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Alumni Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff

Penn College grad helps ‘power’ New Jersey

Lester Wrobel graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering technology. Today, he is a principal technology engineer for Public Service Enterprise Group, the largest gas and electric service provider in New Jersey.

The parental warning is etched in Lester Wrobel’s memory. In the midst of dropping him off at Pennsylvania College of Technology, his parents delivered a stark message before returning to their New Jersey home: “If you fail, head west, because we won’t be opening the door for you.”

During the next few years, there were moments when Wrobel seemed destined for a westward journey. Lack of focus and subpar grades blocked the on-ramp to Interstate 80 east. But with supportive Penn College faculty and his fortitude, Wrobel persevered to earn more than an invitation home. He helps power his parents’ house, along with 2.3 million other electric customers throughout New Jersey.

“I would compare it to the fundamentals of electricity,” Wrobel said, pointing to the irony. “There always needs to be a return path in an electrical circuit for the light to be on.”

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August 11, 2020
Alumni Events Faculty & Staff Students

Milestone memories on the mall

Class representative Alexandra “Ali” D. Petrizzi, who recently landed a “dream job” with Vera Bradley, addresses her fellow 2020 graduates. In her remarks, a prerecorded version of which was broadcast at subsequent ceremonies, Petrizzi thanked family, friends, her network of college mentors – and Starbucks – for helping her along her road to success.

Pennsylvania College of Technology held 15 in-person commencement ceremonies on Aug. 7-9 – two in the morning and three each afternoon – celebrating Spring and Summer 2020 graduates while adhering to state and federal health guidelines. In light of restrictions on gathering indoors, ceremonies were held outside; festivities were simultaneously streamed for the safety and convenience of those at a distance. The address by student speaker Alexandra D. Petrizzi, of Langhorne, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, was delivered live during Friday’s 5 p.m. ceremony and broadcast to classmates in many of the other exercises. Additional precautions, fine-tuned through months of judicious planning, included mandatory masks (except when graduates crossed the stage), temperature checks for students upon arrival and socially spacious seating. “When I saw the set-up for today’s ceremony, I literally had tears in my eyes for one fundamental reason: It took an incredible amount of work to put this together today,” President Davie Jane Gilmour said. “And then I fact-checked myself and said, for all of you, it took an incredible amount of work to sit here today. In many ways, that’s a lesson that you can’t unlearn and perhaps a lesson that you might not have learned otherwise. Nothing rewarding is ever easy. You’re leaving here today with degrees that, all throughout this crazy pandemic, this real life-threatening deal we’re dealing with, is you’re essential workers. You’re in an essential career that will make a difference in people’s lives, both in 2020 and the years to come. That’s what Penn College does: We make you ready, and help you be prepared, for the careers of today and tomorrow. I have no doubt you’ll go out and make us Penn College Proud.”

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Alumni Nursing & Health Sciences Radiography

Sisters share journey to radiography degrees

Marissa L. Bathurst (left), of Linden, and her sister Kierstin, of Jersey Shore, both have graduated with degrees in radiography from Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Sisters Kierstin N. Bathurst, of Jersey Shore, and Marissa L. Bathurst, of Linden, shared yet another experience when they marched across the stage at a Pennsylvania College of Technology commencement ceremony on Aug. 7.

The Bathursts, both petitioning to receive associate degrees in radiography, have spent a great deal of time together over the past two years, motivating each other through their natural affinity for competition, helping each other via last-minute cram sessions before exams and supporting each other with pep talks before hands-on evaluations.

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August 8, 2020
Alumni Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physical Therapist Assistant Students

Students help meet Pennsylvania’s 10 million trees goal

Some of the Pennsylvania College of Technology physical therapist assistant students and employees who helped to plant trees at Trailing Pines Tree Farm in Muncy as part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership. Front row (from left): Sierra K. Page, of Morrisdale; Daniella M. Pace, of Harding; Erica L. Gallagher, of Wyoming; and Matt Echevarria, of Carlisle. Back row (from left): Justin J. Forbes, of Coal Township; James A. Hardman, of Trout Run; Corbyn R. Schrader, of Canton; Emily E. Longenecker, of Hummelstown; Keyona Shoff, of Shamokin; Kiara M. Carr, of Middleburg; and Christine A. Tilburg, clinical director of the physical therapist assistant program.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s physical therapist assistant Class of 2021 recently helped to plant 140 trees as part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership.

Twenty-one students gathered at Trailing Pines Tree Farm in Muncy to plant trees in late June.

The certified tree farm is owned by Paul Huffman, a 1987 graduate of Williamsport Area Community College, a forerunner of Penn College, and is dedicated to wildlife management and conservation.

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July 30, 2020
Alumni Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Engineering Technologies

Penn College alum honored with NSF faculty award

The National Science Foundation recently honored Pennsylvania College of Technology alumnus Gregory C. Ditzler, a Lebanon County native, with a Faculty Early Career Development Award, the NSF’s most prestigious grant to faculty in their first academic assignment. Ditzler is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Arizona (which provided the photo).

