degrees that work.
Karen Miller, ’13, Dental Hygiene
Karen Miller is pursuing a B.A. in intercultural studies, focusing on international development, at North Central University in Minneapolis, MN. She also works part-time at Community Dental CWre Clinic, educating clients on correct dental care. Her co-workers are bilingual or multilingual, and most of her clients are minorities who often do not speak English, having recently arrived to the area as refugees.
Penn College’s Dental Hygiene program taught Karen to focus on the intrinsic value of education and how to approach clients and connect culturally; this is the foundation of her current work. She sees the impact of building positive relationships with her clients as it often leads to improving their dental or health condition.
Karen has plans to apply her education and work experience internationally as a health care professional, serving underserved populations on dental and general health care. Karen has spent the last two summers in China working for a non-profit and is in the process of applying to work with a non-governmental organization in Asia. She volunteers for Hospitality Center for Chinese, an organization that extends a variety of services to Chinese families, students, and scholars recently arriving to the Twin Cities area.
In her free time, you’ll find Karen learning as much as she can about different cultures. She enjoys spending time with, and learning from, the foreign friends she has met since arriving to Minneapolis. She samples a variety of ethnic foods and devotes time to studying foreign languages, such as Mandarin Chinese, and Korean and Chinese minority languages.
Dan Gallagher, '09, Heavy Construction Equipment Technology
Dan is a field service technician for Schramm, Inc. Dan commissions, repairs, and trains customers on how to operate and repair hydraulically powered mobile drilling rigs in multiple markets including oil and gas, mining and minerals, and water well and geo-thermal. He was recently selected to commission and work with a new prototype deep well rig called the T500XD which drills full completion holes in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. Dan’s responsibilities have taken him places many people will never see in their lifetimes: Zambia, Ireland, Mexico, and 44 U.S. states. The second T500XD will take him to eastern Australia this year. Dan is passionate about his job. He recently started taking computer science classes with plans to expand upon his knowledge and to better serve the industry.
Thomas E. Baird, '77, Business Management
Thomas is a territory manager for Yeager Supply, Inc., an industrial pipe supply company located in Reading, PA. Thomas knew a degree in business management from Williamsport Area Community College would open doors for him and he used every opportunity along his career path to gain experience and strengthen his skills. His professional career has taken him all over the country – California, Louisiana, Delaware – but he now calls Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, home.
In addition to his career, Thomas volunteers with, and is a founding member of, the 911 Memorial Coalition, a non-profit organization that sponsors the area’s largest annual motorcycle parade, which is held on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Thousands participate to support the first responders who were involved with the rescue and cleanup efforts following those attacks. Donations are accepted during the ride to benefit local volunteer first responders who are injured or killed in the line of duty. The feeling of joy Thomas has experienced watching this tribute grow year after year is overwhelming. He encourages fellow alumni and current students to become active participants in their local communities, prompting them to contribute good to the world.
Roderick Phillips, '74, Electrical Construction
Roderick is the owner of Upper Desk, Inc., an innovative company dedicated to the growing needs of smart phone, tablet, and laptop users. An electrician by trade and inventor at heart, Rod is always thinking of ways to improve existing items in his life. Frustrated by the discomfort he felt while hunched over his laptop at the kitchen table, he invented a portable cabinet mount for it and the idea of Upper Desk was born. The company’s first product, a portable cabinet mount for tablets and smart phones, is now available online to purchase. The product also recently won the QVC Sprouts Program, which allows customers to vote on the products they would most like to see sold on QVC. Rod looks forward to adding additional technology accessories in the future.
Lauren Schuman, '05, Graphic Design
is the Studio and Branding Coordinator for HONOR in New York City. She handles all studio responsibilities such as hiring interns, communicating with outside vendors, and prepping the studio for fashion and market weeks. Her branding responsibilities include creating press packets and digital marketing as well as prepping for events at the store.
