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Scholarship donors get firsthand look at their fruitful philanthropy

A recent Scholarship Celebration, including remarks delivered from the new Center for Career Design, paid tribute to scholarship donors and vividly illustrated the life-changing impact that their support creates for Pennsylvania College of Technology students.

Emceed by Kyle A. Smith, executive director of college relations and the Penn College Foundation, the event featured the perspective of Student Government Association President Ethan M. McKenzie, graduating this spring in software development and information management, and 2018 applied technology studies alumnus Ryan Monteleone, who also holds a degree in information assurance and cyber security.

McKenzie is passionate about governmental institutions and their power to drive regional growth, provide security and transform lives. Volunteering for numerous political campaigns, he uses his software development and information management skills to strategically serve local communities and achieve campaign goals.

“If I weren’t the beneficiary of several generous scholarships, money would have been an even greater concern for me,” he told donors watching online. “If I couldn’t count on your generosity to fund my education, I would have been obliged to take on additional work outside of the classroom in roles that paid better than those I worked in. I would have had far less time to volunteer for political campaigns or advocate causes in the student government and I never would have discovered my passion.”

“My optimal path forward is to study law and go to work in an executive agency to craft policy and effect lasting social change. With my Penn College degree in software development, I bring to the law a technically trained, systems-oriented mindset that will be invaluable in my legal pursuits.”

During his sophomore year, Monteleone obtained an internship position with Pfizer as a cybersecurity analyst. Pfizer offered him a full-time position during his junior year, an entire academic year before his intended graduation. And, only one year after graduation, he established the Monteleone Scholarship to empower the next generation of information technology professionals. Today, he is a member of Pfizer’s global cybersecurity team, making it possible for the pharmaceutical giant to safely connect and collaborate with a variety of partners to create life-saving solutions for millions across the globe.

“I attribute this incredible opportunity and my continued success at Pfizer to the world-class education I received at Penn College,” he said. “As a student leader, I saw firsthand the stress financial concerns can place on students and the immediate relief provided through scholarship support – taking them one step closer to their dream of a Penn College degree and a sustainable career. I couldn’t be more proud that I am able to support Penn College students now and in the future.”

In closing remarks, college President Davie Jane Gilmour asked students joining virtually: “Where does your passion lead you? Is your passion similar to Ryan’s? Can you see yourself improving tomorrow’s business operations and streamlining communications, or expanding networks and empowering research that will transform health care? Or maybe your passion is similar to Ethan’s, in the sense that you want to increase educational opportunities, improve government relations and systems for the empowerment of all.

“I hope you’re encouraged by these two incredible examples. The possibilities are truly endless with your Penn College experience and the steadfast support of the college’s strongest advocates. It is very true: You are our tomorrow makers. And when we work together, the collective passions that we have will change the world.”

Among those attending virtually were Robert E. Dunham, chairman emeritus of the college’s board of directors; board member John M. Young; Paul H. Rooney Jr., a member of the Penn College Foundation board; and alumnus/retiree James E. Cunningham, an honorary foundation director.

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