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Student uses know-how, home equipment to make face shields

Brackets for face shields to be used by health care workers are cut from a polycarbonate sheet on a CNC router. Pennsylvania College of Technology student Matthew Semmel, of Palmerton, modified his CNC router to cut the pieces between classes while studying from home.

Between classes, a Pennsylvania College of Technology student modified a computer numerical control router that he typically uses for woodworking projects to help manufacture more than 300 face shields for distribution to hospitals in his area.

Matthew A. Semmel, of Palmerton, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in engineering design technology and an associate degree in plastics and polymer technology. Due to the pandemic, he – like all other Penn College students – has been taking classes remotely since mid-March to comply with the state’s stay-at-home order and social distancing guidance.

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May 15, 2020
College Transitions Events Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Plastics & Polymer

PlastiVan’s playful outreach benefits dual-enrollment students

SPE PlastiVan educator Elizabeth Egan shows a model of a polymer – a molecule with many parts bonded together.
SPE PlastiVan educator Elizabeth Egan shows a model of a polymer – a molecule with many parts bonded together.
Students from Upper Dauphin Area High School use their fingers to mix glue and borax, creating a fun putty. The fingers were essential to provide heat for the endothermic chemical reaction.
Students from Upper Dauphin Area High School use their fingers to mix glue and borax, creating a fun putty. The fingers were essential to provide heat for the endothermic chemical reaction.
High schoolers add oil to water to test a plastic material used to absorb real oil spills in lakes and oceans.
High schoolers add oil to water to test a plastic material used to absorb real oil spills in lakes and oceans.
Taking advantage of their chemical knowledge, students stick a skewer through a balloon – with the help of lotion to make the skewer slip between the molecules in the latex without popping the balloon.
Taking advantage of their chemical knowledge, students stick a skewer through a balloon – with the help of lotion to make the skewer slip between the molecules in the latex without popping the balloon.

SEKISUI SPI, a Bloomsburg-based thermoplastics company, sponsored three days of opportunity for young learners to experiment with polymers via a visit from the Society of Plastics Engineers’ PlastiVan. PlastiVan educator Elizabeth Egan talked with Penn College NOW students from seven high schools who visited over two days. Penn College NOW is the college’s nationally accredited dual-enrollment program, which provides Penn College classes to high school students in their schools, where they receive both high school and college credit for the courses. While on campus, Egan taught the high school students about the history, chemistry and uses of plastic through fun experiments. The students also toured the college’s plastics education facilities, where they interacted with faculty and students, and the campus. The PlastiVan also spent a day at the annual Science Festival on campus Wednesday.

March 6, 2020
Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Plastics & Polymer STEM Students

Plastics with student Sidney C. Trunzo

Penn College is home to a community of creators. Go-getters. Creative thinkers. And problem solvers who set out to master real-world skills. It’s where you’ll meet Sidney C. Trunzo, a plastics and polymer engineering technology student. Check out a video, added to the college’s YouTube channel, for a glimpse of her training in hands-on labs. Find out why she loves her major. And learn how this ABET-accredited program prepares Trunzo and her classmates to take the lead in a thriving industry. “I can relate my major to the real world, and I can instantly see the things I am learning about and how they apply to real life,” she says. “It’s just something different, something that you can change the world with, and I think it’s something that’s really important for the future.” A future made by hand.

March 2, 2020
Automated Manufacturing & Machining Faculty & Staff General Information Plastics & Polymer Welding Workforce Development

