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Nonprofit’s event indicative of college role as community resource

Dixon (at front) delivers insights on sensory processing. Scanlon (at computer, at right) and other members of the association’s central region listen in Penn College’s early childhood education lab.
Dixon (at front) delivers insights on sensory processing. Scanlon (at computer, at right) and other members of the association’s central region listen in Penn College’s early childhood education lab.

The Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health’s Central Region members held a networking breakfast on Friday in Penn College’s early childhood education lab. A highlight of the gathering was the presentation, “Sensory Processing: Separating Fact From Fiction,” delivered by Elizabeth A. Dixon, clinical director of the college’s occupational therapy assistant program. Dedicated to supporting children under 5 and their families, the PA-AIMH Central Region’s membership comprises about 45 clinicians and practitioners from a wide range of early childhood organizations. Friday’s networking opportunity, the association’s largest event so far, was organized by PA-AIMH regional board members Jillian T. Scanlon, instructor of education and early childhood education at Penn College, and Shashi DeHaan, mental health coordinator for SUMMIT Early Learning, Mifflinburg.

January 31, 2020
Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Students

Pulling together, on a woodland trail

On a team-building mission, the group moves along the historic watershed trails.
On a team-building mission, the group moves along the historic watershed trails.
Stopping amid landmarks of the past are front row (from left): Veronica J. Rayer, of Woodlyn, and Tatiana M. Hinaman, of Jersey Shore. Back row (from left): Caitlin C. Brubaker, of Ohiopyle; Madison L. Gift, of Waynesboro; Kerschner; Karen I. Palko, of Northumberland; Kierstan M. Heizman, of Lititz; Juvy A. Orillaza, of Carlisle; and Cooley.
Stopping amid landmarks of the past are front row (from left): Veronica J. Rayer, of Woodlyn, and Tatiana M. Hinaman, of Jersey Shore. Back row (from left): Caitlin C. Brubaker, of Ohiopyle; Madison L. Gift, of Waynesboro; Kerschner; Karen I. Palko, of Northumberland; Kierstan M. Heizman, of Lititz; Juvy A. Orillaza, of Carlisle; and Cooley.

Volunteer outreach by faculty member D. Robert Cooley – a five-part trial orientation to strengthen bonds between Penn College classmates and cohesiveness within academic programs – met with rave reviews by the student participants who requested the activity. Cooley, associate professor of anthropology/environmental science, recently accompanied nine occupational therapy assistant students and director Jeanne M. Kerschner on a nature hike through the Williamsport Municipal Water Authority grounds. “The students recognized the value of these events and even requested that we continue these team-building sessions next semester,” Kerschner said of the group, which was undeterred by rain.
Photos provided

November 26, 2019
Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Students

OTA students put lessons to use in cheerful community outreach

Occupational Therapy Assistant Club members (from left) Cayla M. Rogers, of Selinsgrove; Felicia Baker, of Mifflinburg; Elizabeth Wellar, of Bellefonte; Kaylin J. Walker, of Liberty; and Kayla N. Kern, of Williamsport, dress up to brighten patients’ day at Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital.
Occupational Therapy Assistant Club members (from left) Cayla M. Rogers, of Selinsgrove; Felicia Baker, of Mifflinburg; Elizabeth Wellar, of Bellefonte; Kaylin J. Walker, of Liberty; and Kayla N. Kern, of Williamsport, dress up to brighten patients’ day at Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital.
Carissa N. Rutledge, of Williamsport; Felicia Baker, of Mifflinburg; Eve M. Verona, of Pocono Lake; Kayla N. Kern, of Williamsport; and Maria M. Polonia, of Wellsboro, stand ready to help residents at Valley View Nursing and Rehab Center to participant in the center’s Resident Fair.
Carissa N. Rutledge, of Williamsport; Felicia Baker, of Mifflinburg; Eve M. Verona, of Pocono Lake; Kayla N. Kern, of Williamsport; and Maria M. Polonia, of Wellsboro, stand ready to help residents at Valley View Nursing and Rehab Center to participant in the center’s Resident Fair.

