, a software development and information management student from Blandon; Benjamin S. Welch, of State College, enrolled in information technology: information assurance and security concentration; and Dominic D. York, of Williamsport, an information technology sciences-gaming and simulation student. Accompanying them were Lisa R. Bock and Anita R. Wood, assistant professors of computer information technology. The Oct. 27-29 event provided education on a broad range of IBM i, AIX and Linux topics. “Students took the COMMON Business Computing Associate certification exam, and four passed,” Bock noted. “It was a great experience for the students, and they look forward to attending another COMMON conference.”
Photo provided

Penn College IT Students Capture Digital ‘Flag’

Pennsylvania College of Technology students reached the virtual summit during a recent competition for information security practitioners. A team consisting of four information technology majors won the wireless “capture the flag” event during the Security B-Sides DC Conference in Washington, D.C.

Competing against students from other schools, as well as IT professionals, the Penn College team successfully employed radio frequency signals to access the opposition’s computer system and capture the “digital flag” stored on the system.

Members of the winning Penn College team were information assurance and security concentration majors Jeremy W. Rennicks, of Williamsport; David M. Mossop, of Newark, Delaware; Douglas S. Wilson, of Wellsville; and Zachary L. Lundberg, of Warren.

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Penn College Cisco Networking Academy to Host Technology Demonstration

Cisco Networking Academy

Cisco Networking Academy

NetBrain Technologies Inc. will provide Penn College students with a demonstration of its map-driven, network-automation software during a virtual conference, scheduled from 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, in Room E140 of the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center. The presentation will feature Christel Glaser, an account executive with the Burlington, Massachusetts-based company, the mission of which is to empower professionals by making network management simple and visual with transformational technology. NetBrain’s customer base includes organizations in health care, financial services, the government and telecommunications, including AT&T, BP, MITRE, Lockheed Martin, NASA and the U.S. Army. The presentation will demonstrate to students the power of NetBrain’s map-based automation to discover, document and troubleshoot business-critical, enterprise-grade networks to simplify and reduce the efforts associated with network management. The demo, hosted by the Penn College Cisco Networking Academy, is an opportunity for all information technology students to learn about some amazing technology from network professionals. For more information, contact Jeff B. Weaver, associate professor of electronics, or Lisa R. Bock, assistant professor of information technology.

Penn College Information Technology Students Excel at ‘Hackathon’

Penn College IT majors had a strong showing at the recent Altamira Hackathon in Fairfax, Virginia. College participants were (front row, from left) Evelyn E. Hill, of Muncy; Madelyn M. Lanoue, of Dallastown; David M. Mossop, of Newark, Delaware; Zachary L. Lundberg, of Warren; Donald E. McCoy, of Watsontown (2014 graduate); and Brian S. Stringer, of McVeytown. Back row, from left: Derek E. Teay, of Northampton; Tucker J. Harner, of Leesport; Drew Pacell, of Ottsville; Jeremy W. Rennicks, of Williamsport; Jerome T. Czachor, of Dickson City; and Adam T. Check, of Great Falls, Virginia. (Photo by Sandra Gorka, associate professor of computer information technology)

Information technology majors from Pennsylvania College of Technology proved their prowess at a recent cybersecurity competition. A five-member Penn College contingent finished second at the Altamira Hackathon in Fairfax, Virginia.

Conducted at George Mason University, the competition required participants to test their skills around the Atari game Scram. Team members controlled various aspects of a nuclear reactor while protecting their computer network and attacking the computing resources of other teams.

“Events such as the Altamira Hackathon give students an opportunity to exercise their skills in a competitive environment,” said Sandra Gorka, associate professor of computer information technology, who accompanied the students with Jacob R. Miller, associate professor of computer information technology. “We are very impressed with the performance of our second-place team and all the Penn College students who participated. They did an outstanding job representing the college.”

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Self-Reflective Talk Offers ‘How-to’ Hints on Personal Satisfaction

Drawing from life lessons, Jacob R. Miller advises students not to "dwell on failure, but own up to your shortcomings."

