Alumni Awards Presented at Penn College Commencement
The college presented an Alumni Achievement Award to Jennifer R. Brinkley, a 2005 graduate of the welding and fabrication engineering technology bachelor-degree major who also earned an associate degree in welding technology in 2003 from Penn College.
Alumni Achievement Awards are presented to graduates from the past 10 years who have demonstrated achievement in at least one area, including noteworthy professional or career accomplishments or dedicated volunteer service to the college or community. Recipients also must demonstrate the importance of their Penn College education and continually support the mission of the college.
A Mentorship Award was presented to Robert Capps, a longtime friend and advocate for the college who is director of recruiting for Allan A. Myers/American Infrastructure, a heavy civil construction contractor and material supplier based in Worcester.
The Mentorship Award recognizes alumni or businesses that have made significant or ongoing contributions to the education and development of Penn College students by providing mentorship opportunities and/or professional guidance.
Brinkley is employed as a manufacturing specialist for Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Erlanger, Ky. In that capacity, she has overseen several large-scale projects at different Toyota plants throughout North America.
At Penn College, Brinkley was a leader in the student chapter of the American Welding Society and competed in SkillsUSA contests, taking first place at the state level from 2002-04 and third place at the national level in 2002 for extemporaneous speech. She also worked as a Resident Assistant and tutor at the college.
In 2003, Brinkley received the Penn College Welding Faculty Award, presented to a graduate of a two- or four-year welding major who exemplifies the college philosophy of excellence. In 2005, she was honored with the Lewis H. Bardo Memorial Award, presented to a student who exhibits devotion to duty, helpfulness to others, friendliness and high ideals.
After graduation, Brinkley appeared in a variety of promotional materials for Penn College to advocate for the importance of postsecondary education and nontraditional career fields for women. She was also featured in the welding episode of the college’s award-winning “degrees that work.tv” career-exploration series produced for public television.
She has been profiled by the Byron Academy, a New York-based online community where young women in grades seven through 12 can foster and expand their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
Her Penn College education provided Brinkley with the academic and hands-on experiences that helped her find what she refers to as her “dream job” – one allowing for growth, leadership and personal fulfillment. She demonstrates her commitment to diversity, learning and social awareness through involvement in her employer’s Young Professional Business Partnering Group. She is also the chair of the Hispanic Committee at Saints Francis and John Catholic Parish and has volunteered with the Scott County Humane Society in Georgetown, Ky.
Capps has recruited at Penn College Career Fairs for 23 of the past 25 years that American Infrastructure has been involved with the events. The company employs 48 Penn College alumni, including heavy-equipment operators, technicians, civil engineers, surveyors, HVAC technicians and construction managers.
The company also provides valuable internships and summer work-based experiences for Penn College students and has established the American Infrastructure Endowed Scholarship, providing financial assistance to students in a variety of academic majors.
Capps promotes Penn College through his involvement with trade associations like the Associated Builders and Contractors. He is a member of ABC’s national workforce development committee and is a consultant and vice president of business development.
He also serves on the board of directors and executive committee of the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering (ACE) Mentor Program of Eastern Pennsylvania. Program mentors offer high school students career guidance, an understanding of the industry and workplace, behind-the-scenes access to construction sites, training in presentation and team-building skills, scholarship opportunities, and introductions to college programs.
Capps volunteers as an adviser with various career and technical schools and secondary programs. The relationships he has developed in this capacity fostered articulation agreements between Penn College and the schools, and has led to students enrolling in the college’s programs. He also serves on the Heavy Construction Equipment Operator Emphasis Advisory Committee at the college.
According to his nominator, Capps “encourages young people to take a look at Penn College, and will do all he can to assist in their efforts, including arranging visits to high schools by our Admissions representatives, or coordinating on-campus tours.”
Capps and his wife, Anita, along with their two sons, reside in Montgomery County.
For more about Alumni Relations at Penn College, visit online.
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