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Faculty member teaches guild workshop on campus

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II (seventh from left), instructor of baking and pastry arts and culinary arts at Pennsylvania College of Technology, who taught one of this year’s two-day regional workshops for the Bread Bakers Guild of America, is shown with guild participants; student assistants Claudia M. Walling and Tyler C. Geer (far left), both of Williamsport; and some of the artisan baked goods created in the workshop.

An instructor of baking and pastry arts and culinary arts at Pennsylvania College of Technology was invited to teach one of this year’s two-day regional workshops for the Bread Bakers Guild of America.

Chef Charles R. Niedermyer II, a faculty member at the college since 2005, taught “A Modern Approach to Classic Viennoiserie” to 14 guild members Aug. 8-9 in the college’s baking and pastry arts laboratory.

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Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management

Le Jeune Chef recognized by Wine Spectator magazine

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, which offers casual fine dining to the public, received Wine Spectator magazine’s 2019 “Award of Excellence” as part of the publication’s Restaurant Awards program.

Wine Spectator magazine reaches about 3 million readers worldwide. The magazine’s annual Restaurant Awards program recognizes restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. Honorees are published in its August issue.

Le Jeune Chef, operated by the college’s School of Business & Hospitality, has been recognized by Wine Spectator each year since 1995.

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From living space to makerspace, summer visitors have their hands full

Learning the skills and craftsmanship required of a builder in the newest pre-college offering: Building Construction.

A dozen residential Pre-College Programs and a daytime Creative Art Camp brought hundreds of young women and men to Penn College’s campuses in mid-June, providing hands-on entry to the myriad career opportunities reflected in the institution’s postsecondary curriculum. Keeping campers (and PCToday photographers) busy in recent days were these fun learning opportunities, some of which involved culminating projects: Architecture Odyssey, Autism Spectrum Post-Secondary Interest Experience (ASPIE), Automotive Restoration, Aviation, Building Construction (new this year), Creative Art Camp, Engineering, Future Restaurateurs, Graphic Design Summer Studio, Grow & Design Horticulture, Health Careers, Information Technology and SMART (Science and Math in Real-world Technologies) Girls.

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Three alumni honored at Penn College commencements

Pennsylvania College of Technology presented honors to three alumni during Spring 2019 commencement ceremonies, held May 17-18 at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport.

John Estep, of Troy; Darryl Kehrer, of Fredericksburg, Virginia; and Kristina Wisneski, of Ardmore, were recognized for their exemplary achievements.

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Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management Faculty & Staff

Faculty-led volunteers prevail at food bank’s ‘Chopped’ debut

Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts, describes his dishes for the audience in the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s community learning kitchen.

A team led by Chef Michael J. Ditchfield, Penn College instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts, was named the winner of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s inaugural cooking competition, Chopped.

On Ditchfield’s team were volunteers from three of the Food Bank’s partner agencies: Ron Taylor, a trained chef and a volunteer and member of Diamond Street Christian Church; Karla Sexton, business development/client development officer for River Valley Health and Dental; and Narcisa Ebner, a client of Hope Enterprises’ as well as Food Bank board member Frank Pellegrino. Ditchfield’s “Blue Team” faced off against the “Red Team,” led by Chef Peter Daugherty of The James Restaurant and featuring a similar group of community members.

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Wide-ranging tour enlightens state Senate committee chairs

Haywood marvels at the breathing chest of a "patient" in the School of Nursing & Health Sciences, where Dean Sandra L. Richmond (left) explained the simulation aids available to nursing students.

A bipartisan group of state legislators, all present for President Davie Jane Gilmour’s budget request to the Senate Appropriations Committee in February, got a follow-up look at Penn College during a trip to main campus on Tuesday. Touring a number of instructional labs with Sen. Gene Yaw (chairman of the college’s board of directors), administrators, faculty and staff were Sen. Art Haywood (D-Cheltenham), minority chair of the Health and Human Services Committee; Sen. Thomas H. Killion (R-Middletown), who chairs the Community, Economic and Recreational Development Committee; Sen. Daniel Laughlin (R-Erie), chair of the Game and Fisheries Committee; and Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia), minority chairman of the Banking and Insurance Committee. Along for the visit were H. Fred Walker, director of Erie County Technical School; Kendall Alexander, Haywood’s communications director; and three members of Street’s staff: policy assistant Micah Mahjoubian, legislative aide Angel Betancourt and special assistant Kenneth Carter. Some members of the Senate contingent, who collectively represent highly populated areas from Erie in the northwest to Philadelphia in the southeast corner of the commonwealth, also enjoyed lunch in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant.

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Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management

Splendid array of student projects seen during ‘Hospitality Visit Day’

An icon of spring escapes underground on a cake by Ashley L. Geist, of Huntingdon.

