Eighteen seniors' involvement culminates in Penn College Awards

Published 05.17.2019

Student News
Faculty & Staff

A year-end banquet honored 18 students with Penn College Awards, recognizing 2019 graduates who have made outstanding contributions to Pennsylvania College of Technology and who have risen above their peers through that leadership.

Anthony J. Pace, director of student activities, presided over Thursday evening's event in the Thompson Professional Development Center. Recipients were presented with a plaque and a Penn College lapel pin, and their names will be permanently displayed on a wall outside the Student Activities Office.

Building on the words of Thomas Jefferson ("I am a great believer in luck ... and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it"), President Davie Jane Gilmour welcomed the honorees' families and friends by admitting she felt like the most fortunate person in the room.

"These students have accomplished so much for their colleagues, their teams, their friends and most importantly for themselves," she said, an apt segue to the testimonials that would follow. "We are forever better for what they've done for us, with us and alongside us."

After a brief recitation of the students' achievements, a litany of selfless engagement and an enviable accumulation of campus/community service, the president welcomed the students and their guests, pinned each award winner, then stood for photos with them and their sponsors.

An alphabetical list of recipients, their hometowns and majors, a heavily capsulized list of activities, and the merest sampling of nominators' supporting remarks:

Everett B. ApplebyEverett B. Appleby
Building science and sustainable design: building construction technology concentration

Introduced by Pace

Student Government Association president (as well as executive vice president and senator), SGA Silent Auction organizer, national Residential Construction Management Competition, Solar Decathlon, Connections Link, Student Development Assistant, Resident Assistant, Student Leader Legacy Scholarship recipient, Habitat for Humanity, Bike Repair Station fundraiser, Sustainable Design exhibit in The Gallery at Penn College

"Everett made numerous contributions across campus throughout his time at Penn College. As a student development assistant for the Office of Institutional Advancement, he served as an important link connecting the college to alumni, students, parents, donors and friends. He also communicated the vital importance and impact of philanthropy. His outreach of almost 2,000 calls to alumni resulted in over $1,700 of support for various areas across campus. He is a true leader and his passion for Penn College is contagious to those he led and others who worked beside him."

Andrew BucherAndrew J. Bucher

Applied management

Introduced by Pace

Penn College baseball team, SGA vice president of internal relations (and several terms as a senator for the School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies), Penn College Motorsports Association president (and secretary), CRU (including service as Men's Core Group leader and sound technician), Student of the Month (Spring 2018), Lead365 National Conference

"Andrew is reliable, committed and consistent ... an incredible representation of what we hope all Penn College students will become prior to leaving us. He is what I consider an 'unsung hero.' He would do anything for anyone and expect nothing in return. He’s motivated by a desire to help people and move the needle forward on whatever he’s focused on. There is one other thing about Andrew: He’s a realist. You’re never going to get a sugarcoated version of anything – ever. If something is wrong, he’ll tell you, and he’ll be prepared with a solution."

David GadallaDavid A. Gadalla

Aviation maintenance technology

Introduced by Pace

Spring 2019 commencement speaker, SGA Executive Board (as executive vice president and vice president of internal relations), Connections Link, Resident Assistant, Presidential Student Ambassador, Community Peer Educator, Student Activities Information Center Clerk, Student Leader Legacy Scholarship recipient, MLK Day of Service, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank volunteer, Leadership Boot Camp, Governance (Student Affairs and Academic Standards and Issues committees), Student Conduct Board

"As a community peer educator, David brings the perfect blend of peer approachability and role-modeling that you hope for in such positions. He is a laid-back leader who knows not only his content, but how to effectively convey it to various audiences. I had the opportunity to attend a statewide suicide-prevention conference that included a student track last summer, and David did an amazing job representing the best of what Penn College has to offer. He clearly does more than build his resume through his involvement; he engages meaningfully and fully in his various roles, and this authenticity as a leader comes through."

Olivia HawbeckerOlivia J. Hawbecker

Web and interactive media

Introduced by Spyke M. Krepshaw, instructor, web and interactive media

Resident Assistant, SkillsUSA (a three-time national medalist, serving as president from 2016-18), CRU (member and outreach leader), Wildcat Events Board (including service as marketing coordinator), Open House volunteer, Student Activities Assistant, ambassador to Web and Interactive Media Advisory Committee, Family Promise volunteer, Lycoming SPCA Paws for a Cause run, Awesome Woman Exemplar

"I have come to trust her insights and decision-making abilities in a way that I find to be uncommon in comparison to her peers. As part of the leadership team of Residence Life, her resident assistants have a deep sense of respect and appreciation for her. They jokingly refer to her as “Mom” but I know they are lovingly referring to her as a person they can go to for advice, support, direction, caring and honest feedback – even when the feedback might not be the easiest to hear."

