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Simulated medical cases guide students toward real-life care

Scott A. Geist (right) director of surgical technology, leads physician assistant students through a simulated surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Scott A. Geist (right) director of surgical technology, leads physician assistant students through a simulated surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Outside the surgical technology lab’s mock operating room, PA students fulfilling the roles of emergency room and hospital staff members observe the work of their classmates.
Outside the surgical technology lab’s mock operating room, PA students fulfilling the roles of emergency room and hospital staff members observe the work of their classmates.

Physician assistant students recently visited the surgical technology lab for the last of three simulated patient cases that allowed them to participate as care providers in the emergency room, as operating room assistants and as hospitalists. Students in the ER role encountered the patients, portrayed by nursing students. They diagnosed their patient’s malady and recommended treatment. In the surgical technology lab, Scott A. Geist, director of surgical technology, led OR students through a hands-on simulation of the recommended surgery. Students acting as hospitalists then provided follow-up care.

Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic General Information Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant

Students’ service to LLWS players, fans featured on newscast

Physician assistant student Reshma Sherpa, of Morrisville, N.C., is interviewed Wednesday by Morgan Parrish near Madigan Library's "Hometown Teams" exhibit.
Physician assistant student Reshma Sherpa, of Morrisville, N.C., is interviewed Wednesday by Morgan Parrish near Madigan Library’s “Hometown Teams” exhibit.

Eyewitness News reporter Morgan Parrish talked Wednesday with students in Penn College’s physician assistant and emergency medical services/paramedic programs about their imminent assignments during the Little League Baseball World Series. Parrish interviewed Reshma Sherpa, of Morrisville, North Carolina, at Madigan Library, where PA students had finished an exam; as well as Nick S. Dwyer, of Moon Township, and Carly Rae Stahl, of Lewisburg, at Susquehanna State Park, where EMS/paramedic students were training for water rescues. Parrish’s piece aired during WBRE/WYOU’s Wednesday evening newscasts.

Nursing & Health Sciences Physician Assistant Students

PA Class of ’20 makes milestone move

Physician Assistant Club President Timothy A. Bradley addresses the audience and his classmates.
Physician Assistant Club President Timothy A. Bradley addresses the audience and his classmates.
Amber DelVecchio adds a physician assistant pin to the white coat of Daryl V. Nash, of Cogan Station, who was joined on stage by all four of his sons.
Amber DelVecchio adds a physician assistant pin to the white coat of Daryl V. Nash, of Cogan Station, who was joined on stage by all four of his sons.
Students Breica N. Beck, of Mountville; Danielle N. Bilger, of Hollidaysburg; Brielle N. Blanchard, of Towanda, and Cera N. Blunk, of Schuylkill Haven, recite the Physician Assistant Oath.
Students Breica N. Beck, of Mountville; Danielle N. Bilger, of Hollidaysburg; Brielle N. Blanchard, of Towanda, and Cera N. Blunk, of Schuylkill Haven, recite the Physician Assistant Oath.
The class laughs during remarks by student speaker Nicholas A. Kilpatrick.
The class laughs during remarks by student speaker Nicholas A. Kilpatrick.
Students Heidy C. Fernandez (left), of Bethlehem, and Michael L. Hutchison, of Williamsport, smile at the words of speakers.
Students Heidy C. Fernandez (left), of Bethlehem, and Michael L. Hutchison, of Williamsport, smile at the words of speakers.

The physician assistant Class of 2020 celebrated its transition from classroom study to clinical rotations during the program’s annual White Coat Ceremony on Saturday. After being accepted into the professional phase of the program, students spent a full year – the Fall 2018, Spring 2019 and Summer 2019 semesters – in classroom study. Following final exams and service at the Little League Baseball World Series, the students will spend the next year working directly with patients in a variety of fieldwork settings, under the supervision of clinical preceptors. Heather S. Dorman, instructor of physician assistant, was selected as faculty speaker. Brian M. McKeon Sr., assistant professor of biology, served as master of ceremonies. Students Timothy A. Bradley, of Williamsport, and Nicholas A. Kilpatrick, of Muncy, served as student speakers. Allyson M. Rothrock, of Williamsport, led the class in reciting the Physician Assistant Oath.

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

Little League World Series provides learning opportunity

Kavitha R. Kolangaden and Jaclyn L. Casey, who graduated from Pennsylvania College of Technology with degrees in physician assistant in 2018, volunteer at the 2017 Little League Baseball World Series. Thirty-two Penn College students pursuing careers as paramedics and physician assistants will help provide health care at the 2019 LLWS.

Seven students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s emergency medical services/paramedic program, and 25 students in its physician assistant program, are set to be part of the health care team at the 2019 Little League Baseball World Series, just 3 miles from the college campus.

The nationally televised series runs Aug. 15-25 and draws tens of thousands of spectators each day to the Little League World Series complex in South Williamsport.

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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 STEM 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

Architectural Technology Art and Graphic Design Automated Manufacturing & Machining Aviation Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Building Construction Business & Hospitality Collision Repair & Restoration Construction & Design Technologies Dental Hygiene Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology General Information Health Information Technology Information Technology Landscape/Horticulture Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant Plastics & Polymer Radiography Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications Surgical Technology Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Welding

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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