News about Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology

Students Attend Pre-Eminent Electrical Trade Show

Students pause for a Hershey Lodge photo during a busy trade-show visit.

Electrical technology and mechatronics engineering technology students attended the Schaedler Yesco Expo 2018 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center on Wednesday. The expo is the premier electrical trade show in Central Pennsylvania, with more than 100 booths from prominent manufacturers. The event also provided more than 70 industry-related seminars and hands-on labs that students could attend. The students, instructed by Jon W. Hart and Vince R. Fagnano from the electrical technologies/occupations faculty, had a chance to examine the latest automation and control products from Rockwell Automation and other leading manufacturers.
Photo provided

Penn College Student Gives Life to Robot

A "wired glove” created by Penn College student David M. Slotnicki, of Oil City, allows him to manipulate the arm of a robot.

Darkness envelops the college. The campus mall is quiet and still. It’s the middle of the week and nearly 1 o’clock in the morning. Most of the Pennsylvania College of Technology community will be asleep for several more hours, recharging for another productive day.

But a couple electronics majors are wide awake. Their windowless lab is bright and buzzing with activity. An unsuspecting guest would assume it’s the middle of the afternoon as the students painstakingly contemplate their latest challenge.

Among them is junior David M. Zlotnicki. He is tired and has an analog systems class in eight hours. He’s also not leaving the lab for the comforts of bed. Zlotnicki is on a roll.

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Thirteen Students Selected for Penn College NOW Scholarships

Penn College presented scholarships to 13 first-year students who took Penn College NOW courses. From left are Tavor T. Wadsworth, of Williamsport; Vincent R. Keene, of Downingtown; Kayley E. Johnson, of Bloomsburg; Monica A. McCarty, Penn College’s dual enrollment specialist; Michael L. Gardner, of Williamsport; Warren E. Knipe, of Liberty; and Tanya Berfield, the college’s manager of college transitions. Additional recipients not in the photo are: Cheyenne N. Greene, of Jersey Shore; Deontae Z. Johnson, of Selinsgrove; Kylee E. Kelley, of Lock Haven; Tyler W. Miller, of Montgomery; Luke B. Walter, of Millmont; Brittany M. Weiskopff, of Blossburg; Clayton T. Welch, of Benton; and Jeremy M. Wolfgang, of Allenwood.

Pennsylvania College of Technology recently recognized 13 first-year students who received Penn College NOW scholarships.

The recipients completed Penn College courses during high school as part of the college’s Penn College NOW dual-enrollment program. The group was honored during an Oct. 27 reception.

To be eligible, students must have successfully completed at least one Penn College NOW course, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in Penn College NOW classes, enroll in Penn College as a full-time freshman student for the fall semester after high school graduation, and maintain a 2.5 GPA at Penn College as an enrolled student.

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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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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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Foundation Establishes Endowed Scholarship at Penn College

Debra M. Miller, college relations advisor at Penn College, accepts a Herman O. West Foundation grant from Dave Lanzer, director of operations at West Pharmaceutical Services Inc. The grant will be used to establish an endowed scholarship at the college.

The foundation for a global manufacturer is recognizing Pennsylvania College of Technology’s commitment to the skilled workforce with an endowed scholarship at the school.

The Herman O. West Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant to Penn College to establish the scholarship. Named in honor of the founder of West Pharmaceuticals Services Inc., the foundation has supported employees through scholarships and matching gift programs since 1972.

West Pharmaceutical Services is a leading manufacturer of packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and health care products. The company has manufacturing plants throughout the world, including Williamsport and Jersey Shore.

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