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Penn College introducing new automation technology degrees

Students will be working in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s mechatronics lab as part two new baccalaureate degrees: automation engineering technology: mechatronics, and automation engineering technology: robotics and automation.

For more than a century, Pennsylvania College of Technology and its predecessor institutions have adapted to industry needs, so students are prepared to be tomorrow makers upon graduation.

That tradition continues with two new baccalaureate degrees: automation engineering technology: mechatronics, and automation engineering technology: robotics and automation. Applications are being accepted for the majors, which will begin in Fall 2020.

“We are very pleased to offer these new degrees. Both programs reflect the growing demand for advanced skills in automation,” said David R. Cotner, dean of Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. “We take great pride in being responsive to industry, and we are confident that our students and employers will benefit from the majors.”

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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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Nine Penn College students medal at SkillsUSA nationals

SkillsUSANine students from Pennsylvania College of Technology’s SkillsUSA team earned medals in six categories – three silvers and three bronzes – during the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, from June 24-29.

“The students represented themselves and the college well, and it showed with the number of medals we returned home with,” said SkillsUSA adviser James N. Colton II, an assistant professor of welding. “I look forward to next year and the students that we will have competing.”

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Faculty & Staff Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies PIRC Plastics & Polymer Workforce Development

College offers injection molding processing workshops

Plastics professionals from seven states and Puerto Rico participated in a recent Injection Molding Processing Workshop offered by the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Two weeks of the Injection Molding Processing Workshop offered by Pennsylvania College of Technology and its acclaimed Plastics Innovation & Resource Center attracted a variety of industry professionals to campus.

Twenty-eight individuals representing seven states and Puerto Rico attended the workshops that were delivered in separate five-day sessions. The sessions consisted of two sections: Decoupled Molding Setup and Operation and the Science of Injection Molding With Troubleshooting.

Timothy E. Weston, associate professor of plastics and polymer technology, taught the sessions with assistance from Spencer L. Cotner, of Muncy, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major and a PIRC research assistant.

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Appropriations boost recognizes college’s vital workforce role

The approved 2019-20 state budget delivers appropriation funding to Pennsylvania College of Technology reflecting its long history of success in producing skilled workers, while leveling the playing field with other publicly funded institutions in the commonwealth, the college’s board chair said Friday.

“Finally, Penn College is being recognized for the invaluable hands-on education and training it provides to students, who become highly skilled members of the workforce – addressing the skills gap that continues to impact industry and hinder the economy,” said Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the college’s Board of Directors. “All we have ever asked for is to be treated with parity in funding with other state institutions. With this budget, we have made real progress.”

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Penn College transfer student stays the course

With determination, and some help from campus resources such as the Academic Success Center and Disability Services at Penn College, Jacqueline M. Westervelt, of Rutherford, New Jersey, earned an associate degree in information technology: technical support emphasis in May and expects to graduate in August with a bachelor’s degree in applied management.

The email contained a stark message for the transfer student. After a year of subpar grades, Pennsylvania College of Technology had to place her on academic probation.

Jacqueline M. Westervelt repeatedly scanned the message, hoping that the words would change. They didn’t.

Her dream of earning an information technology degree – already delayed for two years – was in jeopardy. Self-doubt, fueled by past struggles in school, flooded her mind. Tears flowed as she thought that the people who told her she wasn’t college material were right.

Turns out, they were wrong.

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From living space to makerspace, summer visitors have their hands full

Learning the skills and craftsmanship required of a builder in the newest pre-college offering: Building Construction.

A dozen residential Pre-College Programs and a daytime Creative Art Camp brought hundreds of young women and men to Penn College’s campuses in mid-June, providing hands-on entry to the myriad career opportunities reflected in the institution’s postsecondary curriculum. Keeping campers (and PCToday photographers) busy in recent days were these fun learning opportunities, some of which involved culminating projects: Architecture Odyssey, Autism Spectrum Post-Secondary Interest Experience (ASPIE), Automotive Restoration, Aviation, Building Construction (new this year), Creative Art Camp, Engineering, Future Restaurateurs, Graphic Design Summer Studio, Grow & Design Horticulture, Health Careers, Information Technology and SMART (Science and Math in Real-world Technologies) Girls.

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Penn College welding faculty members prep to be pioneers

Jorge Alvarez, field engineer for Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, discusses components of an electron beam welder with Penn College faculty during a recent training session at the company’s U.S. sales office in Agawam, Mass. From left are welding instructors Aaron E. Biddle, Ty E. Rhinehart and Ryan P. Good.

A week after the spring semester ended, six welding faculty at Pennsylvania College of Technology went back to school – as students. That preparation will equip them to be pioneers this fall when the college becomes the first U.S. educational institution to feature an electron beam welder.

