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Penn College introducing new automation technology degrees

Students will be working in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s mechatronics lab as part two new baccalaureate degrees: automation engineering technology: mechatronics, and automation engineering technology: robotics and automation.

For more than a century, Pennsylvania College of Technology and its predecessor institutions have adapted to industry needs, so students are prepared to be tomorrow makers upon graduation.

That tradition continues with two new baccalaureate degrees: automation engineering technology: mechatronics, and automation engineering technology: robotics and automation. Applications are being accepted for the majors, which will begin in Fall 2020.

“We are very pleased to offer these new degrees. Both programs reflect the growing demand for advanced skills in automation,” said David R. Cotner, dean of Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. “We take great pride in being responsive to industry, and we are confident that our students and employers will benefit from the majors.”

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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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Pre-College Programs to enrich participants’ summer experience

Young women enrolled in SMART Girls, among the wide-ranging roster of pre-college programs at Pennsylvania College of Technology, assemble a robot during last summer’s camp.

Building construction has been added to the abounding schedule of pre-college initiatives offered at Pennsylvania College of Technology, hands-on summer activities that mirror the nationally renowned opportunities afforded postsecondary students.

“Our Pre-College Programs offer living and learning experiences in which students have opportunities to explore unique academic interests in a state-of-the-art environment,” said Deborah B. Wescott, manager of conference and guest relations. “It’s a chance to work and make connections with industry leaders, meet and mingle with your peers, and establish a path that could lead to all sorts of future possibilities.”

The signup deadline is May 31 for the institution’s 12 residential programs and its one day camp.

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Setting the stage

Penn College graduates (from left) Jeffrey T. Feeman, Eric T. Metzler and Franklin N. Carr have found a calling at Sight & Sound Theatres, where audiences are awed by the on-stage results of their behind-the-scenes work.
Penn College graduates (from left) Jeffrey T. Feeman, Eric T. Metzler and Franklin N. Carr have found a calling at Sight & Sound Theatres, where audiences are awed by the on-stage results of their behind-the-scenes work.
Three alumni use their skills to craft scenery and on-stage technology for the panoramic stage at Sight & Sound Theatres in Lancaster.
Three alumni use their skills to craft scenery and on-stage technology for the panoramic stage at Sight & Sound Theatres in Lancaster.

From the Fall 2018 Penn College Magazine: Three graduates’ craftsmanship wows audiences of more than a million a year at Sight & Sound Theatres. Read “Setting the Stage.”

 

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‘Working Class’ Documentary Series Earns Third Telly Award

From left, Jacob R. Miller, Elaine J. Lambert, Edwin G. Owens, Lauren A. Rhodes, Christopher J. Leigh, Edward J. Almasy and Spyke M. Krepshaw were integral in the production of “Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters,” a Telly Award-winning episode of the documentary series produced by Penn College and WVIA Public Media.

“Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters,” produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA Public Media, has earned a 2018 Bronze Telly Award.

Selected from more than 12,000 national and international entries, the Telly Awards represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world. In 2018, PBS productions earned 33 Telly Awards, including several for “The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.”

“Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters” is the third episode in the “Working Class” public television series to win a Telly Award. The series’ premiere episode, “Working Class: Dream & Do,” earned the award in 2016; “Working Class: Build & Grow Green” received the honor in 2017.

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Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Students

Students Attend Pre-Eminent Electrical Trade Show

Students pause for a Hershey Lodge photo during a busy trade-show visit.
Students pause for a Hershey Lodge photo during a busy trade-show visit.

Electrical technology and mechatronics engineering technology students attended the Schaedler Yesco Expo 2018 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center on Wednesday. The expo is the premier electrical trade show in Central Pennsylvania, with more than 100 booths from prominent manufacturers. The event also provided more than 70 industry-related seminars and hands-on labs that students could attend. The students, instructed by Jon W. Hart and Vince R. Fagnano from the electrical technologies/occupations faculty, had a chance to examine the latest automation and control products from Rockwell Automation and other leading manufacturers.
Photo provided

Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies STEM Students

Penn College Student Gives Life to Robot

A "wired glove” created by Penn College student David M. Slotnicki, of Oil City, allows him to manipulate the arm of a robot.

