News about Health Sciences

Get a Jump on Your Future at Penn College’s April 1 Open House

The modern Pennsylvania College of Technology campus will host prospective students and their families for an Open House on Saturday, April 1, during which visitors can explore 100-plus academic majors in a variety of career fields.

For more than 100 years, Pennsylvania College of Technology and its predecessors have tailored their curricular offerings to students’ dreams and employers’ needs. That responsiveness to businesses and their future employees – and the flexibility to foresee tomorrow’s jobs – will be on ample display at the college’s April 1 Open House.

All of the institution’s newest opportunities, as well as the rewarding careers in time-tested fields, will be available to visitors at the college.

“Open House is such a great opportunity for students and their families to experience what makes Penn College such a unique place to learn,” said Claire Z. Biggs, coordinator of admissions events and services. “Through countless activities, prospective students will get an insider’s glimpse of life as a Penn College student.”

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Penn College Adds Physical Therapist Assistant Degree

Penn College physical therapist assistant student Kathleen L. Carey, of Montoursville, assesses the deep tendon reflexes of classmate Angela M. Cipolla, of Williamsport, during a practice exercise.

Pennsylvania College of Technology welcomed the first class of students into its new Physical Therapist Assistant Program this spring, following a semester of prerequisite coursework.

The two-year degree program culminates in an Associate of Applied Science degree; students wishing to continue their studies to the bachelor’s level may continue in the applied health studies major.

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Campus Science Festival Entertains as It Inspires

Prospective members of Penn College's Class of 202? enjoy an educational day out of the classroom and onto an engaging campus.

More than 1,500 fifth-graders from nearly a dozen local and area school districts participated in Thursday’s sixth annual Science Festival at Penn College, gaining hands-on insight into a host of related careers. The youngsters were treated to a variety of captivating campus demonstrations during the day, and families were invited to a Field House full of attractions during the three-hour evening session.

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2017 ‘Sweethearts’ Chosen From 11 Alumni Couples

This year's Alumni Sweethearts: Megan L. (Miller) and Robert A. Brightbill

Congratulations to Megan L. (Miller) and Robert A. Brightbill, winners of Penn College’s 2017 Alumni Sweethearts contest. The Harrisburg couple met at Penn College in the early ’90s and have been married for 22 years. Robert is a 1992 building construction technology graduate and Megan earned dental hygiene degrees in 1993 and 2001. As part of the sixth annual Sweethearts contest, the Brightbills received 292 votes (or “likes”) for their photo on Alumni Relations’ Facebook page. Ten other couples vied for the honor. Megan and Robert will return to campus soon to enjoy dinner for two in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant and an overnight stay in The Victorian House. Watch PCToday for more coverage of their visit to campus.

March 25 Event to Offer Free Preventive Dental Services to Children

Free dental care – including sealants, fluoride varnish treatments, education and screenings – will be available to children ages 7-15 on Saturday, March 25, when Pennsylvania College of Technology will be a host site for the Pennsylvania Dental Hygienists’ Association’s Sealant Saturday initiative.

Sealant Saturday events are held across the state. The Penn College event will take place 9 a.m. to noon in the college’s Dental Hygiene Clinic, which is in Room 227 on the west wing of the Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center.

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Low-Cost Dental Care Available in Penn College Dental Hygiene Clinic

Kayla M. Brensinger, a dental hygiene student from Altoona, works with a client in Penn College’s Dental Hygiene Clinic. Services available to the community include cleanings, exams, sealants and X-rays.

The dental hygiene clinic at Pennsylvania College of Technology provides preventive dental care at a nominal cost not only to Penn College students and employees, but also to patrons from surrounding communities.

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Student’s Mural Guides Cyclists Along Road to Better Health

John M. Arrigonie, lab supervisor for exercise science, and artist Lindsey Martin pause in front of the in-progress mural, which was completed between Finals Week and Winter Break.

With her own sketch to guide her, Martin adds wisps of color to a previously blank wall.

The finished mural provides a virtual destination for cycling students.

Graphic design student Lindsey Martin helped the exercise science department to transform a room formerly used to teach CPR courses. The classroom – Room 107 in Bardo Gymnasium – is now equipped for a hybrid Group Cycling and TRX Training class, taught by John M. Arrigonie, lab supervisor for exercise science. Martin has also completed murals for Schneider Electric and Whoodles, a dog grooming and training facility. In the Bardo Gym classroom, Martin’s mural is faced by cyclists on stationary bikes, so she was directed to design a scene that included a path. “I wanted it to be very vibrant,” she said, so her tree-lined path leads to a bright sunset over purple mountains.

