News: Welding

Welding Students Bring ‘Student Bodies’ to Life in YouTube Video

Following the lead of metal sculptor and welding instructor Michael K. Patterson, welding majors at Penn College employed their skills to create “Student Bodies,” abstract human forms that line the main campus mall. The project, one of three outdoor art installations dedicated during the college’s 2014 Centennial celebration, is chronicled in a new YouTube video. “The school obviously gives us a lot. A lot of skills. A lot of stuff we can take out into the world,” says Peter K. Ptacek,  a welding and fabrication engineering technology major from Lewisburg. “It’s just really nice to be able to leave something behind.”

Penn College Honors Three Alumni at Commencement

Pennsylvania College of Technology bestowed honors upon three alumni during Spring 2015 commencement ceremonies held May 15-16 at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport.

Adam J. Yoder, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, received the Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award on May 15. Joseph H. and Barbara A. Reynolds, of Williamsport, were presented with the Humanitarian/Citizenship Award during the same ceremony. Michael K. Patterson, of Oval, received a Mentorship Award on May 16.

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NPR Correspondent’s Visit Yields Second Story on Natural Gas Career Opportunities

Claire E. Kerstetter: ETEC-trained, wellfield-employed

Claire E. Kerstetter: ETEC-trained, wellfield-employed

A second National Public Radio report to emerge from a national correspondent’s recent visit – a three-and-a-half-minute piece on women’s increasing accessibility to energy jobs – aired Friday on “All Things Considered.” Jeff Brady’s “Oil Companies Look to Fill Employment Gap With More Women” includes interviews with Stephanie M. Puckly, a welding and fabrication engineering technology major from Spartansburg; Claire E. Kerstetter, of Lock Haven, who completed short-term training at Penn College’s Energy Technology Education Center; and college President Davie Jane Gilmour. (The latter two are also featured in the story’s print version.)

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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Welding Pros Share Tips on What Drives True Success

Ryan Eubank (left) and Jesse Srpan talk with welding and automotive/collision repair students in CAL.

Ryan Eubank (left) and Jesse Srpan talk with welding and automotive/collision repair students in CAL.

Srpan's custom chopper awaits a curious public.

Srpan’s custom chopper awaits a curious public.

Students didn't soon tire of assessing Srpan's meticulous handiwork ...

Students didn’t soon tire of assessing Srpan’s meticulous handiwork …

.. snapping photos and taking notes throughout the visit.

.. snapping photos and taking notes throughout the visit.

A packed house of Penn College students got a motivational push Friday from an unlikely source: a self-described dyslexic with a third-grade reading level who has taught welding to some of highest-ranking engineers in the world. Ryan Eubank, a longtime instructor at Lincoln Electric and Willoughby Career Academy in Ohio, was among the industry professionals to visit on the last day of spring classes. “Show up, shut up and do a great job,” he told the overflowing College Avenue Labs classroom, sending students off to graduation and/or summer employment with a heaping platter of food for thought. “Welding is a tool that can’t be taken away from you. If you keep your eyes open, your ears open wider and your mouth shut … and have a good work ethic … you’ll never, ever not have a job.” Eubank was joined by one of his former students – Jesse Srpan, a master motorcyle builder, owner of Raw Iron Choppers and welding instructor at Lakeland Community College. The two men toured the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center, impressed by the welding labs and the work of the SAE Baja team. “You’re lucky,” Eubank told students. “You get to learn in one of the most amazing schools imaginable. A lot of your names are forgettable, but not the ‘a-ha’ moments that you’ve had with these instructors.” The visit was arranged by one of those faculty members, welding instructor Timothy S. Turnbach, who met Eubank during a training last summer. Turnbach intended for the presentation to invigorate students, to boost an energy level that typically sags at the end of the semester, and the Eubank/Srpan team didn’t disappoint. With the passion of a preacher and the optimism of a winning football coach, Eubank paced and gestured and engaged. And with a naturalness that comes from friendship, Srpan seamlessly interjected his thoughts, dovetailing on issues raised by his one-time mentor. “Someone told me there’s no such thing as giving 110 percent, that there’s 100 percent and that’s it,” Srpan said. “The other 10 percent is in the extra work, the giving back.” His words were echoed by Eubank, who urged students to look past their paychecks to the benefits beyond. “And don’t ever forget where you came from,” he told them. “Pay it forward – whether it’s mentoring, hiring former students, being a friend.” After the two-hour pep talk, the group traveled to the nearby collision repair lab, where students got a close look at the chopper Srpan custom-built for Discovery Channel’s “Biker Live” show.