Darkness envelops the college. The campus mall is quiet and still. It’s the middle of the week and nearly 1 o’clock in the morning. Most of the Pennsylvania College of Technology community will be asleep for several more hours, recharging for another productive day.

But a couple electronics majors are wide awake. Their windowless lab is bright and buzzing with activity. An unsuspecting guest would assume it’s the middle of the afternoon as the students painstakingly contemplate their latest challenge.

Among them is junior David M. Zlotnicki. He is tired and has an analog systems class in eight hours. He’s also not leaving the lab for the comforts of bed. Zlotnicki is on a roll.

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Thirteen Students Selected for Penn College NOW Scholarships

Penn College presented scholarships to 13 first-year students who took Penn College NOW courses. From left are Tavor T. Wadsworth, of Williamsport; Vincent R. Keene, of Downingtown; Kayley E. Johnson, of Bloomsburg; Monica A. McCarty, Penn College’s dual enrollment specialist; Michael L. Gardner, of Williamsport; Warren E. Knipe, of Liberty; and Tanya Berfield, the college’s manager of college transitions. Additional recipients not in the photo are: Cheyenne N. Greene, of Jersey Shore; Deontae Z. Johnson, of Selinsgrove; Kylee E. Kelley, of Lock Haven; Tyler W. Miller, of Montgomery; Luke B. Walter, of Millmont; Brittany M. Weiskopff, of Blossburg; Clayton T. Welch, of Benton; and Jeremy M. Wolfgang, of Allenwood.

Pennsylvania College of Technology recently recognized 13 first-year students who received Penn College NOW scholarships.

The recipients completed Penn College courses during high school as part of the college’s Penn College NOW dual-enrollment program. The group was honored during an Oct. 27 reception.

To be eligible, students must have successfully completed at least one Penn College NOW course, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in Penn College NOW classes, enroll in Penn College as a full-time freshman student for the fall semester after high school graduation, and maintain a 2.5 GPA at Penn College as an enrolled student.

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Professor’s Sabbatical Yields Virtual Adviser Prototype

Jeff L. Rankinen

During his sabbatical last spring, Jeff L. Rankinen planned to investigate the possibilities of artificial intelligence. The Pennsylvania College of Technology associate professor returned to the classroom this fall after transforming one of those possibilities into a reality.

Rankinen was part of a four-person team that earned $15,000 in funding to develop a “virtual adviser” as part of the Penn State EdTech Network’s Nittany Watson Challenge, which tasked entrants to improve the student experience via artificial intelligence. Just five of 39 teams were awarded $15,000 to create both a working prototype and minimum viable product in conjunction with IBM Watson, a technology platform focused on data analysis, natural language processing and machine learning.

“I thought the competition would be a good opportunity to learn more,” said Rankinen, who has taught electronics and computer engineering technology at Penn College since 1986. “I have been interested in artificial intelligence since beginning my graduate work at Penn State in 1987. It was very enriching to get immersed in artificial intelligence with IBM Watson during the competition.”

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Award-Winning Documentary Series Explores Why Math Matters

Filming “Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters” led Christopher J. Leigh, video production coordinator at Penn College, to scale a mountain in the Shawangunk Ridge, an internationally famous rock climbing area within the Mohonk Preserve in New York state. Leigh interacts with members of the Shawanpunk climbing team featured in the documentary.

Mountain climbers, a superhero and the legendary video game pioneer who founded Atari join with faculty to explain the importance of mathematics when Pennsylvania College of Technology’s award-winning public television series returns this fall.

“Working Class: Game On! Why Math Matters” explores the link between math, computers and technology and helps connect the study of math with real-world experiences that engage student interests.

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Foundation Establishes Endowed Scholarship at Penn College

Debra M. Miller, college relations advisor at Penn College, accepts a Herman O. West Foundation grant from Dave Lanzer, director of operations at West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. The grant will be used to establish an endowed scholarship at the college.

The foundation for a global manufacturer is recognizing Pennsylvania College of Technology’s commitment to the skilled workforce with an endowed scholarship at the school.