Students in several hospitality courses showed off final projects to visitors from six high schools, who visited campus April 26 for Hospitality Visit Day. During a session in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium, Amaris T. Smith, of Williamsport, and Nolan S. Lester, of Perkiomenville, presented their senior projects before the high schoolers headed for tours of campus and a visit to the Thompson Professional Development Center for the Grand Pastry Buffet, a capstone project for students completing their degrees in baking and pastry arts. In addition to viewing and tasting the work of baking and pastry arts students, the visitors tasted nonalcoholic mixed drinks prepared by students in the Hospitality Beverage Management Service and Controls class, voting on their favorite. As high schoolers toured the rest of campus, they took in final projects of students in the Cakes and Decorations and Cake Decorating II courses, on display in the Madigan Library.

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Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management

A hands-on entree to global study

University of Rome student Lorenzo Stefanelli (left) and his professor, Chef Felice Santodonato, demonstrate a recipe for risotto.
University of Rome student Lorenzo Stefanelli (left) and his professor, Chef Felice Santodonato, demonstrate a recipe for risotto.
Santodonato and Giacomo Berselli, president of Marco Polo Study Abroad, explain a cooking method during a demonstration and tasting for students.
Santodonato and Giacomo Berselli, president of Marco Polo Study Abroad, explain a cooking method during a demonstration and tasting for students.
Students Jacob W. Parobek, of Seltzer (center), and Kobi A. Shannon, of Lewistown, observe Santodonato.
Students Jacob W. Parobek, of Seltzer (center), and Kobi A. Shannon, of Lewistown, observe Santodonato.
Santodonato provides instruction to student Noah E. Siegle, of Milesburg.
Santodonato provides instruction to student Noah E. Siegle, of Milesburg.
Santodonato and Berselli join Chef Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor and department head of hospitality management/culinary arts, in the Le Jeune Chef kitchen.
Santodonato and Berselli join Chef Mary G. Trometter, assistant professor and department head of hospitality management/culinary arts, in the Le Jeune Chef kitchen.

Chef Felice Santodonato and Giacomo Berselli, president of Marco Polo Study Abroad, made a visit to campus April 24-25 to work alongside hospitality students and provide information on a study abroad course in Italy beginning in 2020. On Wednesday, Santodonato, of Ceccano, Italy, provided students a demonstration and tasting of “Cucina Ciociara,” the cuisine of his region. Santodonato is a professor of science and culture of enogastronomy at the University of Rome. He was assisted by his student Lorenzo Stefanelli. On Thursday, the pair worked alongside students in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant to prepare an Italian meal for the public. In the May 2020 semester, the college will offer the course Global Food and Hospitality: Cuisine, Culture and Perspectives, a 14-day experience in Italy that includes hands-on cooking classes in four locations, as well as visits to hotels, vineyards, other agricultural sites, and vinegar and cheese producers, as well as cultural tours.

Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Events Faculty & Staff Scholarships

Side by side, visiting chefs lead students

Uribe and students Kobi A. Shannon, of Lewistown, and Aaron Timmons, of Greencastle, prepare Romanesco for the main course.

Chef Manuel Uribe, sous chef of Chicago’s Terzo Piano and a faculty member in the Jerome J. Drosos School of Culinary Arts at Triton College, headlined Penn College’s 2019 Visiting Chef Series, lending his knowledge and skill as he guided students in preparing a Mediterranean-themed dinner. He was joined by Rachel Erceg, lead pastry chef for Terzo Piano. In addition to providing valuable hands-on experience for students, the dinner that culminated the chefs’ multiday stay on campus provides scholarship funds for hospitality students.

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Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Students

College offers streamlined path to baking and pastry arts careers

Hands-on learning for Pennsylvania College of Technology’s three-semester associate degree and new 12-month professional baking certificate will take place in a lab equipped with industry-standard equipment.

Pennsylvania College of Technology is set to provide a quicker pathway to a baking and pastry arts career through a new 12-month certificate in professional baking and a revision to its associate degree in baking and pastry arts that will make a degree obtainable in 16 months.

Allowing students to enter the workforce more quickly helps to meet the needs of the hospitality industry, where there is a high demand for skilled baking and pastry arts professionals, and of students, who will incur a lower financial cost.

Both majors provide a robust yet compact education with extensive hands-on learning. Curriculum has been updated to meet industry needs, helping to ensure students will land jobs.

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Beneficent college crew continues ‘pay it forward’ tradition

In the church’s kitchen, students form an assembly line to pack giveaway bags with toothpaste and toothbrushes.
In the church’s kitchen, students form an assembly line to pack giveaway bags with toothpaste and toothbrushes.
The crew of helpers: Front row (from left): dental hygiene students Hailey A. Gearhart, of Phillipsburg; Kaeli A. Plezia, of Sellersville; Taylor E. Allison, of Allport; Emily N. Renninger, of East Greenville; Jordyn M. Kahler, of York; and Megan P. Fitzsimmons, of Portville, N.Y., with Nolan Strouse. Back row (from left): dental hygiene student Pavel Dariychuk, of Leola, with Derek W. Baldwin, a physician assistant studies student, Barbara K. Emert-Strouse, Robert Strouse and Scott Neff II, ’16. Also helping was dental hygiene student Christina M. Kiessling, of Muncy.
The crew of helpers: Front row (from left): dental hygiene students Hailey A. Gearhart, of Phillipsburg; Kaeli A. Plezia, of Sellersville; Taylor E. Allison, of Allport; Emily N. Renninger, of East Greenville; Jordyn M. Kahler, of York; and Megan P. Fitzsimmons, of Portville, N.Y., with Nolan Strouse. Back row (from left): dental hygiene student Pavel Dariychuk, of Leola, with Derek W. Baldwin, a physician assistant studies student, Barbara K. Emert-Strouse, Robert Strouse and Scott Neff II, ’16. Also helping was dental hygiene student Christina M. Kiessling, of Muncy.