Students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Club recently dressed as Disney princesses to visit pediatric patients at the Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville. After their visit, the students provided a meal for the families of those ill children at the nearby Ronald McDonald House. Club members also volunteered their time to support the Valley View Nursing and Rehab Center’s Resident Fair. “The students helped residents to participate in games and activities, even using their emerging occupational therapy skills to adapt the environment or task so all residents and family members could participate,” explained Jeanne M. Kerschner, director of occupational therapy assistant.
Photos provided

November 7, 2019
Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant STEM Students

Students add play items to Lycoming County Sensory Garden

Pennsylvania College of Technology occupational therapy assistant students gather in front of a teepee that they helped to outfit with play items at the Lycoming County Sensory Garden. From left are students Kayla N. Kern, of Lock Haven, and Felicia Baker, of Mifflinburg; Master Gardener Linda Betts; Boy Scout Colton Ulmer; Master Gardener Sharon Kuriga; and students Madalyn Q. Engle, of Linden, and Devin M. Heimbach, of Milton.

This summer, members of the Student Occupational Therapy Assistant Club at Pennsylvania College of Technology contributed their expertise to outfit a new play structure at the Lycoming County Sensory Garden.

A wooden “teepee” was added to the garden in 2018 by Montoursville Area High School junior Colton Ulmer as part of his Eagle Scout requirements. It is framed by debarked white pine poles, and walls are made of hemlock slabs. Working with input from garden volunteers, Ulmer planned the structure for easy accessibility by wheelchairs and with large windows that allow parents to see what’s happening inside. Ulmer’s work, completed with the help of 12 volunteers, took 283 man hours.

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July 18, 2019
Alumni Architecture & Sustainable Design Art & Graphic Design Aviation Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Building Construction Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management Collision Repair & Restoration Construction & Design Technologies Dental Hygiene Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Engineering Design Technology Faculty & Staff Health Information Technology Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Information Technology Landscape/Horticulture Makerspace Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant Radiography Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications Surgical Technology Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Welding

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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Dental Hygiene Emergency Management & Homeland Security Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant Radiography Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications STEM Students Surgical Technology

Mock crisis authentically adds to interdisciplinary preparedness

Samer R. Doss, a PA student from Montoursville, listens to the heartbeat of dental hygiene student Megan P. Fitzsimmons, of Portville, N.Y.

Students from Penn College’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences and School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications joined area law enforcement, emergency management and health care professionals in a recent simulation at UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center and a variety of other locations.

The college’s paramedic program has participated in the drill since its inception, and this year, the School of Nursing & Health Sciences decided to participate schoolwide to provide an interdisciplinary learning opportunity. The school had conducted its own Interdisciplinary Professional Experience on campus for several years.

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Architecture & Sustainable Design Art & Graphic Design Automated Manufacturing & Machining Aviation Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Building Construction Business & Hospitality Collision Repair & Restoration Construction & Design Technologies Dental Hygiene Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology General Information Health Information Technology Information Technology Landscape/Horticulture Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant Plastics & Polymer Radiography Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications Surgical Technology Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Welding

Pre-College Programs to enrich participants’ summer experience

Young women enrolled in SMART Girls, among the wide-ranging roster of pre-college programs at Pennsylvania College of Technology, assemble a robot during last summer’s camp.

Building construction has been added to the abounding schedule of pre-college initiatives offered at Pennsylvania College of Technology, hands-on summer activities that mirror the nationally renowned opportunities afforded postsecondary students.

“Our Pre-College Programs offer living and learning experiences in which students have opportunities to explore unique academic interests in a state-of-the-art environment,” said Deborah B. Wescott, manager of conference and guest relations. “It’s a chance to work and make connections with industry leaders, meet and mingle with your peers, and establish a path that could lead to all sorts of future possibilities.”

The signup deadline is May 31 for the institution’s 12 residential programs and its one day camp.

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March 12, 2019
General Information Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant STEM Students

Occupational therapy assistant program lab enhanced

Alexis M. Conte, of Marcus Hook, a student in Penn College’s occupational therapy assistant major, demonstrates the occupational therapy assistant lab’s ADA-accessible cabinets with Nicholas R. Miller, an information assurance and cyber security student from Doylestown.

