News about Natural Science

Students Follow Nature’s Way to Trust, Triumph

Pairs of students climb pole ladders with a goal of walking across the log at the top (and crossing each other “mid-span”). Students on the ground control the belay (safety) ropes for the climbers.

Also at CLIMBucknell, students use aluminum beams and tree stumps to cross an imaginary “lava field” without leaving a team member behind or falling into “the lava” …

... and transcend a more “vertical” challenge: a multi-story high-climbing tower.

The therapeutic value of quiet, mindfulness, meditation and focus are found on a hike at Rider Park.

On the Penn College campus, HSR330 students learn to trust and communicate through alternate means as they work in pairs, wordlessly guiding a blindfolded partner through a course covering different obstacles.

Nature as therapy was the lesson learned recently by students enrolled in Outdoor Recreation as a Therapeutic Tool (HSR 330). The students also learned firsthand how to facilitate individual and team-based outdoor activities. One day, the group visited Bucknell University’s CLIMBucknell Challenge Course, an outdoor educational facility in Cowan. “Under the guidance of the Bucknell facilitators, the Penn College students learned how to solve mental and physical challenges as a team,” said D. Robert Cooley, associate professor of anthropology/environmental science (who also provided the photos). “After the problem-solving games concluded, we moved to the ropes course where we all were able to push past our individual comfort zones on some breathtakingly high ropes elements, an enormous climbing wall, and finally, an impossibly long zip line. A great day was had by all!” Other outdoor educational venues folded into the students’ coursework during the summer “minimester” included Rider Park north of Williamsport and a beautiful location a little closer to “home” – the Penn College campus.

Faculty Member to Exhibit Chain-Mail Jewelry at June’s ‘First Friday’

Faculty member among First Friday artists

Joseph E. LeBlanc, an assistant professor of physics at Penn College, will be among the local artisans displaying their craft during First Friday (June 2) in downtown Williamsport. LeBlanc, who uses classic weave patterns in his creations, has been making chain mail since 2013. His work can be seen at Gustonian Gifts, 357 Pine St.

Penn College’s ‘Working Class’ TV Series Earns Second Telly Award

"Working Class" earns second Telly Award“Working Class: Build & Grow Green,” produced by Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA Public Media, has earned a 2017 Bronze Telly Award.

It is the second episode produced for the “Working Class” public television series and the second to win a Bronze Telly. “Working Class: Dream & Do” earned the award in 2016.

Acknowledged as a premier award for film and video productions, the Telly Award honors outstanding local, regional and cable programming. The 37th annual competition in 2017 considered more than 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents.

“As a national leader in applied technology education, Penn College has earned a reputation for combining academics with practical, hands-on education that prepares students to enter and advance in the world of work,” said Davie Jane Gilmour, president of the college. “The award-winning ‘Working Class’ series allows us to share our mission and passion for inspired learning with a public television audience.”

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Penn College Physics Professor Writes Laboratory Manual

Joseph E. LeBlanc

A physics professor’s quest to create inspiring and practical lab exercises for his students has resulted in the publication of a physics laboratory manual published by Kendall Hunt Publishing Co.

“Physics Laboratory Manual: Physics with Technological Applications” is written by Joseph E. LeBlanc, professor of physics at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The manual is the result of more than 10 years of work for LeBlanc, who began compiling his own physics lab exercises out of a desire to create stronger relevance for his students in applied technology majors.

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Moral Code: Give Back to What You Love

Author and Penn College colloquium speaker Rick Bass. Photo courtesy of Lowry Bass

From the Spring 2017 Penn College Magazine: Author Rick Bass, an activist who spoke during the college’s Technology & Society Colloquia Series, encourages young people to stand up for the environment and communities they cherish. Read “Moral Code.”

Faculty Member to Show Artistic Side at November’s ‘First Friday’

Faculty member's chain mail to be displayed during Williamsport's First Friday

Joseph E. LeBlanc, an assistant professor of physics at Penn College, will be among those displaying their creative handiwork during First Friday (Nov. 4) in downtown Williamsport. The faculty member – also billed as “woodworker, musician, artist and aerospace engineer” – has been making chain mail for four years. His work in a variety of metals can be seen at Gustonian Gifts, 357 Pine St.

It’s Only a Matter of Time

Like a magician, Richards explains the concept of time dilation with the assistance of Rylee A. Butler, an engineering design technology student from Bellefonte.

The first floor of the Klump Academic Center Auditorium fills with "time travelers" from campus and the surrounding community.

Nicholas C. Moore, center, a plastics and polymer engineering technology student from Lock Haven, joins Richards and Butler on stage to demonstrate the use of a “time stick” …

… as audience members also join in the fun experiment measuring reaction time.

Through a pendulum, one of his stage props, Richards can be seen during the closing question-and-answer session moderated by Michael J. Reed (at podium), dean of sciences, humanities and visual communications.

A large crowd of “time travelers” enjoyed a journey through the realities and fantasies of time during “Manipulating Time Using Science, Technology and Literature,” presented Tuesday evening in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium by David S. Richards, professor of physics. The second talk in the 2016-17 Technology & Society Colloquia Series, the discussion ranged from scientific principles to personal perceptions of time. The audience was encouraged to participate in a demonstration measuring reaction time utilizing “time sticks” and by submitting their definitions of time that were transcribed and shown on the large screen. A question-and-answer session and a post-talk reception in Wrapture concluded the evening. The next colloquium is scheduled for Feb. 7: “A General Assertion is Worth Innumerable Pictures,” by Robert N. McCauley, a professor and founding director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Culture at Emory University. Richards’ presentation has been added to the Penn College YouTube channel.

