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  • Four Regional Medallion Awards Presented To Marketing & Communications Team

    Posted December 1, 2020 at 10:05 am

    Pennsylvania Highlands Community College would like to congratulate its Marketing & Communications Team on being awarded four (4) NCMPR Medallion Awards this year from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR).

    The team took home awards in the following categories: Postcard (bronze), Video Shorts (bronze), Television/Video Advertisement (silver), and Social Media or Online Marketing Campaign (silver).

    Three out of the four awards presented to Penn Highlands focused on the messaging and delivery methods used during the COVID-19 era.

    “This was a unique year due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Raymond Weible, Jr., Director of Marketing & Communications. “Our strategies and messaging had to shift on a dime to meet the needs of Penn Highlands Community College and the community. These awards are a testament to our ability to adapt and persevere while showing the strengths and purpose of Penn Highlands as a premier institution.”

    The members of Marketing & Communications that participated in these initiatives consist of the following:

    Raymond Weible, Jr., Director of Marketing & Communications, has spearheaded a multitude of web, digital media, and overall brand initiatives. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism/Advertising and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications, both from West Virginia University.

    Sean McCool, Creative Services & Marketing Specialist, focuses heavily on photography, graphic/web design, video production, brand integration, and more for the College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Emerging Technology and Multimedia from Slippery Rock University.

    Andrew Podolak, Marketing & Communications Assistant, serves as an integral member of the team, playing a role across all initiatives. His focus includes writing, social media, campaign planning, and more. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business from the University of Pittsburgh.

    Penn Highlands collaborated with Wade James of Adliv Collective during the production of the video pieces that garnered these awards. Adliv Collective provides professional photography and videography services in Johnstown, PA.

    Since 2015, Marketing & Communications has won a total of twenty-two (22) NCMPR Medallion and Paragon Awards, which recognizes excellence in the marketing, design, and public relations field at two-year schools.

    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.

    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.

    Pennsylvania Highlands is a part of District 1, which includes schools from Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, and United Kingdom.

    Marketing & Communications Team Photo

    Marketing & Communications Team(L to R): Sean McCool, Creative Services & Marketing Specialist; Raymond Weible, Jr., Director of Marketing & Communications; Andrew Podolak, Marketing & Communications Assistant

  • Grateful For What We Do Have

    Posted November 30, 2020 at 11:02 am

    The original column appeared in the Tribune-Democrat , written by Dr. Steve Nunez. Click here to see original sourced column. 

    The year 2020 has been quite tumultuous. So much so that when I’m confronted with even more bad news, I sometimes find myself just shrugging it off – 2020 just keeps piling it on and I only have so much mental and emotional room remaining.

    I have fatigue – COVID fatigue. Election fatigue. Mental fatigue. Video conferencing fatigue. News fatigue. TV fatigue. Internet fatigue. Fatigue fatigue.

    It’s been a long, long year.

    It would therefore be simple, even easy, to write a column that focuses on the negatives of this year. But at this time of Thanksgiving, I think it’s important to show thanks and appreciation for what we have.

    Personally, I have much to be thankful for. I began a new journey by moving to the Johnstown area on December 31. The moving truck pulled away from my home at midnight on January 1. I began my employment as president at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College on January 6, and I am rapidly approaching my one-year work anniversary.

    I have been warmly received by the college, by my new neighbors in Windber, and by central-western Pennsylvania generally.

    I think Penn Highlands has continued to move forward as one of the best community colleges in Pennsylvania despite the challenges of 2020. I have told friends and family that this is my dream job and that I am thankful and humbled to have such an opportunity to provide leadership to such a great organization.

    While COVID has reminded us frequently that death is part of life, the birth of my granddaughter Ellie has been a great highlight – she has been easy to fall in love with.

    Her big smile and lightness of spirit bring me warmth and joy at just the thought of her. And my family, while not unaffected by COVID, remains healthy.

    I have traveled throughout beautiful central and western Pennsylvania, hiking and cycling the beautiful trails. We have an abundance of natural resources: Ghost Town Trail, Great Allegheny Passage, and the Thousand Steps of Standing Stone Trail, to name a few.

    The fall season was particularly breathtaking.

    Most importantly, my love for the outdoors helped me identify new friendships to share those experiences.

    I’m also thankful that Pennsylvania Highlands can serve this community by providing high-quality educational opportunities for the residents of our service district. As I’ve said many times, I believe that education is one of the best ways to improve lives. Pennsylvania Highlands has done that for more than 25 years and will continue to do so for many more.

