News about Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies

Students Take Direct Route From Competition to Community Service

Representing Penn College at a recent woodsmen’s meet in North Carolina, as well as in a gratifying demonstration of community service on the way home, were (from left) students Kristin E. Cavanaugh, Bellefonte; Aaron V. Jedrziewski, Williamsport; and Jackson H. Gehris, Cogan Station; G. Andrew Bartholomay, assistant professor of forest technology; and students Levi J. Weidner, Mechanicsburg; William A. Morrow, Newville; Tyler W. Lauver, Mifflinburg; Abigail L. Hufnagle, Lewisburg; and Derick S. Gower, Sunbury.

Returning from an Oct. 7 woodsmen’s competition in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, the Pennsylvania College of Technology Forestry Club – conveniently toting the tools that had earlier brought many of the students individual honors – put their skills to work in a much-appreciated display of public assistance.

Eight members of the club’s Woodsman Team had journeyed to The Cradle of Forestry to compete in the 22nd annual John Palmer Intercollegiate Woodsmen’s Meet, the third consecutive year that Penn College students made the trip. While the students comported themselves admirably in their respective events, the collective Good Samaritan act that followed left no axes to grind.

“Interestingly, the chopping didn’t stop with the conclusion of the meet,” said coach and club adviser G. Andrew Bartholomay, an assistant professor of forest technology. “After breaking camp Saturday night and heading home, the team happened upon a large, dead hemlock tree that had fallen and was blocking the Pisgah Highway. Under the headlights of two college vans and several other trapped cars, the Woodsman Team went to work chopping and clearing the obstruction.”

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Resilient Student Achieves Goal With John Deere Position

“I just knew this was where I was supposed to be,” Hanna J. Williams says of Penn College, which attracted her through small class sizes and personal interaction with faculty and fellow students. (Photo by Tia G. La, student photographer)

Approximately 200 employers greeted the sophomore at her first Pennsylvania College of Technology career fair. As an industrial design major, the student could approach numerous companies representing all economic sectors. But her focus was the booth decked out in yellow and green, the iconic colors of John Deere.

Hanna J. Williams fell in love with John Deere tractors while growing up on her family’s 800-acre produce farm in Marion, New York. She dreamed of working at the company responsible for the equipment that made her father’s hard farm work a bit easier.

At the career fair, she planned to take the first step to making that dream a reality. She clutched her impressive resume and confidently approached the John Deere booth. Anticipation quickly turned to dejection when company representatives informed her they were recruiting only welding majors.

“They didn’t want anything to do with me,” she recalled.

Crushed, Williams walked away from the booth … but not her dream. “I had to go back,” she said. “This is what I really wanted.”

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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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‘Career Day’ Opens Doors of Exploration for Curious Teens

Automated manufacturing technology student Aren T. Way (right) of Jersey Shore, demonstrates an industrial-scale robot during a session on “Industrial Robotics, Hydraulics and Pneumatics, and CNC Machine Tools.”

More than 900 high schoolers, hailing from 28 school districts, spent Thursday on campus for the College Transitions Office’s Career Day. Faculty and students from all six of the college’s academic schools and all three campuses spent their Fall Break day off providing close to 50 career-exploration sessions for the visitors, exposing them to dozens of the college’s “degrees that work” offerings. A few of the districts traveled as much as two hours to attend. Among the highlights was a half-day session by the Penn College accounting, finance and business administration departments and the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants that featured not only information about Penn College’s technology-laden degrees, but talks by guest speakers Michael Colgan, CEO of PICPA, and Joseph Siebert, president of PICPA, about future work in these fields as firms must protect clients’ financial information, and accountants can aid investigations via “forensic accounting.” Following the presentations and a Q&A with a panel of Penn College accounting and finance students, the 200 high school participants attended an etiquette lunch in the Field House.

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Last updated October 13, 2017 | Posted in Business & Hospitality, College Transitions, Construction & Design Technologies, Events, Faculty & Staff, Health Sciences, Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications, Students, Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies | This gallery contains 19 photos. | Tagged as | Leave a comment

Enlightening Alumni Among Homecoming VIPs

Alumni often attend Homecoming to reunite with classmates, revisit faculty who steered them toward vocational success and unwind among friends before the alarm clock resounds. Graduates of Penn College and its predecessors frequently return for another reason, as was seen this past week: to share life lessons from the working world.

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New Metal Fabrication Degree Doubles Down on Student Skills

Penn College is promoting versatile manufacturing skills with a new associate degree in metal fabrication technology. The unique, two-year program provides students with foundational skills in machining and welding, which prepares them for a variety of rewarding manufacturing careers. “One reoccuring theme that I heard from students when I was in welding was they wanted to learn how to machine. And then when I taught classes in machining, I heard them saying they wanted to learn how to weld,” says Howard W. Troup, maintenance mechanic/millwright specialist in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. “I would ask employers that were looking for either a welder or a machining person, ‘What if you had a person that had both those skill sets?’ And their eyes would just light up and they would say, ‘That would be fantastic!'”

Board Re-Elects Officers, Views Design for Welding Expansion

In the lone action item on Thursday’s agenda, the Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors retained its slate of officers for 2017-18. The board also was presented with design plans for the grant-funded expansion of the college’s popular welding program.