As the latest Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty member chosen to deliver the David London My Last Words Lecture, Jacob R. Miller shared a simple barometer of student success: “I would like to think that, at the end of every day, no matter what they have done that day, they can face themselves in the mirror.”

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Faculty Member to Deliver ‘Last Words’ in Popular Lecture Series

Jacob R. Miller

Integrity – on the job and in one’s life – will be the central theme when a Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty member delivers his hypothetically parting thoughts this month in an annually anticipated campus lecture.

Jacob R. Miller, an associate professor and department head of computer information technology, is this year’s presenter in the David London My Last Words Lecture Series, which asks student-nominated faculty to express their thoughts as if it was their final opportunity to share insight and offer inspiration.

The address will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium. A plaque presentation and reception will follow the lecture, which is free and open to the public.

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Welcome, Tech Scholars!

Fun and games in the "Fish Tank"

Fun and games in the “Fish Tank”

Computer information technology faculty Anita R. Wood, assistant professor, and Daniel W. Yoas, associate professor, share in the good times.

Computer information technology faculty Anita R. Wood, assistant professor, and Daniel W. Yoas, associate professor, share in the good times.

An introductory occasion

An introductory occasion

The recipients of Penn College’s S-STEM Tech Scholar Scholarships, selected through a five-year National Science Foundation grant, recently got acquainted with their faculty and peer mentors over a friendly competition. Hosted in the Gaming Lab’s new study area, located on the second floor of the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center, the students and faculty competed to see who had the best gamer skills. The students “surprisingly” came out on top in the competition, which was just the start of welcoming the Tech Scholars to the Penn College family.
Photos by Stacey C. Hampton, assistant dean, School of Industrial, Computing and Engineering Technologies

Colloquium Presenter Goes Beyond Passwords to Future of ID Security

Lisa R. Bock addresses her audience, before the eerie specter of online treachery.

Lisa R. Bock addresses her audience, before the eerie specter of online treachery.

With eyes wide open, the speaker assesses the benefits and risks of iris-recognition technology ...

With eyes wide open, the speaker assesses the benefits and risks of iris-recognition technology …

... and gazes toward tomorrow's biometric solutions.

… and gazes toward tomorrow’s biometric solutions.

Students in the ACC balcony take heed and jot notes during the night's informative presentation.

Students in the ACC balcony take heed and jot notes during the night’s informative presentation.

A Centennial banner is a timely backdrop for the colloquium.

A Centennial banner is a timely backdrop for the colloquium.

The latest in Penn College’s Centennial Colloquia Series tackled issues near and dear to virtually everyone in the audience: employing the newest technological tools available to ensure identity protection – and balancing such factors as privacy and cost-effectiveness in the process. Lisa R. Bock, an assistant professor of computer information technology, presented “Who Am I; Who Do I Claim to Be? Protecting Identity in the 21st Century” on Tuesday night in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium. Adding to the series’ engaging focus on the historic upshot of gizmos and gadgets, Bock weighed the promise (and pitfalls) of biometrics: identifying individuals through a variety of unique personal traits. The presentation has been the college’s YouTube Channel.
Photos by Dalaney T. Vartenisian, student photographer

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 →

Lecture to Explore Emerging Technologies for Identity Protection

Lisa R. Bock

Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty member Lisa R. Bock will present a lecture that explores the technology of identity protection and its ramifications on Sept. 16 as part of the college’s Centennial Colloquia Series.

Rapid technological advances since the Internet became public have opened many opportunities, but with them come threats to our identities, safety and financial resources. Passwords alone are simply not enough to protect us.

In her talk, “Who Am I; Who Do I Claim to Be? Protecting Identity in the 21st Century,” Bock explores biometric technology as a means of identity protection. Unlike a password or a smart card, biometric technology identifies an attribute that not only is unique to the individual but also defies duplication. Those attributes include fingerprints, iris, voice or facial recognition.

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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 →

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