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Appropriations boost recognizes college’s vital workforce role

The approved 2019-20 state budget delivers appropriation funding to Pennsylvania College of Technology reflecting its long history of success in producing skilled workers, while leveling the playing field with other publicly funded institutions in the commonwealth, the college’s board chair said Friday.

“Finally, Penn College is being recognized for the invaluable hands-on education and training it provides to students, who become highly skilled members of the workforce – addressing the skills gap that continues to impact industry and hinder the economy,” said Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the college’s Board of Directors. “All we have ever asked for is to be treated with parity in funding with other state institutions. With this budget, we have made real progress.”

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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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Dental Hygiene Emergency Management Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant Radiography Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications Students Surgical Technology

Mock crisis authentically adds to interdisciplinary preparedness

Samer R. Doss, a PA student from Montoursville, listens to the heartbeat of dental hygiene student Megan P. Fitzsimmons, of Portville, N.Y.

Students from Penn College’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences and School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications joined area law enforcement, emergency management and health care professionals in a recent simulation at UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center and a variety of other locations.

The college’s paramedic program has participated in the drill since its inception, and this year, the School of Nursing & Health Sciences decided to participate schoolwide to provide an interdisciplinary learning opportunity. The school had conducted its own Interdisciplinary Professional Experience on campus for several years.

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Alumni Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Dental Hygiene Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant

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

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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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‘Working Class: Helping & Healing’ premieres March 21

The latest episode of a locally produced, award-winning public television series emphasizes the importance of caring individuals who provide for the health and well-being of the community.

“Working Class: Helping & Healing,” produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA Public Media, premieres on WVIA-TV at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 21 (with rebroadcasts at 1 p.m. Friday, March 22, and 11 a.m. Sunday, March 24). It highlights the importance of science, math, communication and hands-on experience in preparing students for success in health and human service careers.

The film features Penn College faculty, administrators and students who serve the community in helping and healing roles. Among them is Thomas A. Zimmerman, associate professor of psychology, who counseled area residents after the TWA Flight 800 crash in July 1996. He discusses the importance of people coming together to help one another and to heal in the wake of tragedy.

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Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Physician assistant students complete clinical rotations in Peru

Pennsylvania College of Technology physician assistant students, from left, Valerie L. Kubalak, of Spring Mills; Bailey T. Bachman, of Lewistown; and Megan N. Heckman, of Spring Mills, gained experience in hospitals, language courses and public health fairs during a monthlong clinical rotation in Trujillo, Peru.

Three students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s physician assistant major returned recently from monthlong clinical rotations in the coastal city of Trujillo, Peru, where they were immersed in medical Spanish and worked in a variety of health care settings.

Bailey T. Bachman, of Lewistown; Megan N. Heckman, of Spring Mills; and Valerie L. Kubalak, also of Spring Mills, were the first Penn College physician assistant students to complete clinical rotations outside of the United States.

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School of Nursing & Health Sciences hosts celebration

Pennsylvania College of Technology welcomed several School of Nursing & Health Sciences alumni back to campus to speak at an event celebrating the school’s name change, its academic majors, and milestone anniversaries for two programs: occupational therapy assistant (30 years) and physician assistant (20 years). From left are Megan Wright, ’12, a physician assistant practicing physical medicine and rehabilitation; Brian Webster, ’06, a nurse practitioner specializing in emergency and family nursing; President Davie Jane Gilmour; Sandra L. Richmond, dean of nursing and health sciences; and Michele “Mindy” Tedesco, ’88, a registered occupational therapist specializing in home health care.

The School of Nursing & Health Sciences at Pennsylvania College of Technology held a multifaceted celebration on Oct. 4 by hosting an open house of its facilities and welcoming accomplished alumni, who reflected on how their education has shaped their careers.

“We come together … to celebrate the positive impact all 10 of our nursing and health sciences programs have on our students’ lives, the professions in which they work, and the communities they serve,” said Sandra L. Richmond, dean of nursing and health sciences.

