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28 students earn professional credential in innovation

Twenty-eight Pennsylvania College of Technology students were awarded certifications from the Innovation Engineering Institute during a Feb. 15 ceremony on campus.

The institute, part of Eureka! Ranch, awards both a Blue Belt and a Black Belt in Innovation Engineering, and the expectation set for those who receive the credentials is high, Eureka! Ranch CEO and President Maggie Nichols told recipients.

“People realize there’s something special in the water in the way you think,” said Nichols, who attended the event virtually. “You see things through the lens of ‘I can’ instead of ‘I can’t.’”

Chip D. Baumgardner (left), associate professor of business administration/management, joins four of the 28 Pennsylvania College of Technology students who earned Innovation Engineering Blue Belts and Black Belts for their work in 2021. From left are Ashley N. Rich, of Mill Hall (Blue Belt); Ryan J. Hill, of Williamsport (Black Belt); Tim W. Wegman, of Palmyra (Blue Belt); and Melissa M. Stocum, of Williamsport (Blue Belt).
Chip D. Baumgardner (left), associate professor of business administration/management, joins four of the 28 Pennsylvania College of Technology students who earned Innovation Engineering Blue Belts and Black Belts for their work in 2021. From left are Ashley N. Rich, of Mill Hall (Blue Belt); Ryan J. Hill, of Williamsport (Black Belt); Tim W. Wegman, of Palmyra (Blue Belt); and Melissa M. Stocum, of Williamsport (Blue Belt).

Twenty-five students received the Innovation Engineering Blue Belt following their successful completion of all modules within the Principles of Innovation course at the college in 2021.

The class teaches the fundamentals of innovation, emphasizing crucial thinking, problem solving and stimuli for effective innovation. It is one of three classes that, together, lead to a competency credential in innovation leadership. Throughout the coursework, students learn tangible skills to transform innovation from a random and risky event into a reliable system.

Those who complete all components of the final course in the series, Advanced Innovation II, are eligible for the Innovation Engineering Black Belt. The class applies the tools and strategies learned in prior coursework into a system approach to innovation, culminating in the identification of a problem or opportunity and research of solutions in order to create an innovation project. Three Penn College students or recent graduates were awarded the Innovation Engineering Black Belt for 2021.

Penn College’s innovation coursework capitalizes on a partnership with Eureka! Ranch, founded by former Procter & Gamble master marketing inventor Doug Hall to develop reliable methods for increasing innovation speed and decreasing risk. Hall’s system was developed based on the “continuous improvement” principles of W. Edwards Deming, who is credited with helping to rebuild Japan’s economy after World War II.

The Innovation Engineering Blue Belt and Black Belt certifications are recognized throughout industry. The skills they represent are applicable to any field.

Those earning the Innovation Engineering Blue Belt in 2021 – and their majors – are Lydia Albert, of Trout Run, business administration; Justin T. Baker, of Landisville, industrial design; Ryan D. Berstler, of Middletown, construction management; Ashley E. Donat, of Lenhartsville, business administration: sport and event management concentration; Josh Folmar, of Jersey Shore, business administration; Joseph M. Katalinas, of Williamsport, business administration; Natasha Martin, of Williamsport, applied management; Jamie R. Miller, of Williamsport, innovation leadership (and head coach, wrestling); Eryn L. Nichols, of Rome, business administration; Keegan M. Nytz, of Allentown, construction management; Ashley N. Rich, of Mill Hall, Penn College Dual Enrollment; Peyton H. Riley, of Danville, business administration: sport and event management concentration; Nicole L. Sherman, of Williamsport, applied management; Cody D. Smith, of Muncy, business administration; Kolten D. Smith, of Millville, business management; Andrew M. Snyder, of Whitehall, business administration: sport and event management; Sara D. Stafford, of West Chester, applied management; Melissa M. Stocum, of Williamsport, non-degree student (and LEAP adviser-mentoring); Kayla M. Spotts, of Shamokin, business administration: sport and event management concentration; Jake T. Twardowski, of Williamsport, plastics and polymer engineering technology; Jonathan J. Twardowski, of Williamsport, plastics and polymer engineering technology; Cody W. Vozniak, of Snow Shoe, building automation technology; Jacob R. Wagner, of Palmyra, business administration: sport and event management concentration; Tim W. Wegman, of Palmyra, industrial design; and Jordan G. Williams, of Williamsport, innovation leadership (and head coach, men’s lacrosse).

Those earning the Innovation Engineering Black Belt in 2021 are Dorothy J. Gerring, of Montoursville, applied innovation leadership (and associate professor of architectural technology); Ryan J. Hill, of Williamsport, entrepreneurial innovation; and Trey L. White, of Jersey Shore, applied technology studies.

To learn more about innovation leadership at Penn College, call 570-327-4505 or visit the School of Business, Arts & Sciences.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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