State House speaker, colleagues tour campus labs

The group intently listens to President Gilmour in the college's welding addition. From left are Reed; Turzai; Borowicz; Owlett's wife, Lauren; and Owlett.
The group intently listens to President Gilmour in the college’s welding addition. From left are Reed; Turzai; Borowicz; Owlett’s wife, Lauren; and Owlett.
David R. Cotner (second from right), dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies, takes the group by the expanded facility's impressive new plasma equipment.
David R. Cotner (second from right), dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies, takes the group by the expanded facility’s impressive new plasma equipment.
John M. Good III, instructor of automation and computer integrated manufacturing, leads a tour in College Avenue Labs.
John M. Good III, instructor of automation and computer integrated manufacturing, leads a tour in College Avenue Labs.
The group pauses in front of a ProtoTrak lathe, among equipment purchased with a National Science Foundation grant to combat the skills gap in advanced manufacturing. From left are Owlett, Wheeland, Turzai, Yaw and Borowicz.
The group pauses in front of a ProtoTrak lathe, among equipment purchased with a National Science Foundation grant to combat the skills gap in advanced manufacturing. From left are Owlett, Wheeland, Turzai, Yaw and Borowicz.
Shannon M. Munro (in light blue), vice president for workforce development, discusses production activities in the Shell Polymers Rotational Molding Center of Excellence.
Shannon M. Munro (in light blue), vice president for workforce development, discusses production activities in the Shell Polymers Rotational Molding Center of Excellence.

The speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives was among state legislators who visited Penn College on Thursday afternoon, touring several academic laboratories in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. Comprising the group were Speaker Michael C. Turzai (R-McCandless), Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R-Lock Haven), Rep. Clinton D. Owlett (R-Wellsboro), Rep. Jeff C. Wheeland (R-Williamsport) and Neil R. Lesher, Rep. Turzai’s chief of staff. During the lawmakers’ 90-minute stay, school administration and faculty – along with Workforce Development personnel – introduced them to welding and metal fabrication technologies, advanced manufacturing, and plastics and polymer engineering technologies. Facilitating the visit were President Davie Jane Gilmour; Michael J. Reed, vice president for academic affairs/provost; Patrick Marty, chief of staff and assistant to the president for college relations; and state Sen. Gene Yaw, chair of the college’s board of directors. Others on the tour included Lycoming County Commissioner-elect Scott L. Metzger and Fisher Mining Co.’s John A. Blaschak, one of the college’s corporate partners and a member of its Visionary Society.

November 14, 2019
Faculty & Staff General Information Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Nursing Nursing & Health Sciences Plastics & Polymer Welding

College part of Chamber’s industry tour for educators

Melissa Turlip, program manager with Commonwealth Charitable Management, invites attendees to explore the six Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit stations (at right), offering 24 hands-on activities on energy and the technologies and sciences involved with the oil and gas industry. The traveling exhibit, from the Oilfield Energy Center, is available for secondary school visits.
Melissa Turlip, program manager with Commonwealth Charitable Management, invites attendees to explore the six Mobile Oilfield Learning Unit stations (at right), offering 24 hands-on activities on energy and the technologies and sciences involved with the oil and gas industry. The traveling exhibit, from the Oilfield Energy Center, is available for secondary school visits.
Visitors move from their luncheon site into other areas of the welding addition, as well as to the current instructional space.
Visitors move from their luncheon site into other areas of the welding addition, as well as to the current instructional space.
A long line of secondary educators and counselors make their way down the campus mall on a beautiful autumn day, led by Bradley M. Webb (far left), assistant dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies.
A long line of secondary educators and counselors make their way down the campus mall on a beautiful autumn day, led by Bradley M. Webb (far left), assistant dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies.
The college’s modern nursing labs, complete with high-tech “patients” of varying ages, are shown off by Valerie A. Myers, assistant dean of nursing.
The college’s modern nursing labs, complete with high-tech “patients” of varying ages, are shown off by Valerie A. Myers, assistant dean of nursing.
Webb shares the industry-sized equipment and processes housed in the plastics and polymer engineering technology labs.
Webb shares the industry-sized equipment and processes housed in the plastics and polymer engineering technology labs.

School counselors, along with career and technical educators, included Penn College on a Monday tour of the area’s industrial assets. The guests began their afternoon with lunch in the new welding addition before exploring new and existing welding labs in the Lycoming Engines Metal Trades Center, then moved to the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center for stopovers in nursing and plastics. The groups visited several businesses in the region prior to arriving on main campus, including Lycoming Engines, Halliburton and Savoy Contract Furniture. Eyewitness News’ Morgan Parrish was along for the tours, which were facilitated by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

October 14, 2019
Civil Engineering & Surveying Construction & Design Technologies General Information Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Plastics & Polymer

Five Penn College academic majors reaccredited

A global accreditation leader has given its stamp of approval to five Pennsylvania College of Technology majors.