Foundation’s Generosity Endows Scholarship, Creates Opportunity

A significant grant from the Tamaqua-based John E. Morgan Foundation will allow students from that area to enroll in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s distinctive “degrees that work.”

The nonprofit foundation’s $500,000 contribution establishes the John E. Morgan Scholarship, which will give first preference to graduates of Tamaqua Area High School who are pursuing “a degree that is not readily available from other institutions, at a comparable price, within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

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Nursing Students Travel to Guatemala Medical Clinic

Penn College student H. Alex Simcox takes a patient’s blood pressure during a study abroad experience at a medical clinic in Nueva Santa Rosa, Guatemala. He was among five Penn College students making the trip.

Five Pennsylvania College of Technology nursing students recently traveled to Guatemala, where they experienced firsthand the cultural diversity of health care that they had read about in their textbooks.

As part of a study abroad course, the students spent seven days at a medical clinic in the small community of Nueva Santa Rosa. They were accompanied by Christine B. Kavanagh, instructor of nursing programs, and joined by a larger group of volunteers from Glens Falls Medical Mission. Twice each year, the Glens Falls, New York-based group operates a weeklong medical clinic in a Nueva Santa Rosa church compound. The nearest major hospital for the community is almost two hours away.

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Students Hold Seminar on Health Information Careers

Students pursuing associate degrees in health information technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently held a seminar for other students in the major.

The focus of the seminar was job hunting and career advice. The students, all in their final semester, determined the topic and schedule and invited five speakers, four who are graduates of Penn College’s health information majors. Each offered practical guidance from the working-world perspective.

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Collaboration Helps Students Consider Accessibility in Home Design

While studying a floor plan and real world-inspired client case, Penn College students in architectural technology and occupational therapy assistant majors discuss options for making a home handicap-accessible. From left are Mackenzie L. Martin, of Thompsontown, and Jessica L. Osborne, of Cogan Station, both pursuing degrees in applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration; Jeanne L. Kerschner, director of occupational therapy assistant; Cayla L. Erisman, an architectural technology student from Johnstown; and Garrett A. Brown, a student in architectural technology from Pipersville.

Pennsylvania College of Technology students pursuing distinctively different career paths collaborated recently, learning from one another how to design homes that will be both beautiful and functional for anyone who might cross the threshold.

Architectural technology students worked with occupational therapy assistant students to modify building plans to suit real-world client-based scenarios for current or future accessibility needs, including guests who visit.

The collaboration capitalizes on both groups’ expertise: an occupational therapy assistant’s role is to help people who have a disability to do what they want and need to do. For those with physical disabilities, it could involve teaching them how to button a shirt with one hand or providing strategies and tools to get around their kitchens. Architects, meanwhile, know what building modifications are possible and how cost-effective they are.

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Penn College to Showcase ‘degrees that work’ at State Farm Show

Student Kassandra Sellinger, a culinary arts and systems student from Linden, and Chef Mike Ditchfield perform a cooking demonstration on the Culinary Connection stage at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January 2016.

Nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive entries and 300 commercial exhibits – and more than 100 rewarding career pathways uniquely represented by Pennsylvania College of Technology – will be on display as America’s largest indoor agricultural exposition celebrates its 101st anniversary next month.

In what has become a New Year’s custom, the college will show off its prestigious “degrees that work” from Jan. 7-14 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg, where visitors can get a participatory glimpse at a rewarding future.

“Attending the PA Farm Show is a beloved tradition for Penn College. During the weeklong event, Admissions, Alumni Relations and Academic Affairs will showcase all of the amazing opportunities that await students on our campuses,” said Claire Z. Biggs, coordinator of admissions events and services. “We hope that, through our hands-on activities, students, alumni and families will learn why we have so much Penn College Pride! We can’t wait to meet all of the Farm Show guests this year and share what makes applied technology education so special.”

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Case Study Aids Patient Understanding

From left: students Neil A. Ebert II, of Catawissa; Alicia A. Brant, of Mifflinburg; and Alexandra R. Harriman, of Montoursville; chest-trauma patient Wayne Brooks, his wife, Dawn, and son Joel, a part-time instructor of nursing; and students Sarah E. King, of Milton, and Kelsey J. Maneval, of McAlisterville.