Chemistry Professor Invited to Join Penn State Innovation Team

Kelly B. Butzler

Kelly B. Butzler, associate professor of chemistry at Pennsylvania College of Technology, has been invited to be a member of Penn State’s Learning Innovation Forum Team, a cross-university brain trust working to advance learning and education through collaboration.

LIFT aims to contribute to the progress of Penn State as a leader in the transformation of education for the betterment of its students and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Insight provided by the team will complement advancements in various educational areas including curricula, instruction, operations efficiencies, recruitment, retention and student success, and facilitate innovation across the university.

Butzler was selected as a Penn College representative to the team based on her creative approaches and passionate desire to transform education.

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West Chester Company Donates Gas Chromatograph to Penn College

Michael J. Reed, dean of the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications at Penn College, accepts a donated PeakSimple 2000 gas chromatograph from Kate Bowes Harris, of Hilltop Enterprises, based in West Chester.

Students enrolled in natural sciences courses at Pennsylvania College of Technology will benefit from a recent donation of a PeakSimple 2000 gas chromatograph by Al Silkroski, president and chief executive officer of Hilltop Enterprises, based in West Chester.

“The gas chromatograph is an essential piece of equipment that separates, identifies and quantifies a wide variety of organic chemicals in a mixture,” said Justin M. Ingram, assistant professor of biology. “This GC gives our organic chemistry students hands-on experience with a sophisticated instrument found in many different types of industries, and allows students to monitor their chemical reactions and check the purity of their products.”

The equipment will also be used in science courses required for the college’s new associate degree in brewing and fermentation science, which officially launches in Fall 2017.

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Manipulating Time Topic of Penn College Colloquium

David S. Richards

Scientific aspects of time and humanity’s desire to control it will be addressed at the next presentation of the Technology & Society Colloquia Series at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

“Manipulating Time Using Science, Technology and Literature” will be presented by David S. Richards, professor of physics, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium. The gathering is free and open to the public.

“It has been scientifically proven that time is not absolute; it is a quantity that depends upon relative speeds, gravity and even space itself,” Richards writes in his presentation abstract. “How can this fact allow a person to travel into the future? Can science and technology manipulate time so that you can live a longer life? Why is relative time so important in modern technological devices? How can literature be used to manipulate time? How do memories and experiences alter our perception of time?”

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Who Designs the Future?

Graphic design student Ainsley R. Bennett adds shadow to a still-life sketch. Hand-drawing skills remain important in the college’s graphic design and advertising art majors.

In a Penn College lab, a student polishes graphics for a class project.

From the Fall 2016 Penn College Magazine: As detailed in the first episode of the “Working Class” television series, a knack for design and creativity is essential to other fields, including science, math, engineering and technology. Read “Who Designs the Future?

Physics Faculty Present Talks at Conference

Physics faculty present talks

Two Pennsylvania College of Technology physics faculty members presented talks at the American Association of Physics Teachers – Central Pennsylvania Section conference, held recently at Moravian College, Bethlehem.

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Culinary Students Add Flavor to National Science Festival

Students and faculty from Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Business & Hospitality served a “Taste of Technology” at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., from April 15-17. From frozen Teddy Grahams to instant ice cream, the students fed guests’ curiosity and appetite. With other exhibitors and science celebrities, the Penn College culinary contingent promoted careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). A video has been added to the college’s YouTube channel, and a photo gallery compiled from the contributions of faculty and staff.

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Chemistry Professor Published in Research Journal

Kelly B. Butzler

Kelly B. Butzler, associate professor of chemistry at Pennsylvania College of Technology, had a paper published in an international journal’s special issue focused on “Flipping the Classroom.”

The current issue of Computers in the Schools: Interdisciplinary Journal of Practice, Theory, and Applied Research features Butzler’s article, “The Synergistic Effects of Self-Regulation Tools and the Flipped Classroom.”

Butzler is an educational advocate for “flipped classrooms” – a blended learning approach to standard classrooms. Flipped classrooms move lectures online, outside of class, and move assignments into the classroom where teachers can provide guidance and answer questions.

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Penn College to Exhibit at Nation’s Largest Science Festival

Chef Frank M. Suchwala, associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts, and baking and pastry arts majors Jeffrey L. Bretz, of Williamsport, and Keegan D. Sonney, of Erie, practice one of the demonstrations for “A Taste of Technology” that they will present for Penn College at the USA Science and Engineering Festival.

Pennsylvania College of Technology representatives will present “A Taste of Technology” for thousands of people hungry to experience STEM fields at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C., April 15-17.

Led by faculty and students from the School of Business & Hospitality, Penn College representatives will offer hands-on activities for participants to discover the science, technology, engineering and math involved in food preparation.

“We want people to experience aspects of STEM beyond the classroom and in all areas of life,” said Chef Frank M. Suchwala, associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts and creator of A Taste of Technology. “Specifically, we can show how food can be created and presented in innovative ways using STEM to our advantage.”

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