Pennsylvania College of Technology presented Distinguished Staff and Part-Time Teaching Excellence Awards on Thursday. The college also recognized new members of its Quarter-Century Club (for 25 years of service) and those retiring in the 2009-10 academic year.
Presented annually, the Distinguished Staff Awards honor the contributions of Penn College employees, who are nominated by their co-workers. Awards are presented to one employee from each of four classifications â APT (Administrative, Professional and Technical), Classified, Service, and Regular Part-Time.
Distinguished Staff Awards were presented to Joan L. McFadden, coordinator of educational services, APT; Heidi A. Samsel, secretary to the director of nursing, Classified; Patrick M. Breen, first-shift custodian, Bush Campus Center, Service; and Gary J. Stoudt, professional tutor, Regular Part-Time.
McFadden began her employment with the college in 1972 as an accounts payable clerk. She has served in a variety of secretarial positions in offices such as education research, planning and evaluation. She also was secretary to the director of industrial technology and to the physician assistant program. She has been coordinator of educational services since 1998.
Of McFadden, a nominator said: “When I am harried and at my wits’ end, she always has that extra moment to allow me to say what I need to say “¦ and though she has one of the busiest jobs in the college, she always takes the time to listen, to respond clearly and appropriate(ly), and to look forward to the impacts of her personal and professional actions.”
Also from the nominating comments: “When I need help with something, Joan does not simply tell me how to get it done; she tells me how to get it done right in compliance with all rules and regulations, of course, but also in compliance with an ethical code that demonstrates her respect and concern for the institution and our students.”
Samsel began her employment with the college in 2006 as secretary to the director of paramedic and fitness and lifetime sports. She also worked in the School of Business and Computer Technologies before returning to the School of Health Sciences as secretary to the director of nursing. Before joining Penn College, she worked at Lycoming College, Susquehanna Health, the Veterans Administration and STEP. She is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force.
Of Samsel, a nominator wrote: “Heidi is an exemplary staff member who is always willing to tackle projects for the betterment of the department and the student experience. Heidi not only completes tasks with diligence and accuracy but consistently thinks of improved ways to handle processes and work flow. Heidi keeps meticulous records and can produce information on a vast number of issues at the drop of a hat.”
Another nominator said, “Heidi is exceptionally efficient and organized, never procrastinates, and goes out of her way to solve problems.” Another concluded, “Heidi is simply the best.”
Breen has been employed by the college since 1993. He started out on third shift and moved to first shift in the Campus Center in 2000. Before joining Penn College, he was an employee of Weis Markets.
Of Breen, a nominator wrote: “I have seen Pat work with parents, students and colleagues, treating each with respect and concern. He has a wonderful way of interacting with the “little ones’ (at the college’s Children’s Learning Center).” Another nominating comment: “Pat is committed 100 percent to his job. “¦ It doesn’t matter what the task may be, big or small, Pat completes it with a smile.” Also: “Pat is one of those staff people that just brightens your day. When I think about how Penn College was recognized as one of the “Best Institutions to Work For,’ I think about the people here like Pat. His interpersonal skills are off the charts!”
Stoudt began working at Penn College in 2004 after serving as a homebound instructor and substitute teacher in the Warrior Run, Montgomery Area and Williamsport Area school districts. Working with the TRIO program, he assists students in biology, English, speech and reading.
One of the students Stoudt tutors wrote: “There is never a sense of “I’m the instructor and I’m always right.’ It’s more a feeling of a team working seamlessly to find the answer or piece of the puzzle to make it all work.” Another student said: “When I started my biology course, many people believed that I had a very small chance to succeed due to my English as a second language. Thanks to Gary’s enthusiastic personality and his creativity, he was able to find a way of explaining the material in a unique and, at the same time, understandable way.” A supervisor wrote, “Gary regularly receives high praise from students and faculty alike noting his patience, knowledge and ability to adapt information to the needs of the student.”
Part-Time Teaching Awards were presented to Ann B. Seeley, instructor of dietary management; and Amber R. Biondi, instructor of mathematics.
Seeley earned a bachelor’s degree in community nutrition from The Pennsylvania State University in 1981 and served as food service director for Heritage Nursing Home in Athens. Later, she became a nutritionist for the federal Women Infants and Children program in a clinic in Troy. Seeley and her husband own and operate Milky Way Dairy Farm in Troy, where they produce fluid milk products, ice cream and cheese, advancing a conventional dairy farm into a sustainable, grass-based, natural dairy.
In 2005, Seeley began teaching entry-level nutrition and sanitation classes in the School of Hospitality at Penn College. These classes are described by the school dean as “more science-based than many of our courses.” He added: “Our students don’t come in with a strong science background, so teaching this material can be very challenging. Ann has met this challenge over the last four years.”
A nominator said Seeley “spends countless extra hours making sure the students “get it.'” Another wrote that she is “a part-time instructor, who seems to have the best interest of our students in her heart full time.”
Biondi earned a bachelor’s degree from Lock Haven University. Her teaching experience includes positions at the Parkville High School, Baltimore, and the Johnsonburg Area School District. She joined Penn College in 2007, serving as a mathematics instructor and test center proctor. Among the courses she teaches is Pre-Algebra, which prepares students who need math remediation to enroll in courses such as Elementary Algebra I or Career Mathematics.
A student described her experience in Biondi’s Pre-Algebra class as, “Imagine wandering in a desert for 40 years and then suddenly having the knowledge and understanding of how to navigate out of the desert.”
Biondi’s supervisor wrote: “Amber recognizes that some students have had negative experiences when it comes to math; in fact, many students in the developmental courses she teaches, very notably, have math anxiety. By showing enthusiasm about the subject and, more importantly, by demonstrating a genuine interest in her students’ understanding of the concepts, she has given some students their first positive experience with the study of mathematics.”
Quarter Century ClubThe following employees were honored for providing 25 years of service to the college:
APT Margaret Ayers, program support specialist; Jeannette F. Carter, director for Outreach for K-12; Michael H. Miller, horticulturist/grounds-motorpool supervisor; and Eric D. Ranck, manager of cash and investments.
Classified Arlene Deppen, secretary to the dean of integrated studies; Mary E. White, secretary to the dean of hospitality; and Shelley A. Reynolds, procurement services specialist.
Service Michael D. Barrett, custodian, third shift; and William R. Barrett, custodian, third shift.
Faculty Craig A. Cian, associate professor, hospitality management/culinary arts; Denise S. Leete, associate professor, computer science; Richard M. Sarginger, instructor, building construction, masonry; and Dennis P. Skinner, assistant professor, horticulture.
RetireesCollege employees retiring in 2009-10 are: Lana G. Baker, greenhouse attendant; Verna L. Caruso, secretary to the assistant dean of industrial and engineering technologies; Phillip B. Chambers, assistant professor, computer science; Max Charles, custodian; Linda L. Crayton, associate professor, nursing programs; Robert D. Cummings, shipping and receiving worker; Allen K. Henry, faculty, computer science; James E. Johnson, custodian; Cathy J. Michael, food services recruitment and training specialist; Patrick Murphy, associate professor, advertising art; James C. Pivirotto, associate professor, forestry; James K. Shillenn, IMC executive director/CEO; Robert L. Shirey, electrician; Karen M. Sileo, PBX operator/receptionist; Carol T. Smith, compensation-benefits specialist; Harry C. Specht, associate professor, fitness and lifetime sports, physical fitness; Michael J. Stanzione, associate director of athletics; JoAnn Stephens, associate professor, civil engineering technology; William B. Urosevich, professor, biology (anatomy and physiology); and Cherie M. Willits, secretary to general services.