A middling student in high school, Gregory C. Ditzler believes “the light” went on for him at Pennsylvania College of Technology. Today, he helps “flip the switch” for the next generation of students, an effort recognized by the National Science Foundation.

The NSF recently honored Ditzler with a Faculty Early Career Development Award, the agency’s most prestigious grant to faculty in their first academic assignment. Ditzler – an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Arizona – received $500,000 in funding for the next five years to support his academic and research endeavors in and out of the classroom.

“The award is about more than setting you up for five years of funding,” said Ditzler, who earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering technology from Penn College in 2008. “It’s about how it sets you up for the next 10 or 15 years of your career and where your research leads.”

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July 21, 2020
Alumni Automated Manufacturing & Machining Engineering Technologies Penn College Magazine Penn College Magazine Feature

Lindbergh’s boots and cosmonaut chicken

At the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Daniel Ravizza stands in a hangar full of objects that shaped aviation history. The center is the annex of the National Air and Space Museum.
At the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Daniel Ravizza stands in a hangar full of objects that shaped aviation history. The center is the annex of the National Air and Space Museum.
Ravizza helped to conserve famous aviator Charles Lindbergh’s insulated flying boots. In 1927, Lindbergh was the first to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic, flying nonstop from New York to Paris.
Ravizza helped to conserve famous aviator Charles Lindbergh’s insulated flying boots. In 1927, Lindbergh was the first to complete a solo flight across the Atlantic, flying nonstop from New York to Paris.
Ravizza’s first project for the Smithsonian was cans of space food – including cans of Soviet veal, chicken and cheese that dated from 1969. “I had to open these cans from the bottom and remove the contents,” Ravizza said. “This was done with lots of PPE (personal protective equipment)!”
Ravizza’s first project for the Smithsonian was cans of space food – including cans of Soviet veal, chicken and cheese that dated from 1969. “I had to open these cans from the bottom and remove the contents,” Ravizza said. “This was done with lots of PPE (personal protective equipment)!”
Ravizza reinstalls the mercury boiler into the mercury bombardment ion engine/thruster on the SERT-1 (Space Electric Rocket Test 1), a NASA probe that was launched July 20, 1964, to test electrostatic ion thruster design. The conservation team took the spacecraft completely apart to remove the liquid mercury.
Ravizza reinstalls the mercury boiler into the mercury bombardment ion engine/thruster on the SERT-1 (Space Electric Rocket Test 1), a NASA probe that was launched July 20, 1964, to test electrostatic ion thruster design. The conservation team took the spacecraft completely apart to remove the liquid mercury.

From the Spring 2020 Penn College Magazine: In a Smithsonian Institution conservation lab, Daniel Ravizza, a 2014 manufacturing engineering technology graduate, combines his hands-on skills, meticulous nature and passion for history. The treasures he helps to preserve range from spacecraft and space food to the boots and helmet of legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh. Read “Lindy’s boots and cosmonaut chicken.”

 

July 13, 2020
Alumni Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Engineering Technologies

Penn College grad ‘designs’ a success story at Google

Millersville native Matthew M. Staub, a 2007 graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology, is a printed circuit board design engineer for Google’s Pixel hardware group in Chicago. Staub served as a lead designer for the Pixel 3XL and Pixel 4, Google’s Android smartphones.

Like many in his generation, Matthew M. Staub relied on a portable CD player to enjoy music during his teen years. Unlike most, Staub’s Discman did more than blast tunes. It helped boost his passion for electronics.

Today, Staub puts that passion to work for a worldwide powerhouse: Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google and one of three technology conglomerates valued at over $1 trillion. The 2007 Pennsylvania College of Technology graduate is a printed circuit board design engineer for Google’s Pixel hardware group in Chicago.

During the past few years, Staub, originally of Millersville, has served as a lead designer for both the Pixel 3XL and Pixel 4 – Google’s Android smartphones – as well as other internal and consumer-facing products.

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July 7, 2020
Alumni Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Business, Arts & Sciences Penn College Magazine Penn College Magazine Feature

Making a difference with every dish

Chef Robert Wood, '17, stands in the dining room of Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen, a "community restaurant" in Toms River, N.J., where he is executive chef.
Chef Robert Wood, ’17, stands in the dining room of Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen, a “community restaurant” in Toms River, N.J., where he is executive chef.
The Soul Kitchen's manifesto is communicated clearly on its wall. Portions seen here.
The Soul Kitchen’s manifesto is communicated clearly on its wall. Portions seen here.
Wood and Soul Kitchen volunteers strive to provide wholesome food to clients, about half of whom pay for their meal.
Wood and Soul Kitchen volunteers strive to provide wholesome food to clients, about half of whom pay for their meal.
Wood, one of the restaurant's three paid staff members, preps in the Soul Kitchen's restaurant.
Wood, one of the restaurant’s three paid staff members, preps in the Soul Kitchen’s restaurant.

From the Spring 2020 Penn College Magazine: Rob Wood, ’17, is executive chef for the restaurant of a literal rock star. But it’s his clients who inspire him. Read “Making a difference with every dish.”