Cas D. HendersonCas D. Henderson
Hazel Hurst
Business administration: banking and finance concentration

Introduced by Michael D. Penwell, upperclassmen area coordinator, Residence Life

Student Managed Investment Fund, Accounting Society, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Resident Assistant, Student Ambassador, WEB, Living-Learning Community mentor, Student Conduct Board, Awesome Woman Exemplar, Penn Pal mentor, Alternative Spring Break, Habitat for Humanity, organizer of Be the Match donor drive

"She approaches her life and her peers with a sense of fierce independence, but also a grace of character and a strong sense of self. When she sets a goal for herself, she pursues that goal until she has not only achieved it, but has surpassed even her own expectations of what she thought she was capable of accomplishing. With that approach, I can think of no better living example of a young leader ... and I can easily say that, if she continues to approach challenges in her life with the same level of dedication and commitment to personal and professional growth, she is going places!"

Lauren S. HerrLauren S. Herr

Construction management

Introduced by Carol A. Lugg, dean of construction and design technologies

Spring 2019 commencement speaker, Kiewit Women's Construction Leadership Seminar mentor, Women in Construction (founder/president), Construction Management Association, Sigma Lambda Chi construction management honor society, Associated Schools in Construction national competition, Framing Your Future, all-conference First Team (soccer), Student Athletic Advisory Council, Chi Alpha Sigma athletic honor society, Resident Assistant, CRU, Girl Scout STEM Day, Awesome Woman Exemplar

"In addition to excelling in a field few women pursue, over the course of her time at Penn College, Lauren has proven herself an asset athletically, as a member of the women's soccer team, and developmentally, as a long-standing member of our resident assistant staff. In every aspect of her collegiate life, she has demonstrated – and continues to demonstrate – an ethos of care for her classmates, teammates and residents that exemplifies the qualities and characteristics we strive to develop in all students."

Raymond L. LongRaymond L. Long

Forest City
Building automation technology

Introduced by Jonathan R. Hendrickson, Phi Mu Delta officer and student ambassador

Phi Mu Delta fraternity (multiple officer positions, including vice president of membership development), Man-i-Cures, Susquehanna Riverwalk cleanup, student chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, Connections Link, Wildcat cross-country team, MLK Day of Service, Jump for St. Jude, Food Bank volunteer, Out of the Darkness and Yell(ow)-It-Out suicide prevention events, Etiquette Dinner, Halloween Carnival, Penn College Police car wash, Wildcat Egg Hunt, Lycoming County Veteran's Day Parade

"He is reliable and quick to build upon the strengths of the people that he is leading. He possesses a quiet strength and confidence about him that helps to create a sense of comfort to those around him. For these reasons, Ray is frequently someone that his Phi Mu Delta brothers look to for guidance and support. He makes himself available to them and often becomes “the voice of reason” at the table when difficult decisions are being made. It has been my distinct honor to work with Ray and to watch as he willingly tackled many of the challenges that inherently come with managing a group of over 30 people."

Jessica M. MaulfairJessica M. Maulfair

Applied health studies: radiography concentration

Introduced by Georgia T. Grey, clinical director, radiography

WEB (including stints as marketing coordinator and Wildcat Wednesday team leader), National Association for Campus Activities conference, Leadership Boot Camp, writing tutor, volunteer for UPMC Susquehanna mass-casualty event, Open House and Career Day volunteer, Awesome Woman Exemplar, mentor for Big Brothers/Big Sisters

"Jess is one of my greatest success stories. She has been one of the most organized students I have ever met, she is genuine, a hard worker, and an all-around great person. I am so proud of what she not only accomplished in the classroom, but outside of the classroom. I believe her experiences with the Wildcat Events Board have only made her a better student and will make her a better professional when she goes out into the real world. I am truly going to miss her and wish her nothing but the best."