The ABET Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission has reaccredited the college’s associate degrees in civil engineering technology, plastics and polymer technology, and surveying technology, as well as baccalaureate degrees in civil engineering technology and plastics and polymer engineering technology.

Graduates of those majors who have responded to recent surveys administered by the college report a 100% placement rate.

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October 4, 2019
Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Plastics & Polymer Scholarships Students

Penn College plastics student awarded scholarship

Lucas S. Poche

A Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics student is one of just six individuals nationwide to receive a $5,000 PACK EXPO scholarship.

Lucas S. Poche, of Lewistown, a senior majoring in plastics and polymer engineering technology, earned the scholarship from The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. PMMI is a trade association consisting of companies involved in various aspects of packaging throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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September 30, 2019
Alumni Corporate Relations Events Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies PIRC Plastics & Polymer President STEM Workforce Development

Dedication held for Shell-funded plastics facility at Penn College

Pennsylvania College of Technology President Davie Jane Gilmour (right) presents a timeline of the college’s plastics program – capped with Shell Polymers’ funding of the Shell Polymers Rotational Molding Center of Excellence – to Hilary Mercer, vice president, Pennsylvania Chemicals, for Shell. The center was dedicated in ceremonies taking place Sept. 24.

The Shell Polymers Rotational Molding Center of Excellence was unveiled Sept. 24, and Shell was honored for its generous support for facilities that aid in the instruction of aspiring plastics professionals at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

In a dedication ceremony attended by representatives of the college and Shell and a host of industry partners and stakeholders, participants celebrated the enhanced and upgraded academic and research lab, located in the Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center at Penn College.

The Shell Polymers Rotational Molding Center of Excellence will boost the college’s efforts to produce highly skilled graduates for the plastics industry while helping to ease the skills gap in plastics manufacturing. It also enables the college – which operates the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center – to assist plastics companies with research and development and the training of incumbent workers.

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General Information Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Plastics & Polymer Scholarships Students

Penn College plastics students earn thermoforming scholarships

Nathan A. Rader-Edkin, of Williamsport (left), and Haven K. Bontz, of Cooperstown, Venango County, both majoring in plastics and polymer engineering technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology, were among five students nationwide to receive scholarships from the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division.

Two Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics students were among five nationwide to receive scholarships from the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division.

Haven K. Bontz, of Cooperstown, and Nathan A. Rader-Edkin, of Williamsport, both majoring in plastics and polymer engineering technology, earned the scholarships from the professional society dedicated to advancing thermoforming technologies. Bontz’s scholarship was for $2,000, and Rader-Edkin received $2,500.

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September 16, 2019
Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Plastics & Polymer Scholarships Students

Penn College plastics students receive SPE scholarships

Lucas S. Poche, of Lewistown, and Shawnee M. Mills, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, both majoring in plastics and polymer engineering technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology, earned scholarships from the Society of Plastics Engineers. Poche was awarded the $3,000 SPE Foundation Ted Neward Scholarship; Mills received the $2,500 Extrusion Division Russell Gould Scholarship.

The Society of Plastics Engineers Foundation recognized the excellence of two Pennsylvania College of Technology students by awarding them scholarships.

Shawnee M. Mills, of Martinsburg, West Virginia, and Lucas S. Poche, of Lewistown, both majoring in plastics and polymer engineering technology, earned the scholarships from the society dedicated to advancing the plastics profession worldwide.

