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Recent grad receives award from state professional society

Bryan M. Bilbao, who earned a combined bachelor’s/master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Pennsylvania College of Technology in August, recently received a Thomas J. Lemley Award for Health Disparities from the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants.

Award winners were announced Nov. 4 at the society’s annual conference in Pittsburgh.

Competitors were asked to address the topic “Trauma-informed care in health care.” In 2020, the Office of the Governor created an initiative to make Pennsylvania a “trauma-informed, healing-centered state.” According to the Center for Health Care Strategies, the goal of trauma-informed care is to help patients overcome the effects of trauma by considering not only “What’s wrong with you?” but “What happened to you?”

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Alumni Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant

Trailblazing PA grad leads weeklong ‘Give Thanks’ lineup

Bryan M. BilbaoAs part of Penn College’s “Give Thanks, Paw It Forward” campaign, an annual expression of deep and widespread appreciation, College Relations is sharing a week’s worth of “Meet the Makers” profiles that showcase students’ gratitude for their life-changing campus experiences. The pre-Thanksgiving series begins with Bryan M. Bilbao, among the first to graduate from the School of Nursing & Health Sciences with a Combined Bachelor/Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies. “Penn College reinvigorated in me that all good things come with hard work and dedication,” says Bilbao, the student speaker at August commencement, whose popular YouTube video advises caregivers on how to treat patients better. He is an emergency medicine physician assistant with ApolloMD, working in the emergency rooms of Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, Regional Hospital of Scranton and Moses Taylor Hospital.

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Penn College launches master’s in physician assistant studies

Pennsylvania College of Technology is set to accept students into its Master of Science in physician assistant studies for Fall 2023.

The new stand-alone master’s degree replaces the college’s current combined bachelor’s/master’s degree in physician assistant studies.

The Master of Science is designed to be completed in two years, including summer sessions. The first year is spent in intensive lab-based study in the on-campus Physician Assistant Center, which was renovated in Summer 2022. The center is equipped with a cadaver lab, as well as a variety of simulation labs, including a simulated emergency room, operating room, labor and delivery room, inpatient unit, and pediatric and family practice suites.

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Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

In light of bias, student project explores ‘Health Caring’

As Pennsylvania College of Technology student Bryan M. Bilbao, of Old Forge, sat in a hospital room with his aging grandmother near the end of her life, he noticed a difference in the way health care professionals interacted with her.

Providers entering the room asked friendly, caring questions of his grandmother’s roommate: “Are you feeling OK?” “Do you need anything?” But the same bedside manner did not reach his “nonna,” Italia Cusati. Cusati, who was born in Italy and moved to Uruguay to work when she was 5, did not speak English.

Perhaps hospital employees were intimidated about initiating a conversation with someone whose language they didn’t speak, Bilbao reasoned. But he longed to see some attempt at communication with his grandmother – a simple question to which she could say yes or no, some empathetic body language.

Two weeks after his grandmother died in July 2020, Bilbao began classes in the physician assistant studies major at Penn College.

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Alumni Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Faculty welcomed as Fall 2022 semester dawns

Among the newer additions to the Pennsylvania College of Technology community as the Fall 2022 semester begins are 19 faculty members, as provided by the Office of People & Culture. Fifteen will begin their instructional duties on Aug. 11; the remainder were added to the roster as noted.

“This cohort of new faculty possesses a wide range of experiences and skills,” said Joanna K. Flynn, dean of curriculum and instruction. “We are excited to see the impact they will have on our students and the college.”

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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

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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What better way to prep for college!

Nearly 140 campers from near and far participated in the past week’s seven Pre-College Programs, giving teens a taste of Penn College through an engrossing variety of academic adventure and social interaction: Architecture Odyssey, Autism Spectrum Post-Secondary Interest Experience, Automotive Technology, Aviation, Engineering, Future Restaurateurs and Health Careers.

A second week of camps, featuring an equally tantalizing menu of opportunities spread among eight more programs, convenes in mid-July.  Registrants for both weeks hail from 14 states – some from as far away as Connecticut, Florida and Virginia – and include a camper from Santiago, Chile!

Don’t think high school students are the only ones in on the fun, however! Pre-College Programs include My Tomorrow, a middle school career exploration day camp sponsored by the Soars family, from June 28 to July 1 and July 12-15.