Sen. Gene Yaw was re-elected chair of the board. Robert N. Pangborn, vice chair, and Joseph J. Doncsecz, treasurer, retain their roles, as well. Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour will continue to function as secretary to the board. Suzanne T. Stopper remains assistant treasurer, and Valerie A. Baier continues as assistant secretary.

The board heard a presentation from Dave Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies, and Benedict H. Dubbs, owner of Murray Associates Architects, Harrisburg, on the design for the expansion of the college’s welding facility, made possible in part by a $2 million grant provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The expansion increases the size of welding-related instructional space in the Avco-Lycoming Metal Trades Center to approximately 40,000 square feet.

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Penn College Welding Student Saves Tractor Pull

The welding skills of Robert S. Barnes, a Penn College student from Montoursville, saved the day for participants and spectators at a recent tractor pull event in the area. (Photo by James "J.J." Boettcher, student photographer)

Robert S. Barnes is a self-described perfectionist. The welding student at Pennsylvania College of Technology says he strives to make the next bead better than the last until it’s perfect.

The result of one of his recent welds was perfect. So was his timing. Barnes employed his skills to ensure the continuation of a tractor and truck pull competition during Heritage Days at Antes Fort. Thanks to his effort, participants and a couple thousand spectators were treated to a complete event with little delay.

“He saved us probably an hour before we could get a trailer in and weld the broken piece ourselves,” said Dan Wenner, president of Antes Fort Tractor and Truck Pullers Inc. “We still had a couple hours to go in the event.”

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Penn College Plastics Students Honored with Scholarships

Penn College students who recently received scholarships from the Society of Plastics Engineers include (from left) Rebecca J. Brown, of Conneaut Lake; Nicholas C. Moore, of Lock Haven; and Heather C. Fennell, of Hawley. All three students are seeking bachelor’s degrees in plastics and polymer engineering technology.

The leading technical society for the plastics industry has recognized three Pennsylvania College of Technology students as part of its 2017 scholarship program.

Plastics and polymer engineering technology students Rebecca J. Brown, of Conneaut Lake; Heather C. Fennell, of Hawley; and Nicholas C. Moore, of Lock Haven, received scholarships from the Society of Plastics Engineers. With more than 22,500 members in 84 countries, SPE promotes scientific and engineering knowledge related to plastics.

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Penn College Plastics Student Receives Additional Scholarships

Logan A. Tate

A Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics student has added to his impressive list of national scholarships.

The Society of Plastics Engineers recently announced that Logan A. Tate, of Williamsport, is the recipient of several scholarships for 2017. The plastics and polymer engineering technology major has been honored with the Blow Molding Division W. Muller Scholarship ($3,000), the Flexible Packaging Division Scholarship ($2,500), the Polymer Modifiers & Additives Division Scholarship ($2,000) and the Thermoplastic Elastomers SIG Scholarship ($1,000).

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Electrical Students Display Skills in Industry-Sponsored Contest

From left: Nick Smith, of Schaedler Yesco Distribution; electrical technology majors Tyler W. Lauver and Theodore C. Reynolds III; and James Knight, of IDEAL.

About a dozen Penn College students in electrical-related majors tested their skills during a recent IDEAL National Championship qualifying event on campus. Created to promote electrical careers, the competition required students to cut, strip, terminate and test using professional tools from IDEAL Industries Inc. Students were timed on how quickly they completed various tasks. Electrical technology majors Theodore C. Reynolds III, of Muncy, and Tyler W. Lauver, of Mifflinburg, recorded the fastest times at the event. Reynolds clocked in at 83 seconds and Lauver finished in 93 seconds. While the impressive times didn’t qualify the students for the next stage of the national competition, Reynolds received an electrical fish tape for his first-place showing.
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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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IT Students Featured on Panel at Industry Festival

Penn College information technology students (from left) Timothy M. Kainzbauer, of Mifflinburg; Matthew J. Danner, of Old Forge; James C. Temoshenko, of Kane; and John J. Aumiller, of Beavertown; conduct a panel discussion at MAGLabs, a festival devoted to video-game fandom, in Alexandria, Va.

Four Pennsylvania College of Technology information technology students shared their expertise during a panel discussion at a recent festival devoted to video- game fandom.

Timothy M. Kainzbauer, of Mifflinburg; Matthew J. Danner, of Old Forge; James C. Temoshenko, of Kane; and John J. Aumiller, of Beavertown, discussed resources and software available to independent game developers during MAGLabs in Alexandria, Virginia. The three-day event brought together video-game celebrities, developers, students and fans to celebrate the industry and showcase ways to impact game culture.

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Well-Rounded: Campus Involvement Reflects Appreciation for Life

Hanna Williams. Photo by Tia G. La

From the Fall 2017 Penn College Magazine: Student-athlete Hanna Williams’ farming childhood established her work ethic; tragedy inspired her to make the most of her student experience. Read “Well-Rounded.”

Plastics Professionals Converge on Penn College Campus

Mark Strachan (in green shirt), senior technology director for First Quality Packaging Solutions in West Palm Beach, Florida, and former chairman of the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division, reviews results of a temperature change with participants at the Eighth Annual National Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop at Penn College’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

Plastics professionals representing 13 companies, nine states and Canada attended the Eighth Annual National Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

Mark Strachan, senior technology director for First Quality Packaging Solutions in West Palm Beach, Florida, and former chairman of the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division, served as keynote instructor for the 24 participants. Penn College faculty and staff assisted Strachan throughout the three-day workshop.

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Pennsylvania College of Technology is a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University