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New Penn College civil engineering faculty returns ‘home’

When Ruth A. Hocker first visited Pennsylvania College of Technology, she didn’t know of civil engineering. Nearly a quarter century after that fateful day, Hocker is back on campus preparing tomorrow makers for the rewarding field.

The new civil engineering technology instructor is more than the first full-time female faculty member in the Materials Science & Engineering Technologies Division that Penn College formed in 2020. Hocker is an industry leader, specializing in water resources and management. The engineer has shared her expertise throughout the world but has never forgotten where it was cultivated.

“My entire career and everywhere that it has taken me started right here on this campus,” said Hocker, who graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering technology. “I think it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to be able to come back and teach.”

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Alumni Civil Engineering & Surveying Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff STEM Students Women in STEM

Graduate’s path to graduation includes selfless gift

When Pennsylvania College of Technology radiography student Sarah S. Conrath crossed the stage at commencement ceremonies on Aug. 6, she celebrated not only the culmination of her education, but a personal triumph that has deeper meaning for her family – especially her father.

Conrath, of Pottsville, began providing care long before she entered a health care major at Penn College.

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Alumni Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Radiography Students

A day of firsts – and lasting achievement

Pennsylvania College of Technology held its Summer 2022 Commencement at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsport, a milestone ceremony that marked Michael J. Reed’s first as college president. Aided by another new college administrator (Neslihan “Nesli” Alp, who began her duties Monday as vice president for academic affairs/provost), Reed conferred degrees – including the first master’s-level degrees “in our storied history.” Bryan M. Bilbao, of Old Forge, one of the students in that initial cohort for the Combined Bachelor/Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies, was the student speaker. The 90-minute ceremony also featured a Distinguished Alumni Award to 2002 welding technology grad Richard A. Conrad Jr. and acknowledgement of more than 25 awards to graduating seniors.

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Welding graduate honored with Distinguished Alumni Award

Pennsylvania College of Technology presented Richard A. Conrad Jr. with a Distinguished Alumni Award at its Summer 2022 Commencement ceremonies, held Aug. 6 at the Community Arts Center.

Conrad, of Selinsgrove, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree from Penn College in welding technology in 2002 and holds a dozen welding certifications. He has 32 years of experience in welding manufacturing and is employed by ITW Welding North America as a field application engineer, providing process technical support for key industrial accounts, including Miller Electric and Hobart Brothers.

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Alumni Engineering Technologies Welding

Penn College presents awards to summer graduates

Pennsylvania College of Technology has presented student achievement awards to its Summer 2022 graduates.

A commencement ceremony was held Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Community Arts Center. Penn College is a special mission affiliate of Penn State.

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Pre-commencement ceremony honors nine student leaders

Nine graduating students, including two who missed their May commencement to winningly represent Pennsylvania College of Technology in national competition, were honored Friday night during the Excellence in Student Leadership and Service Awards ceremony.

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Alumni Faculty & Staff President Students

Penn College student accepted to surgical residency

A graduating Pennsylvania College of Technology student is one of about a dozen accepted for the fall to the Physician Assistant Surgical Residency Program offered by Norwalk Hospital/Yale University School of Medicine.

Damaris A. Diaz, of Williamsport, plans to graduate from Penn College with a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree in physician assistant studies in August. Her 12-month residency begins Sept. 12.

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Alumni Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Hall of Fame to induct three during Wildcat Weekend

The Pennsylvania College of Technology Athletics Department has announced its 2022 Hall of Fame Class: Jordan A. Courter-Rutledge (soccer), Alicia N. Ross (basketball) and Mark C. Shaffer (baseball).

The three inductees will be enshrined at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, during the college’s Wildcat Weekend.

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Alumni Engineering Technologies Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Sports

All-terrain ascendancy

Penn College’s winning entry in mid-May’s international Baja SAE competition at Cookville, Tennessee, figures prominently in a YouTube video posted by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The video features footage of the Penn College vehicle in action, as well as comments from the team’s two drivers: Tyler J. Bandle, of Slatington, and Dakota C. Harrison, of Lewisberry. “It is the time of your life. It’ll stick with you forever.” Bandle says during a post-race interview. “This experience has been absolutely transformative for me,” adds Harrison, who also served as club vice president. “I would not be the engineer, the machinist or the man I am today without this program.” The victory at Tennessee Tech was the first of two endurance wins for the college’s Baja SAE team. Three weeks later, Bandle and Harrison repeated the feat against another field of prestigious competitors in Palmyra, New York. Attendance at the Tennessee event prevented a number of team members (the co-drivers included) from participating in Spring Commencement exercises; they will be among the classmates taking part in the Aug. 6 ceremony at the Community Arts Center.

