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Haas Foundation assists Penn College manufacturing talent

Ken Wawrzyniak, sales engineer for Haas Factory Outlet, presents a $15,000 grant check to Pennsylvania College of Technology on behalf of the Gene Haas Foundation. The grant will support scholarships for manufacturing students, as well as student competition teams. Accepting the grant on behalf of Penn College are Richard K. Hendricks, instructor and department head of automated manufacturing and machining, and Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations.

A foundation dedicated to growing the next generation of manufacturing talent has bestowed a $15,000 grant to Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The Gene Haas Foundation awarded the grant to support scholarships and student competition teams at Penn College. Students seeking a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology, an associate degree in automated manufacturing technology or machine tool technology, or a machinist general certificate are eligible for the scholarships. Recipients will be selected by the college.

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‘PA Build My Future’ extends its reach in Year Two

About 75 current Penn College students, eager cheerleaders all, sacrificed part of Fall Break to advocate for their chosen career paths.

Penn College’s second annual PA Build My Future event, an interactive academic and industry showcase on Thursday, provided more than 900 high-school students with an opportunity to experience the full range of possibilities in the construction and design field. Scores of current students in the School of Construction & Design Technologies joined faculty and administrators, along with many of the college’s commercial benefactors, in guiding visitors toward their potential careers.

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining Faculty & Staff Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Students

College group spends Manufacturing Day at company’s up-to-date facility

The Penn College contingent joins its Acero Precision hosts to memorialize the visit.
The Penn College contingent joins its Acero Precision hosts to memorialize the visit.
Students talk with Michael Mannion (right), manufacturing engineering manager for Acero's Mazak Mill Cell.
Students talk with Michael Mannion (right), manufacturing engineering manager for Acero’s Mazak Mill Cell.

Penn College students and faculty were among those who visited Acero Precision for the recent observance of Manufacturing Day, a national initiative to promote manufacturing as a career choice. Located in an 80,000-square-foot facility in West Chester, Acero is a premier manufacturer of precision components for the medical device, industrial, analytical and motorsport industries. “We are proud to be leading the country’s most talented group of engineers, machinists and craftspeople in the industry,” said Michael A. Fitzgerald, Acero’s president and CEO – and a member of the college’s Automated Manufacturing and Machining Advisory Committee. “We love the opportunity to show off our state-of-the-art facilities and all the hard work our team has put in to keep American manufacturing alive and well.” Students from a variety of majors were accompanied by faculty members Paul W. Albright and Krishna C. Vistarakula, instructors of manufacturing engineering technology; and Shane A. Schreck, instructor of engineering design technology.
Photos provided

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Partnership extends scholarship support to ‘YES’ program grads

A partnership between Pennsylvania College of Technology and the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council is creating a scholarship opportunity for YES (Your Employability Skills) Northeast Program graduates who enroll at the college. Administered by the council, YES is a year-round elective course addressing the shortfall of basic skills that employers say are lacking in many job applicants. Celebrating the partnership recently are (from left) Carolyn R. Strickland, vice president for enrollment management/associate provost at Penn College; Courtney L. Fasnacht, executive director of the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council; NEPA MAEC President Darlene J. Robbins; Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour; Matt Shuey, communications and program director for the council; and Audriana L. Empet, the college’s director of admissions.

The Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Council and Pennsylvania College of Technology have announced a partnership and a scholarship opportunity for YES (Your Employability Skills) Northeast Program graduates.

YES, which is administered by the council, is a 120-hour, one-credit, year-round elective course that addresses the shortfall of basic skills that employers say are lacking in many job applicants.  The course covers 38 modules in all, including communication, team building, interview/resume/cover letter writing, completing a job application, personal finance, conflict resolution, and time management.

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Alumni Automated Manufacturing & Machining Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies

Penn College grad preserves history at the Smithsonian

Pennsylvania College of Technology graduate Daniel J. Ravizza has combined his technical skills and lifelong love of history in serving as an objects conservator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, the annex of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Standing 6-foot-5 and dressed in a dark blue lab coat accessorized by purple latex gloves and safety glasses, the Pennsylvania College of Technology graduate resembles a bookish superhero rather than a federal contractor.

Daniel J. Ravizza’s appearance is appropriate for his domain. All sorts of aircraft representing various eras of aviation extend from the ceiling of the hangar-like facility. An old Eastern Airlines plane is stationed behind him. A short walk from his lab counter reveals the Space Shuttle Discovery in all its glory.

His duties reflect the unique environment. One day, Ravizza moves Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit. The next, he examines clothing belonging to famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. Later, he handles unopened cans of space food, once belonging to cosmonauts.

