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‘Penn College Awards’ Honor Student Leadership, Service

This year's group of Penn College Award-winners gathers for a photo in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. (Photo by Katelyn E. Koch, student photographer)Fifteen Pennsylvania College of Technology students who plan to graduate during 2008 were presented with Penn College Awards during a banquet at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant on Thursday.

The 12th annual ceremony honored students who have made outstanding contributions to Penn College. Any student who anticipates graduating this May, August or December and who has been active in campus life, played a leadership role or otherwise served the college and/or the Greater Williamsport community was eligible to apply or be nominated.

An alphabetical list of recipients, hometowns and majors, and a summary of their accomplishments:

Joshua W. Brunk Richmond, N.H.; Technology management Instrumental in forming the American Sign Language Club and serving as one of two co-presidents, Brunk helped write its constitution and completed the necessary paperwork for recognition as an official campus organization.

Among many other affiliations, he has been a Student Government Association senator from the School of Hospitality, vice president of the Residence Hall Association and president of the college’s SkillsUSA student chapter. He was chosen as New Student Leader of the Year in 2005-06, Senator of the Month in October 2006 and Student of the Month this past February,

Brunk’s nominator also commented on his participation in a panel discussion for high school students: “He was open “¦ in discussing his disability and accessing accommodations when they arrive at college. One of the main points that he stressed to the students was to get involved in the college they choose to attend. He stressed that actively participating in student organizations helps to get connected to the college. He did a great job, not only representing Disability Services, but also representing Student Activities and the clubs and organizations.”

Gregory C. Ditzler Lebanon; Electronics engineering technology As vice president of the IEEE student chapter (originally the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.), Ditzler was instrumental in organizing the 2008 IEEE Region 2 Student Activities Conference held on campus in April. He has been active in Penn College’s Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society student chapter.

“He is the type of person you can ask to do anything and he will find the time to help out,” his faculty nominator said. “He worked with the entire student-branch membership during his time off last summer, ironing out the details of the conference to make sure everything was perfect. It takes good leadership to keep everyone focused and on track; Greg is one of those leaders.”

Ditzler has supported the college through many years of Open House activities, demonstrating electronic designs to guests and prospective students, and through mentoring younger students in their class work and career direction.

Christie D. Henning Bellefonte, Legal assistant/paralegal studiesA Resident Assistant for three years and a Senior RA during Spring 2008, Henning is a veteran of student-leadership programs and regularly attended SGA and RHA meetings. She was an SGA senator from the School of Business and Computer Technologies, secretary and treasurer of the Legal Society, and recently served as a Presidential Student Ambassador.

She has aided a number of campus committees, including the college’s internal Governance system, is a frequent participant in community-service projects and was honored among this year’s Awesome Women Exemplars at the college.

“Through her campus leadership involvement, Christie truly understands the value and impact of the various roles she plays at Penn College,” her staff nominator wrote. “She truly believes “¦ that she can make a difference in students’ lives. She thrives on nurturing behaviors listening, building relationships and seeing growth in her fellow students. Christie has a keen sense of humor and usually is the type of individual who facilitates fun activities.”

James A. Jones Mount Pocono, Culinary arts and systems “My only complaint about James Jones is that I wish he had started working in the Student Activities Office four years ago,” a co-worker wrote. “Every day, James exemplifies what it means to not only be an employee in our office, but an ambassador of the college.”

Jones’ resume of campus involvement includes a stint as vice president of PC Alliance, treasurer of the National Residence Hall Honorary, an SGA senator from the School of Hospitality, a senior RA, College West’s representative to RHA and a student Link in Penn College’s summer Connections orientation program.

“When James leaves this college, he can take comfort in knowing that, over the past four years, he has made a huge impression on us that have had the pleasure of working with him,” his staff nominator said. “By being involved in Connections as a link, Residence Life as an RA and Student Activities as a student worker, he has shared his talents and developed into a fine leader.”

Jamie L. Lear Cogan Station, Business administration: management information systemsA multiple nominee, Lear is extensively involved in on- and off-campus activities as both a participant and a leader. From Welcome Weekends and the “Personal Responsibility Tour” to Homecoming and countless other events, she has been a steady presence in the college community.

