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Our Students. Their Stories.

For over 25 years, Penn Highlands has helped students across the region find themselves and what is right for them. Take a peek at their journeys, see what they discovered; maybe it will inspire your own discovery.

michaela detwiler

Graduate // business management

Meet Michaela Detwiler, a single mother of two daughters who excelled while attending Penn Highlands Community College. For Michaela, Penn Highlands was both close to home and affordable, allowing her to focus on and raise her family while getting the education she deserved. Not having to worry about financial burdens was beneficial to her success.

Hunter Connor

Penn Highlands Community College gave Hunter Connor the path forward that he wanted. He was able to earn a degree debt-free while maintaining a full-time job throughout his studies. At Penn Highlands, he built a strong foundation for his education and career path.

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Adrianna Farrell

Adrianna chose Penn Highlands because it was close to home. The class sizes were very small and she knew she would not just be a number. Penn Highlands was a good fit because everyone was so comforting and the professors treat you as more than just a student.

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Alex Ashcom

Meet Alex Ashcom, a lifelong resident of Johnstown who went on to become a first-generation college graduate. After high school, Alex planned to enter the military but was convinced by a friend to take some classes.

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Brooke James

Meet Brooke James, a first-generation college graduate who jump-started her collegiate career with dual enrollment courses. She continued her studies at Penn Highlands and earned an associate degree, saving thousands of dollars along the way.

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Graduate // Human Services

Meet Shea Berrier, a student who came to Penn Highlands through the local CareerLink and overcame many obstacles to become a graduate. Penn Highlands changed Shea’s life because it opened doors and allowed him to accomplish many things. He obtained a National Certified Peer Support Specialist certification and a bachelor’s in Behavioral Science with a minor in Social Work. He is now an Intensive Case Manager who works with the Problem Solving Courts of Blair County.

Bill Newcomer

Bill started his educational journey at the age of 47. Six years later, he graduated Magna Cum Laude. Supported by his wife, children, and grandchildren, he had the support he needed to work full-time while attending college at night.

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Sydney Sheredy

Sydney planned to attend a four-year university, but the pandemic changed her world and she chose Penn Highlands. Sydney quickly discovered that Penn Highlands would save her thousands of dollars and keep her closer to family and friends.

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Leah Fox

After graduating from Conemaugh Valley High School, Leah got the education she needed from Penn Highlands to have a successful career. In order to become a radiologic technologist, Leah had to pass a board-certified exam first.

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Casey Bassett

Casey formed his company (Assett Conventions, LLC) shortly after he earned a Business Management degree from Pennsylvania Highlands in 2011.

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dontae lilly

GRADUATE // business Management

Dontae Lilly is a successful graduate that earned his associate degree in Business Management and then moved on to complete his bachelor’s degree. After his military career, Dontae and his family moved back to Pennsylvania. Upon his return to the area, he started visiting local colleges and universities to see what they had to offer, and ended up choosing Penn Highlands. Dontae attributes Penn Highlands with helping his transition from military life to his now successful post-military career.

Liz Ruszkoski

Liz never thought of attending a community college before. In fact, she started at a large university where she promptly dropped out. Liz took two years off before trying college again, this time she gave Penn Highlands a try.

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Sadie Carney

After high school, Sadie wasn’t prepared to attend a large institution. Instead, she was the first in her family to attend a community college. Sadie fell in love with the small class sizes and personal one-on-one interaction with professors and staff.

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Mike Viveros

Mike spent many years going down a path that just didn’t work out the way he imagined. After barely making ends meet, he pretty much gave up on the prospect of a better life. Mike later realized he wanted to strive for more. Through this revelation, he decided to pursue his passions through higher education.

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Tara Brodish

Tara Brodish is a proud graduate. After earning her associate’s degree, she moved on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Now, with her education and experiences guiding her, she is inspiring young minds as a local school teacher.

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Dan Dabbs

Dan Dabbs is a graduate of the Criminal Justice program. After earning his associate’s degree, he moved on to earn his bachelor’s degree and is pursuing his master’s degree. With his enjoyable experience at Penn Highlands guiding him, he is making the most of his return to school.

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Grant Speigle

After earning his associate’s degree, Grant Speigle moved on to become a state trooper. His experiences in the classroom and on the basketball court helped him become the ambitious person he is today. 

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