Megan M. MecouchMegan M. Mecouch

Peach Bottom
Dental hygiene

Introduced by Penwell

Resident Assistant, Student American Dental Hygiene Association, Sealant Saturday, oral cancer screening, CRU (including service as Worship Leader), Little League Baseball World Series volunteer, Awesome Woman Exemplar, 1914 Society and Pillar Society keynote speaker, Penn State Advocate Day, sang National Anthem at Wildcat Madness basketball game, Open House volunteer

"One of the things that most stands out to me is a trip she took with other dental hygiene students to provide services at a clinic for underserved people in the Dominican Republic. Her focus was on the people and the services she was able to provide for them and what she learned about a way of living in a world that is very different than anything she has experienced. Her responses were all about the importance of serving and helping whenever you can – not just when it is convenient, but as often as you can. This strikes me as one of the most uplifting and inspiring approaches to helping others that I have ever experienced."

Alexis J. MederoAlexis J. Medero

Civil engineering technology

Introduced by Katie L. Mackey, director of campus and community engagement

Community Peer Educator, Connections Link, American Society of Civil Engineers student chapter, Penn College Circle K (including term as president), Circle K District Convention, Kiwanis pancake breakfast, Minorities Lending Knowledge, Leadership Boot Camp, writing tutor, Alternative Spring Break, Community Cleanup

"I have worked closely with Alexis as his supervisor for the community peer educator position, and have seen first-hand his commitment to helping others. One of Alexis’ strengths is creating connections and making others feel welcome. Alexis strives to make long-lasting connections with other students so that no one feels alone, and they know they can always turn to him in a time of need. During his time at Penn College, Alexis has given back to the institution in so many ways and will leave a positive impact on campus after graduation."

Dylan G. OtisDylan G. Otis

Heavy construction equipment technology: operator emphasis

Introduced by Jamie R. Miller, assistant director of corporate relations and wresting coach

Wildcat wrestling (three years as team captain and twice Academic All-American), Male Athlete of the Year, Student Athletic Advisory Council, PCT 4x4 Club, Special Olympics volunteer, Welcome Weekend move-in crew, Food Bank volunteer, Service and Operation of Heavy Equipment Association, volunteer firefighter

"For the past two years, Dylan has been the centerpiece of Penn College wrestling. When off-season and individual workouts need to be supervised, Dylan has been responsible. When fundraising projects, community service and study halls needed to be organized, Dylan was our boots on the ground to get the troops rallied. When our athletes had questions, concerns or challenges, Dylan was the teammate they sought out to work through their issues. Additionally, Dylan has set the tone from a competitive standpoint ... and has led the team’s academic success by becoming our first, and first two-time, Academic All-American."

Samuel J. PhamSamuel J. Pham

Camp Hill
Aviation maintenance technology

Introduced by Craig A. Miller, associate professor of history/political science

Community Peer Educator, Student Development Assistant, Current Events Forum (including term as president), Minorities Lending Knowledge (including service as vice president), Student Wildcats of Robotic Design, Penn College Ski and Snowboard Club, Alternative Spring Break, Williamsport Bicycle Recycle, Big Brothers/Big Sisters

"Sam has been recognized with multiple scholarships, experiential learning opportunities, and has traveled around the country for certificate programs and internships. Outside of the classroom, he has been active in many different student organizations. I saw Sam’s growth as a leader as he channeled his passion for community service into creating various involvement opportunities for students. As administrators we talk about the importance of getting involved on campus, and getting to know the community you are living in. Very few students represent this as well as Sam Pham."

Natascha G. SantaellaNatascha G. Santaella

Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Applied management

Introduced by Allison A. Grove, associate director of student activities for new student programs and leadership

United for Puerto Rico fundraiser; Kentucky Derby; Atlantic City, Hershey and New York candy shows; Guittard Chocolate tastings; Visiting Chef Series; LLC peer mentor; Student Development Assistant; SGA senator for the School of Business & Hospitality; Connections Link; WEB (including positions as team leader and board chair); Student Activities Assistant; Students of Musical Development (serving as public relations officer)

"Words that come to mind when I think about Natascha are talented, hard-working, straightforward, trustworthy and kind. She has worked hard at her academic classes while excelling as a student leader. Having her hands in so many activities requires her to maintain a very busy schedule, which shows she is able to manage her time efficiently. Natascha is an exceptional, accomplished student who values her education as well as her duties as a student leader. She has taken advantage of the opportunities to learn and grow at Penn College and has accomplished much more than expected. She has been a wonderful addition to our campus."