For the ninth year, faculty member Barbara K. Emert-Strouse, assistant professor of dental hygiene, and her family, joined by several dental hygiene students,  provided a “pay it forward” dinner at Christ Episcopal Church on Mulberry Street. The group served around 180 diners with a menu of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, Jell-O with fruit, and cake. They also offered free toothbrushes and toothpaste. The church serves a free “First Saturday” community dinner each month, and the family – including sons Scott L. Neff II, a 2016 culinary arts and systems graduate, and Derek W. Baldwin, a physician assistant studies student – provides one of those monthly dinners each spring. The April 6 dinner and the Penn College crew helping to serve it were featured on WBRE.
Photos provided

Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management Faculty & Staff Students

Catering class creates winning meal at riverfront museum

Student managers for the event, Gray and Jordan, plate the dessert: key lime pie with coconut panna cotta.
Student managers for the event, Gray and Jordan, plate the dessert: key lime pie with coconut panna cotta.
Students Jordan, Showers and Meszaros look over the main course before serving: an herb-and-garlic-crusted loin of beef with classic au jus lié and potato cake.
Students Jordan, Showers and Meszaros look over the main course before serving: an herb-and-garlic-crusted loin of beef with classic au jus lié and potato cake.
Callahan prepares seared scallops.
Callahan prepares seared scallops.
Shannon and Gray plate an intermezzo of tropical citrus sorbet.
Shannon and Gray plate an intermezzo of tropical citrus sorbet.

It is fitting that each year, Pennsylvania College of Technology students enrolled in a catering class bring their talents to a historic building that, when built in the late 1790s, was a tavern and inn. Set along the Susquehanna River in Lewisburg, it served river travelers.

Now the structure is open to the public as the Packwood House Museum, and among the highlights of the year for the organization is a raffle for an elegant “Champagne and Orchids” dinner for eight, created by the Penn College catering class and served in the museum’s dining room.

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Alumni Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management Faculty & Staff Students

Students to cook for thousands at Kentucky Derby

During Derby Week 2018, Pennsylvania College of Technology students, from left, Bridget M. Callahan, of Pottsville; Bailey L. Frey, of Watsontown; Bethany R. Taylor, ’18, of Moosic; and Stephanie C. Myers, ’18, of Catawissa, step away from the kitchens at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., to take in the facility’s world-famous track. Twenty-eight students and 10 alumni will again join the hospitality team for the 2019 Kentucky Derby on May 4.

Pennsylvania College of Technology will again be part of the hospitality team for the running of the historic Kentucky Derby on May 4.

Twenty-eight students, 10 alumni and a faculty member are set to spend a week in Louisville, Kentucky, where they will join a legion of culinarians from Levy Restaurants, the food purveyor for Churchill Downs.

While there, the students learn to produce high quality cuisine in mass quantities.

“Our students continue to be instrumental in the production of premium food service, working with some of the top chefs in the country, plus celebrity chefs,” said Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts, who will accompany students to the Downs for the 12th time.

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Scholarship luncheon provides firsthand look at donors’ impact

Ferki tells guests, “Scholarships act as a gateway to inspire growth in a student’s academics and passion for his or her industry.” She is the recipient of the SEKISUI SPI Workforce Development Scholarship and the Penn College Foundation Scholarship.

The empowering combination of applied technology education and financial support was celebrated Sunday afternoon, as Pennsylvania College of Technology hosted its second annual Scholarship Luncheon in the campus Field House.

“I am overwhelmed by the collective energies in this room to transform tomorrow,” President Davie Jane Gilmour said, addressing students, families and donors alike. Announcing that the coming academic year will include the largest total amount of scholarships awarded in any one year during the college’s history, she thanked attendees for their significant role in helping students succeed.

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Alumni Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality

Baking students enjoy fresh ‘ingredients’

Penn College’s baking and pastry arts program has added two new industry-standard ovens to its lab: a hearth oven with an integrated loader and a round, rotating-rack oven. Curriculum additions also give students new pathways for their baking careers. The college is implementing a consolidated, three-semester version of its baking and pastry arts associate degree, and in Fall 2020, the college will offer a professional baking certificate. Whether seeking the certificate or a degree, all students will learn the fundamental truth shared by Chef Charles R. Niedermyer, an alumnus and instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts. “Baking is a craft, and you never get away from that,” he reminds in a video added to the college’s YouTube channel. “While we have all these fancy ovens and fancy equipment, there is a person who is making it all happen. And that’s what is exciting about it. That’s what gets me up every day. It’s never boring. It’s never easy. But it’s always fun.”