Before joining HONOR, Lauren worked as a graphic designer for clothing companies for five years. She then decided to continue her education at Philadelphia University where she earned a Masterâ€™s degree in Fashion Apparel Studies. She loves that she is using both degrees in her current role at HONOR. The teamwork and leadership skills acquired outside the classroom during her time at Penn College have also followed Lauren throughout her career. She encourages students to get involved in clubs or organizations that are not directly tied to their program of study. She says that it is normal to feel unsure about what you want to do in life and being a well-rounded college student allows you to build a great resume and can help you determine your career path.
Michael Whalden, '76, Engineering Drafting Technology
Michael Whalden is a senior design quality engineer for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, in Stratford, CT. His job is to review 2D and 3D design data for technical adequacy and adherence to Sikorsky engineering quality standards.
Michael will tell you the most enjoyable aspect of his job is the opportunity to function as a mentor to many young engineers. With a BS degree in Materials Engineering from the University of New Haven, Master of Science degree in Management from Albertus Magnus College, and a total of 30 years working in the aircraft industry as an airframe designer and design manager, he certainly has the experience to share.
Michael's drafting instructors taught their students how to work in teams to accomplish project success. Communicating his ideas and philosophies to fellow designers and supervisors is a daily occurrence for Michael. He appreciates the dedication of former instructors Chalmer Van Horn and Dale Straub for instilling the value of a strong work ethic in their students. A strong work ethic and sound communication skills are two characteristics Michael hopes to pass along to the next generation of engineers under his watch.
Thomas Leitzel, '76, business administration
Thomas Leitzel graduated from Penn College's predecessor institution, Williamsport Area Community College, in 1976 with a degree in business administration. He later joined the WACC administration and served as assistant director and evening and weekend coordinator in the College's Business & Computer Technologies division. On July 1, Leitzel will assume his duties as president of South Florida State College.
In a recent letter to Penn College President, Davie Jane Gilmour, Leitzel thanked her for sending him a copy of the College's Legacy of Leaders centennial publication. "What a treasure. It is a beautiful and well-chronicled publication highlighting the transformative leadership that shaped an institution to achieve acclaim on a national and international stage," he wrote. "The institution you now lead changed my life."
Patrick Butler, '07, Computer Information Technology
Patrick is a Senior Systems Administrator for the division of the Vice Provost for University Life at the University of Pennsylvania. His responsibilities include management and planning for the technology infrastructure, including 40+ servers, that supports the 30 offices that encompass University Life. He is also involved with U. Penn's Professional Staff Assembly, working to promote events for monthly paid staff.
Patrick is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and is involved within the technology knowledge community. This summer, he expects to earn his masters degree in Higher Education Administration and Organizational Management, from Drexel University.
Patrick is also a New Jersey-certified Emergency Medical Technician, and has been an active EMT for the past five years. He has also maintained his connection with Penn College, returning for Homecoming, and serving as a move-in assistant when Dauphin Hall opened its doors.
Shane Bierly, '10, Business Administration: Marketing
Shane is putting his Penn College experience and degree to work as a marketing coordinator for Ritz-Craft Corporation, the largest family owned, off-site built modular home manufacturer in the United States. Shane enrolled as a Web design student before transferring to Business Administration, a move he is grateful for because his Web design experience scored extra points with Ritz-Craft's marketing department. His love of design and business collide daily, as his responsibilities vary from event planning to promotional design and website maintenance. He has also completed the Dale Carnegie Skills for Success course.
Shane was recently engaged to his high school sweetheart and fellow Penn College alumna, Amber Bingaman, '12, Business Administration: Marketing.
John Hunter, '10, Radiography
John is an x-ray technician at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, PA. This past December, though, John put his education and experience to work in the Georgia Dome on the sidelines, assisting the Atlanta Falcons' x-ray technician during a recent NFL game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
William R. Burns, '05, Diesel Technology
William is a Cummins Engines instructor for Universal Technical Institute, Exton. He believes self-motivation is key, and encourages his students to focus on their education and become lifelong learners. The most enjoyable aspect of being an instructor is hearing the success stories of his graduates. When he's not in the classroom teaching, Will is busy farming a few hundred acres of corn, soybeans, and hay. He also enjoys keeping up with the latest in diesel performance at truck pulls and drag racing events.
