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College provides invaluable assist during airport ’emergency’

Jets of water shoot from airport-owned apparatus.

Penn College students, faculty and equipment were integral to Saturday’s simulated emergency at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville. A triennial requirement of the Federal Aviation Administration, this year’s drill featured a smoky runway collision that allowed crews the opportunity to test the strengths and weaknesses of their response systems. Matthew D. Krepps, an instructor of aviation maintenance technology, coordinated the college’s involvement in the Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority exercise, which included student “victims” and two planes from the Lumley Aviation Center’s instructional fleet: a recently donated CL-600 Challenger corporate jet and an older Sabreliner aircraft. A fog machine was used in the latter plane to obscure the vision of rescue workers without using actual smoke that would choke the student volunteers acting as injured passengers.

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Events Students

Coming ‘home’ to hands-on happiness

Serena V. Bergeron, an automotive technology management: collision repair concentration student from Lansdale, stuffs a plush leopard takeaway near a canopy of fall foliage.

The Homecoming and Parent & Family Celebration, while not unaffected by lingering COVID-19 accommodations, still managed to further the unique sense of belonging among Penn College students and graduates. Alumni could connect virtually to their alma mater through several events, and a variety of on-campus activities for current enrollees – both over the weekend and during the days immediately before – brought a pervasive collegiality to the autumn air.

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Art & Graphic Design Business, Arts & Sciences Faculty & Staff Students

Ceramic masks reveal students’ pandemic emotions

Drawing inspiration from Scandinavian folk art, graphic design student Kaylee N. Masullo, of Bellefonte, says, “I wanted to convey a sense of comfort in home … there is much to appreciate about our homes.”

On a campus known for hands-on education, a unique hands-on art project has given students an outlet for creatively expressing their feelings about the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 80 students enrolled in Ceramics 1 classes at Pennsylvania College of Technology crafted clay masks for “Regarding the Mask …,” an exhibit of nearly 170 art pieces being displayed on a fence surrounding The Victorian House in the center of campus. The location of the artwork  – wrapping around a home to evoke 2020’s housebound focus – is as symbolic as the pieces themselves.

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Events Students

Community-building event lets students know #YouAreWelcomeHere

Welcoming Week 2020

Penn College is participating in Welcoming Week (Sept. 12-20), a nationally recognized movement that promotes environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all – no matter where they’re from. This year’s theme is “Creating Home Together,” embodied in a Wednesday afternoon cupcake-decorating event on the Bush Campus Center patio. Students also had the opportunity to post their responses to the question, “What makes Penn College home?” While the pandemic prevented some from joining the celebration of their campus home, the college is proud to have 11 students from six countries (Grenada, India, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Vietnam).

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Events Faculty & Staff Students

Events bring students together, even when apart

Matheu A. Davenport, an engineering design technology student from Lewisburg, chose cherry blossoms for his fan’s décor, a nod to celebrating Asian culture, he said.

An inspirational duo of outdoor Student Engagement events this week reinforced a message to even the most pandemic-weary Wildcats: “Explore your campus, interact with your community and embrace one another.” Tuesday afternoon’s annual Fall Fusion, held near the Field House, provided a one-stop introduction to manifold involvement opportunities, while Wednesday’s Multicultural Lawn Party (rescheduled from Sept. 3 due to weather) celebrated Penn College’s diversity.

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Events Faculty & Staff Students

‘Puppy Love’ and other songs of summer

Walter, a soft-coated wheaten terrier (and acknowledged bundle of hugs) greets guests with owner Katie L. Mackey, assistant director of disability services.

As the season slowly turns to autumn (with only occasional showers to alter the schedule), largely pleasant weather has allowed a variety of outdoor activities on Penn College’s main campus. Among recent happenings were the Office of Student Engagement’s “Peace, Love and Wildcats” music festival (Sunday in the Rose Street Commons Courtyard) and Counseling Services’ annual “Hot Dog, You’re Here!” ice-breaker on the PDC lawn on Monday.

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How was your Welcome Weekend? (masking for a friend)

Seth J. Bradley follows the Wildcat's path, toting his comforter, pillow, etc. into York Hall. A Pottstown resident, he’s enrolled in landscape/horticulture technology: landscape emphasis.

Monday’s start of classes marked the academic onset of the Fall 2020 semester, but the new year officially began with Penn College’s Welcome Weekend and Friday/Saturday move-in days for new students. Although social distancing and restrictions on group gatherings didn’t allow for some of the traditional community-building activities, the vibe was as warm as the weather. And as mandatory (and properly worn) face coverings have been added to each day’s wardrobe, there was a heartening level of compliance with the college’s words to literally live by: “Hands-on, masks-on.”

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Alumni Events Faculty & Staff Students

Milestone memories on the mall

Class representative Alexandra “Ali” D. Petrizzi, who recently landed a “dream job” with Vera Bradley, addresses her fellow 2020 graduates. In her remarks, a prerecorded version of which was broadcast at subsequent ceremonies, Petrizzi thanked family, friends, her network of college mentors – and Starbucks – for helping her along her road to success.

