News about Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology

‘bots Do Battle in ‘Fall Brawl’

There's a lot of serious work before the fun begins!

Nearly 30 battle-ready robots – painstakingly designed, fabricated and tested by Pennsylvania College of Technology students – squared off in the recent “Fall Brawl 2016” robotic design competition in the college’s Field House. Sponsored by the Student Wildcats of Robotic Design, the knockout tournament pitted “beetleweight” robots (weighing 1 to 3 pounds) against one another before a campus and community audience. “The event was a resounding success, with enough robots to keep the action going for the whole day,” said S.W.O.R.D.’s Timothy R. Thompson, an electronics and computer engineering technology major from Stephens City, Virginia. “The students are currently improving their robots, and the next event will be even more ‘destructive.’ As the event gains recognition, more and more outside people will be in attendance to test our members’ designs.” Winners in the 3-pound category were Don Doerfler, “Circuit Breaker,” first; Nate Franklin, “Thunder Child,” second; and William Hayden, “Wildcat1,” third. Placing in the 1-pound category were Franklin, “Slim Pickens,” first; Stanley Bohenek, “Discharge,” second; and David Probst, “Ready or Not,” third. Organizers said the event will definitely become an annual one, with another open competition to be scheduled in the spring.

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Center Hosts ‘Maker Week’ for Early Elementary Students

Children smile at a freshly printed toy.

Before they headed back to elementary school, a group of children at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Dunham Children’s Learning Center got a hands-on taste of the technical world, exploring how things are made.

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Penn College Freshmen Bring National FBLA Ranking

Penn College students Joseph C. Lusk (left), of Linden, and Austin J. Way, of Jersey Shore, were part of a three-person team from Jersey Shore Area Senior High School taking second place in a network design competition held at the 2016 Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference.

Two freshmen students at Pennsylvania College of Technology capped their high-school careers in impressive fashion. They earned a second-place showing at the 2016 Future Business Leaders of America National Leadership Conference in Atlanta.

Joseph C. Lusk, of Linden, and Austin J. Way, of Jersey Shore, were part of a three-person team from Jersey Shore Area Senior High School in FBLA’s network design competition, one of 65 business-related events.

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Robots Go Head-to-Head in Student-Hosted Competition

Attending to details are William C. Hayden, of Greensburg, an engineering design technology major ...

,,, and Alexander J. Horne, a manufacturing engineering technology student from West Chester.

'bots ready for battle

Assembled in College Avenue Labs are (foreground, from left) Matthew A. Semmel, of Palmerton, engineering design technology; Kaylee R. Tressler, of Howard, electronics and computer engineering technology; Brandon T. Russell, of Nottingham, engineering design technology; and Timothy R. Thompson, Stephens City, Va., electronics and computer engineering technology. At rear is Michael E. Zalatan, an information technology: network specialist concentration major from Center Valley.

Sparks fly in the competitive arena.

The Student Wildcats of Robotic Design, a revitalized campus organization centered in Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, hosted a robotics competition in College Avenue Labs earlier this month. About a dozen robots, built by students from S.W.O.R.D. and members of the community, were entered in the head-to-head “Wildcat Battle of the Bots.” S.W.O.R.D., which secretary Briana L. Sheehan said looks forward to growing as a club after a period of inactivity, is open to all Penn College students. No experience with engineering or robot-building is required, noted the club officer, an engineering CAD technology student from Windber.
Photos by Caleb G. Schirmer, student photographer

Alumnus Establishes Penn College Scholarship

Paul and Erika Sykes

An alumnus of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s forerunner is supporting the future of the school with a new scholarship.

Paul and Erika Sykes, of Royal Oak, Michigan, have established a scholarship through a bequest in their will. The scholarship will benefit graduates of Williamsport Area High School who enroll at Penn College.

Paul Sykes is a 1988 graduate of the former Williamsport Area Community College, where he earned an associate degree in electronics technology.

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Cisco Academy Hosts Alumnus’ Presentation

Daniel J. Clarke, among the Penn College alumni who frequently (and magnanimously) return to campus for current students' benefit

PowerPoint slides depict a global explosion of information and the technology needed to manage it, creating a need for careers beyond imagination.

