News about Automotive

Subterranean Senatorial History Surfaces in Automotive Lab

Retired from legislative duty in 1912, when a faster monorail system ferried Washington, D.C., VIPs through a 760-foot tunnel, the 1908 Studebaker averaged 225 trips a day at the height of its civil service.

Students (joined at right by Klinger, instructor of collision repair) equip the handsome cherry-bodied vehicle with batteries which, but for increased storage capacity, are largely unchanged from the turn of the 20th century.

Because the car moved backward and forward along its "subway" route, the driver would switch seats to face the direction of travel.

While students donned gloves to work on the vehicle, a similar protective covering was placed on the vehicle's original Firestone tires.

Van Stavoren, an assistant automotive professor, works with restoration students Alex M. Koser (left), of Mount Joy, and Nicholas C. Howland, of Woodbridge, Va.

An electric 1908 Studebaker, one of two original vehicles built to shuttle passengers underground from the Old Senate Building to the U.S. Capitol (including such literal heavyweights as President William Howard Taft) is being prepped by students for a prestigious weekend event. The vehicles were nicknamed “Peg” and “Tommy” during their heyday; the former is on display at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, Indiana, and the latter is on loan to Penn College from the William E. Swigart Jr. Automobile Museum in Huntingdon. Patricia B. Swigart, vehicle owner and one of the earliest supporters of the college’s automotive restoration technology major, has never seen “Tommy” operated under its own power – a situation that restoration students and faculty hope to remedy at the Elegance at Hershey this Friday through Sunday. Electrical students in Christopher H. Van Stavoren’s Introduction to Restoration Procedures course installed 10 batteries in the vehicle during a Tuesday class in the Parkes Automotive Technology Center. Faculty colleague Roy H. Klinger said the students’ involvement in researching and preserving the Studebaker will be documented by the Historic Vehicle Association, which recognizes the cultural significance of the automobile. Preston T. Rose, a May restoration graduate, researched a 1932 McGee Roadster that was recently displayed on the Washington Monument mall as part of the HVA’s national register of historic vehicles.

College’s Automotive Major Helps Meet Demand for Trained Technicians

Kayla D. Wilson is ecstatic about the automotive technology: Mopar CAP emphasis associate-degree major, which combines her personal education style with her professional goals. “I like to learn how to do things with my hands because I can learn better doing it that way,” said Wilson, who alternates between Penn College and a paid internship at Griffin Motors in her Meadville hometown. “You sit and you listen and then you go and apply that. We go and do activities on the cars and then come back and learn a little bit more. You’re going back and forth so that you can see how things work. And if you need help, no matter what, the instructor is there.” The major also prepares students to take various certification examinations that helps them seamlessly transition to automotive careers or into a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology management. Interviewed for a video added to the college’s YouTube channel, the dealership’s service manager acknowledged the mutual benefit of Wilson’s education. “She’s self-motivated. She learns quickly. She’s not afraid to try new things,” Joe King said. “At the time of her graduation, she should be a Level 2 technician, which is valuable to us … and to her, as well. So we hope to keep her on after she graduates.”

Penn College Commencement Set for Dec. 17

Caleb E. Cartmell

A commencement ceremony will be held Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport for the nearly 300 Pennsylvania College of Technology students who have petitioned to graduate after the Fall 2016 semester.

The student speaker for the ceremony, which begins at 11 a.m., will be Caleb E. Cartmell, of Honesdale, who will receive an Associate of Applied Science in automotive technology. Cartmell will also be presented with the President’s Award for leadership and service to the college. He returns in Spring 2017 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology management.

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Diligently Restored, Dazzlingly Arrayed

Automobiles fill the Penn College landscape in this view to the northeast from atop the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center.

Pennsylvania College of Technology provided a stunning backdrop for the Antique Automobile Club of America’s Grand National Meet from Thursday through Saturday, an exciting and extraordinary event that was the largest ever held by the organization. A joint project of the AACA Susquehannock Region and the Penn College Classic Cruisers student group, the gathering attracted more than 600 cars, trucks and motorcycles and thousands of participants and spectators. Activities for registrants and their families included tours of campus and local attractions, informative sessions in instructional labs, and social get-togethers … and two free events were open to the community: Friday’s keynote address by Lyn St. James in the Field House and Saturday’s car show – breathtakingly featuring 40 to 50 million dollars’ worth of automobiles – along the campus mall. A motivational speaker, St. James is a seven-time Indianapolis 500 competitor, the Indy’s first female Rookie of the Year and one of the “Top 100 Female Athletes of the Century” as chosen by Sports Illustrated. In addition to the photo gallery that follows, the memorable event is captured in a video on the college’s YouTube channel:

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The World at Their Feet

International student travelers await their flight from JFK to Zurich.