Pennsylvania College of Technology held 15 in-person commencement ceremonies on Aug. 7-9 – two in the morning and three each afternoon – celebrating Spring and Summer 2020 graduates while adhering to state and federal health guidelines. In light of restrictions on gathering indoors, ceremonies were held outside; festivities were simultaneously streamed for the safety and convenience of those at a distance. The address by student speaker Alexandra D. Petrizzi, of Langhorne, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, was delivered live during Friday’s 5 p.m. ceremony and broadcast to classmates in many of the other exercises. Additional precautions, fine-tuned through months of judicious planning, included mandatory masks (except when graduates crossed the stage), temperature checks for students upon arrival and socially spacious seating. “When I saw the set-up for today’s ceremony, I literally had tears in my eyes for one fundamental reason: It took an incredible amount of work to put this together today,” President Davie Jane Gilmour said. “And then I fact-checked myself and said, for all of you, it took an incredible amount of work to sit here today. In many ways, that’s a lesson that you can’t unlearn and perhaps a lesson that you might not have learned otherwise. Nothing rewarding is ever easy. You’re leaving here today with degrees that, all throughout this crazy pandemic, this real life-threatening deal we’re dealing with, is you’re essential workers. You’re in an essential career that will make a difference in people’s lives, both in 2020 and the years to come. That’s what Penn College does: We make you ready, and help you be prepared, for the careers of today and tomorrow. I have no doubt you’ll go out and make us Penn College Proud.”

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Automated Manufacturing & Machining Engineering Technologies Events Faculty & Staff Skills Gap STEM

Penn College ‘manufactures’ educational experience for teachers

Emily Wagner, a counselor at South Williamsport Area Junior/Senior High School, works on building a robotic arm during the recent Manufacturing Externship Camp at Pennsylvania College of Technology. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the camp exposed high school educators to various aspects of manufacturing, so they can communicate the promising career possibilities in that sector to their students.

With support from the National Science Foundation, Pennsylvania College of Technology recently “manufactured” a weeklong educational experience for 13 high school teachers and school counselors from throughout the state.

The Manufacturing Externship Camp revealed to educators the promising realities of manufacturing careers through several activities, including a robot-building exercise that they can replicate at their home schools. The camp is one of several Penn College initiatives – funded by a grant from the NSF’s Advanced Technological Education program – dedicated to growing the manufacturing workforce.

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Aviation College Relations Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff Students

Executive trio donates corporate aircraft to Penn College

A CL-600 Challenger business jet donated to Penn College by a trio of corporate executives will be used for instructional purposes at the college’s Lumley Aviation Center, next to the Williamsport Regional Airport.

Three partners in a corporate aircraft have donated it to Pennsylvania College of Technology for instructional use in the college’s aviation maintenance program.

The Bombardier (formerly Canadair) CL-600 Challenger jet, valued at nearly $825,000, is being donated by Ira M. Lubert, Anthony F. Misitano and Judith M. von Seldeneck.

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Faculty & Staff

Unpredictability paused for customary tribute to retirees

The president honors retirees, joined on the campus lawn by family members and co-workers.

Observing tradition in a consistently fickle season, President Davie Jane Gilmour celebrated Penn College’s newest retirees and members of the Quarter Century Club on Monday afternoon. In deference to pandemic protocols, the occasion featured face masks and social distancing; the message, however, was a timelessly appropriate one: gratitude for the faculty and staff who are leaving (and leaving their mark upon) the college’s campuses. In a less-cautious atmosphere, the president said, she would have personally acknowledged each of the attendees with a handshake and embrace. Addressing the honorees, assembled on set-apart chairs across the Thompson Professional Development Center lawn, she assured all of them, “Consider yourself hugged.”

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Walking the walk

The procession (estimated to be at least a mile long) winds its way along Maynard Street, passing the college entrance.

Hundreds of local residents collectively and peacefully added to the national conversation about injustice, race and hateful speech on Friday morning, taking part in a “Walk About It, Be About It” event. The 7.42-mile march traveled from Memorial Park in Williamsport’s West End to Montoursville, passing by Penn College to connect with the Susquehanna Riverwalk. Chanting and carrying signs – and drawing supportive honks from motorists – participants set aside politics to focus on the “unity” within “community.”

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Alumni Engineering Technologies Faculty & Staff General Information Students Welding

Penn College welding faculty, students build ‘Living Chapel’

The Living Chapel measures about 45 feet long by 30 feet wide, with heights ranging between 10 and 15 feet. The structure will remain at the Botanical Garden of Rome until social distancing rules permit a stay at the Vatican before being moved to its permanent location in Assisi, Italy.

A massive structure meant to encourage the “ecological awakening of humanity” can trace its foundation across the Atlantic Ocean to the welding expertise and facilities offered at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Nine instructors and 15 students spent 10 weeks fabricating the structural framework for the Living Chapel, unveiled this week at the Botanical Garden of Rome during Global Catholic Climate Movement activities. Its formal unveiling via streaming video is scheduled for June 5, U.N. World Environment Day.

When social distancing rules permit, the open-air sanctuary – made of aluminum and recyclable and repurposed materials – will be placed at the Vatican before being moved to its permanent home in Assisi, Italy, the birthplace of St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology, whose small church provided the footprint for the Living Chapel.

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, what it’s going to mean to everybody,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding, who led the Penn College fabrication team. “It’s definitely a big deal.”

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