She has served as president and historian of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, president and secretary of NRHH, treasurer of SkillsUSA, and has been an RA and dean’s-list student throughouther years at Penn College.

“She has done an excellent job as the chapter president for Phi Theta Kappa throughout this school year,” one of her nominators said. “She was always prepared for meetings, ahead of the game with respect to Student Activities’ requirements and willing to try different techniques to increase member involvement. She initiated a Transition Retreat where the current officers meet with the incoming officers to convey information and knowledge about what to expect and plan for in the upcoming school year.”

As a resident of the Williamsport area, the nominator added, Lear “feels very passionate about the college and the surrounding community. I know she is going to miss her Penn College family when she graduates; (the college) has been a major part of her life over the past several years.”

Yo-Seop Lee Williamsport, Aviation maintenance technology A Resident Assistant in College West, Lee has been a member and secretary of the Multicultural Society, vice president of NRHH, an SGA senator for the School of Transportation Technology, and a member of the Outdoor Adventure Club and RHA.

He also has been involved in numerous campus activities, including Open House, Homecoming and assistance to his fellow international students.

“Joe is a hard-working individual who is passionate about the students he peer-mentors,” his nominator wrote. I have been afforded the opportunity to watch (him) emerge into a student leader who is confident, positive, self-driven and determined to make a difference in the Penn College community.”

John T. Lipko Mifflinburg, Technology managementA fixture in student leadership classes and campus activities including orientation, College Town, Welcome Weekend, SGA and service as a Presidential Student Ambassador Lipko has served as president and treasurer of IEEE and ISA.

He has compiled an impressive record of community-service involvement, including the Mini-Indy race to benefit the American Red Cross, as well as work with Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army.

“John Lipko is the type of student that you wish would never graduate,” a staff member said. “He is dependable, well-spoken and an all-around fantastic student leader.”

Clayton B. Morrow Loysville, Information technology: security specialistAnother multiple nominee, Morrow has been a Resident Assistant from 2005-08 (including service as a Senior RA in the 2006-07 academic year), a Wildcat Events Board Executive Board member and a busy Student Activities event assistant. In addition to being a familiar face at countless WEB-sponsored events, he was active in RHA, was a member of the NRHH and was named RA of the Month in the Spring 2007 semester.

Acknowledged as a role model and ever-present listener on campus, Morrow has volunteered off-campus with the Grace Street Assisted Living Center, Wise Options for Women and Habitat for Humanity.

“Clayton is an intelligent, capable and personable young man. He is always quick on his feet, with sensible reactions in all the circumstances I’ve seen him in,” a Residence Life nominator said. “He is a loyal, honest, considerate and supportive individual who has the ability to see and understand things from another person’s perspective. I have found his unselfish, diligent and genuine care for students admirable.”

Mwaura K. Ngoima Williamsport, Aviation maintenance technologyNgoima served as president of the Alpha Chi honor society from 2007-08, was an SGA senator for the School of Transportation Technology and chaired an ad-hoc committee to address an upgrade to the dining facilities at the Lumley Aviation Center. He was active with the international student group at Penn College, and played indoor and outdoor soccer.

He received numerous aviation licenses and credentials, mentored other aviation students and was the first from his home country (Kenya) to attain aircraft electronics technician certification.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mwaura over the past two years, both within the classroom and as faculty co-sponsor of Alpha Chi,” a faculty member said. “What an impressive young man he is! He is highly intelligent and articulate. He is hard-working and very organized. It is evident from the activities in which he has participated and led that he has done much to make our campus a better place. May we continue to attract students of this quality and commitment.”

Michelle B. Rabenstein Altoona, Occupational therapy assistantPresident of the OTA Club, Rabenstein participated in the Student Leadership Conference in 2005 and 2006, was a member of the American Sign Language Club, was part of the Wildcat Welcome Team and took part in a number of student-leadership initiatives.

Her community service includes United Way’s Day of Caring, Red Cross Bloodmobile, the Mitten Tree, and the Walk-It-Out benefit for the American Cancer Society.