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September 12, 2019
Automated Manufacturing & Machining Baking, Pastry & Culinary Arts Business & Hospitality Business & Hospitality Management Collision Repair & Restoration Faculty & Staff Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Nursing & Health Sciences Plastics & Polymer Radiography Students Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Welding

Student interaction among highlights of legislative visit

Stopping for a photo op at the Gold Rush Excavator are (from left) Everett, Gilmour, Cutler, Smeltz and Yaw.
Stopping for a photo op at the Gold Rush Excavator are (from left) Everett, Gilmour, Cutler, Smeltz and Yaw.
During his travels, Cutler enjoyed interactions with students who reside in or near his legislative district, including baking and pastry arts students Rebecca High (left), of Willow Street, and Alana L. LaPenta, of Lemoyne.
During his travels, Cutler enjoyed interactions with students who reside in or near his legislative district, including baking and pastry arts students Rebecca High (left), of Willow Street, and Alana L. LaPenta, of Lemoyne.
In the manufacturing lab, Cutler learns about the mechanics of BAJA team racing from students including John D. Kleinfelter (center in red shirt), a manufacturing engineering student from Lebanon.
In the manufacturing lab, Cutler learns about the mechanics of BAJA team racing from students including John D. Kleinfelter (center in red shirt), a manufacturing engineering student from Lebanon.
The tour winds its way through the new welding expansion. Cutler’s late father was a welder, so he held a keen interest in the facility and the skill.
The tour winds its way through the new welding expansion. Cutler’s late father was a welder, so he held a keen interest in the facility and the skill.
Back to his roots, Cutler visits the radiography lab to hear about advances in technologies from Christine L. Eckenrod, the college’s new director of radiography.
Back to his roots, Cutler visits the radiography lab to hear about advances in technologies from Christine L. Eckenrod, the college’s new director of radiography.

State Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), the second-highest ranking member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, visited Penn College on Thursday. Cutler, serving his first term as majority leader, was accompanied on the tour – which took in a number of instructional areas of main campus – by Jacob G. Smeltz, his chief of staff, as well as two members of the college’s board of directors: Sen. Gene Yaw, chair, and Rep. Garth Everett. President Davie Jane Gilmour and other members of the college administration (including Michael J. Reed, vice president for academic affairs and provost, and Patrick Marty, chief of staff) welcomed the guests, and various deans and faculty members led Cutler through The Victorian House, welding and metal fabrication, advanced manufacturing, automotive restoration, culinary arts and hospitality, plastics and polymer engineering, and several majors in the School of Nursing & Health Sciences. Cutler started his career in radiography, earning a certificate from Lancaster General School of Radiology. He worked as an X-ray technologist before earning a health care management degree from Lebanon Valley College and working as an administrator in his local hospital’s radiology department. He later earned a law degree, focused on health care law, from Widener Law School and has served in the Legislature since 2007. The day’s itinerary also included lunch at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant and a chance to see the Gold Rush Excavator on a nearby parking lot.

Automated Manufacturing & Machining Collision Repair & Restoration Corporate Relations Faculty & Staff General Information Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies Plastics & Polymer Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies Welding Workforce Development

College among regional assets touted for industrial visitors

Biddle leads visitors through the Thermoforming Center of Excellence.
Biddle leads visitors through the Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

Site selectors for business and industry, who arrived in Williamsport late last week for a four-day assessment of the region’s educational, health care and recreational attributes, visited Penn College on Monday. Led by a contingent of campus leaders, the guests toured plastics, automated manufacturing, welding, collision repair and automotive restoration labs, and enjoyed lunch at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant. Eyewitness News’ Morgan Parrish was among those accompanying the group, and – in a piece that led the evening’s 5:30 newscasts on WBRE/WYOU – interviewed Michael Quint, managing director at Newmark Knight Frank; Jared Grissinger, project manager for the Governor’s Action Team; and Jason Fink, president/CEO of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, for their perspective. Also included in the broadcast was footage of Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations; David R. Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies; Shannon M. Munro, vice president for workforce development; and Spencer L. Cotner, of Muncy, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major and research assistant at the college’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center. The visit, which began at the Little League Baseball World Series over the weekend, concludes with Tuesday stops at UPMC Susquehanna and Lycoming College.

August 26, 2019
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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July 2, 2019
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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