News about Plastics & Polymer

Senator From York County Tours Penn College Campus

President Davie Jane Gilmour escorts Sen. Wagner through the welding labs with the assistance of welding students Thomas (“TJ”) J. Sneeringer (in red) and Joseph (“Joey”) M. Taylor, both of Hanover.

Wagner discusses his waste-management and trucking businesses with diesel technology students alongside a diesel truck outside College Avenue Labs.

In the automotive restoration lab, the senators listen to insights shared by Vanessa Mathurin, of Philadelphia, and Sean M. Hunter, of Livingston, N.J. The students are automotive restoration technology graduates enrolled in applied management.

Touring the extrusion lab, Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations, discusses the specialties of the plastics and polymer engineering technology major and the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

Sen. Scott Wagner, who represents the 28th District, comprising most of York County, toured the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus on Thursday as the guest of Sen. Gene Yaw, chairman of the college’s Board of Directors. Wagner, who is president and owner of York-based Penn Waste Inc. and KBS Trucking, Thomasville, is a declared candidate for governor. While on campus, he toured the labs for welding, automotive restoration/collision repair and plastics. Wagner once studied at Penn College’s immediate predecessor institution, Williamsport Area Community College, in the diesel program. In the Senate, Wagner chairs the Local Government Committee and is vice chairman of the Labor & Industry Committee. He also sits on the Appropriations, Transportation and Intergovernmental Operations committees.

PlastiVan’s Visit Showcased in Industry Publications

Thermoforming Quarterly

February’s extended visit from the PlastiVan is featured in the latest issue of Thermoforming Quarterly, a Journal of the Thermoforming Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers. Photos by Larry D. Kauffman, a digital publishing specialist/photographer at Penn College – including a cover shot taken at the Feb. 16 Science Festival in the Field House – and a two-page article colorfully recap the hands-on peek at plastics careers: Thermoforming Quarterly

The PlastiVan is also featured in a piece by Eve Vitale, SPE Foundation director, published in Plastics Engineering.

PIRC Partner Donates Plastics Processing Equipment to College

Covestro LLC donated a complete advanced co-extrusion sheet processing unit to Pennsylvania College of Technology, where faculty and students will receive on-site training from company experts.

A longtime proponent of STEM education in the United States is giving students at Pennsylvania College of Technology valuable hands-on experience through its donation of plastics processing equipment.

As part of its i3 Give corporate giving program, Covestro LLC has donated a complete advanced co-extrusion sheet processing unit to Penn College. Covestro will also provide faculty and students with expert on-site training – including demonstration tooling – to initiate the project.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to help Penn College elevate its curriculum in this tangible way,” noted Mark Matsco, director of application development for Covestro LLC. “Giving students access to this equipment not only enhances their skill set, but also helps us continue our mission to support improved STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.”

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Penn College Embraces the PlastiVan

The Society of Plastics Engineers’ PlastiVan program recently visited Penn College to educate area students about the wonders of plastics and the rich career opportunities in the field. Students enjoyed hands-on activities revealing the power of plastics and toured the college’s plastics labs. Sekisui SPI sponsored the PlastiVan’s visit at the college, which is featured in this YouTube video:

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Company Establishes Plastics Scholarship at Penn College

Penn College plastics students work in an extrusion lab under the direction of Gary E. McQuay, center, engineering manager for the Plastics Innovation Resource Center at the college. Sekisui SPI, part of Sekisui Chemical Co., is establishing a scholarship for first-year plastics students at Penn College.

A leading global thermoplastics company will reward students’ interest in plastics by establishing two $7,000 scholarships at Pennsylvania College of Technology for Fall 2017.

Preference for the Sekisui SPI Workforce Development Scholarship will be given to first-year students seeking a bachelor’s degree in plastics and polymer engineering technology, who reside in Pennsylvania or Michigan and rank in the top third of their high school graduating class.

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Hands-On Experience Turns Chemistry Course Into Career Path

The Society of Plastics Engineers’ Eve Vitale shows an example of a thermoformed product.

Nicholas C. Moore, of Lock Haven, guides a group of students through the plastics and polymer technology department’s materials testing lab. Moore, who completed Penn College NOW courses in the Keystone Central School District, holds junior-level standing in his fourth semester in the plastics and polymer engineering technology major.

Students measure borax and a polymer used in white glue to form a thermoset compound.

Stirring a concoction, students observe an endothermic reaction as new chemical bonds form.

The result is a “slime” that, Vitale tells the students, was used in the filming of “Ghostbusters.”

