News about Civil Engineering & Surveying

Million-Dollar NSF Grant to Foster Students’ Career Preparedness

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology is one of six associate degree majors at the heart of a $1 million career-readiness grant awarded to Pennsylvania College of Technology by the National Science Foundation.

How readily does early exposure to job-shadowing and internships translate into career success for today’s college students? That’s the million-dollar question to be answered by a National Science Foundation grant newly awarded to Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Administered by the foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the $1 million in multiyear funding aims to increase retention, degree completion and career readiness for students representing six STEM-focused, associate-degree majors in Penn College’s School of Construction & Design Technologies.

The students – to be identified as Built Environment Scholars – will be chosen each year on the basis of financial need as identified by a scholarship selection committee among a pool of academically talented applicants.

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Grads Pave Way for Vital New Highway

Jackson and Wise survey the expansive project site ...

... a literally groundbreaking opportunity to untangle a decades-old traffic snarl.

Two Penn College civil engineering graduates – David Wise, ’92, and Maggie Jackson, ’08 – are helping to lead the $670 million Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation Project, one of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s largest undertakings. Wise is a construction manager for PennDOT, and Jackson is the design project engineer. Both rely on their Penn College background as they work on the 13-mile limited access highway that will alleviate a problem faced for 40 years: congestion and heavy truck traffic through Shamokin Dam. “Here’s the largest construction project that I know of in the state and here are two Penn College graduates that are right at the top of the list in making this whole project work, and that’s pretty significant,” said state Sen. Gene Yaw, who also chairs the college’s board of directors. “They should be pretty proud of their own accomplishments because we can do all these things at the college and train them and everything, but I think it’s incumbent upon the individual to go out and use the skills they’ve learned … and these two people obviously have. And we’re really excited about them.”
– Photos by Tom Speicher, writer/video editor

Group Honors Surveyor’s Legacy Through Student Award

Surveying technology faculty and students were among those attending a recent dinner meeting of the Susquehanna Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors. Front row (from left): Colton L. Copenhaver, McClure; Madison L. Carts, State College; and Dustin M. Houck, Petersburg. Back row (from left): Mark A. Valchar, Petersburg; Brock L. Gosling, Denver; faculty member Eric D. Henneberger; Derick L. Weaver, student award recipient; Howard L. Knapp V, Titusville; and Shawn L. Sheeley Jr., Kersey.

The Susquehanna Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Land Surveyors hosted its Ed Dobeck Memorial Award dinner meeting Thursday at Penn College, an annual event that enables regional land surveyors to welcome surveying technology students into the profession. Eric D. Henneberger, PSLS chapter president and instructor of surveying technology at the college, opened the meeting, and Marc E. Bridgens, dean of construction and design technologies, officially welcomed the students and surveyors. Howard D. Taylor, a Professional Land Surveyor based in Northumberland County, presented a touching tribute to the late Ed Dobeck, a widely respected land surveyor who contributed to PSLS and his community and also mentored many in the room. The 2017 Ed Dobeck Memorial Award recipient is Derick L. Weaver, of Narvon, set to graduate next month with an associate degree in surveying technology. The award, presented each May in advance of commencement, recognizes a surveying student who has demonstrated academic achievement, leadership, extracurricular activity and professionalism.
Photo provided

High School Girls Encouraged to Explore Careers in Construction

Construction management major Lauren S. Herr, of Lititz, is among the organizers and mentors for Penn College’s March 20 “Framing Your Future” event for high school girls.

High school girls who want to explore opportunities in the construction industry are invited to a “Framing Your Future” event on Monday, March 20, hosted by Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Construction & Design Technologies.

The day – open to young women in grades nine through 12 – will kick off at 9 a.m. in Penn’s Inn, on the second floor of the Bush Campus Center.

Female students will acquaint participants with the construction-related majors available at Penn College, followed by an Etiquette Luncheon, at which industry mentors will introduce each table of girls to networking and proper dining in a business atmosphere. The afternoon will conclude with a panel of women representing current students, alumnae and industry, followed by a virtual field trip to a construction site before the day wraps up at 3 p.m.