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Student interaction among highlights of legislative visit

Stopping for a photo op at the Gold Rush Excavator are (from left) Everett, Gilmour, Cutler, Smeltz and Yaw.
Stopping for a photo op at the Gold Rush Excavator are (from left) Everett, Gilmour, Cutler, Smeltz and Yaw.
During his travels, Cutler enjoyed interactions with students who reside in or near his legislative district, including baking and pastry arts students Rebecca High (left), of Willow Street, and Alana L. LaPenta, of Lemoyne.
During his travels, Cutler enjoyed interactions with students who reside in or near his legislative district, including baking and pastry arts students Rebecca High (left), of Willow Street, and Alana L. LaPenta, of Lemoyne.
In the manufacturing lab, Cutler learns about the mechanics of BAJA team racing from students including John D. Kleinfelter (center in red shirt), a manufacturing engineering student from Lebanon.
In the manufacturing lab, Cutler learns about the mechanics of BAJA team racing from students including John D. Kleinfelter (center in red shirt), a manufacturing engineering student from Lebanon.
The tour winds its way through the new welding expansion. Cutler’s late father was a welder, so he held a keen interest in the facility and the skill.
The tour winds its way through the new welding expansion. Cutler’s late father was a welder, so he held a keen interest in the facility and the skill.
Back to his roots, Cutler visits the radiography lab to hear about advances in technologies from Christine L. Eckenrod, the college’s new director of radiography.
Back to his roots, Cutler visits the radiography lab to hear about advances in technologies from Christine L. Eckenrod, the college’s new director of radiography.

State Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), the second-highest ranking member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, visited Penn College on Thursday. Cutler, serving his first term as majority leader, was accompanied on the tour – which took in a number of instructional areas of main campus – by Jacob G. Smeltz, his chief of staff, as well as two members of the college’s board of directors: Sen. Gene Yaw, chair, and Rep. Garth Everett. President Davie Jane Gilmour and other members of the college administration (including Michael J. Reed, vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Patrick Marty, chief of staff) welcomed the guests, and various deans and faculty members led Cutler through The Victorian House, welding and metal fabrication, advanced manufacturing, automotive restoration, culinary arts and hospitality, plastics and polymer engineering, and several majors in the School of Nursing & Health Sciences. Cutler started his career in radiography, earning a certificate from Lancaster General School of Radiology. He worked as an X-ray technologist before earning a health care management degree from Lebanon Valley College and working as an administrator in his local hospital’s radiology department. He later earned a law degree, focused on health care law, from Widener Law School and has served in the Legislature since 2007. The day’s itinerary also included lunch at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant and a chance to see the Gold Rush Excavator on a nearby parking lot.

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College among regional assets touted for industrial visitors

Biddle leads visitors through the Thermoforming Center of Excellence.
Biddle leads visitors through the Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

Site selectors for business and industry, who arrived in Williamsport late last week for a four-day assessment of the region’s educational, health care and recreational attributes, visited Penn College on Monday. Led by a contingent of campus leaders, the guests toured plastics, automated manufacturing, welding, collision repair and automotive restoration labs, and enjoyed lunch at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. Eyewitness News’ Morgan Parrish was among those accompanying the group, and – in a piece that led the evening’s 5:30 newscasts on WBRE/WYOU – interviewed Michael Quint, managing director at Newmark Knight Frank; Jared Grissinger, project manager for the Governor’s Action Team; and Jason Fink, president/CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, for their perspective. Also included in the broadcast was footage of Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations; David R. Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies; Shannon M. Munro, vice president for workforce development; and Spencer L. Cotner, of Muncy, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major and research assistant at the college’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center. The visit, which began at the Little League Baseball World Series over the weekend, concludes with Tuesday stops at UPMC Susquehanna and Lycoming College.

Automated Manufacturing & Machining Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies STEM Students

Penn College manufacturing students to study in Germany    

Thanks to a National Science Foundation grant, 10 Pennsylvania College of Technology manufacturing students and two faculty will be able to study for 16 days in Germany, a world leader in computer numerical control technology.

The National Science Foundation reaffirmed its confidence in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s efforts to combat the manufacturing skills gap by providing a supplemental grant to facilitate study abroad in Germany.

The grant will cover the cost of sending 10 Penn College manufacturing students and two faculty to Germany next summer to receive training at the Eckert International Vocational School and various companies on the cutting edge of computer numerical control and automation technology.

The 16-day trip will include hands-on experiences with tools used in the product development process; software operating milling, turning and multitasking machines; and robotic systems employed in the manufacturing industry.

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining Industrial Design Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies STEM Students Welding

Penn College students dominate manufacturing scholarship list

Pennsylvania College of Technology

A foundation promoting manufacturing careers awarded one-third of its recent scholarships to Pennsylvania College of Technology students.

