Students given generous head start on Alaskan adventure

Published 05.30.2022

Human Services & Restorative Justice
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A local custom furniture business is supporting Pennsylvania College of Technology students in their upcoming global experience in Alaska.

Zach Wahl, founder of Brick Mill Craft Furniture Co., based in Williamsport, donated $300 for 12 human services & restorative justice students to purchase travel-size toiletries and other necessities for their June service-learning trip.

Nicole M. Smulligan and Colin G. Browne Jr. are all smiles as they pack their bags for Alaska.As part of their weekly Monday evening meetings to prepare, the HSJ students recently took time to pack their bags with essentials for the 10-day excursion. For many of the first-time airplane travelers, receiving the Transportation Security Administration-approved items is a helpful boost, financially and logistically.

“Alaska is a bucket list trip for many, and I want to acknowledge that, for a majority of the HSJ students, this is the first time leaving this local area, boarding a flight and arriving at an epic location,” said Sarah S. Moore, human services instructor. “They are excited to do the good work they have planned, and it will be humbling to see a part of our country from their perspective as new travelers.”

The 12 HSJ students and Cooley (far left) pause for a photo op outside the HSJ facilities.Enrolled in the new class Service Learning in Human Services & Restorative Justice (GLB499) led by Rob Cooley, associate professor of anthropology/environmental science, the students have partnered with YWCA Alaska to work with that organization and other Anchorage-area stakeholders to explore new perspectives related to domestic violence. The collaboration will include the hosting of “Through It All: We Rise Together,” a conference-style event on the campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage. Set for June 4, the event will feature a panel of local speakers sharing their insight, as well as conversations aimed at exploring fresh options and pathways.

The students will also experience a wide variety of points of interest, including outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters and cultural interaction at the Alaska Native Heritage Center and Anchorage Museum.

Cody R. Englehart signs a card, expressing thanks to Zach Wahl and his company.All the essentials for travelYWCA Alaska is the topic discussed by Cooley during one of the students’ trip-prep meetings.“Support for global experiences allows students to say ‘Yes’ to opportunities that broaden their experiences, perspectives and marketable skills for the future,” said Loni N. Kline, vice president for college relations and chief philanthropy officer. “We’re grateful to Zach Wahl for his thoughtful gift.”

Wahl’s wife, Jennifer R., is a social sciences instructor at Penn College. The couple are avid travelers, and Jennifer visited the class to share travel tips for the students’ visit to Alaska.

Brick Mill Craft Furniture builds handcrafted, live-edge and dimensional furniture made exclusively from salvaged wood native to Pennsylvania and completed with a nontoxic, plant-based finish. Custom dining room, conference, coffee and accent tables, as well as desks and shelves, are among its products.

To learn more about supporting Global Experiences at Penn College, contact College Relations at 570-320-8200. Watch PCToday for more coverage of the Alaska service-learning travel experience.