Clarke's return visit, one of many he has made since his 2007 graduation, was organized by faculty member Jeff Weaver (left).

Daniel J. Clarke, a systems engineer for Cisco Systems who earned four information technology degrees from Penn College in 2007, returned Thursday to share his knowledge on “the Internet of Things” and provide tips on how to be successful in the information technology field. Clarke’s real-world insight, shared in a Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center classroom, was facilitated by Jeff Weaver, associate professor of electronics. Penn College is a Cisco Networking Academy that offers classes to prepare students for Cisco Certified Network Associate.  For more information about Cisco certifications or how to schedule for a class, stop by Weaver’s office (Center for Business & Workforce Development, Room 156), or contact him at 326-3761, ext. 7702, or by e-mail.
Photos by Becky J. Shaner, alumni relations specialist

Number of ‘Tech Scholars’ Grows at Penn College

Penn College Tech Scholars include (from left): Logan T. Beidleman, Hope Mills, N.C.; Nicholas C. Moore, Lock Haven; Kelsey L. Shaak, Quakertown; Brandon A. Biesecker, Waynesboro; Connor L. Winslow, Blanchard; Christopher R. Zimpelman, Reading; Alexander M. Barlow, Hanover; Ethan M. Yoder, Denver; and Colton A. Laughman, New Oxford. Not pictured: Rylee A. Butler, Bellefonte; Margot S. Rinehart, Downingtown; and Thomas P. Tyler, Vienna, Md. (Photo by David S. Richards, professor of physics)

With support from the National Science Foundation, the number of Tech Scholars at Pennsylvania College of Technology continues to grow. Eight new students in STEM majors have been awarded scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years.

Those students join four returning scholarship recipients from 2014, the first year of a five-year grant designed to increase retention, degree completion and career preparation for students in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies.

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DCED Gets Firsthand Look at College’s Responsiveness to Industry

Anne K. Soucy, assistant professor of plastics technology, and Gary E. McQuay, engineering manager for the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center, show visitors the afternoon project for students in the Blow Molding course.

Dave Cotner, dean of industrial, computing & engineering technologies, talks about the college’s automated manufacturing and machining majors.

Front row: Shannon M. Munro, executive director of Penn College Workforce Development & Continuing Education, and Carol Kilko, special assistant for DCED’s Agency Development Initiatives; second row: Neil Weaver, executive deputy secretary for DCED, Tracy L. Brundage, the college’s vice president for workforce development, and Steve D’Ettorre, director of policy for DCED; back row, David C. Pistner, director of special projects for Penn College Workforce Development & Continuing Education, and Tom Venditti, director of WEDnetPA.

Representatives of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community & Economic Development toured several areas of Penn College’s campuses Tuesday. The contingent was hosted by Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College. Throughout their visit, they saw firsthand the hands-on learning taking place in the college’s labs and learned how the college works with industry, the college benefiting from industry input on curriculum as well as in-kind and monetary donations, and industry benefiting from knowledgeable graduates and customized training and product-development support. Tour stops included the Schneebeli Earth Science Center; Energy Technology & Education Center; Plastics Innovation & Resource Center; and the advanced manufacturing, rapid prototyping, welding, machining, mechatronics, well-trainer, plastics, and electronics and computer engineering labs.

Benton Foundry Endows Scholarship at Penn College

From left, Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations at Penn College, and members of the Hall family who have owned Benton Foundry for nearly 60 years: Kimberly Kindler, JoAnn Hall and Jeff Hall, company president.

A family-owned business spanning three generations is making a financial commitment to the next generation of Pennsylvania College of Technology students.

Benton Foundry Inc. recently endowed a scholarship, mainly for students in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies.

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Graduation Ends (for Now) Family’s 20-Year History at Penn College

The Bird family, of Canton, has sent five sons to Penn College since 1995. From left, Ross; Guston; their mother, Janice; Mitchell; their father, the late James ("Jim"); Jennings; and Seth.

When T. Mitchell Bird walks across the Community Arts Center’s stage on May 16 and receives a bachelor’s degree, he will turn the page toward a new life and end one of the longest, unique chapters in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s history.