July 6, 2020
Alumni Nursing & Health Sciences Surgical Technology

Expecting the unexpected in the OR

Alexis I. AshbyA “typical week” is anything but for alumna Alexis I. Ashby, a certified surgical technologist for UPMC Williamsport, whose Penn College education has prepared her well for the unpredictable ebb and flow of cases through the hospital’s operating rooms. In a newly published blog post, Ashby – who holds an associate degree in surgical technology (2018) and a bachelor’s in applied health studies: surgical technology concentration (2020) – sensitively expresses appreciation for her life and gratitude for the opportunity to improve others’ lives. “I have done tracheotomies in the ICU, emergency bowel resections at 3 in the morning and leg amputations on those too young to be without,” she writes. “As a surgical technologist, you are a part of an amazing system of saving lives and impacting those who are not always aware of your impact on their health and well-being.”

June 25, 2020
Alumni Collision Repair & Restoration Engineering Technologies Students Welding

‘You never know if you don’t try!’

Russ, outside the Community Arts Center, where she accepted her associate degree in welding technology in May 2019.
Russ, outside the Community Arts Center, where she accepted her associate degree in welding technology in May 2019.
Putting her skills to good use
Putting her skills to good use

A 2019 welding technology alumna, who returned to Pennsylvania College of Technology to explore automotive restoration technology, was featured in a “Work Ethic Wednesday” post on the mikeroweWORKS Foundation’s Facebook page earlier this month.

Madison O. Russ recently became the first-ever restoration intern at Kindig-It Design, a custom car fabrication shop in Salt Lake City, and her tenacity in landing the position caught the eye of Rowe – a TV personality and longtime advocate for hands-on skills – and his staff.

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June 19, 2020
Alumni Building Construction Engineering Technologies Students

National magazine explores college’s concrete science major

The college's program comprises a mixture of theory, management practices and hands-on education.
The college’s program comprises a mixture of theory, management practices and hands-on education.

Penn College’s concrete design technology major, an industry favorite that recently sent its first class of seven graduates into immediate employment, is featured in Concrete Decor magazine. Writer Stacey Enesey Klemenc talked with building construction technology instructor Franklin H. Reber, along with new alumnus Jeremiah Dyer, for “Concrete Science Degree Program Aims to Fill Manager Void,” an online exclusive. “I really enjoy our hands-on training. I think this is what sets us apart from other programs,” Dyer told the publication, the world’s foremost magazine on decorative concrete. “I feel you can read, watch videos or see someone demonstrate how to do something, but there is nothing like doing it. Our program prepares students for what they’ll be doing in the field,” For more on the college’s two-year concrete science degree, visit the School of Engineering Technologies.

June 12, 2020
Alumni Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Engineering Technologies

A tip from a grad at Google: ‘Ask questions’

Matthew M. StaubA new Penn College blog entry spotlights December 2007 alumnus Matthew M. Staub, whose degree in electronics engineering technology led to employment with Google’s Pixel hardware group. Staub offers insights into his rewarding work as a circuit board design engineer and shares invaluable advice with current students: “It’s OK if you don’t know something. The important thing is the steps you take to figure it out. Start by asking questions. It took me a few years into my education to understand the value in asking questions and to speak up in class.”

June 12, 2020
Admissions Alumni Faculty & Staff Students

College video honored in acclaimed global awards competition

Spring 2020 welding and fabrication engineering technology graduate Nathaniel H. Lyon, of Fredericksburg, strolls through a section of active welding bays in the opening scene of "Looking Good," Penn College's award-winning entry in the prestigious CASE Circle of Excellence Awards.

A video showcasing Pennsylvania College of Technology’s unique educational brand and hands-on, applied technology approach to learning has earned accolades in a renowned international competition sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

The 60-second “Looking Good” spot – produced by Public Relations & Marketing at Penn College in conjunction with Philadelphia-based creative agency 160over90 – captured a Silver Award in the Video/Student Recruitment-Short category of the 2020 CASE Circle of Excellence Awards.

The peer-selected-and-adjudicated awards highlight superior accomplishments that have lasting impact and demonstrate the highest level of professionalism, while delivering exceptional results in the fields of advancement services, alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing at colleges, universities, independent schools, and affiliated nonprofits.

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June 11, 2020
Alumni Automotive Engineering Technologies

Alumnus to lead community college in North Carolina

Christopher L. EnglishA Pennsylvania College of Technology alumnus will serve as the 10th president of Southeastern Community College in Whiteville, North Carolina. The appointment of Christopher L. English, who graduated in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology management, was approved late last week by the State Board of Community Colleges.

English – vice president of economic and workforce development continuing education at Blue Ridge Community College in Flat Rock, North Carolina – has 20 years of experience in community colleges and has held leadership roles at Blue Ridge Community College and in the North Carolina Community College System.

English earned a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina; a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico; and an Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology from Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina.

Selected after a nationwide search, he will take office no later than Aug. 3.

June 10, 2020