Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will be holding a Commencement Ceremony for their Twenty-Third Graduating Class on Saturday, May 12th, in their Richland Campus Auditorium. The Ceremony will begin at 10:00am.
Student Senate President Kane Stiffey, of Johnstown, will be giving this year’s commencement address. Mr. Stiffey will obtain two degrees during the ceremony, an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences and an Associate of Science in Business Administration. He has been very active during his time at Pennsylvania Highlands as both a College Student Trustee and the Student Senate President.
Kane Stiffey will share his story to over 250 graduates who are planning to be in attendance. Also addressing the graduates will be Penn Highlands Community College President Dr. Walter Asonevich, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Greg Winger, Cambria County President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky, and Faculty Senate President Yvette Madison.
In addition to awarding associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates at the ceremony, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will also present the Distinguished Graduate Award, which honors a student who has contributed his or her time and effort to Pennsylvania Highlands and the community while maintaining a high level of academic performance.
The Marketing and Communications team at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College recently earned national recognition for its efforts in marketing through video production.
The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) awarded Penn Highlands Community College a silver Paragon Award in the Video Shorts category, which included promotional or marketing videos less than two minutes in duration. Penn Highlands received this coveted, national honor among two-year colleges at NCMPR’s annual awards event recently held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“To be recognized nationally for the work we do in promoting Penn Highlands is a tremendous honor,” stated Raymond Weible, Jr., Director of Marketing and Communications at Penn Highlands Community College. “This award, along with those we earned at the regional level, shows the commitment and effort put forth on a daily basis to highlight the college as a premier institution in western Pennsylvania.”
The department has earned eight regional awards since 2015. This is its first national award.
The Paragon Awards presented by NCMPR recognize outstanding achievement in design and communication at community and technical colleges. This national competition is the only one of its kind that honors excellence exclusively among marketing and PR professionals at two-year colleges.
Marketing & Communications at Penn Highlands Community College consists of three team members: Raymond Weible, Jr., Director of Marketing and Communications; Sean McCool, Creative Services and Marketing Specialist; and Andrew Podolak, Marketing and Communications Assistant.
Penn Highlands collaborated with Wade James of Adliv Collective during the production of the video that garnered this achievement. Adliv Collective provides professional photography and videography services in Johnstown, PA.
NCMPR is the only organization of its kind that exclusively represents marketing and public relations professionals at community and technical colleges. They are one of the fastest-growing affiliates of the American Association of Community Colleges, representing more than 1,550 members from over 650 colleges across the United States, Canada, and other countries. The organization consists of seven (7) districts, with Penn Highlands being a member of District 1.
About NCMPR The National Council for Marketing & Public Relations is a professional organization for individuals involved in marketing, communications, public relations and enrollment management at community, junior, and technical colleges. NCMPR provides professional development opportunities, advocates on behalf of the profession and the institutions it serves, and recognizes professional excellence. For more information, visit www.ncmpr.org.
The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges (PACCC) honored the 24th Annual All-Pennsylvania (All-PA) Academic Transfer Team at an awards banquet held on Monday, April 9th in Harrisburg. The awards recognize an exceptional group of community college students who have achieved excellence and demonstrated a commitment to their colleges and communities.
The 2018 awardees include 46 outstanding community college transfer scholars from across the Commonwealth. Students must have completed at least 36 credits at a community college and must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher to be considered for these awards.
“The Commission applauds these outstanding student scholars on their terrific academic achievements,” said Elizabeth Bolden, President and CEO of PACCC. “By enrolling in a high-quality program at a community college, these students are building a foundation for a successful career and furthering their postsecondary study.”
Pennsylvania’s community colleges partner with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) universities to provide scholarships to All-PA Transfer Team members at PASSHE institutions, providing two years of tuition at any PASSHE school.
Of the awardees, four of those honored were from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. Those honored include the following outstanding students.
Shaina Aurandt, of Cresson, will graduate this May with a degree in Psychology and has a career goal of working with individuals who struggle with mental health and/or mental disabilities. Shaina played volleyball for Penn Highlands, and is a member of Penn Highlands’ Phi Theta Kappa Chapter and the National Society of Leadership and Success organization.
Autumn Hause, of Johnstown, will graduate this May with a degree in Psychology and plans to transfer to Indiana University of Pennsylvania. As a transgender (non-binary) student, Autumn is planning a career to promote activism and advocacy in regard to mental health and rights for the LGBTQ+ community. Autumn would like to lessen the stigmatization of mental illness in America and help LGBTQ+ individuals find happiness, stability, and success. Autumn is currently the President of the Penn Highlands’ Phi Theta Kappa Chapter, and also serves on the Student Senate, Sigma Alpha Pi, Gender-Sexuality Alliance, Psychology Club, College Senate, Diversity Committee, Ethics Committee, and FilmFest Committee.