A dozen Penn College students were among 36 nationwide who received manufacturing scholarships from Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs. The scholarships, valued between $1,500 and $2,500, are for Fall 2019.

“I couldn’t be prouder,” said David R. Cotner, dean of Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, which is home to the recipients’ majors. “To have the college dominate a national scholarship list speaks volumes about the quality of our students and our various academic programs.”

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining Engineering Design Technology Industrial Design Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Students

Penn College students earn industry certifications

Pennsylvania College of Technology engineering design students, as well as students from several other majors, distinguished themselves by passing prominent industry certification exams related to computer-aided design during the 2018-19 academic year.

Most of the students became certified SolidWorks associates, while two students added certifications for AutoCAD and Autodesk Inventor, respectively.

“Encouraging students to obtain CAD certifications is a standard practice within our department,” said Katherine A. Walker, assistant professor of engineering design technology. “Their performance on the exams validates their skill sets, reflects their hard work in class and reveals their dedication to their future profession. The certifications help them stand out in the job market upon graduation.”

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Mechatronics grad sets his sights on prevention

... and interviews Troup during her May visit.
… and interviews Troup during her May visit.
Reiner talks with Witmer ...
Reiner talks with Witmer …

Anne Reiner of the On the Pulse local news site visited campus recently to interview Ryan M. Witmer, a mechatronics technology student from Lancaster County. Reiner watched Witmer employ various diagnostic tools to monitor the performance of Penn College’s roll-fed thermoformer and discussed with him the unique major, which combines electrical, mechanical and computer engineering into one field. Reiner also explored mechatronics with one of Witmer’s teachers: Howard W. Troup, instructor of automated manufacturing and machining. “Everything that I learned in high school was, ‘I needed to fix it,'” says Witmer, who graduated with high honors on May 17. “Here, I can build it … I can fix it … I can, you know, prevent it from being broken in the first place.” The new alumnus is employed as an assembly technician for Astro Machine Works in Ephrata.

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Career Day sets middle schoolers’ sights on tomorrow

Led by Franklin H. Reber, instructor of building construction technology, and students, Career Day visitors create concrete stepping stones.

College employees rallied to provide nearly 40 educational sessions for middle schoolers from across the region who visited campus on Monday for the college’s twice-a-year Career Day. Facilitated by the college’s College Transitions Office, the event provided 1,267 students with opportunities to explore a wide variety of careers in each of the college’s six academic schools. Visitors included 13 schools and home-schooled students.

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining Faculty & Staff Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies STEM Students

Penn College student manufactures bass guitar

Finding harmony between music and manufacturing

A manufacturing engineering technology student at Pennsylvania College of Technology hit the right note with his senior project – literally.

Jaron A. Williams, of Lopez, spent countless hours during the academic year combining his twin passions of manufacturing and music to create a functional bass guitar.

“When he submitted this as a proposal, I said ‘yes,’ but I told him he would have to play it during his presentation,” noted John M. Good, instructor of automated manufacturing and machining. “He did. It sounded great! As he played, he demonstrated various technical aspects and sound-quality controls of his guitar. The audience was amazed.”

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies STEM Students

Penn College receives NSF grant to combat skills gap

Pennsylvania College of Technology is addressing the manufacturing skills gap with the help of a $591,924 grant awarded through the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program. The grant will fund several initiatives over the next three years aimed at students, teachers and school counselors.

Unfilled manufacturing jobs through 2028 may total 2.4 million, threatening the health of the industry and the U.S. economy. With help from the National Science Foundation, Pennsylvania College of Technology is addressing that dire skills gap estimated by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute.

The NSF recently awarded the college a $591,924 grant through its Advanced Technological Education program to increase the number of qualified workers in advanced manufacturing. The money will fund several initiatives during the next three years aimed at students, teachers and school counselors.

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining Engineering Design Technology Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies STEM Students

Student-designed transmission passes test for Baja SAE team

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s entry in Baja SAE Tennessee Tech finished eighth out of 96 cars in the endurance-race portion of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ recent event in Cookeville, Tenn.

Months of painstaking work resulted in an impressive showing on the international stage for Pennsylvania College of Technology at the recent Society of Automotive Engineers’ event in Cookeville, Tennessee.

Featuring a new, student-designed continuously variable transmission, the college’s single-seat, off-road vehicle finished eighth out of 96 cars in the endurance race at Baja SAE Tennessee Tech. It’s the college’s eighth top 10 finish in the race – considered Baja SAE’s marquee event – since 2011.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way our car performed with the new CVT,” said John G. Upcraft, instructor of manufacturing and machining and adviser to the college’s Baja SAE club. “We were one of the fastest 10 cars. Nobody pulled away from us. We most likely would have finished higher if the race wasn’t shortened. We usually do our best in the last hour of the event.”

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