College Presents Teaching Awards to Three Faculty Members

Published 05.16.2009

Physician Assistant
Faculty & Staff
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Christine M. Kessler, recipient of the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award, left%3B and Pennsylvania College of Technology President Davie Jane Gilmour.Pennsylvania College of Technology honored three faculty members with Distinguished Teaching Awards at Spring Commencement ceremonies held May 16 at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport.

The college's highest level of recognition for a faculty member − the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award − was presented to Christine M. Kessler, assistant professor of physician assistant. The award is presented to someone with at least six years' successful teaching experience at Penn College and who is representative of the very best faculty, dedicated to providing the highest quality of experience to students.

Excellence in Teaching Awards were presented to Dottie M. Mathers, associate professor of medical/surgical nursing; and Frank M. Suchwala, instructor of hospitality management/culinary arts. The awards are presented each May to full-time faculty members who have been nominated by their students and colleagues for excellence in instructional performance.

Kessler began her employment with Penn College in 1996. Her work experience as a physician's assistant includes National Health Services/ Executive Health Group, Good Samaritan Medical Center, Johnstown; Veterans Administration Hospital, Altoona; and the former Mercy Medical Center (now Good Samaritan Medical Center), Johnstown.

She received a Master of Medical Science and a bachelor's degree in physician assistant from St. Francis College, Loretto.

Kessler's nominators said of her:

  • "She is always available if you need help and she makes me feel welcome when I have questions."
  • "I have multiple classes with her every day. She makes me enjoy learning and I look forward to coming to class in the morning."
  • "She demonstrates excitement when learning new material and thus is a perfect role model for her students."

Dottie M. Mathers, recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Award, left%3B and Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.Mathers has been employed by Penn College since 1994. She has been a registered nurse for more than 31 years and continues to work at Susquehanna Health while employed full time at Penn College. Previously, she was an ICU nurse for Susquehanna Health; an instructor at Williamsport Hospital Medical Center School of Nursing; a staff nurse at Divine Providence Hospital; a surgical ICU nurse at Allentown and Sacred Heart Hospital (now Lehigh Valley Medical Center); a staff nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Spokane, Wash.; and a staff nurse at Easton Hospital.

She holds a master's degree in nursing from College Misericordia. She received a bachelor's degree in nursing from Eastern Washington University and an associate degree from Northampton Community College.

Selected comments from her nomination documentation are:

  • "She is one of the most dedicated teachers I have ever known and exemplifies the best of Penn College faculty."
  • "She inspires me to learn all I can from college and to continue lifelong education in order to become the most competent professional I can be."
  • "It is because of her that I have seriously considered becoming a nursing instructor in the future."

Frank M. Suchwala, recipient of an Excellence in Teaching Award, left%3B and Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.Suchwala began his employment at Penn College as executive sous chef in 1998. He became a full-time faculty member in 2005.

His work experience includes Culinary Ventures Inc., Newark, N.J., chef/manager; Trusthouse Forte, Trumball, Conn., unit chef; Bradco Supply Co., Avenel, N.J., chef; Metuchen Community College, sous chef; Fulton Restaurant, Rahway, N.J., sous chef; Jefferson Club, Club Corporation of America, Louisville, Ky., sous chef; Seelbach Hotel, Louisville, Ky., roundsman, banquet garde manager; and Sixth Avenue Restaurant, Louisville, Ky., sauté and scratch prep.

Suchwala received a bachelor's degree in food service management and an associate degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I. He also completed two years of ocean engineering studies at Florida Institute of Technology.

Comments by his nominators include:

  • "His students respect his knowledge and enjoy his class. He is always personable, friendly, helpful and knowledgeable."
  • "He always treats students with respect and is willing to spend extra time to ensure that students will pass."
  • "He is not only a great teacher but a great person as well. Even in a large class, he connects with each student on a one-on-one basis."

Since 1982, 81 Distinguished Teaching Awards have been presented at Penn College.

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