Thirteen students from the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies this week began a 10-day journey to France and Italy, where they will visit exclusive automotive museums and body shops. The students are traveling with Roy H. Klinger, instructor of collision repair, and are part of two study-abroad courses – International Automotive Studies and the International Automotive Field Experience – offered through the college’s International Programs Office.
Photo by Roy H. Klinger

Living-Learning Community Attends Carlisle Car Show

LLC returns from daylong trip to Carlisle.

Members of Penn College’s Automotive Living-Learning Community attended Saturday’s Carlisle Spring Car Show. “Everyone is glad to be back on campus after a long day in traffic and walking around looking at cars and car parts,” said Eric D. Pruden, automotive instructor and LLC faculty liaison. “The weather was great and everyone enjoyed the event.” From left are Eric M. Santiago, of Vineland, New Jersey; Mark J. Dumais, of Fort Johnson, New York; Brittany A. Frey, of Forksville; Daniel W. DeShong, of Cochranville; Jonathan L. Zechman, of Lebanon; Genevieve M. Kelly, of Beverly, Massachusetts; and James T. Wade, of Lafayette Hill.
Photo by Eric D. Pruden

Historic Number of Penn College Students Headed to Nationals

SkillsUSA Pennsylvania

Seventeen first-place winners from Pennsylvania College of Technology have advanced to the 52nd annual National SkillsUSA Conference, to be held from June 20-24 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Three other students finished in the top four places in their respective categories during the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference held earlier this month in Hershey.

“I feel great about the students’ performance at the state competition. It goes to show how well-prepared the students are from their respective fields and how great our instructors are here at the college,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college’s SkillsUSA adviser. “This is, by far, the most diverse group of students I’ve had go to the competition. The national competition gives us a chance to showcase our technical skills and show everyone why we’re a leader in applied technology. I hope next year we can increase the number going to nationals and continue to make the college proud.”

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Subaru Magazine Features ’07 Automotive Grad

James S. Riedel

Personal vehicle upgraded with professional know-how

James S. Riedel, a 2007 graduate of Penn College’s automotive technology management major, is featured in the latest issue of Subaru’s Drive Performance magazine for his 2006 WRX STI. “At first glance, (he) does not seem like the type to create a monster vehicle capable of flinging him around a racetrack,” the article notes of Riedel, technical training development manager at Subaru of America. “A self-described closet nerd with an affable demeanor, hipster-issue beard, and undercut hair style, you might assume he uses a fixed-gear bicycle as his primary mode of transport. But this couldn’t be further from the truth …” Riedel was a two-term president of the college’s Student Government Association during his Penn College tenure, and was instrumental in establishing the Student Legacy Leadership Scholarship Fund.

Automotive LLC Gets Weekend Workout

At play on a Sunday study break

Living, learning ... and friendly competition.

The Automotive Living-Learning Community students and friends got together Sunday for a friendly (but competitive) session of dodgeball in Penn College’s Field House. The students seemed to be having a good time and they were laughing and joking with each other,” said Eric D. Pruden, automotive instructor and faculty liaison for the LLC. “A lot of energy was expended and those that I saw today told me that they were sore from all the throwing and slept well last night after all that running around.” Participating students were Christianna L. Andryski, David L. Bierly, Carlos A. Cadenas, Allison N. Carr, Daniel W. DeShong, Mark J. Dumais, Josiah S. Fegley, Brittany A. Frey, Genevieve M. Kelly, Raymond W. Pennachio, Hunter P. Richards, Preston T. Rose, Eric M. Santiago, Troy A. Stair, James T. Wade and Jonathan L. Zechman.
Photos by Eric D. Pruden

LLC Crosses ‘Tractor Pull’ off Bucket List

Four members of Residence Life's Automotive LLC, still smiling on their 1 a.m. return from a Harrisburg adventure.

Members of Penn College’s Automotive Living-Learning Community attended the Keystone National Truck and Tractor Pull event at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg on Saturday. “Only one person had been to a similar event before, so, for the rest of us, it was a new experience,” said Eric D. Pruden, automotive instructor and LLC faculty liaison. “Lots of horsepower and driving skill was on display and not too much parts breakage. Everyone had a good time!” From left are applied management student Daniel W. DeShong, of Cochranville; and collision repair technology majors Christianna L. Andryski, of Harrisburg, Brittany A. Frey, of Forksville, and Genevieve M. Kelly, of Beverly, Massachusetts.
Photo provided

Local Auto Dealership Establishes Scholarship at Penn College

From left, Robb Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation, with Bill Brown and Brian Peace, scholarship benefactors from the Murray Motor Group.