Seventy Keystone Central School District chemistry students converged on Penn College on Tuesday to learn how their chemistry lessons apply to the field of plastics. During a four-hour stay on campus, they took part in a variety of plastics experiments courtesy of the Society of Plastics Engineers’ PlastiVan program. Under the instruction of SPE Foundation Director Eve Vitale, the students learned about the chemistry of plastics and future career options while they made several polymers of their own. The PlastiVan’s visit was sponsored by Sekisui SPI, of Bloomsburg. The program travels to schools and companies throughout North America, educating people of all ages about the chemistry, history, processing, manufacturing, sustainability and application of plastics, all through hands-on experiences that spark scientific curiosity. In addition, the Keystone Central students took student-led tours of the college’s plastics and polymer laboratories and of the campus. More than half of the students in attendance are enrolled in Penn College’s Fundamentals of Chemistry course, taught during the school day by Keystone Central instructors through the Penn College NOW dual-enrollment program.

Families Invited for Night of Hands-On Science

Pennsylvania College of Technology physics professor David S. Richards uses visual aids to talk about past U.S. space missions during a previous Science Festival at the college.

Hands-on science fun is the focus of an evening designed for local families on Thursday, Feb. 16, in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Field House.

The college will team up with Lycoming College and the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce to offer the city’s sixth annual Science Festival from 5 to 8 p.m.

The event features hands-on activities geared toward elementary and middle school students and their families, presented by local businesses and organizations, including school and college-affiliated groups. The event is intended to make learning fun and to stimulate children’s interest in math, science and exciting careers in related fields.

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Penn College Plastics Student Awarded Scholarship

Logan A. Tate

A Pennsylvania College of Technology student is one of seven nationwide recipients of a scholarship from the Plastics Pioneers Association.

The nonprofit, membership organization awarded a $3,000 scholarship to Logan A. Tate, of Williamsport, for his commitment to becoming a hands-on professional in the plastics industry as a technician or engineer.

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Foundation’s Generosity Endows Scholarship, Creates Opportunity

A significant grant from the Tamaqua-based John E. Morgan Foundation will allow students from that area to enroll in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s distinctive “degrees that work.”

The nonprofit foundation’s $500,000 contribution establishes the John E. Morgan Scholarship, which will give first preference to graduates of Tamaqua Area High School who are pursuing “a degree that is not readily available from other institutions, at a comparable price, within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

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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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Saudi Students Hold Informative Expo for Campus Community

Omar A. Aljallal, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major, takes visitors on a journey to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Arabian students at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently organized a crosscultural presentation to familiarize the campus community with their homeland.

One year after their initial program – which won two honors at the 2015 Student Activities Awards banquet – the Saudi Student Organization returned to the college’s Thompson Professional Development Center for a follow-up event.

“Being at Penn College, where students get the most support, gave us a chance to share and discuss our pride freely,” said Abdulaziz S. Alomani, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major, who was among those involved in planning the Oct. 24 Saudi Expo. “The event came about to serve as a cultural bridge between the United States and Saudi Arabia and to allow us to share with our American friends what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is all about.”

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Penn College Students Participate in Major Plastics Conference

Plastics and polymer engineering technology students at Penn College participated in the Society of Plastics Engineers 32nd Annual Blow Molding Conference. From left are: Seth E. Cook, Mountville; Hannah G. Maize, Riverside; Logan A. Tate, Williamsport; Sapphire E. Naugle, Jersey Shore; Anthony P. Wagner, Lock Haven; and Tom J. Van Pernis, instructor of plastics and polymer technology.

Six Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics students enriched their education by attending the Society of Plastics Engineers 32nd Annual Blow Molding Conference in Atlanta earlier this month.

The plastics and polymer engineering technology majors participated in several technical presentations related to blow molding and networked with potential employers throughout the three-day event.

“Our students were able to take a closer look into the blow molding industry and learn about new and emerging technologies,” said Tom J. Van Pernis, instructor of plastics and polymer technology, who accompanied the Penn College contingent. “They distributed resumes and business cards throughout the event. Companies are extremely interested in plastics students who graduate from Penn College.”

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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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Plastics Student Honored With National Scholarship

Seth E. Cook

A Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics major is the sole nationwide recipient of a scholarship from the Blow Molding Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers.

Seth E. Cook, of Mountville, a senior enrolled in the college’s plastics and polymer engineering technology bachelor-degree major, received the 2016 Carrie Fox Solin Memorial Scholarship. The $3,000 award is presented annually to a plastics student who has compiled a strong record of academic and extracurricular achievement and has demonstrated commitment to the plastics field.

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Plastics Professionals Converge at Penn College for Workshop

Plastics and polymer engineering technology major Noah L. Martin (third from left, in blue shirt), of South Williamsport, works closely with participants in the recent Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop at Penn College.

Pennsylvania College of Technology and its Plastics Innovation & Resource Center brought plastics professionals from 10 states and Canada to campus for the recent Seventh Annual Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop.

The 32 participants, representing 21 companies, experienced presentations and hands-on sessions during the three-day workshop. Topics included heating technology, diagnostic tools, and thermoforming process techniques and troubleshooting.

Mark Strachan, senior technology director for First Quality Packaging Solutions in West Palm Beach, Florida, and former president of the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division, served as keynote instructor.

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