Welding instructors Michael R. Allen, Aaron E. Biddle, Ryan P. Good, Jacob B. Holland, Ty E. Rhinehart and assistant professor James N. Colton II spent three days in Agawam, Massachusetts, training with field engineers from Cambridge Vacuum Engineering on an electron beam welder. CVE, an England-based company, is scheduled to deliver a 60kV unit to campus in late October.

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Faculty & Staff Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies PIRC Plastics & Polymer Workforce Development

Extrusion workshop attracts plastics pros

Brennan B. Wodrig, PIRC program manager, (third from left) works with workshop participants on generating coextruded sheets during the recent Extrusion Seminar & Hands-On Workshop at Penn College.

The expertise offered by Pennsylvania College of Technology and its acclaimed Plastics Innovation & Resource Center attracted an array of plastics professionals to campus for the recent Extrusion Seminar and Hands-On Workshop.

Individuals representing 22 companies from 10 states, Canada and Italy attended the 21st annual event that featured extrusion experts Chris Rauwendaal, president of Rauwendaal Extrusion Engineering Inc., and Kirk M. Cantor, professor of plastics and polymer technology.

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Faculty & Staff Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies PIRC Plastics & Polymer Workforce Development

Season of well-regarded plastics workshops continues

Patrick White, of Thermo Fisher Scientific in Millersburg, performs a hands-on exercise during a Plastics Materials, Processing and Testing workshop at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Nearly two dozen registrants from eight companies in Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania attended the recent Plastics Materials, Processing and Testing workshop hosted by Pennsylvania College of Technology’s world-renowned Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

The May 20-22 workshop, one of many that attract industry professionals to campus each summer, provided participants with a fundamental knowledge of polymers and how they are processed, tested and characterized.

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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.

Faculty & Staff Industrial Design Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies STEM

Faculty member’s book 25th on ‘100 Best’ list

"Engineering for Industrial Designers & Inventors"Thomas E. AskA book written by a Penn College professor of industrial design has been chosen among the field’s 100 best works “of all time” by BookAuthority.

Thomas E. Ask’s “Engineering for Industrial Designers & Inventors: Fundamentals for Designers of Wonderful Things,” published in 2016 by O’Reilly Media, is ranked 25th on the recently compiled list.

BookAuthority is described as the leading site for nonfiction recommendations, curating the books recommended by the world’s most successful CEOs, business leaders and experts.

Alumni Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Information Technology STEM

Penn College alum’s perseverance pays off

Penn College alumnus Steven P. Fantaske, formerly of State College, works as an Unreal Engine 4 virtual reality developer for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado. The NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness.

The student’s future revealed a stark reality: life without a college degree. His aborted attempts at college would close the door to a fulfilling information technology career. Potential wouldn’t be realized. Dreams wouldn’t be lived.

But Steven P. Fantaske flipped the reality he seemed destined to experience. Ten years after being placed on academic probation, he earned his second degree at Pennsylvania College of Technology. The result? Fantaske has a rewarding job that tasks him with altering reality. Only this time, the reality is virtual, and the beneficiaries are public safety personnel.

The former State College resident is an Unreal Engine 4 virtual reality developer for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado. The NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the Department of Commerce that promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness.

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Faculty & Staff Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Welding

Faculty training heralds electron beam welder’s delivery

Assembling for a group photo during training in Agawam, Mass., are (from left) welding instructors Aaron E. Biddle and Ty E. Rhinehart; James N. Colton, assistant professor of welding; welding instructors Ryan P. Good and Jacob B. Holland; Tony Slater, technical sales manager, Cambridge Vacuum Engineering; CVE field engineers Jorge Alvarez and Daniel Rosania; and Michael R. Allen, welding instructor.
Assembling for a group photo during training in Agawam, Mass., are (from left) welding instructors Aaron E. Biddle and Ty E. Rhinehart; James N. Colton, assistant professor of welding; welding instructors Ryan P. Good and Jacob B. Holland; Tony Slater, technical sales manager, Cambridge Vacuum Engineering; CVE field engineers Jorge Alvarez and Daniel Rosania; and Michael R. Allen, welding instructor.
Faculty were trained on a 60-kilovolt electron beam welder, akin to one that is bound for Penn College this fall.
Faculty were trained on a 60-kilovolt electron beam welder, akin to one that is bound for Penn College this fall.
Welding faculty intently listen to Alvarez ...
Welding faculty intently listen to Alvarez …
... during instruction on the machine's operation and components.
… during instruction on the machine’s operation and components.

Penn College welding faculty recently undertook three days of training at Cambridge Vacuum Engineering Inc. on an electron beam welder that is very similar to the one that will be delivered to campus this fall. Electron beam welding – vital technology in the aerospace, automotive, energy, medical, semiconductor and military industries – is commonly used in the manufacturing of small components. Once installed in the greatly expanded Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center, it will be the only electron beam welder placed by CVE in any college or university within the United States.