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Penn College names assistant deans for engineering technologies

Pennsylvania College of Technology has added to its leadership team with the appointment of two assistant deans for the School of Engineering Technologies.

Kathleen D. Chesmel heads the school’s Materials Science and Engineering Technologies Division, and Ellyn A. Lester is doing the same for the Construction and Architectural Technologies Division. Both new hires possess a unique combination of academic and industry experience.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kathy and Ellyn to Penn College,” said Bradley M. Webb, dean of engineering technologies. “We had several outstanding candidates to choose from, but Kathy and Ellyn stood out with their impeccable credentials and enthusiasm for the college’s hands-on education that results in rewarding, sustainable careers. I’m confident that they will make substantial contributions to the college, benefiting both students and faculty.”

Kathleen D. Chesmel has been named assistant dean of materials science and engineering technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology.Chesmel oversees all plastics, welding, civil and surveying, and manufacturing majors. Most recently, she was an adjunct professor teaching graduate courses at Immaculata University, an educational and professional development consultant, and director of the Make-it-Matter Materials Science Camp at Penn State.

From 2002-18, Chesmel was a science teacher at New Egypt High School in Plumsted, New Jersey, where she received the 2011 Princeton University Prize for Distinguished Secondary School Teaching.

Her industry experience includes senior director of product development at Ortec International and manager of biomaterials at Therics Inc. Chesmel has presented at several seminars and workshops, been published in peer-reviewed journals and is the co-inventor of two U.S. patents.

She holds a doctorate and a master’s degree in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton.

Ellyn A. Lester has been named assistant dean of construction and architectural technologies at Pennsylvania College of Technology.As assistant dean of architectural and construction technologies, Lester is responsible for all architecture, building construction, construction management and HVAC majors. She comes to Penn College from Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, where she was the associate chair of graduate studies for the Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering Department and chair of built environment programs.

The National Association of Women in Construction honored Lester in 2020 with its Carol A. Kueker Construction Education Visionary Award.

Prior to Stevens, Lester was director of career services and adjunct faculty at NewSchool of Architecture and Design. Other experience includes establishing a national consulting firm (NovaConnect Inc.) and serving as vice president of architecture for MBA Management Inc., vice president of membership and marketing for the Design-Build Institute of America, and director of business development for WRS Architects Inc.

She has made peer-reviewed conference presentations and written for both peer-reviewed and industry publications. Lester belongs to several professional societies, including being the joint commissioner of the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building Construction.

Lester is completing a doctorate from the University of Salford (England), focusing on the built environment. She holds a master’s degree in architecture and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, both from the University of Kansas.

The School of Engineering Technologies is the largest of the three schools that comprise Penn College. In addition to construction and architectural technologies and materials science and engineering technologies, the school has divisions devoted to diesel technology and natural resources, industrial and computer technologies, and transportation. For information about majors offered by the school, call 570-327-4520.

For information on Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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