Mitchell will become the last of five siblings to earn a degree from the college. Since 1995, at least one “Bird brother” has been enrolled at the institution. Counting Mitchell’s pending graduation, the five brothers, all Dean’s List students, have earned eight degrees.

“Some people will say they can’t afford Penn College. I say, ‘You cannot afford not to go to Penn College,’” says matriarch Janice Bird, 69. “You get a good job in your field after you graduate. All our boys are doing well. They received an education to obtain not only a beginning position, but they all moved up. I’m 100-percent Penn College.”

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Chevron Provides $60,000 for Scholarships to ShaleNET Partners

As part of its $20 million Appalachia Partnership Initiative, Chevron Corp. will provide $60,000 for scholarships to the four colleges in the ShaleNET grant consortium, including Pennsylvania College of Technology.

ShaleNET features participation from Penn College, the grant administrator; Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood; Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas; and Stark State College, Canton, Ohio. Key employers participating in ShaleNET include Chevron, Shell, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Chesapeake Energy, XTO and Encana.

Penn College will use $9,000 of $15,000 provided by Chevron to offer scholarships for  Roustabout training that prepares participants for entry-level careers in the natural gas industry. The remaining $6,000 will be designated for scholarship assistance to students enrolled in the college’s mechatronics engineering technology associate-degree major, which integrates electrical, mechanical and computer engineering into one field, offering various options for careers in manufacturing and the natural gas industry.

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Articulation Agreements Reached With Corning Community College

Richard K. Hendricks Jr., left, instructor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing at Penn College, leads a Spring 2014 tour of College Avenue Labs for Corning Community College’s Michael Reynolds, center, associate professor of math/physics/technology, and Dale Crandall, assistant professor of mechanical technology.

Pennsylvania College of Technology and Corning Community College have approved several articulation agreements.

Corning students will be able to plan their transfer to Penn College with minimal loss of credit and complete a degree at  Penn College’s in-state tuition rate. To receive the tuition discount, students must earn an associate degree from Corning in a major that has been aligned with a four-year pathway at Penn College.

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Academic Mentors Provide Resource for Student Success

Joshua I. Bobenrieth, a recent electronics and computer engineering technology graduate from Port Allegany, meets with his academic mentor, Karen E. Wright, a graduation assistant in the Registrar's Office.

For a first-year college student, stepping onto a new campus and beginning classes can be overwhelming. For a returning student, an unsuccessful first semester can add a lot of pressure, especially if the student is not certain how to avoid making the same mistakes.

At Pennsylvania College of Technology, an academic mentoring program is designed to help those students.

Joshua I. Bobenrieth, of Port Allegany, graduated in May with a degree in electronics and computer engineering technology, a faculty award and a plan to continue his education in aerospace engineering. But in his first semester, he was anything but confident.

“I was having a hard time adjusting to college life,” he said. “After a few weeks, I was stressed and needed help, so I asked my instructor and was directed to the mentor program.”

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The Power of an Ally: Academic Mentors Provide Another Resource for Success

Joshua I. Bobenrieth meets with his academic mentor, Karen E. Wright, a graduation assistant in the Registrar's Office.

Human services student Stacey L. French, right, praises the support of her mentor Katie L. Mackey, coordinator of commuter services, who encouraged her when she could just as easily given up.

A student faced with leaving school remains, thanks in large part to an academic mentor who went the extra mile to seek help from other staff. Academic mentors are Penn College employees who volunteer to meet regularly with students who seek guidance and moral support. Read the full story in the Fall 2014 One College Avenue.

National Science Foundation Grant to Support ‘STEM’ Majors

The National Science Foundation is recognizing Pennsylvania College of Technology’s commitment to applied technology education with a $616,417 grant to benefit students.

Provided through the NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program, the five-year grant aims to increase retention, degree completion and career preparation for students in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies at Penn College.

The majority of the grant’s funds will be devoted to scholarships. Approximately 20 students will be awarded scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years. The first scholarships will be awarded during the 2014-15 academic year.

“This grant allows us to bring high-performing students to Penn College who might otherwise not have the means to do so,” said Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost. “It is likely to be a life-changing opportunity for these students. They will ultimately gain an education that will prepare them for a lifetime of success.”

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