Archive for April, 2017

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is happy to congratulate Dr. Kevin J. Slonka, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, for having recently published a new textbook through Prospect Press entitled Assembly Programming and Computer Architecture for Software Engineers. Dr. Slonka recently published this book with his colleague, Dr. Brian R. Hall of Champlain College in Vermont.

Current Assembly/architecture textbooks cater to electrical engineers and teach Assembly on uncommon architectures. Dr. Slonka’s text caters to the computer scientist by teaching Assembly on current Intel platforms using the three mainstream assemblers (GAS, MASM, and NASM). Every computer science program has an Assembly/architecture course as a major requirement. Now, professors no longer have to choose a text that does not meet their needs simply because nothing better is available.

Dr. Slonka began his career at Pennsylvania Highlands as a full-time faculty member in January of 2013. He teaches Computer Science and Information Technology, and currently serves as Department Chair for Technology and President of Faculty Senate. Dr. Slonka holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from Mount Aloysius College, dual Master’s Degrees in Information Security and Assurance and Information Technology Project Management from Robert Morris University, and a Doctor of Science in Information Systems and Communications from Robert Morris.

Dr. Kevin Slonka holding his recently published textbook in his office.

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Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will be holding its Commencement Ceremony for their Twenty-Second Graduating Class on Saturday, May 6th, in the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Richland Campus Auditorium. The Ceremony will begin at 10:00am.

Student Senate President Sadie Carney, of Johnstown, will be giving this year’s commencement address. Ms. Carney will obtain her degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences (A.A.) during the ceremony. She has also been very active during her time at Pennsylvania Highlands as both a College Student Trustee and the Student Senate President.

Sadie Carney will share her story to over 200 graduates who are planning to be in attendance. Also addressing the graduates will be College President Dr. Walter Asonevich, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees John Skelley, Cambria County President Commissioner Thomas Chernisky, and Faculty Senate President Dr. Kevin Slonka.

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.

For those unable to attend the event, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will be streaming the event live via the College’s official Facebook account. Direct access to the College’s Facebook page is available by using the following link:

Please join us in congratulating our Twenty-Second Graduating Class!

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Sadie Carney

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is proud to announce that student Sadie Carney, of Johnstown, has been named a 2017 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars, and providing nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually. Each Silver Scholar receives a $1,250 scholarship and a special medallion.

Sadie Carney will be graduating this May with an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences. Around campus, she is very active as president of both Student Senate and Phi Theta Kappa. She serves as a tour guide for prospective students and participates in cheerleading, cross country, and women’s basketball. After graduation, Ms. Carney plans to continue her education at East Stroudsburg University.

“Sadie Carney has been an outstanding student and leader at Pennsylvania Highlands,” said Dr. Walter Asonevich, President of Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.  “She has been a strong role model for our students and staff, and is a prime example of what is possible when a person pursues their dreams with purpose and conviction.  We are proud to be able to count her as an alumnus of Pennsylvania Highlands.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program. Student scholars receive local, state and national recognition at Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention.

College administrators nominate high-achieving students for this award. An independent panel of judges then considers academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service in the selection process.

“We thank the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation for recognizing these student leaders and for investing in their futures,” said Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner, President and CEO of Phi Theta Kappa.

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa and make it possible for deserving students to achieve their educational goals.”

Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students to grow as scholars and leaders. The Society is comprised of more than 3.2 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations.

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Held in the Richland Campus Auditorium, Pennsylvania Highlands Community College President Dr. Walter Asonevich offered his 2017 State of the College Address on Tuesday afternoon to a captivated audience. He highlighted various topics, from accreditation to regionalization to the College’s expansive, and far-reaching, educational offerings that focus on providing an affordable, high quality education to our local communities.

Dr. Asonevich began by addressing the College’s on-going accreditation process and the differences between a regional and national accreditation.

His focus then shifted to Penn Highlands’ regionalization efforts, including expansion of the Blair Center, growth and a new facility in Somerset, and beginning discussions on what could be an already near capacity Huntingdon Center.

