Skip to main content
Main Penn College Website

Students Modify Wheelchair Lift for Local Woman


From left, Derek S. Oberlin, Mifflinburg%3B Joshua D. Simpson, Glen Rock%3B Ryan P. Procious, New Bethlehem%3B Randy S. Gery, New Albany%3B Theodore J. Lechene, Patton%3B Jacob A. Mattioli, Tunkhannock%3B Michael J. Nau, instructor of welding%3B Christopher A. Glover, Friendship, N.Y.%3B Robert A. Schoonover, Towanda%3B Donna Persing, whose wheelchair lift was modified by the students%3B and Jeffrey W. Garraux, Allison Park.A group of students enrolled in the Welding Design course at Pennsylvania College of Technology volunteered to help with a project that saved a Williamsport woman the thousands of dollars she would have had to pay for a new wheelchair lift.

When Donna Persing bought a new wheelchair, it did not fit on her van’s lift. She contacted Donald O. Praster, assistant dean of industrial and engineering technologies, and the college’s welding department, which endeavored to make the lift wider to accommodate the chair.

“Don Praster and I came up with a preliminary design and gave it to the students,” said Michael J. Nau, instructor of welding. “They did all the cutting, welding and finishing of the design.”

The students cut the lift’s platform in half to add a 3-inch extension onto its center, allowing Persing’s new chair to fit correctly. Both Persing and her husband, Terry, have cerebral palsy.

“It was an easy job to do to help somebody and save them in the long run,” said welding technology student Theodore J. Lechene, of Patton, adding that it also offered the students an opportunity “to actually put our education to hands-on experience.”

Students who helped with the project are: Jeffrey W. Garraux, Allison Park, welding and fabrication engineering technology; Christopher A. Glover, Friendship, N.Y., welding technology; Randy S. Gery, New Albany, welding and fabrication engineering technology; Lechene; Jacob A. Mattioli, Tunkhannock, welding technology; Derek S. Oberlin, Mifflinburg, welding technology; Ryan P. Procious, New Bethlehem, welding technology; Robert A. Schoonover, Towanda, welding; and Joshua D. Simpson, Glen Rock, welding technology.

Being able to save Persing a hefty replacement cost was an attractive reason to volunteer extra effort, Mattioli said.

“It was just a few modifications,” he said. “It wasn’t even a big deal for us, but I’m sure it was helpful.”

For more information about the academic programs offered by the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies, call (570) 327-4520, or sende-mail.

Related Stories

Kailan K. Marshall, vice president of PC Alliance and a Student Government Association senator-at-large for diversity, equity and inclusion, addresses attendees at the flag-raising. Students
A rainbowed burst of ‘pride’
Read more
Diesel technology students are shown with CSTK-donated Thermo King refrigeration units at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center. From left are Mike J. Lawson Jr., of Millville, New Jersey; Dawson F. Paulo, of Tamaqua; and Dalton I. Shearer, of New Columbia. Paulo has petitioned to graduate at the conclusion of the spring semester and begins a job with CSTK on May 17. Students
CSTK donates refrigeration units for diesel technology program
Read more
Chef, consultant and TV personality Brian Duffy (center) headlines Bacon Fest with assistance from culinary arts technology students Palin J. Hurst (left) and Charlie Suchanec. Students
Students join ‘swine and dine’ fun at brewery’s BaconFest
Read more