A haven for hands-on learning since it first welcomed students more than 30 years ago, the occupational therapy assistant lab at Pennsylvania College of Technology has been updated to provide an even more realistic simulation space for students.

The lab, which provides education to students pursuing associate degrees in occupational therapy assistant, was renovated for the 2018-19 academic year.

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Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Students

OTA majors broaden understanding through service, hands-on learning

Students join Matt Emmerling, of Sizewise Durable Medical Equipment Co., who brought bariatric equipment to campus for students to try.
Students join Matt Emmerling, of Sizewise Durable Medical Equipment Co., who brought bariatric equipment to campus for students to try.

Occupational therapy assistant students have had a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning and service this month. Matt Emmerling, of Sizewise Durable Medical Equipment Co. in Altoona, visited the OT Practice Skills course for a session on “The Overweight and Obesity Epidemic 2018: Bariatric Medicine.” He demonstrated a number of pieces of bariatric equipment. Students were given the opportunity to try the equipment as well as an obesity suit to gain a better understanding of what the bariatric population experiences on a daily basis.

Members of the college’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Club, with club adviser and program director Jeanne M. Kerschner, gather at the Ronald McDonald House Danville. The group prepared a meal for guests of the facility on Nov. 17.
Members of the college’s Occupational Therapy Assistant Club, with club adviser and program director Jeanne M. Kerschner, gather at the Ronald McDonald House Danville. The group prepared a meal for guests of the facility on Nov. 17.

On Nov. 17, students in the Occupational Therapy Assistant Club made and delivered an Italian dinner for about 30 guests at the Ronald McDonald House of Danville. Located near the Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, the facility provides families with sick children a warm, safe and comfortable place to eat and sleep, keeping them close to the care they need when they need it.
Photos provided

November 21, 2018
Alumni Applied Health Dental Hygiene Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Events Exercise Science Faculty & Staff Health Information Technology Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant President Radiography Students Surgical Technology

School of Nursing & Health Sciences hosts celebration

Pennsylvania College of Technology welcomed several School of Nursing & Health Sciences alumni back to campus to speak at an event celebrating the school’s name change, its academic majors, and milestone anniversaries for two programs: occupational therapy assistant (30 years) and physician assistant (20 years). From left are Megan Wright, ’12, a physician assistant practicing physical medicine and rehabilitation; Brian Webster, ’06, a nurse practitioner specializing in emergency and family nursing; President Davie Jane Gilmour; Sandra L. Richmond, dean of nursing and health sciences; and Michele “Mindy” Tedesco, ’88, a registered occupational therapist specializing in home health care.

The School of Nursing & Health Sciences at Pennsylvania College of Technology held a multifaceted celebration on Oct. 4 by hosting an open house of its facilities and welcoming accomplished alumni, who reflected on how their education has shaped their careers.

“We come together … to celebrate the positive impact all 10 of our nursing and health sciences programs have on our students’ lives, the professions in which they work, and the communities they serve,” said Sandra L. Richmond, dean of nursing and health sciences.

Of particular significance during the celebration was a change to the school’s name: from the School of Health Sciences to the School of Nursing & Health Sciences, and the anniversaries of the occupational therapy assistant program, whose first students graduated 30 years ago, and the physician assistant program, which graduated its first students 20 years ago.

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Faculty & Staff Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Students

ASL Student Musically Adds to Easter Message

VanBuskirk signs for an appreciative Easter audience, going beyond direct translation to interpret the song's meaning for the congregation.

Kelsy J. VanBuskirk, a senior in the applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration, put her American Sign Language skills to use as she signed “Forever” by Kari Jobe at a local church on Easter morning.

The Bethel-Linden Presbyterian Church contacted Sarah S. Moore, a disability services/deaf services specialist at Penn College, asking if any of her students would be interested in interpreting the song for the sunrise worship service.