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Students Perform Well in Prestigious Builders’ Competition

Members of the two- and four-year Penn College teams gather outside the International Builders’ Show in Orlando. From left are Carlos Rojas, Williamsport; Nicholas D. Gieger, Dingmans Ferry; Chad W. Hawkins, Williamsport; Robert G. Jackson III, Butler; Casey L. Grim, Red Lion; Hanna J. Williams, Marion, N.Y.; Everett B. Appleby, Wilkes-Barre; Jordan M. Scott, Cogan Station; Lindsay A. Lane, McKean; Ryan Z. Zwickle, Slatington; and Liam R. McGarvey, Cogan Station.

A pair of teams comprising students from construction-related programs at Pennsylvania College of Technology admirably met the challenge of competition at the recent National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida.

A team representing associate-degree majors placed fifth in a field of 15 entrants from across the country in the Residential Construction Management Competition, and their colleagues from bachelor-degree majors finished 16th out of 35 institutions.

“The teams worked all of the fall semester on the problems given to them,” said Levon A. Whitmyer, instructor of building construction technology, noting that competition preparation is undertaken 100-percent outside of students’ class time. “The problems typically are future, real-world projects within the construction industry.”

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High School Students Celebrate STEM Day at Penn College

Penn College student Shawn L. Sheeley Jr., of Kersey, shows a high school student how to use surveying equipment. The hands-on workshop was part of a National STEM Day celebration at the college that brought homeschoolers and students from four area high schools to campus.

A group of 90 high-schoolers spent Nov. 8 at Pennsylvania College of Technology, where they explored a variety of careers as part of National STEM Day.

“STEM” is short for science, technology, engineering and math. According to the Population Reference Bureau, U.S. policymakers watch trends in the science and engineering labor force because high-tech workers increase our capacity for innovation and ability to compete in the global economy.

Penn College’s STEM Day activities were designed to give high school students a hands-on glimpse of some in-demand STEM-related careers.

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Local Firm’s Anniversary Celebration Includes Scholarship Fund

On hand at Penn College for the recent announcement of the Ken Larson Scholarship are (from left) Robb Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation; college President Davie Jane Gilmour; Kenneth C. Larson Jr., for whom the scholarship is named; Keith S. Kuzio, president and CEO of Larson Design Group; and Christopher E. Keiser, LDG project manager and chair of the fundraising campaign.

The intertwined histories of an employee-owned architectural engineering survey firm and a national leader in applied technology education have resulted in a new scholarship fund in honor of a company co-founder.

In the midst of marking its 30th anniversary, Larson Design Group recently announced that it has begun fundraising for the Ken Larson Scholarship at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

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Penn College Salutes ‘Women in Construction’

“Women in Construction Week” offers a reminder of the career opportunities represented within Penn College’s School of Construction & Design Technologies.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Construction & Design Technologies is celebrating Women in Construction Week, with multiple activities planned to highlight the women enrolled in construction-related majors at Penn College.

Women in Construction Week (March 6-12) is an opportunity for the National Association of Women in Construction to showcase women’s contributions to the construction industry.

Carol A. Lugg, assistant dean of construction and design technologies at the college, hopes to raise awareness locally on behalf of the NAWIC’s national efforts. From 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 16, the Carl Building Technologies Center will host regional high school girls interested in career opportunities in the construction industry at an event that will include a presentation and laboratory tours by current Penn College students pursuing construction majors.

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College Emissaries Tout ‘degrees that work’ at Mentor Event

Brad M. Martin (center) and alumnus Peter J. Shkuda (right) speak with ACE Mentor participants about the 100-percent placement rate among Penn College's construction management graduates. (Photo by Susan Martin)

Representatives of the School of Construction & Design Technologies recently traveled to an ACE affiliate event hosted at Cumberland-Perry Area Vocational Technical School. ACE Mentor Mike Weidner, of Weidner Construction Services in Mechanicsburg, and Jason E. Krick, an assistant professor in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s construction management major, coordinated the opportunity to introduce ACE Mentor participants and their parents to the college’s “degrees that work.”

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Building the ‘New’ Route 15

A bypass that will ease congestion along U.S. Route 15 in the area of Shamokin Dam and Hummels Wharf has been the desire of drivers for decades. Photo courtesy of PennDOT

Maggie (Powers) Jackson, ’08, is project manager for a $669 million construction project that will result in a limited-access highway that stretches from the current freeway end on Route 15 north of Selinsgrove to the four-lane section of Route 147 south of Montandon.