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PA student joins national diversity and inclusion group’s board

Bryan Marcel Bilbao, a graduate student in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s physician assistant studies major, was recently selected as a director for Physician Assistant Students for Leadership, Equity, Anti-Racism and Diversity.

The national organization, known by its initials, PA-S LEAD, began as a group of PA students of color and their allies. Its goal is to forge connections among underrepresented minority PA students and other diversity-minded PA student leaders to share resources, experience and support.

“I joined PA-S Lead in honor of my late grandmother Italia Cusati, grandfather Guiseppe Cusati and mother, Silvia Cusati,” Bilbao, of Old Forge, said. “Seeing how certain health care services were radically different for those who were non-English speaking and of different backgrounds was astonishing to me. I always vowed that, when I was able to have my voice heard with my passion in medicine, I would publicly address these issues and do what I can so minorities and many other groups will never feel that way in a setting where they should be comfortable, since they are coming in for a problem that is distressing them.”

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Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Scurrying scavengers happily greet Wildcat Egg Hunt’s return

Wildcat Egg Hunt 6Penn College’s sixth Wildcat Egg Hunt – bigger than ever, after a two-year pause necessitated by COVID-19 – saw about 120 children scampering about the main campus lawn early Sunday afternoon. “We started filling the 3,500 or so Easter eggs last week,” said Chet Beaver, coordinator of veteran and military services, who has overseen the popular event since it began in 2015.

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Group’s scholarship award renewed for Penn College student

A physician assistant student at Pennsylvania College of Technology has received another $1,000 installment of her annually renewable scholarship from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

Emily L. Stevens, of Dallas, was first awarded the scholarship – intended for a dependent of someone employed by an ISRI member company – during the 2020-21 academic year. The institute is closely associated with the Recycling Education and Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes public awareness, education, research and the advancement of recycling.

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Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Penn College’s PA program: Small classes, big rewards

Join Program Director Joshua A. Bower for a virtual tour of Penn College’s physician assistant program. Take a look inside the assessment lab, where students learn to perform medical history evaluations, physical exams and clinical procedures. “In the assessment lab, students turn theory into hands-on practice,” says Bower, a 2012 graduate of the program. “So they will learn a concept in the classroom and then go right from the classroom into the lab, where they can apply that knowledge to a simulated case or a patient scenario.” Meet Geriatric Pete, a lifelike manikin, and see the cadaver lab where students work in small teams with actual human tissue to tackle dissections and perfect such procedures as shave biopsies.

Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

College’s PA program joins national celebration

Penn College’s physician assistant program concluded its celebration of PA Week on Tuesday. PA Week is a nationwide celebration, promoted by the American Academy of PAs (the national professional society for PAs) and the Physician Assistant Education Association.

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Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Nursing & Health Sciences: ‘Your path to a thriving career’

“If a career in a health care setting is your calling, your path to a thriving career starts right here at Penn College,” says dental hygiene student Dacia James, who leads a virtual tour of the School of Nursing & Health Sciences. The Williamsport resident (aided by Ally K. Swartz, a paramedic technician major from Bellefonte, and Alexia O. Zelenevskaya, a dental hygiene student from Ephrata) guides viewers through an 11-minute exploration of paramedic, physician assistant, dental hygiene, nursing, physical therapist assistant, surgical technology, radiography and applied health studies, as well as the school’s newest majors: health science and allied health.

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A wide-open window on a bright-looking future

Pre-College ProgramsMore than a half-dozen Pre-College Programs attracted a knowledge-hungry host of teenagers to Penn College’s campuses in recent days, the season opener for high schoolers’ exposure to next-level academics. Campers were engaged and enlightened among the week’s bountiful offerings: Architecture Odyssey, Automotive, Aviation, Engineering, Future Restaurateurs, Health Careers and Information Technology. A second week – inviting more students to test the waters of collegiate opportunity through hands-on learning – will begin July 18.

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Alumni Architecture & Sustainable Design Automated Manufacturing & Machining Automotive Aviation Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business, Arts & Sciences Civil Engineering & Surveying Engineering Design Technology Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff Honda Information Technology Nursing & Health Sciences Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant Radiography Students