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Student-Run Seminar Brings Professionals’ Perspective to Campus


Pennsylvania College of Technology students preparing to graduate in May with associate degrees in health information technology recently arranged a seminar on campus for other students in the academic program.

The 16 students are enrolled in a capstone course taught by Ashley D. Holmes, instructor of business administration/health information technology.

“The students do all of the preparation for the seminar, from the decision-making on locations and what food to serve, to what type of presenters they would like to have speak to our students, and on what topics,” Holmes said. “They do all the networking, lining up the presenters and putting on the seminar that day, as well. This group of students did a great job at capturing the biggest audience we have ever had at a seminar, with 84 students present.”

Students in Penn College’s health information technology major planned and facilitated a seminar featuring three health information professionals. The students, enrolled in a capstone course taught by Ashley D. Holmes, instructor of business administration/health information technology, are joined by Holmes (far left); Dan Christopher, assistant professor of business administration/health information technology (second from left); and Michelle M. Budnovitch, instructor of business administration/health information technology (far right).
Students in Penn College’s health information technology major planned and facilitated a seminar featuring three health information professionals. The students, enrolled in a capstone course taught by Ashley D. Holmes, instructor of business administration/health information technology, are joined by Holmes (far left); Dan Christopher, assistant professor of business administration/health information technology (second from left); and Michelle M. Budnovitch, instructor of business administration/health information technology (far right).

The class members consider what audience they hope to reach and practice skills in team building, management, leadership, communication, decision making and networking.

“These are all skills that they will need when leaving the college and entering the workforce,” Holmes said.

The students coordinated talks by Su-Linn Zywiol, executive vice president of operations for Star Med, a release-of-information vendor; Jennifer Weaver, a coding manager for Evangelical Community Hospital; Christina Lisella, a field representative for the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry; and Carol Yacko, director of medical records for Susquehanna Health.

Each of the speakers talked about her career and how she has explored the field of health information, and gave tips to the students for entering the workforce, what to look for in a company, terminology used when searching for jobs in health information, and what to expect when interviewing, along with tips to think about beforehand.

Christopher (right) addresses the Penn's Inn audience.
Christopher (right) addresses the Penn’s Inn audience.

“Each speaker presented from an area in the health information field that is completely different from the others, giving the first-year students a great perspective as to what they can look forward to in the field of health information,” Holmes said. “Health information is a very broad field and can range from coding and release of medical records, to vendor companies and consultants, to electronic health records implementation, and everything in between.”

Students who organized and ran the seminar are Alyssa N. Aucker, of Millerstown; Holly A. Bennett, of Williamsport; Abby L. Bressler, of Hughesville; Taylor C. Firmstone, of Northampton; Wendy J. Gee, of Williamsport; Angie M. Hamilton, of Williamsport; Nikole C. Hartman, of Shamokin; Julie L. Orso, of Williamsport; Timothy P. Reda, of Newton, New Jersey; Katherine R. Rellick, of Latrobe; Erin E. Troup, of Elysburg; Ashley B. Watts, of Montoursville; Amber L. Weeks, of Muncy; Hannah D. Weightman, of Muncy Valley; Eugenia Woodring, of South Williamsport; and Allison M. Yaneck, of Saint Clair.

Penn College offers a bachelor’s degree in health information management, an associate degree in health information technology, and a certificate in health information coding specialist. To learn more about these majors, call 570-327-4519.

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

Photos by Caleb G. Schirmer, student photographer

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