Of particular significance during the celebration was a change to the school’s name: from the School of Health Sciences to the School of Nursing & Health Sciences, and the anniversaries of the occupational therapy assistant program, whose first students graduated 30 years ago, and the physician assistant program, which graduated its first students 20 years ago.

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Alumni Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant

Director Appointed for Penn College Physician Assistant Program

Joshua A. Bower

Joshua A. Bower has been named director of the physician assistant program at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Bower is a certified physician assistant, licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. His primary focus is in ophthalmology. Prior to joining the Penn College staff in August, he was a physician assistant for six years at the Eye Center of Central PA.

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Alumni Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Surgical Technology Board Exam Pass Rate Beats National Average

Penn College student Anna G. Thompson, of Mount Carmel, practices assisting with a laparoscopic surgery in the college’s mock operating room. Over 91 percent of the college’s August surgical technology graduates passed the national certification exam for surgical technologists on their first attempt.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s 2018 surgical technology graduates passed the national Certified Surgical Technologist Examination on their first attempt with a 91.67 percent pass rate, which far exceeds the national average. The group of 12 graduated in August and took the exam the same month.

The Certified Surgical Technologist exam is conducted by the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting.

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Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Penn College Students Serve Health Care Needs at LLWS

Penn College emergency medical services students Michelle K. Waughen, of Montgomery, and Ali T. Alnasir, of Williamsport, stand ready to provide to provide care to those in attendance at the 2017 Little League World Series. Penn College students pursuing careers as physician assistants and paramedics are providing health care at the 2018 World Series.

Forty-three students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s physician assistant and emergency medical services/paramedic programs will be on hand to help serve the health care needs of spectators and players at the Little League Baseball World Series, Aug. 16-26.

The event draws tens of thousands of spectators over 11 days as 16 U.S. and international Little League teams vie for the championship in South Williamsport, just a short drive from the Penn College main campus.

“We are proud to have our physician assistant and paramedic students participate with interdisciplinary members of the health care team to assist with providing care to Little League players from around the world,” said Sandra L. Richmond, dean of nursing and health sciences. “This event is an excellent example of the cross-cultural service learning opportunities we provide for our students.”

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Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Girded With ‘Armor of Compassion,’ PA Students Start Clinical

Members of the physician assistant Class of 2019 gather to celebrate their move from classroom to clinical learning.
Members of the physician assistant Class of 2019 gather to celebrate their move from classroom to clinical learning.
Hannah M. Frantz, of Hershey, accepts a hug from Christine Frantz, who presented her pin. White coats were given by instructor Larissa D. Whitney, and each student chose an individual to attach his or her pin.
Hannah M. Frantz, of Hershey, accepts a hug from Christine Frantz, who presented her pin. White coats were given by instructor Larissa D. Whitney, and each student chose an individual to attach his or her pin.
Jennifer L. Mitchell, of Kulpmont, flashes a smile at the audience as she is “pinned” by Elizabeth Bendas.
Jennifer L. Mitchell, of Kulpmont, flashes a smile at the audience as she is “pinned” by Elizabeth Bendas.
Katanga Muanza, of Williamsport, hugs Emil Lukasa after receiving his white coat and pin.
Katanga Muanza, of Williamsport, hugs Emil Lukasa after receiving his white coat and pin.
Elizabeth A. Belz, of Montoursville; Hannah M. Frantz, of Hershey; Dylan C. Griffin, of Milton; and Amber L. Grimm, of Milton, join classmates in reciting the physician assistant oath.
Elizabeth A. Belz, of Montoursville; Hannah M. Frantz, of Hershey; Dylan C. Griffin, of Milton, join classmates in reciting the physician assistant oath.