The Herman O. West Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Penn College to establish the scholarship. Named in honor of the founder of West Pharmaceuticals Services Inc., the foundation has supported employees through scholarships and matching gift programs since 1972.

West Pharmaceutical Services is a leading manufacturer of packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and health care products. The company has manufacturing plants throughout the world, including Williamsport and Jersey Shore.

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‘bots Do Battle in ‘Fall Brawl’

There's a lot of serious work before the fun begins!

Nearly 30 battle-ready robots – painstakingly designed, fabricated and tested by Pennsylvania College of Technology students – squared off in the recent “Fall Brawl 2016” robotic design competition in the college’s Field House. Sponsored by the Student Wildcats of Robotic Design, the knockout tournament pitted “beetleweight” robots (weighing 1 to 3 pounds) against one another before a campus and community audience. “The event was a resounding success, with enough robots to keep the action going for the whole day,” said S.W.O.R.D.’s Timothy R. Thompson, an electronics and computer engineering technology major from Stephens City, Virginia. “The students are currently improving their robots, and the next event will be even more ‘destructive.’ As the event gains recognition, more and more outside people will be in attendance to test our members’ designs.” Winners in the 3-pound category were Don Doerfler, “Circuit Breaker,” first; Nate Franklin, “Thunder Child,” second; and William Hayden, “Wildcat1,” third. Placing in the 1-pound category were Franklin, “Slim Pickens,” first; Stanley Bohenek, “Discharge,” second; and David Probst, “Ready or Not,” third. Organizers said the event will definitely become an annual one, with another open competition to be scheduled in the spring.

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Penn College Freshmen Bring National FBLA Ranking

Penn College students Joseph C. Lusk (left), of Linden, and Austin J. Way, of Jersey Shore, were part of a three-person team from Jersey Shore Area Senior High School taking second place in a network design competition held at the 2016 Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference.

Two freshmen students at Pennsylvania College of Technology capped their high-school careers in impressive fashion. They earned a second-place showing at the 2016 Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference in Atlanta.

Joseph C. Lusk, of Linden, and Austin J. Way, of Jersey Shore, were part of a three-person team from Jersey Shore Area Senior High School in FBLA’s network design competition, one of 65 business-related events.

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Robots Go Head-to-Head in Student-Hosted Competition

Attending to details are William C. Hayden, of Greensburg, an engineering design technology major ...
Attending to details are William C. Hayden, of Greensburg, an engineering design technology major …
,,, and Alexander J. Horne, a manufacturing engineering technology student from West Chester.
,,, and Alexander J. Horne, a manufacturing engineering technology student from West Chester.
'bots ready for battle
‘bots ready for battle
Assembled in College Avenue Labs are (foreground, from left) Matthew A. Semmel, of Palmerton, engineering design technology; Kaylee R. Tressler, of Howard, electronics and computer engineering technology; Brandon T. Russell, of Nottingham, engineering design technology; and Timothy R. Thompson, Stephens City, Va., electronics and computer engineering technology. At rear is Michael E. Zalatan, an information technology: network specialist concentration major from Center Valley.
Assembled in College Avenue Labs are (foreground, from left) Matthew A. Semmel, of Palmerton, engineering design technology; Kaylee R. Tressler, of Howard, electronics and computer engineering technology; Brandon T. Russell, of Nottingham, engineering design technology; and Timothy R. Thompson, Stephens City, Va., electronics and computer engineering technology. At rear is Michael E. Zalatan, an information technology: network specialist concentration major from Center Valley.
Sparks fly in the competitive arena.
Sparks fly in the competitive arena.

The Student Wildcats of Robotic Design, a revitalized campus organization centered in Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, hosted a robotics competition in College Avenue Labs earlier this month. About a dozen robots, built by students from S.W.O.R.D. and members of the community, were entered in the head-to-head “Wildcat Battle of the Bots.” S.W.O.R.D., which secretary Briana L. Sheehan said looks forward to growing as a club after a period of inactivity, is open to all Penn College students. No experience with engineering or robot-building is required, noted the club officer, an engineering CAD technology student from Windber.
Photos by Caleb G. Schirmer, student photographer