Jordan M. ScottJordan M. Scott
Cogan Station
Residential construction technology and management: building construction technology concentration

Introduced by Levon A. Whitmyer, instructor, building construction technology

Outstanding SGA Senator (2018-19), three-year SGA senator for School of Construction & Design Technologies, Student of the Month (January 2017), Recognition Garden concrete construction, Leadership Boot Camp, national Residential Construction Management Competition, Build My Future, Framing Your Future, Women in Construction, Penn State Day with visiting architecture students, Silent Auction, Lycoming College concert set-up, Awesome Woman Exemplar, Alpha Chi honor society

"Jordan is one of those students that is our 'go-to' when we need something accomplished. She has helped with Framing Your Future (a secondary outreach to high school-aged girls) and this year, played an instrumental student role in the Build My Future event. She has made a positive impact on the School of Construction & Design Technologies and has served as a fantastic role model for her Williamsport Area High School alma mater. I’m confident she will take the leadership skills she honed here at Penn College and become an alumna that will continue to inspire and motivate others to excel."

Erin N. ShafferErin N. Shaffer

Graphic design

Introduced by Angie E. Myers, director of annual giving

Women's basketball team (including captain), Student Ambassador, Student Development Assistant, Women in Technologies Conference, AIGA professional organization for design (serving as communications co-director), Leadership Boot Camp, Out of the Darkness Walk, MLK Day of Service, Women in Sports Day, Yards for Yeardley, Cupboard fundraiser, Awesome Woman Exemplar, $-H volunteer

"Erin is a tireless worker and one of those students who does everything ... and still finds time to balance a graphic design degree and marketing minor. She is a natural leader in our program, well-respected and liked by both her peers and faculty. Erin attacks design problems from a real-world vantage point, creating solutions that are appropriate and producible. Last semester, she designed a suicide awareness campaign for a local community coalition. She presented her work to actual clients who were impressed with not only her design concepts and deliverables, but also her confidence and presentation skills."

Amaris T. SmithAmaris T. Smith

Culinary arts and systems

Introduced by Shannon L. Skaluba, student organization and information center specialist

Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup, Visiting Chef Series, Pennsylvania Farm Show, cook for Firetree Place afterschool program, Minorities Lending Knowledge, Food Bank volunteer, Student Activities and Madigan Library worker, Awesome Woman Exemplar, Le Jeune Chef garden, Etiquette Dinner, Open House volunteer

"Amaris is not your typical leader, but has achieved much in her time with us. It has been a pleasure watching Amaris mature as a young professional and see her start to reach a portion of her potential. Amaris is the first to volunteer, and does so with a smile. She has been heavily involved ... and is an amazing representative of our culinary arts program. Admittedly, Amaris is a bit of a wild card and can keep you on your toes, but that is part of her amazing personality. I expect to see great things from Amaris in the future, and have no doubt she will go far."

Tasia WerkmeisterTasia A. Werkmeister

Health arts: practical nursing emphasis

Introduced by Sammie L. Davis, coordinator of diversity and cultural life

Out of the Darkness Walk, MLK Day of Service, community cleanup events, Community Peer Educator, Homecoming and Open House volunteer, Student Nurse's Association, Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Yards for Yeardley, WEB, Awesome Woman Exemplar, Wildcat Dance Team, hosted overnight visits by prospective students

"Tasia was one of the first students to work the health and wellness core into the community peer educator position, greatly influencing what the position looks like and will be for the future. She primarily teamed up to host health and wellness programs, as well as insert health and wellness awareness throughout different times of the year. Tasia has helped create a baseline for programs and has ensured that health and wellness topics continued without a coordinator of student health and wellness education. It hasn't always been easy ... but she has done it with a smile and her head up, and has pushed on through."

Brandon M. WolffBrandon M. Wolff

Graphic design

Introduced by Brian A. Flynn, assistant professor, graphic design

Wildcat men's soccer, AIGA student chapter (serving as vice president), multiple design awards from industry organizations, Late Night at the Lab design events, Alphi Chi honor society (including position as vice president), Open House volunteer, Boy Scouts merit badge event

"He is intelligent, conscientious, self-motivated and was considered a leader in his class – one of the best students I have taught in my tenure as a graphic design professor. Brandon has also been active in school and community service activities. Brandon will graduate with an overall GPA of 4.0. I feel he will be very successful in whatever endeavor he wishes to pursue. I recommend him in the strongest terms."


Among others attending the 23rd annual awards banquet were Michael J. Reed, vice president for academic operations/associate provost; Patrick Marty, chief of staff and assistant to the president for college relations; Elliott Strickland, chief student affairs officer; Kimberly R. Cassel, director of alumni releations; and Travis J. Scholtz, a manufacturing engineering technology major, representing the student leaders who served on the awards selection committee.

Any Penn College student who will be a May, August or December graduate, and who meets the award criteria, may apply or be nominated each year.

The award-winners reconvene at night's end for group photos.