Students in the physician assistant Class of 2019 celebrated a milestone in their education on July 21 with the program’s traditional “white coat ceremony.” Twenty-seven students marked the completion of three semesters of intensive classroom study that will be followed – beginning with the Fall 2018 semester – with a full year of hands-on patient care at health care sites, under the supervision of clinical preceptors. The white coat, explained the program’s medical director, Dr. Gregory R. Frailey, in welcoming remarks, holds a great deal of symbolism. He dons his white coat each workday as though putting on the armor of compassion. Other speakers included Dr. Anju Sonia Dayal, a part-time instructor of physician assistant; Larissa D. Whitney, instructor of physician assistant; Brian M. McKeon Sr., assistant professor of physician assistant; and class representatives Kelly E. Heckman, of Bellefonte, and Wayne R. Jacobs, of Jersey Shore. The class, led by Physician Assistant Club President Valerie L. Kubalak, of Spring Mills, recited the physician assistant oath, pledging to hold the health, safety, welfare and dignity of all human beings as their primary responsibility, then presented gifts to the full-time physician assistant faculty, including a gift of $1,000 to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in honor of Carter Whitney.

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Health Sciences Team Owns ‘Breakout’ Session

Conquering the interactive challenge of Williamsport Escapes are (clockwise, from bottom left) Zeel Patel, a pre-nursing student from Bensalem; Long; Traister; Cera N. Blunk, a physician assistant major from Schuylkill Haven; Emily K. Conklin, a pre-dental hygiene student from Port Allegany; and Constance J. Plankenhorn, of Williamsport, enrolled in physician assistant studies.
Conquering the interactive challenge of Williamsport Escapes are (clockwise, from bottom left) Zeel Patel, a pre-nursing student from Bensalem; Long; Traister; Cera N. Blunk, a physician assistant major from Schuylkill Haven; Emily K. Conklin, a pre-dental hygiene student from Port Allegany; and Constance J. Plankenhorn, of Williamsport, enrolled in physician assistant studies.

The Health Sciences Living-Learning Community participated in an activity Friday at Williamsport Escapes, which offers a team-building series of brain games at 201 Basin Street. Tanae A. Traister, clinical director of nursing, and Taren A. (Adams) Long, a 2011 radiography graduate, joined four students as they solved clues that allowed them to break out of the facility’s locker-room area. The group was given 60 minutes to escape and managed to get out with two minutes and 57 seconds to spare! Penn College’s Living-Learning Communities provide themed housing arrangements for first-year residents in a variety of academic majors.
Photo provided

Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

Tia G. La Named ‘Student of the Month’

Tia G. La

Tia G. La, a pre-physician assistant major from Guam, has been chosen as the December/January “Student of the Month” at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

A former student photographer for Public Relations & Marketing and a Community Peer Educator with Student Affairs, she also volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and has given of her time at Susquehanna Health (now UPMC Susquehanna).

“Her images are fantastic! Her incredible photographic talent has graced our college magazine, marketing publications, social media, PCToday and other media/marketing outlets,” a staff nominator wrote. “For two full years (summers included), she represented PRM at countless campus and off-campus events, positively interacting with the college family and the community.”

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Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant

PA Program Receives College’s Outstanding Assessment Award

Employees of the Penn College’s physician assistant program received the college’s President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment of Student Learning. From left are Katie M. McNamee, secretary to the program; Brian M. McKeon, assistant professor; Heather S. Dorman, clinical director; Lynn Eckrote, director; Victor P. Pupo, instructor; and Dr. Kendra F. Boell, clinical director. Also integral to the effort, but not pictured, is Larissa D. Whitney, instructor of physician assistant.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Physician Assistant Program has been named the recipient of the college’s 2017 President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment of Student Learning.

Employees of the program received the honor Jan. 5 at the all-college meeting that opened the Spring 2018 semester.

The President’s Award for Outstanding Assessment of Student Learning recognizes initiative and creativity in facilitating student learning and reflects the college’s commitment to ongoing assessment of student learning outcomes.

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