• College To Host The Science of Food Event, Part Of Remake Learning Days

    Posted April 19, 2021 at 9:15 am

    After a most challenging year for education, Remake Learning Days of Central PA (RLDAA) launches this spring, joining over 17 national regions with family-friendly learning events designed to engage caregivers, parents, and kids around the country. RLDAA is an interactive national festival that will take place in Pennsylvania between May 6-16, 2021 and will host over 40+ programs in a partnership with ENGINE of Central PA STEM Learning Ecosystem. The events are designed for kids of all ages to help develop their sense of creativity, perseverance, and curiosity.

    In doing its part for the community, Penn Highlands Community College and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown have partnered and will be at Central Park hosting The Science of Food event on Saturday, May 8th, from 8 AM to 2 PM. The Penn Highlands Central Park Center is located at 425 Main Street in downtown Johnstown. This event is free and for all ages.

    This local event, The Science of Food, is designed for parents and caregivers to learn alongside their kids and offer relevant and engaging educational experiences for youth of all ages (pre-K through high school).

    Take a bite out of science during this event, where it will encourage you to play with your food! Through many rich STEM activities, participants will explore the following:

    • Chemical reactions of food in culinary concoctions
    • Fermentation experiments
    • Discovering the biology of tastebuds
    • Extraction of DNA in foods
    • Growing your own food
    • Making ice cream
    • Candy chromatography

    Each station will include hands-on activities for participants and may include takeaways, perfect for the budding chef, scientist, chemist, or anyone who likes to eat!

    “Remake Learning Days is such a great opportunity to elevate all the great things that are happening throughout Central Pennsylvania across many amazing organizations, especially as we end a very hard year on us all,” says Amanda Smith, Director of K-12 Engagement and Assistant Professor of Education at Penn State University, and Executive Director of ENGINE of Central Pa. “This is a great way to end this academic year on a high note and celebrate and support innovative learning with our youth and families.”

    Click here to learn more about The Science of Food event in downtown Johnstown.

    Click here for a complete list of events and registration information. 

    About Remake Learning Days Across America
    It is led by Remake Learning (RL), a network that ignites engaging, relevant, and equitable learning practices in support of young people navigating rapid social and technological change. National partners of RLDAA include PBS Kids, Digital Promise, Common Sense Media, Learning Heroes, and Noggin. RLDAA is generously supported by The Grable Foundation, The Hewlett Foundation, Schmidt Futures, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Ford Foundation. Visit remakelearning.org for more information or follow RL on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For more information specifically on Remake Learning Days Across America, visit remakelearningdays.org or follow RLDAA on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the hashtag #RemakeDays.

    About ENGINE of Central PA, a STEM Learning Ecosystem
    A project of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, fiscal agent, ENGINE of Central PA is one of the few university-led ecosystems to bring meaningful STEM research and innovations to K-12 education. Led by Penn State University, with an executive team of Intermediate Units, business/industry, and science centers/museums, and collaborations with community partners and organizations, our network builds a community of lifelong learners that promotes equitable access to meaningful transdisciplinary experiences. We strive to empower youth living and working in our region to be innovative problem-solvers, ready to succeed in the careers of tomorrow. ENGINE of Central PA is comprised of the following counties in Pennsylvania impacting over 160,000 students and 11,000 educators: Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Mifflin, Perry, and Schuylkill. For more information, visit https://www.enginecentralpa.org/.

  • Penn Highlands & SNHU Expand Transfer Agreement To Now Include 8 Pathways

    Posted April 13, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Pennsylvania Highlands Community College (Penn Highlands) and Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) recently expanded their articulation agreement to now include eight transfer pathway options. The most recent addition includes the transfer of credits from an associate degree in Social Work to a bachelor’s degree in Human Services.

    Graduates of Penn Highlands will receive a 10% tuition discount for Southern New Hampshire University programs and courses included in the agreement. In addition, there is no application fee.