A Linden-area man who survived serious chest injuries after a farm wagon rolled over him in August attended a case-study presentation made by nursing students who attended to him during his two-and-a-half week stay in Geisinger’s intensive care unit. The students were serving a rotation in Geisinger’s ICU when they encountered Wayne Brooks, who sustained 29 broken bones. Brooks’ son Joel, a part-time instructor of nursing at the college, said it’s the most severe chest trauma Geisinger has seen in a patient who survived. “A big part was the nursing staff that saved his life because they were so diligent,” said Wayne’s wife, Dawn. “Your students got to be a part of that.” Wayne Brooks, a K-12 teacher and part-time farmer, remembers the accident, calling 911 from his cellphone, shifting his position and feeling his ribs scrape together “like broken pretzels.” He can remember everything up to the time that paramedics began treating him. But he can’t remember his time in the ICU, so Joel suggested he attend the students’ presentation to learn more about what he went through. Alexandra R. Harriman was the primary student working with Brooks, who presented her first experience with a chest-trauma patient. She quickly gained experience with ventilator and chest care. “It was a very complex case,” she said. Brooks spent a total of five weeks in the hospital. When he attended the Nov. 30 presentation, he was back to farming a few hours a day, which will increase as he regains stamina and muscle strength, and looks forward to returning to teaching at Walnut Street Christian School in early 2017.

Community Outreach Turns Inward as Seniors Visit Nursing Lab

Nursing students Alexis E. Jones (left), of Watsontown, and Brittney J. Barrett, of Mill Hall, review signs that a loved one has had a stroke, FAST: Face drooping, Arm weakness and Speech difficulty, followed by Time to call 911.

Marissa N. Herb, of Williamsport, talks about the learning activities surrounding the facility’s 35 static manikins.

Samantha M. Weaver, learning laboratory coordinator for nursing education, shows the functions of SimMom, one of five high-fidelity manikins that can be programmed to imitate real health conditions.

Students and faculty from the Fundamentals of Nursing course gather with visitors from Albright Life Center.

After students in the Fundamentals of Nursing course spent the semester visiting Albright Life Center of Lycoming, the center’s clients visited the students on their own turf in the college’s Nursing Education Center. Each week, a group of four from the NUR 211 class visited the center, where they presented a health-related topic, often accompanied by a hands-on activity. Many of the clients asked the students about their education, so the students invited Albright to campus during the last week of the semester, providing a tour and mini health fair, where they reviewed the information they had presented during their earlier visits. Presentations included such practical subjects as hypertension, signs of stroke, bone and joint health, physical activity, injury prevention, home safety, and influenza prevention. Fundamentals of Nursing introduces basic principles of nursing practice. Their visits to Albright Life – a daytime care center for seniors – provided an educational opportunity for the students to go out into the community and teach, a key responsibility for working nurses.

Student Intern Coordinates Brunch for Veterans at Rose View

Air Force veteran Willie Keyes sits alongside Bradly M. Lantz, a Navy veteran and physician assistant student.

Ray Fisher, a Marine Corps veteran, shares his appreciation for the event. Next to him is health information technology student Sylvia Bidelspach, of Williamsport, who coordinated the get-together.

The group gathers for a photo.

Chet Beaver (left), financial aid specialist and veterans service coordinator for the college, jokes with Rose View residents and staff.

Rose View resident Joseph Bolden, a Navy veteran, and employee/Army veteran Jeff Fenstermacher chat during the event.

A student serving a health information internship at Rose View Center arranged a Veterans Day gathering for resident veterans to swap stories with student veterans from Penn College, as well as veterans on the nursing facility’s staff. Five students – members of Omega Delta Sigma veterans fraternity and the Veterans Club – ate brunch Friday with eight residents. Health information technology student Sylvia B. Bidelspach suggested and coordinated the event to provide a forum for younger generations to learn from the older group. In addition to brunch, Bidelspach arranged for musical entertainment by her grandmother, professional vocalist/pianist Coleen Renshaw. The Penn College veterans groups, with veterans services specialist Chet Beaver at the helm, presented a photo collage of the large American flag on campus to the nursing facility. The collage was made by photographer and Penn College alumnus and retiree Fred Gilmour.