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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Penn College Makes Friends, Memories at State Farm Show
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Culinary arts and systems majors Brianna E. Bucklin (left), of Whitehall, and Victoria L. Zablocky, of Jersey Shore, serve vegetable-filled hush puppies and slaw to audience members.

Penn College’s exciting two- and four-year majors were on display throughout the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg (Jan. 10-17), where representatives of the Admissions Office and the college’s six academic schools entertained, educated – and even fed – the throng attending the traditional agricultural expo.

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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

Faculty Member Brings Shipyard Experience Into Welding Lab

A mock-up of a oil tanker's bulkhead has been fabricated by Steven J. Kopera's welding students ...

A mock-up of a oil tanker’s bulkhead has been fabricated by Steven J. Kopera’s welding students …

Cutaway drawings help Kopera's students envision the scope of the work.

Cutaway drawings help Kopera’s students envision the scope of the work.

... who are living an on-the-job scenario in their Penn College lab.

… who are living an on-the-job scenario in their Penn College lab.

Benefiting from the real-world experience of an alumnus turned faculty member, Penn College students are simulating how the watertight bulkhead of an oil tanker is assembled, welded and pressure-tested. “Often times, the day-to-day lab projects we do in class can become very monotonous, and leave students asking, ‘Is this really what it’s like out in the field?’and “When am I ever actually going to need to do this?'” said Steven J. Kopera, a welding lecturer in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. Kopera earned degrees in welding technology (2007) and welding and fabrication engineering technology (2009) before embarking on a career that included time at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. While course work provides necessary practice in fundamentals and technique, he said, it is done under the most ideal circumstances – conditions that are atypical of industry. “The intent behind this project was to get the students out of their routine and their comfort zone,” he said, “and to expose them to a situation that they will be faced with in the workforce.” Kopera has been brainstorming the exercise for some time and, with only seven students in his unusually small class this semester, the time was right. He explained how hull sections are put together and showed them various pictures and sketches in the classroom, supplementing the instruction with stories of his “overwhelming” encounters as a young welder newly exposed to large-scale fabrication. “This project will apply those skills they have been honing to a realistic industry scenario,” Kopera said. noting that they will be using the flux-core, arc-welding process that they have been learning in lab. “I believe it will not only be a good learning experience for them, but also a testament to how well our normal class routine prepares them for an actual on-the-job application.” Having fashioned a small mock-up of a watertight bulkhead, the students plan to do the welding and pressure-testing on Thursday.
Photos provided

Penn College Dedicates ‘Student Bodies’ Centennial Sculpture

Abstract human forms, crafted from thousands of pounds of scrap metal, parade up the mall on the main campus of Pennsylvania College of Technology. Titled "Student Bodies," the Centennial art installation features 78 life-size structures created by more than 50 welding students.

As part of its Centennial anniversary, Pennsylvania College of Technology welcomed 78 new “students” this fall, many of which just might be around for the institution’s bicentennial.

Some of these “freshmen” could sustain a broken body part, and others might corrode. But if welding majors, faculty and staff did their job correctly, the “Student Bodies” Centennial Sculpture will be still standing in 2114.

Augmenting the campus mall, the large-scale project features 78 abstract human forms made of scrap-metal pieces welded together. The college formally dedicated “Student Bodies” today during homecoming festivities. It’s the third recent art installation meant to enrich the college’s outdoor environment.

“This work of art is a testament to the creative abilities and technical skills of our college community,” said Davie Jane Gilmour, president. “It’s very rewarding to know that students, faculty, staff and visitors will be able to marvel at these creations for generations to come.”