Groundbreaking for a bridge that will cross the Susquehanna River’s West Branch near Winfield is expected in October. The bridge represents the first of seven contracts that, by 2024, will complete a 13-mile bypass to ease traffic congestion along U.S. Route 15. Artist’s rendering courtesy of PennDOT

From the Fall 2015 edition of One College Avenue magazine: The groundbreaking for a new bridge this fall will mark the first tangible progress on a highway construction plan that has been decades in the making. The 13-mile, $669 million project will provide a bypass around the congested Shamokin Dam area. A 2008 civil engineering technology alumna will oversee it. Read “Building the ‘New 15′”

WNEP on Hand as Students Visit Loyalsock Creek

Students in the news

Newswatch 16’s Kristina Papa followed some Penn College students on Wednesday as they visited a monitoring station along flooding-prone Loyalsock Creek. Papa interviewed civil engineering technology majors James H. Cassidy, of Douglassville, and Andrew J. Susen, of Easton, among the members of John J. Miknis’ Water and Wastewater Systems class who toured the U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge in Eldred Township.

Hawbaker Family Scholarship Established at Penn College

From left: Scholarship donors Daniel R. and Suzie Hawbaker with Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

The president and CEO of a well-known State College-based highway construction company and his wife have established a scholarship at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Daniel R. and Suzie Hawbaker recently created the Hawbaker Family Scholarship at Penn College. Daniel Hawbaker heads Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., a firm established in 1952 that performs asphalt paving, road construction, gas well service and construction, and engineering design services in northern Pennsylvania, southern New York and eastern Ohio.

Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded from the Hawbaker Family Scholarship Fund for the 2015-16 academic year; the recipients will be presented with $500 each in the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters.

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‘Race to Zero’ Presentation to Be Held Thursday in ACC

"Race to Zero"

Want a $0.00 energy bill? It is possible! The Penn College community can learn how at Thursday’s “Race to Zero” presentation, set for 3:30 p.m. in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium. Everyone will learn about current standards that can be used to design houses that produce as much energy as they use. All students are invited to be part of the U.S. Department of Energy Student Design Competition team, putting their combined skills – architecture; surveying; construction management; estimating; interior design; landscaping; and mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems – toward a Habitat for Humanity home to be built in the Brodart neighborhood of Williamsport in the summer of 2015. Their design will be submitted in the DOE contest, intended to inspire and develop the next generation of building science professionals.

Award-Winning Alumnus to Speak Thursday in ACC

Jeff Erdly

Members of the campus community – particularly students in construction-related majors – are encouraged to attend a lecture by Jeff Erdly, a 1972 graduate of Williamsport Area Community College and a world-renowned authority on building and masonry preservation, who will speak at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium. Sponsored by the School of Construction & Design Technologies and the Penn College Alumni Relations Office, Erdly will present “Just Another Brick in the Wall? A Building Science Education – Its Value to Society, and Roadmap to Building Your Career.” The chief executive officer and co-founder of Masonry Preservation Services Inc., Erdly was profiled in the Spring 2014 issue of One College Avenue. He was also selected as the college’s Distinguished Alumnus in 2004 in recognition of his personal and professional accomplishments, his contributions toward the college (including his establishment of a scholarship in memory of his parents), and the high regard in which he is held in the community.

Allison Scholarship at Penn College Honors Three Generations

Larry Allison Jr. and his daughter, Sadie, join Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour in front of a heavy-construction equipment blade on the campus site of the former Lycoming Construction Co., predecessor of Allison Crane & Rigging. The Allison family has established a scholarship fund at the college.

Larry Allison Jr., a member of the Pennsylvania College of Technology Foundation Board of Directors and president of Allison Crane & Rigging, has created a scholarship fund at the college in honor of his father, Larry Allison Sr., who died earlier this year, as well as his grandfather and great-grandfather.

The Larry Allison Family Scholarship gives primary preference to any student who is an employee – or the dependent of an employee – of Allison Crane & Rigging, a Williamsport-based successor to Lycoming Construction Co., which was located from 1943-80 near the current site of the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences building on the main campus. The site is commemorated with a bulldozer blade, plaque and historical marker.

Larry Allison Sr., grandson of Lycoming Construction Co. founder Herbert F. Allison, died Jan. 22. The scholarship honors both men, as well as Herbert L. Allison, Larry Allison Sr.’s father.

Secondary preference for the scholarship will be given to students who are Pennsylvania residents and are enrolled in one of the following programs: civil engineering technology, surveying technology, construction management, heavy construction equipment technology and diesel technology.

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