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April 6, 2018
Accounting & Finance Art & Graphic Design Automotive Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Building Construction Business & Hospitality College Transitions Construction & Design Technologies Dental Hygiene Electrical Electronics & Computer Engineering Technology Emergency Management & Homeland Security Engineering Design Technology Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications Students Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Welding

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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December 5, 2017
Applied Health Dental Hygiene Emergency Medical Services/Paramedic Exercise Science Faculty & Staff Health Information Technology Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Physical Therapist Assistant Physician Assistant Radiography Students Surgical Technology

Emergency Scenarios Translate to Real-Life Benefit for Students

Occupational therapy assistant student Rachel N. Zimmerman, of Pine Grove, shows physician assistant student Zachary S. Kimble, of Bellefonte (acting as a hip-replacement patient who later in the simulation would have a stroke) and other students watching how to use a “reacher” to help with dressing. Observing is Christine A. Tilburg, clinical director of physical therapist assistant.
Occupational therapy assistant student Rachel N. Zimmerman, of Pine Grove, shows physician assistant student Zachary S. Kimble, of Bellefonte (acting as a hip-replacement patient who later in the simulation would have a stroke) and other students watching how to use a “reacher” to help with dressing. Observing is Christine A. Tilburg, clinical director of physical therapist assistant.
Emergency medical services student Ian P. McClure, of Littlestown, and paramedic technician student Megan E. Bobby, of Dysart, explain the actions they would take when called to the Dental Hygiene Clinic to help a patient experiencing an allergic reaction to Novocain.
Emergency medical services student Ian P. McClure, of Littlestown, and paramedic technician student Megan E. Bobby, of Dysart, explain the actions they would take when called to the Dental Hygiene Clinic to help a patient experiencing an allergic reaction to Novocain.
Surgical technology students simulate a laparoscopic gall bladder removal.
Surgical technology students simulate a laparoscopic gall bladder removal.

Around 250 students in the School of Health Sciences – an academic division that spans 11 distinct health care and allied health fields – are participating this week in a series of hands-on emergency health simulations. The school’s fourth annual Interdisciplinary Professional Event involves 24 student teams, each made up of a cross section of health disciplines, discussing and observing one another’s role in their assigned case. Students in the physician assistant major played roles of patients, whose health problems ranged from an allergic reaction to Novocain in the Dental Hygiene Clinic to a loss of consciousness in the Keystone Dining Room, and surgeries to replace hips and remove gallbladders. As “patients” moved through the health care system, they moved, with their observers, from lab to lab in the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center. The purpose of the experience is to prepare the students to deliberatively work together as patients interact with each of them during their health care experience, with an ultimate goal to improve patient care. Also involved were 23 staff and faculty from the school, who planned and managed the event and led groups through their simulations on Tuesday and Thursday.

April 13, 2017
Architecture & Sustainable Design Construction & Design Technologies Nursing & Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Assistant Students

Collaboration Helps Students Consider Accessibility in Home Design

While studying a floor plan and real world-inspired client case, Penn College students in architectural technology and occupational therapy assistant majors discuss options for making a home handicap-accessible. From left are Mackenzie L. Martin, of Thompsontown, and Jessica L. Osborne, of Cogan Station, both pursuing degrees in applied health studies: occupational therapy assistant concentration; Jeanne L. Kerschner, director of occupational therapy assistant; Cayla L. Erisman, an architectural technology student from Johnstown; and Garrett A. Brown, a student in architectural technology from Pipersville.

Pennsylvania College of Technology students pursuing distinctively different career paths collaborated recently, learning from one another how to design homes that will be both beautiful and functional for anyone who might cross the threshold.

Architectural technology students worked with occupational therapy assistant students to modify building plans to suit real-world client-based scenarios for current or future accessibility needs, including guests who visit.

The collaboration capitalizes on both groups’ expertise: an occupational therapy assistant’s role is to help people who have a disability to do what they want and need to do. For those with physical disabilities, it could involve teaching them how to button a shirt with one hand or providing strategies and tools to get around their kitchens. Architects, meanwhile, know what building modifications are possible and how cost-effective they are.

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December 16, 2016