Electronics Students Place First, Earn Spot in International Contest

Published 04.20.2005

Student News

After winning at district competition, a team of Pennsylvania College of Technology students earned a spot in the ISA International Student Games to be held in Chicago in October.

The students, enrolled in electronics technology and electronics engineering technology majors, are members of the student chapter of the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society at Penn College. To earn their district title, they bested a student team from Cape Fear (N.C.) Community College.

The two four-member teams competed head-to-head, responding to questions on basic and advanced instrumentation, systems and automation theory and practice. The competition tested both their knowledge and their ability to think quickly, as they attempted to buzz in with the correct answer first in the timed event. The competition was held during the ISA District 2 Leadership Conference on April 2 in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"We don't intentionally do any preparation for the competition," said Perry R. Gotschal, assistant professor of electronics. "In class, we teach what we think they need to know to get a job. Winning is a byproduct of their training as Penn College students."

Members of Penn College's winning team are: Bruce A. Schlichter, Bloomsburg, electronics engineering technology; Christopher C. Clugston, Slatington, electronics technology-semiconductor processing technology; Bryan L. Hockman, South Williamsport, electronics technology-industrial process control; and Gregory T. Davis, Kutztown, electronics engineering technology.

Other students attending the competition were John C. Browne Jr., Bethlehem, electronics engineering technology; Eric A. Maschuck, Paxinos RR 1, electronics engineering technology; and Sean T. Connelly, Landisville, electronics engineering technology.

As the District 2 winner, Penn College is now eligible to send four students to the ISA International Student Games, where students from around the globe including Canada, Russia and Italy will compete. At the International Student Games, students do not compete as school teams, but are assigned to four-member teams made up of students from various colleges.

Each team is given equipment and a task, and must connect the components to perform the mission. The team whose solution works the best is declared the winner.

The ISA first conducted the International Student Games in 1993, and October's event will mark the fifth time Penn College has been selected to participate. In district competition, Penn College has in the past been matched against such schools as Drexel University, but only two schools in the district Penn College and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98 (from Philadelphia) have placed first to earn their way to the International Student Games. District 2 encompasses large parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland and all of Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina.

The International Student Games are held during ISA Expo 2005, where recruiting, seminars and equipment displays are featured for industrial process control professionals from around the world.

"It gives the students really good exposure," Gotschal said. He and Randall L. Moser, instructor of electronics and adviser of Penn College's ISA student chapter, accompanied the students on the trip to South Carolina.

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