“Michelle stepped forward to provide leadership for the OTA Club when the future of the club was uncertain,” one of her three nominators wrote. “She took a risk, knowing that it would be harder for her than others because she is hearing-impaired. Michelle is enthusiastic, collaborative, extremely organized and a joy to work with. I will miss her almost daily e-mails and frequent visits to my office saying, “˜I have a question.’ But I have no doubt that the knowledge she has gained from those experiences will take her far.”

Andrew P. Schwalm Tower City, Information technology: network specialistSchwalm served as a Resident Assistant from 2006-07 and a Senior RA in 2007-08, was a member of RHA’s Executive Board and served as vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery. He has been active with ACM’s popular LAN parties, and has been a frequent honoree for the programs he brings to his resident students.

“He has been a strong leader to the other RAs throughout the year and has worked tirelessly on many programs,” a Residence Life nominator said. “Two of the programs that Andrew worked very hard on (were) the Soul Fest and the Rock “˜n’ Roll Egg Hunt. He thrived as a leader throughout these programs and, as a Senior RA, made sure that the other RAs were well-informed. When evaluated by RA staff, they were quick to say that “˜Andrew is always around, is enthusiastic and is willing to help out. He is quick to respond and lend an extra hand. Andrew is a great guy and will generally do anything for anyone.'”

Beth A. Snoddy Allenwood, Physical fitness specialistA student-athlete, Snoddy is a member and historian of the Phi Theta Kappa international honor society, and is a member of CrossRoad Student Ministry. A choir member and Sunday school secretary at her church, she will join the student ministry on a mission trip this summer.

Other community service activities include Day of Caring, Walk-It-Out, Eating Disorder Awareness Week and the Smoked Country Bluegrass lupus benefit concert.

“Beth is an extremely involved student leader,” a staff member said. “She was a member (and co-captain) of the 2007-08 women’s basketball team and a member of the 2007 women’s cross country team. Beth was named to the (Penn State University Athletic Conference) All Academic Team in both the Fall 2007 semester and the Spring 2008 semester.”

Tyler K. Wetzel Herndon, Va.; Automotive technology managementWetzel has been involved with SGA, RHA, the Outdoor Adventure Club, Campus Crusade for Christ, the Penn College Motorsports Association, NRHH and Indoor Track Club, among others. He has served as a student tutor, a Wise Options volunteer, a Relay for Life participant and a counselor with the Boy Scouts of America.

He designed and constructed both of Penn College’s award-winning floats in Williamsport’s Mardi Gras parades.

“Tyler shows leadership skills in many forms and is known for getting very little sleep,” a friend and fellow Resident Assistant wrote, noting the many opportunities they shared in connecting to the freshmen residents in Rose Street Apartments. “Furthermore, his activities extended beyond the college community by joining the Third Street United Methodist Church choir and nonprofit organizations as a volunteer.”

Andrew S. Wisner York, Welding and fabrication technology managementPresident of the Student Government Association this past year, Wisner has been a highly visible force on campus, with a seemingly endless range of activities from involvement in student organizations (the American Welding Society and PC Motorsports, among them), to the College Town initiative to career fairs and Homecoming.

He aided a number of high-profile events including mayoral debates and other election-year outreach, and 9/11 and Virginia Techvigils served SGA as vice president of internal relations and as a senator for the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies, and was a member of numerous administrative search committees and college Governance initiatives.

Among the keystones of his administration was the Student Leader Legacy Scholarship, which he helped fund through organization of Donkey Basketball and a benefit car show.

“As the 2007-08 SGA president, Andrew was the epitome of a successful Penn College student,” a Student Activities staff member said. “He deserves this award because his true goal as president was to serve the students and have their voice be heard!”

Micah A. Metzel Dallastown, Technology managementReadily applauded as a committed and involved student leader, Metzel has been a Presidential Student Ambassador, an SGA senator for the School of Natural Resources Management and vice president of the Penn College Diesel Club.

He hasparticipated in three Student Leadership Conferences, been among the students in the Penn College Honors Program and volunteered as a math tutor.

His off-campus activities include extensive involvement with his church, the Red Cross and the Boy Scouts.

“Micah was an integral part of the Wildcat Welcome Team,” a campus colleague wrote. “His love for Penn College and warm personality helped to ease both parents’ and students’ nerves during what can be a very stressful time of new things and transition.”

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