The address featured a map designating the numerous counties of Pennsylvania that have been impacted by the College’s presence. These areas include the four counties that currently have a Penn Highlands’ facility, locations that are served through the College’s accredited dual enrollment (Accelerated College Education) program, areas served via online programming, and counties that have inquired about having a Penn Highlands’ presence.

“Our blueprint for providing small rural communities with affordable access to higher education has been met with positive results,” said Asonevich. “We follow a systematic approach when handling regionalization. It is done in a way to ensure that our students and their communities will be rewarded with the benefits that encompass a strong educational institution.”

Asonevich rounded out his address by discussing how funding from the state and county impacts both the College’s budget and tuition fees. And, how the College continues to investigate and expand through more flexible options – including online, evening, and weekend offerings – that can better satisfy and connect with the needs of our region.

“Our mission, as a community college, is to provide learning opportunities that meet the demands of the region,” Asonevich explained. “With online, evening, and weekend options, we are positioned to provide better flexibility in course scheduling for students. As a result, we can deliver more choices that lead to both student and community success.”

To see the the State of the College Address in its entirety, please visit our Facebook page at

President Dr. Asonevich delivers the State of the College Address.

President Dr. Asonevich delivers the State of the College Address.

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The Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges honored the 23rd Annual All-Pennsylvania (All-PA) Academic Team at an awards banquet held in early April 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 2017 All-PA Team consists of 44 outstanding community college scholars from across the Commonwealth. The All-PA Team is administered by Phi Theta Kappa, the national two-year college honors society. Those honored from Pennsylvania Highlands Community College included the following seven students:

  • Rachel Blackburn (Altoona)
    Graduation Date: May 2017
    Degree: Associate of Science in Accounting
  • Nicholas Braniff (Revloc)
    Graduation Date: May 2017
    Degree: Associate of Science in Computer Science
  • Sadie Carney (Johnstown)
    Graduation Date: May 2017
    Degree: Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Hunter Connor (Boswell)
    Graduation Date: May 2017
    Degree: Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Mary Anne Cowfer (Tyrone)
    Graduation Date: December 2016
    Degree: Associate of Arts in Psychology
  • Kylee Doyle (Holsopple)
    Graduation Date: May 2017
    Degree: Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Jessica Shaffer (Ebensburg)
    Graduation Date: May 2017
    Degree: Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences

Pennsylvania Highlands would like to congratulate these students on their academic achievements, and look forward to what each of their futures will hold.

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Pennsylvania Highlands Community College recently hosted the Laurel Highlands Region Crisis Intervention Team as they provided their annual Crisis Intervention Training during the final week of March to officers and others in the field.

This weeklong (40-hour) training program teaches individuals various techniques on how to engage with people in crises, including those who are mentally ill. Participants were able to hone their verbal de-escalation skills with the goal of creating nonviolent intervention through voluntary compliance.

Additional training topics dealt with handling the mentally ill, juveniles, and people with personality disorders, suicide prevention, and substance abuse. This program is currently in its 10th year.

Twenty-one police and corrections officers from multiple counties attended the program, including the College’s own Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences, Dr. Robert Clark. After completion, all received a certificate during a graduation ceremony

To learn more about workforce training opportunities or the Criminal Justice program, please contact Penn Highlands Community College at 1.888.385.PEAK.

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On Saturday, April 8th, students from the Pennsylvania Highlands Blair Center participated in a spring cleanup of a key thoroughfare in the City of Altoona. The intersections of 6th & 7th avenues with 7th & 8th streets are high traffic areas and are often the first to be seen by visitors and tourists.

Members of the Blair Center Student Activities Club swept remnants of this winter’s road treatments from the sidewalks in addition to gathering trash and debris in conjunction with the City of Altoona’s Public Works Department. Students arrived at these intersections around 8:00am, and continued to clear the area until noon.

Participants of Altoona Clean Up (L to R): Jen Daniels (Community Volunteer), Jenda Sible, Tracey McClellan and daughter, Rachel and Aaron Bakaysa, John Donnelly (AASD School Board President), Keith Bryant, Matthew Pacifico (Mayor of the City of Altoona), Joseph Eckels (Big A Booster Club President), Rebecca Rago, and Julie Patosky (Blair Center Director).

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