    The updated agreement expands on options already in place. It allows graduates from Penn Highlands Community College to transfer up to 90 credits into a corresponding bachelor’s degree program at Southern New Hampshire University.

    Current articulation agreements in place between the two institutions include:

    “Our responsibility as a community college is to identify and secure quality transfer agreements for our students, which will allow them to earn a bachelor’s degree more easily once they transfer from Penn Highlands,” stated Dr. Steve Nunez, President of Penn Highlands Community College. “Transfer agreements like this one with SNHU do just that. They help provide more options for students in our region.”

    To learn more about this agreement, visit our Transfer Central page.

    About Southern New Hampshire University
    Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is a private, nonprofit institution with an 88-year history of educating traditional-aged students and working adults. Now serving more than 170,000 learners worldwide, SNHU offers approximately 200 accredited undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, available online and on its 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH. Recognized as the “Most Innovative” regional university by U.S. News & World Report and one of the fastest-growing universities in the country, SNHU is committed to expanding access to high-quality, affordable pathways that meet the needs of each learner. Learn more at www.snhu.edu.

  • New Culinary Arts Degree Coming This Fall

    Posted April 7, 2021 at 9:45 am

    Beginning with the Fall 2021 semester, the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Somerset Center will be adding a Culinary Arts program to its diverse list of academic offerings.

    Culinary Arts (A.A.S.) is an associate degree program that prepares students for entry-level and management positions in the food service industry. The curriculum offers a foundation in general business management with a focus on culinary skills, including baking and pastry.

    “Culinary Arts was offered in response to local needs in hospitality,” stated Robert Farinelli, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “It is built to appeal to both students new to culinary, as well as to those who may have some previous experience. Classes will be offered in the late afternoon/early evening hours during the week.”

    In addition to classroom and food laboratory experience, students are required to complete a supervised internship with cooperating local resorts, restaurants, and food service facilities. Course work is supplemented by practical experience arranged through these internships. Each student is expected to complete an internship of 405 hours.

    “The Culinary Arts degree program was developed with the assistance of the staff at the Somerset County Career and Technology Center,” added Farinelli. “We are very excited to work with them on this new opportunity for the region. This is a strong partnership that will only grow.”

    Culinary Arts and fall classes in Somerset start August 23rd. Registration is now open. To learn more about the Culinary Arts degree, click here.

  • Athletics Expanding To Include Golf & Softball

    Posted March 30, 2021 at 8:56 am

    The Black Bears of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College are excited to announce the expansion of its Athletics program to now include golf and women’s softball beginning this fall semester, August 2021.

    With the recent addition of eSports, Black Bear Athletics will now be offering seven athletic options for its students. The robust sports offerings include their well-established men’s basketball, bowling, cross country, and women’s volleyball programs.

    “Athletics has been a cornerstone of Penn Highlands for 10 years now,” stated Dr. Steve Nunez, President of Penn Highlands Community College. “As the college continues to grow, it only made sense to provide athletes in our region with more athletic opportunities in addition to the educational ones they are currently afforded.”

    Athletics at Penn Highlands is well-known for its success both in and out of the classroom. In just ten years, Penn Highlands has produced over one-hundred thirty WPCC All-Academic Team members while also capturing two WPCC titles and two Region XX titles. The Black Bears were also home to an individual cross country champion at both the conference and regional levels. Penn Highlands has also been honored with three Coach of the Year awards.

    Penn Highlands made the decision to add these sports based on their ability to attract local athletes, as well as the opportunity to compete both locally and regionally.

    “Golf and softball are very popular sports in our area and will make great additions,” stated Sue Brugh, Director of Student Activities and Athletics. “Local athletes have the opportunity to participate and compete collegiately in a sport they love, while saving money and receiving a quality education.”

    Pennsylvania Highlands is a chartered member of the National Junior College Athletic Association, competing in Region XX. The Black Bears are a part of the Western Pennsylvania Collegiate Conference (WPCC), which was founded in 1972.