A scholarship fund has been established for automotive students at Pennsylvania College of Technology by the Murray Motor Group.

The idea for the scholarship fund was initiated by Brian Peace, managing partner of the Murray Motor Group and a 1984 graduate of Penn College’s predecessor, Williamsport Area Community College.

The fund will provide annual merit-based awards to full-time students who have successfully completed two semesters at the college. Preference will be given to graduates of high schools in Lycoming and Snyder counties who are enrolled in automotive technology management, automotive service sales and marketing, automotive technology, automotive technology: Ford ASSET, and collision repair technology.

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Automotive LLC Bounds Into Finals Week

Instructor and students gather for an energetic outing ...

... on trampolines that add a new dimension to dodgeball.

Members of the Automotive Living-Learning Community traveled to the Fly World Trampoline Park on Elmira Street on Sunday, having fun and getting a sufficient workout to help them rest soundly before end-of-semester exams! Joining Eric D. Pruden, automotive instructor and LLC faculty liaison, were collision repair technology students Christianna L. Andryski, Brittany A. Frey, Genevieve M. Kelly, and Raymond M. Pennachio; automotive technology majors Allison N. Carr and James T. Wade; Preston T. Rose, an automotive restoration technology major; and applied management student Daniel W. DeShong.
Photos provided

Automotive Faculty Member Named Honorary Crew Member

Chris J. Holley (left) and Tony Schumacher

An eye-catching Army display draws interest from the race-day crowd.

An automotive faculty member represented Penn College as a guest of the Army and Don Schumacher Racing during Saturday’s “Army Day at the Races” during the Keystone Nationals held at Maple Grove Raceway just outside Reading. Assistant professor Chris J. Holley was able to interact with several Army officers and soldiers; he also met Mike Lewis, vice president of DSR, and Tony Schumacher, Don’s son and a driver of one of the group’s eight nitro-burning drag cars. Those eight teams have accumulated more than 250 wins and close to 20 championships over the years, and Tony Schumacher has won the Top Fuel championship eight times during the 15 years he has been sponsored by the Army. In addition to being a guest and a recognized Army “center of influence” – someone who meets with a target audience that includes educated young men and women – Holley was selected as a ceremonial crew member for the Army team for the day. “That was quite an honor,” he said.
Photos provided

Classic Vehicles, Curiosity Bring Chevy Club to Campus

The group peeks inside the Duesenberg, on loan from the William E. Swigart Jr. Automobile Museum in Huntingdon for light service work and detailing.

Club member Dave Cavagnaro discusses his four-door 1962 Chevrolet Impala sedan with a student.

Justin W. Beishline (background) and Walter V. Gower, assistant deans of transportation and natural resources technologies, keep the chow line moving.

Collision repair instructor Roy H. Klinger (far left) talks about the diagnostic work being performed on the Packard to assess whether a full restoration is warranted.

Sean M. Hunter, an applied management major from Livington, New Jersey, shows off a work-in-progress in the paint lab: a 1935 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Saloon.

More than 20 members of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America Inc. traveled to Penn College in a dozen cars Friday, enjoying a tour of several laboratories in the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies and meeting with students  – both instructionally and informally. Of particular interest was the automotive restoration lab, where the visitors saw the caliber of the museum pieces and collectibles entrusted to students: a 1929 Duesenberg, a 1947 Packard and a 1932 Buick, among them. Dave Cavagnaro, of Blairstown, New Jersey, who was taken by the students’ demeanor when he met them at Charlotte and Philadelphia, said he continued to be “superimpressed” after seeing them on campus. The members’ cars, combined with a display of student- and faculty-owned vehicles, coincided with a fall tradition: a hot dog roast with the school administration at the grill.

Hands-On Wiring Project Emblematic of Program’s Civic Connections

Checking out a fleet of vintage cars ...

... including an award-winning, student-restored 1970 Chevelle SS.

The instructor lends a hand to a group supervised by YMCA Program DIrector Bryce Weaver (center).

Success and satisfaction

Displaying a patriotic eagle, one of the student projects in the Auto Graphics course

Young men and women from the Williamsport YMCA’s F.I.R.S.T. (Fostering Individuality, Respect, Success and Teamwork) Program toured Penn College’s collision repair lab Wednesday as part of a five-week summer workshop series designed for community outreach. The once-weekly activities, sponsored by Lycoming United Way, are spearheaded by Katrina A. Sinclair, part-time member of the college’s history faculty. Automotive instructor Eric D. Pruden walked the group through the restoration, paint and collision repair labs before assigning them hands-on activities involving series and parallel circuits.