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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 →

New Penn State President Makes First Visit to Penn College
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Penn State President Eric J. Barron (left) is joined on the verdant grounds of the Victorian House by (from right) Robert E. Dunham, chairman emeritus of the Penn College Board of Directors; state Sen. Gene Yaw, current board chairman; and Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

Penn State President Eric J. Barron traveled to Pennsylvania College of Technology on Tuesday, his first visit since assuming the presidency in May. In a timely trip to a main campus observing its 25th anniversary as a special mission affiliate of Penn State – as well as its yearlong Centennial celebration – Barron met with students, viewed three recent art installations, toured Madigan Library and student housing, explored the college’s role in the natural gas industry, and visited a variety of instructional labs. Joining Barron and his wife, Molly, on the tour were Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour; retired Penn College Board of Directors Chairman Robert E. Dunham and his wife, Maureen; Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs and provost; and police Chief Chris E. Miller. A reception in the Victorian House and dinner at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, where the group was joined by state Sen. Gene Yaw, board chairman, followed.

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Welding Materials Donated to Penn College

Gemma Power Systems

Gemma Power Systems

Welding students at Pennsylvania College of Technology are benefiting from a recent donation made by Gemma Power Systems, a leading engineering, procurement and construction company.

A subsidiary of Argan Inc., GPS donated surplus welding materials including various welding electrodes for carbon and alloy steels that are utilized in the shielded metal arc, gas tungsten arc and flux cored arc welding processes.

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College Hosts Reunions for WACC, Welding, Construction, Tutors

As part of its Oct. 10-12 Centennial Homecoming, Pennsylvania College of Technology will host four reunions, each inviting alumni to share their memories and revel in the weekend’s theme: “Then … Now … Forever Proud.”

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Student Takes Welding Skills to Children’s Home in Middle East

Penn College student George W. Settle III, of Dillsburg, gathers with residents of Home of Hope, a facility for street children near Beirut, Lebanon. Settle, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in welding and fabrication engineering technology, spent seven weeks at the home to teach welding and make repairs.

Pennsylvania College of Technology student George W. Settle III visited the Middle East this summer with plans to teach a handful of boys how to weld. After his seven-week visit, he learned far more than he taught.

Settle, of Dillsburg, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in welding and fabrication engineering technology at the college. He spent seven weeks at Home of Hope in the village of Kehale, Lebanon, about 10 miles from Beirut. The home provides shelter, education, socialization and recreation for street children, many of whom have been used, abused or abandoned.

“I learned that, while most of us take for granted a loving embrace and a tender kiss, there are kids that are dying for just a hint of such tenderness; dying to be loved,” Settle said.

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Welding Students Share ‘Bodies’ of Work in Captivating Art Project

Artist and welding lecturer Michael K. Patterson (left) installs a chef creation with the help of Chad L. Karstetter, General Services horticulturist/motor pool lead person (in yellow), and Steve J. Kopera, welding lecturer.

Artist and welding lecturer Michael K. Patterson (left) installs a chef creation with the help of Chad L. Karstetter, General Services horticulturist/motor pool lead person (in yellow), and Steve J. Kopera, welding lecturer.

The chef sculpture features a bowl of soup and saltine crackers among its appetizing details.

The chef sculpture features a bowl of soup and saltine crackers among its appetizing details.

Timothy S. Turnbach (right) welding instructor, invited college president Davie Jane Gilmour and Paul Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost, to write – and weld! – their names into a book held by another figure in "Student Bodies." Here, Gilmour writes her name before welding …

Timothy S. Turnbach (right) welding instructor, invited college president Davie Jane Gilmour and Paul Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost, to write – and weld! – their names into a book held by another figure in “Student Bodies.” Here, Gilmour writes her name before welding …

... and Turnbach (foreground) assists Starkey with the finishing touches.

… and Turnbach (foreground) assists Starkey with the finishing touches.

After their turns at the torch, Gilmour and Starkey visit the campus mall to delight in the ongoing installation of "Student Bodies."

After their turns at the torch, Gilmour and Starkey visit the campus mall to delight in the ongoing installation of “Student Bodies.”

“Student Bodies” – a fanciful procession of abstract, life-size human forms through the pulsing heart of campus – continues to take shape between the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center and West Third Street. Sculptor and Penn College faculty member Michael K. Patterson has worked with welding students for nearly a year on the marriage of craft and creativity, forged solely of scrap-metal from their lab, and recently began installing the cavalcade of professionals and pedestrians along sidewalk islands of grass. Scheduled for dedication next month, the work is one of three Centennial art projects breathing new life into familiar surroundings.

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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