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Posted September 25, 2017 at 8:35 am

Liberal Arts Student Christopher Geisler presents Academic Paper on Heroin at Beacon Conference

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College would like to congratulate Liberal Arts & Sciences Student Christopher Geisler, of Johnstown, on his paper having been accepted for presentation and publication. The Beacon Conference accepted Christopher’s paper, “The Changing Demographic and Treatment of Heroin Addiction,” last May and he was able to present it in June of 2017.

The Beacon Conference was established by mostly Honors faculty to recognize, celebrate, and showcase the academic achievements of outstanding students at community colleges in the mid-Atlantic region. It encompasses a wide range of disciplines, and was held at Orange County Community College in Middletown, New York, this past year.

His paper, prepared under the guidance of Penn Highlands’ professors Dr. Russell Newman and Daniella Errett, was judged the best of those presented in his panel, for which he received a monetary prize and selection for future publication in the proceedings of the Beacon Conference. This year there were 162 total submissions for 21 panels.

Christopher wrote about a very timely and pertinent topic: heroin abuse. His paper explored the sharp increase in heroin abuse across a variety of demographics. The link between the shift in demographics of the typical addict and the shift in public policy were also examined.

His paper was more than just a scholarly paper. Chris states, “This was written not only as a social commentary on a controversial, divisive, and relevant issue, but also as a personal indictment of a system that has failed myself, my friends, and my loved ones. I have more friends who have died from an

overdose, disease, or the lifestyle associated with heroin addiction than I care to count, so this is not an arbitrary issue to me. My hope is that this paper will provide inspiration in others to seek a more effective and empathetic approach in solving a problem that has become such a cumbersome burden on communities and families across the nation.”

After graduation, Christopher plans to double major in Mathematics and English, and then pursue a master’s degree in Education, hoping to fulfill a career in teaching. Christopher’s ultimate goal is to earn a doctorate and teach at the university level.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to participate in the Beacon Conference. It was a surreal experience and unlike anything I had ever been a part of. Not only did it strengthen my collegiate and career prospects, but it strengthened my resolve to continue along the path I chose for myself years ago,” stated Christopher Geisler.

About The Beacon Conference
The Beacon Conference was born in 1993 when Rockland Community College (NY), with a grant from the American Association of Community Colleges and the Kellogg Foundation, and in association with Bergen Community College (NJ), Brookdale Community College (NJ), Catonsville Community College (MD), Dutchess Community College (NY), Harford Community College (MD), Kingsborough Community College (NY), Middlesex Community/Technical College (CT), Nassau Community College (NY) and Westchester Community College (NY), organized two conferences for student scholars at two-year colleges in the mid-Atlantic region. Since then, the conference has been sponsored by a coalition of participating community colleges, which take turns hosting this event each year on the first Friday of June.

Liberal Arts & Science Student Christopher Geisler standing in the Richland Campus courtyard.