Colton Helbig, of Patton, will graduate in May 2019 with a degree in Computer Science and has a career goal of becoming an Information Security Analyst. Cyber attacks are an unfortunate reality, and Colton would like to prevent them from happening. In high school, Colton participated in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) and now judges those competitions to help students continue to improve in their research and encourage them to keep loving science and research. Colton is a member of both Penn Highlands’ Phi Theta Kappa Chapter and the National Society of Leadership and Success. Outside of college, Colton helps students at Cambria Heights High School with the PJAS science fair.
Annette Thompson, of Altoona, will graduate this May with a degree in Business Management and plans to transfer to Slippery Rock University. Annette is a 35-year-old wife and mother that wears many hats. Besides being a mother and student, Annette owns and operates Rugrats Resale, a series of seasonal consignment sale events in State College and Altoona. She is also a licensed Pennsylvania realtor. In the future, Annette would like to run her own business while teaching business part-time at a high school or college.
Pennsylvania Highlands Community College congratulates these students on their academic achievements and looks forward to what each of their futures will hold.
Child Development student, Amanda Urgolites, has a rare connective tissue disorder that causes her joints to dislocate with extreme ease. This disorder, known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, causes her to have subluxation or dislocation of joints between 30 and 60 times per day.
Her condition has worsened over the last 10 months, causing her to have extreme chronic pain and more dislocations. This has left walking without assistance and accommodations impossible.
Upon hearing this, members of Penn Highlands Community College banded together to raise funds and help Amanda obtain a motorized scooter. The College community, led by Dr. Russell Newman, Assistant Professor of English, and Matt Hoffman, Chief Information Officer, raised over $1,000 to help her get the motorized scooter she needed to complete her education and more.
“I could no longer use a manual wheelchair because of the strain it put on my shoulders and the use of a cane caused me to fall quite often,” stated Amanda Urgolites, Penn Highlands student. “This syndrome forced me to give up a lot of what I love to do and have had to refrain from going to many of my classes. This motorized scooter will help me both in college and in my personal life. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
“Amanda is a good student and a wonderful person,” stated Dr. Russell Newman, Assistant Professor. “As I saw her condition worsen, I couldn’t just sit back and let it consume her life. I decided to do something and reach out to the College for assistance. The support since has been overwhelming.”
The new scooter has reinvigorated Amanda. She will graduate from Penn Highlands with a degree in Child Development. After graduation this May, Amanda plans to attend Clarion University to earn a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood and Special Education. Her goal is to teach preschoolers with autism and other related disabilities.
Amanda’s lifelong dream is to start a faith-based community center for children and their families that are affected by autism and other disabilities. “This dream is more alive now than ever before given my disability,” stated Amanda Urgolites. “I empathize with these families. I know what it is like and I want to make a difference in their lives and the community.”
Group photo of Amanda Urgolites and key members of Penn Highlands that helped get her the scooter. Pictured left to right: Michelle Maksymik, Executive Assistant to the President; Dr. Walter Asonevich, President of Penn Highlands; Matt Hoffman, Chief Information Officer; Amanda Urgolites, Student at Penn Highlands; Sue Brugh, Director of Student Activities and Athletics; and Dr. Russell Newman, Assistant Professor of English.
Amanda Urgolites checking out her new scooter for the first time. Pictured left to right: Dr. Russell Newman, Assistant Professor of English; Michelle Maksymik, Executive Assistant to the President; Amanda Urgolites, Student at Penn Highlands; Matt Hoffman, Chief Information Officer; and Dr. Walter Asonevich, President of Penn Highlands.
Two new healthcare programs, Pre-Health Professions and Pharmacy Technician, are joining the increasing list of program offerings at the Penn Highlands Blair Center. Both programs are currently enrolling with courses beginning this fall.
These programs are becoming available in Blair as a result of the college’s 14,000-plus square foot expansion. The plan for expansion, which includes additional classrooms and labs spanning two floors, is slated for completion in May.
“This expansion is crucial to us being able to offer the programs that our community wants,” stated Julie Patosky, Blair Center Director at Penn Highlands Community College. “With the addition of a science lab, we are now able to offer the courses needed to earn a healthcare credential. This is only the beginning as more and more opportunities will be coming soon after the expansion is complete.”
Pre-Health Professions is an associate degree program that provides students with a strong medical foundation in a variety of areas. This program will give students the education they need to follow any medical career path they choose to take on.
Pharmacy Technician is a certificate program that prepares students to become pharmacy technicians or other roles of supportive personnel in hospital or pharmacy settings. If enrolled full-time, students can earn this certificate in less than one year.
The Blair Center is planning for the expansion to be open in May, with enrollment of these programs currently underway for the fall semester. Click here to apply today.