Amy E. Lizee, '09, Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts
Amy's knowledge of the hospitality field has taken her career path to SCOPOS Hospitality Group, Ephrata. Amy designs innovative and efficient commercial kitchen spaces for hospitals and senior living facilities. She credits Penn College Chef Mike Ditchfield for challenging her to think outside the box. She also encourages students to learn and experience the industry as much as possible, stating, "... it is all about the hospitality, whether you're in the front or the back of the house."
Melani (Grady) Decker, B.S., Dental Hygiene, '07
Melani resides in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is the only registered dental hygienist at Troop Dental Clinic, working closely with the clinic's periodontist to treat all Fort Wainwright active duty soldiers. Melani also treats 4-legged soldiers, cleaning the teeth of highly trained bomb sniffing dogs that were deployed to Afghanistan. She is certified in local anesthesia. Melani was a member of Penn College's women's volleyball team and has continued her love of fitness. She recently became a certified Zumba instructor and participated in her first marathon relay.
Joshua V. Messing, '05, Paramedic Technology, and Julie D. Rutt, '04, Paramedic Technology
According to Joshua V. Messing, '05, Paramedic Technology, who deployed with the PA EMS Strike team to New Jersey (and who also supplied the above photo, taken with Julie D. Rutt, '04, Paramedic Technology), "I kept hearing of other PCT graduates being there.... I know we don't have the smallest or largest program in the state but I was amazed at the number of our alumni who were willing to give up their own time and deploy to help out. ... I found it amazing the connection through our school and the solid performance our alumni continue to show years down the road."
Other alums who responded, of whom the College is aware, include: Paul Atkin, '07, Paramedic Technology; Brittany Fry, '12, Emergency Medical Services; Robert E. Jones, '10, Emergency Medical Services; Casey S. Lowmiller, '08, Emergency Medical Services; Daniel J. Myers, '06, Paramedic Technology; Michael D. Seiler, '01, Paramedic Technology; and Justin L. Tyler, '04, Paramedic Technology.
Tom Baloga, '74
Nearly 40 years after his graduation from Penn College's immediate predecessor, retired automobile executive Tom Baloga, '74, returned to campus to share lessons learned from his decades of distinguished and high-profile service.
Rebecca L. Scura, '08, Emergency Medical Services
Alumna Rebecca L. Scura, '08, Emergency Medical Services, (pictured below, at left) was recently honored by Downingtown (PA) Borough for a recent cardiac arrest save. Says Scura, a medic, "It's times like these when I realize how lucky I am to have learned from the best, and thank God for doing the rest!"
George Logue III, '10, Culinary Arts & Systems
George owns and operates Acme Barbecue & Catering with his family, in Williamsport. Since his graduation, he takes pleasure in seeing his instructors from time to time, especially if they stop in his restaurant and he can cook for them. Of his Penn College education, George says, "Penn College really gives anyone who attends a well-rounded education; they don't cut corners. I think their courses are spot on with day to day restaurant and catering operations." George looks forward to the opening of a second location in Muncy, PA, and heading out on the competition circuit. (7/12)
Rosemary Somerville, '10, Manufacturing Engineering Technology
Rosemary is working in the Manufacturing Apprentice Program at GE Transportation. The four-year program sees its members rotate into new positions every six months, allowing members to gain an overall understanding of the manufacturing processes and organization. The positions include process or materials advisors, quality advisors, methods engineering, Lean/Six Sigma, and analysts. Along with her co-workers, Rose actively volunteers, having helped to paint a church, clean a park, collect money for March of Dimes, and work at a soup kitchen. Of her Penn College education, Rose says, "The greatest strength of my Penn College education is the hands-on learning." She says the top three must-have skills employers are looking for are personality, technical knowledge, and quick thinking.
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