Telly Award Honors New Public Television Series

Published 04.02.2008


The pilot episode of Pennsylvania College of Technology's "degrees that work." public television series has been honored with a Bronze Telly Award, recognizing the best in local, regional and cable-television productions and video/film productions for the Web.

The series, which is a co-production of Penn College and WVIA TV, highlights career fields identified by state and federal labor officials as important for future employment growth. The first episode featured an advanced-electronics field known as "nanotechnology," which offers career opportunities and advancement to skilled technicians.

"Pennsylvania's economy depends upon the preparedness of its workforce," said Elaine J. Lambert, Penn College's director of college information and community relations. "Partnering with public television to present a television series dedicated to careers that offer great opportunities for employment and advancement is an important initiative for our college. We're happy to be recognized for this effort."

WVIA-TV Senior Vice President Tom Curra said the public television network serving northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania is a proud partner in the career-awareness broadcast initiative.

"We're excited and thrilled in regards to this collaboration and award," Curra said. "From the beginning, we saw this production as an opportunity to provide a public service through this unique educational programming. We look forward to developing even more of these public-service initiatives with Pennsylvania College of Technology in the future."

The production was among more than 14,000 entries from all 50 states and many foreign countries. Telly Awards judges rate each entry on a 10-point scale. Those with a score of 9.0 or higher receive a Silver Telly (about 7-10 percent of all entries). Those with an average score of 7.0-8.9 receive a Bronze Telly (about 18-25 percent of all entries).

Christopher J. Leigh, video production coordinator, served as director/editor for the award-winning episode. Tom Speicher, video production developer, served as writer/narrator. Christopher J. Legarski, instructional media developer, provided animation of an atom, and Legarski, Leigh and Speicher all shot footage for the episode. Kevin Jones of WVIA provided graphics support, and WVIA provided advice to the college's video production team. Lambert and Jennifer McLean, formerly director of instructional technology and distance learning (now director of counseling, career and disability services), served as executive producers for the episode.

For more information about Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call toll-free (800) 367-9222.

What Is Nanotechnology? The first career field explored by the new public television series, "degrees that work." may not sound familiar to the general public, but the impact of the field on modern life is profound, according to co-producers Pennsylvania College of Technology and WVIA TV.

Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of atoms and molecules to spur product development and medical research. It is the largest publicly funded science initiative since the space race, and the National Science Foundation predicts there will be a need for 2 million workers in nanotechnology by 2015 − 1 million in the United States.

The pilot episode of the "degrees that work." series features the experiences of former Penn College student Mark A. Atwater as he completed a semester at one of the nation's top nanotechnology education facilities, The Pennsylvania State University's Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization.

It includes interviews with Penn State Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization experts, including Stephen J. Fonash, director of the facility and one of the country's leading nanotechnology education experts, as well as Penn College faculty members Eric K. Albert, associate professor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing, and Jeffrey L. Rankinen, associate professor of electronics.

Penn College offers an associate degree in electronics and computer engineering technology/nanofabrication technology that gives students the opportunity to do three semesters of study on the campus in Williamsport followed by a final semester of study at the world-renowned Penn State facility. There, students to work in a clean-room environment, gaining experience with state-of-the-art tools used to produce silicon devices that significantly impact computers, communications and electronics.

Electronics classes for associate- and bachelor-degree majors are offered from Penn College's new Center for Business & Workforce Development. Graduates of the college's electronics technology related programs have reported earning average annual salaries of $37,000 for associate-degree graduates and $47,000 for bachelor-degree graduates.

"Career fields like nanotechnology and other electronics and computer engineering technology fields offer incredible employment opportunities; unfortunately, many people are unaware of these opportunities," said Elaine J. Lambert, Penn College's director of college information and community relations. "We believe we can use television to reach out to the public and make more students, parents and educators aware of the fact that gaining skills in these fields can lead to very successful careers here in Pennsylvania and around the nation."

Lambert said the college will partner with WVIA to offer a series of career-awareness episodes over the next several years. Currently in production are episodes focused on expanding opportunities in fields such as welding and fabrication, plastics, and manufacturing.

The "degrees that work." series airs on WVIA, which plans to distribute it to other public television stations across the nation. The winning episode also can be viewed online .