    Black Bear student-athletes compete across our region, allowing them the comfort and ability to practice on their own and then come together with teammates for competitive events. This approach ensures that students from all college locations can become Black Bears.


    To highlight new athletic programs and showcase well-established ones, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will be hosting its first-ever Athletics and eSports Open House on Sunday, April 11th, between 1 PM and 3 PM.

    During this event, interested individuals will get to meet with coaches and assistants, the Director of Student Activities and Athletics, various college athletes, and members of the Admissions Office. This event is a great place to discuss eligibility.

    In addition to an overview of Black Bear Athletics, presentations will be held regarding Admissions and Financial Aid.

    RSVP is preferred, but walk-ins are welcome to attend. To learn more or to RSVP, click here or contact Admissions at 814.262.6400 or admissions@pennhighlands.edu.

  • To Attend Or Not To Attend, That Is The Question

    Posted March 29, 2021 at 9:44 am

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

    “If you look back to the moment right before Yvonne was admitted to the University of Texas [with the goal of earning a bachelor’s degree], you can see the paths diverging in front of her. One would have led her to a community college in San Antonio and the other to graduate school at Harvard.”

    That quote was nearly the last sentence to an otherwise fabulous episode of the podcast “The Campus Tour Has Been Canceled – This American Life.”

    This podcast was originally a radio series on National Public Radio and is now easily found on your favorite podcast app.

    The gist of this particular episode was about how the infamous SAT and ACT tests, often used as an academic metric for college admissions, were imprecise tools that favored the affluent. The reasons for this are a little complicated and outside the scope of this article, but the unintentional outcome has been that those colleges and universities that have relied heavily on the “unbiased” SAT or ACT scores often admitted more white students and fewer students of color than if they had just used students’ high school grade point averages alone.

    Don’t get me started – this was one of my topics in my dissertation and I could write forever about it here (or you could just read my dissertation and be only the fifth person to ever reach that milestone).

    We all carry inherent biases – it is the nature of the human existence. Many of those biases, often unintentionally, come out in productions of the entertainment industry and the media. For example, how often are “Southerners” presented as uneducated, backward rednecks or hillbillies in movies or TV shows?

    Growing up in Southwest Virginia, one of the first things folks notice about me is my accent – which, I believe, is confounding to many when I’m introduced as the President of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.

    A similar stigma exists for community colleges. Community colleges are third-rate, some say. They are only for those that can’t hack a “real” university or college.

    And while the cost of getting an education at a community college is substantially lower than most other higher education options – that cost difference is indicative of poor quality, not value.

    More than once I’ve heard community members say something like, “Not everyone needs a post-secondary education – that’s why we have the community college.”

    In many cases, these “types” of comments are not meant with malice and in some cases are even well-intentioned – heck, some of those comments have been made by my good friends who work outside the higher education business. But ultimately, comments like those are – well, ignorant.

    Which brings me back to the quote at the top of this article.

    I find these kinds of blanket quotes about community colleges to be infuriating and uninformed. The author of that episode was describing the intensive support that the University of Texas provides students who need additional academic help and attention.

    He showered the University of Texas with praise for its seemingly unique way of supporting students who might not otherwise make it at the University of Texas.

    And all I could think about, while I listened, is this is exactly what community colleges have been doing for decades. Community colleges are unique because we have an open door concept – we welcome students with varying levels of academic preparedness, meet them where they are at, remediate their skills if necessary, and help them attain their academic goals which may be to simply enter the workforce as quickly as possible or to transfer to a university to attain a bachelor’s degree.

    Ultimately, going to a university or to a community college is not an “either-or” situation, and it’s not fair to insinuate that a student who goes straight to a university will be more successful than a student who goes to a community college. Believe it or not, some community college students matriculate to Harvard and many, including myself, end up in graduate school, too.

    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.