Alumni Automated Manufacturing & Machining Engineering Design Technology Engineering Technologies Students

Penn College competitors earn gold at SkillsUSA nationals

Two Pennsylvania College of Technology entrants placed first in their respective categories during last month’s 58th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Atlanta.

Bringing home the gold from the event – a showcase of the nation’s top career and technical education students – were Curtiss R. Gay, of Tunkhannock, who took part in the aviation contest, and Michael D. Shoemaker, of Orefield, who competed in welding. Gay graduated in May with a certificate in aviation maintenance technician, and Shoemaker is enrolled in the college’s welding & fabrication engineering technology major.

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Alumni Aviation Engineering Design Technology Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff Students Welding

Construction alum schedules second VSI training, draws industry spotlight

Williamson enlightens her Reach Road audience during an installation training in late June. (Photo provided)
Williamson enlightens her Reach Road audience during an installation training in late June. (Photo provided)

Building construction technology alumna Daun M. Williamson will conduct a second Vinyl Siding Institute installer training next month at the college’s Clean Energy Center, 2245 Reach Road. Williamson, part of the college’s inaugural group of certified installers in September, will instruct the course from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25. The May graduate’s success in obtaining industry certifications (she already is credentialed as an installer trainee, an installer and a trainer) is noted in a recent article at Those interested in attending should consult the course flyer and register by the Aug. 19 deadline: Installer Training

Alumni Building Construction Clean Energy Center Engineering Technologies

Penn College Summer Commencement set for Aug. 6

Summer 2022 Commencement at Pennsylvania College of Technology will feature a couple of firsts.

The ceremony, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Community Arts Center, will include the awarding of master’s degrees for the first time in the college’s history. It is also the first commencement ceremony for which new Penn College President Michael J. Reed, who began his duties July 1, will preside.

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College’s new ad to air regionally in advance of wider August rollout

"The Next Generation"

Get an early look at Penn College’s newest 30-second spot during “The Captain,” ESPN’s seven-part documentary about the career of Derek Jeter, from July 18-Aug. 11. “The Next Generation” celebrates the college’s role in meeting a shortfall of technically skilled positions – one tomorrow maker at a time – and will air regionally through Xfinity cable and satellite TV in the Wilkes-Barre, Harrisburg/Lebanon/Lancaster/York and State College media markets.



Alumni Business, Arts & Sciences Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Skills Gap Students

Hands-on clinic + lifelong friends = out-of-the-park success

“I played a few different sports, but this is the only one that I’ve actually stuck with,” says Olivia Hemstock, a since-graduated member of the Penn College softball team, in a newly posted Wildcat Spotlight video. Hemstock crossed the Community Arts Center stage in mid-May to claim her associate degree in dental hygiene, the culmination of a college experience that included a first-ever North Eastern Athletic Conference championship in 2021. “Sticking with it” could well be her motto, as persistence and friendship turned self-doubt into self-confidence. “Before I got here, I was like, ‘I don’t think I can do this. I don’t know how to balance both sports and dental hygiene,'” she says. “Once I met amazing people on the team – and really enjoyed my major, as tough as it was – you figure it out.” Hemstock has passed all of her board exams and is job-shadowing co-workers at the North Branford Dental Group in her Connecticut hometown; she will begin work as a full-time hygienist there once her license is received.

Alumni Dental Hygiene Nursing & Health Sciences Sports Students

Motorcycle project attracts national publication’s eye

The cover of The Fabricator's July 2022 issueA sculptural alliance between welding artist Rae Ripple and Penn College students is the subject of July’s “Back Page” feature in The Fabricator, North America’s leading magazine for the metal forming and fabricating industry.

Author Rafael Guerrero chronicles the collaboration, which began when student Skyler R. Graver approached Ripple at an industry expo and ultimately led to the installation of 9-foot-long motorcycle near the entrance to the college’s welding labs.

“It was absolutely incredible to watch,” Ripple told the magazine after visiting campus in March. “The amount of fabrication from these students is insane.”

Alumni Faculty & Staff Students Welding