    I also recognize that many of you are hurting and suffering. It is truly a hard time. But I hope that you can spend time with your family over Thanksgiving, be it in person or virtually, and share memories, remember lost loved ones, laugh, and appreciate your friends and family.

    And personally, I hope to have turkey fatigue by the end of the weekend.

    See you at Penn Highlands.


    Written By Dr. Steve Nunez, College’s Fifth President. This monthly series appears in The Tribune-Democrat, and will allow Dr. Nunez to provide his perspective on the value of education and of a community college. 

  • New Mobile App Now Available For Community

    Posted November 19, 2020 at 8:58 am

    Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is proud to announce the launch of the myPEAK mobile app for students, faculty, and staff. The app is available for free download through both the Apple and Google Play stores, and it will help the college community stay connected and informed on their devices.

    “We began exploring the need for a mobile app a few years ago and are really pleased to have partnered with Jenzabar, a higher education digital engagement platform, for this service,” said Matt Hoffman, Chief Information Officer at Penn Highlands Community College. “In this era of COVID-19, when we cannot build and sustain our community in the usual ways, tools like this app can be very useful to help boost engagement and keep everyone connected.”

    Hoffman stated that the mobile app (accessible from Apple/iOS and Android devices) will make access to college-related information and people incredibly quick and easy.

    The myPEAK mobile app provides quick and convenient access to student services, email, student learning system, and the self-service portal for class registration, grades, bill payments, and more.

    Additionally, push notifications allow administrators to communicate important news and announcements (like weather-related closings) to everyone with the app in real time.

    “It is a very robust app,” Hoffman continued. “In the coming months, we plan to continually optimize it while encouraging the college community to use it for news, updates, and basic student service portal functions.”

  • eSports Gaming Team is Coming in January

    Posted November 12, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is gearing up to launch its new co-ed athletic program, Black Bear eSports Gaming. Starting in the Spring 2021 (January) semester, student-athletes will begin competing as members of the National Junior College Athletic Association eSports (NJCAAE).

    Esports Gaming, or electronic sports, is a form of competitive multiplayer video gaming in which teams compete against each other in single games or tournament events.

    Gaming at Penn Highlands will follow the “play anywhere using your own device” model, allowing student-athletes to have unlimited access to top titles like League of Legends, Overwatch, Fortnite, Super Smash Brothers, Rocket League, FIFA 20, and so much more.

    Every semester, the eSports Gaming team will be able to compete for collegiate national titles and other countless events.

    “The major benefit of eSports is that it will bring together students who have a shared passion in something that they may not have realized before,” stated Sue Brugh, Director of Student Activities and Athletics. “Our student-athlete gamers will have to communicate in new ways as they work out strategies and resolve conflicts on various gaming platforms.”

    For additional information, or to join the Black Bear eSports Gaming Team, please contact Student Activities at 814.262.6463 or studentactivities@pennhighlands.edu.

    About National Junior College Athletic Association Esports
    The National Junior College Athletic Association Esports (NJCAAE), founded in 2019, is the only national esports association exclusively for two-year colleges. The NJCAAETM is committed to increasing access to team dynamics, school representation, and campus life for the benefit of student-athletes and member institutions alike. Esports participants and NJCAAETM members benefit through meaningful, educational, and transformative opportunities which lead to greater retention and completion rates for participants. Already boasting over 60-schools from all regions of the United States after just two semesters of competition, the NJCAAETM continues to make inroads to be the association of choice for all 2-year schools.

  • Jeff Dick Named Cross Country Head Coach

    Posted November 2, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Jeff Dick, of Mineral Point, has been named the Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Cross Country at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.

    Mr. Dick will be responsible for the organization and direction of the College’s NJCAA, Division III Men’s and Women’s Cross Country program. For the past six years, Jeff has been the Assistant Cross Country Coach at Central Cambria High School where he specialized in new runner development and training schedules. During his time at Central Cambria, his boys team won six LHAC Titles and six District 6 AA titles. His girls team won five LHAC Titles, five District 6 AA titles, and a state championship in 2018.

    “We are thrilled to have Jeff lead our young program,” stated Sue Brugh, Director of Student Activities and Athletics. “We are eager for him to recruit runners who will be able to thrive as a Black Bear and beyond while building our program supporting the mission of the NJCAA.”

    Penn Highlands is a chartered National Junior College Athletic Association member college, competing in Region XX, and a part of the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference.

    Individual runners from Pennsylvania Highlands have qualified for the NJCAA National Tournament each of the past three years: Maddie Sprankle (Johnstown), Erica Kovalik (Forest Hills), and Landon Ridgeway (Paw Paw, WV).