Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is celebrating Medical Assistants Recognition Week, October 16-20, as designated by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Penn Highlands will be holding a special luncheon for Medical Assisting Technology students, alumni working in the field, and others continuing their education.  The Medical Assisting Technology program is accredited by CAAHEP and currently educates students in separate clinical and administrative labs and classrooms.

Medical assisting is an allied health profession whose practitioners function as members of the health care delivery team and perform administrative and clinical procedures. With their unique versatility, medical assistants are proving to be the allied health professional of choice for this decade and beyond. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assisting continues to be projected as one of the fastest growing occupations.

The AAMA is the premier organization serving the professional interests and educational needs of medical assistants. It provides numerous services that help medical assistants put their careers on a successful and rewarding track and keep them there.

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Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, in an effort to help downtown Johnstown residents find career success, has leased 3,116 square feet of first floor space in the Park Building, located on the corner of Main Street and Gazebo Park.

The Central Park location will serve as a community resource to provide college exploration, college preparation and career planning.  The College’s goal is to provide a connection for individuals to help discover successful paths to higher education.

The facility will be equipped to provide workforce training on an as-needed basis depending on the needs of downtown businesses.  And, a study center will be available to currently enrolled students as a safe and supportive location to complete coursework.

“Downtown residents are vital parts of this city and region,” said Dr. Walter Asonevich, College President.  “We want them to flourish. Penn Highlands is committed to providing assistance and access to the services they need to earn an education and career. This facility is their first step.”

The College’s new lease consists of a five-year term with two additional five-year options. Penn Highlands looks to open this facility in the fall to the public.

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College has five locations throughout the region: Blair, Ebensburg, Huntingdon, Richland, and Somerset.

Mock-Up of the College’s new downtown facility, set to open this fall.

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Fall is in full swing and Halloween is almost upon us. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College knows how to celebrate the season with its annual family-friendly Community Trick or Treat, which will be held on Monday, October 23, from 5:30pm to 7pm, at the College’s Richland Campus.

This event, intended for families with children who are 12 years old and under, is an experience that is not easily forgotten. Faculty, staff, and current students will be on-hand to give out free treats and candy.

In addition to free treats, there will be a special area dedicated to creating Halloween crafts and a “Haunted Hallway” for those looking for a little scare.

Last year, we had over 500 happy visitors. This year, we are prepared for that number to continue to grow as we create not only a community tradition, but also a family tradition.

Further details can be obtained by contacting Pennsylvania Highlands Student Activities at 814.262.6463 or

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The financial aid filing season officially began at 1 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 1 with the launch of the 2018‒19 FAFSA® at Nearly 238,000 online applications were submitted the first day, representing an eight percent increase compared to one year ago.

Most students and parents are eligible to use the IRS DRT to electronically transfer their 2016 tax return information. The tool returned Oct. 1 for the 2018‒19 FAFSA with extra security and privacy protections to safeguard sensitive taxpayer data.

Each year, more than 20 million FAFSAs are submitted, resulting in more than $120 billion in federal grants, loans and work-study funds to help pay for college or career school.

“Our vision at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is that every eligible student in the nation completes the FAFSA,” said Dr. A. Wayne Johnson, chief operating officer of ED’s office of Federal Student Aid. “Filling out the FAFSA is free, and Federal Student Aid provides a wealth of resources to assist students and parents every step of the way.”

Students who plan to submit the FAFSA online should create an FSA ID as soon as possible at If a student is considered dependent for FAFSA purposes, one of the student’s parents also needs to create an FSA ID in order to sign the FAFSA online. Each person must create his or her own FSA ID to avoid issues and delays with the financial aid process.

Once the FAFSA is processed, the school will use the FAFSA information to calculate the amounts and types of financial aid the student may qualify for, and the school will send the student a financial aid offer. Financial aid offers come from schools, not the U.S. Department of Education, and each school has its own schedule for awarding financial aid. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible to take advantage of any early state and school financial aid deadlines.

Source: Content pulled directly from U.S. Department of Education (Full Release on Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

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October is Archaeology Month in Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Blair Center will be celebrating with a special program at the Blair Center on Monday, October 9, beginning at 6pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Archaeologist, and Penn Highlands instructor, Paula Zitzler will hold a hands-on workshop that will put ancient artifacts into the hands of the community. This program is suitable for ages 8 and up.

Archaeologists use many methods and tools to answer the basic questions about the artifacts they collect. What is it? Who made it? How old is it? How was it used? This workshop provides an opportunity to learn how archaeologists put together the stories of the people who made and used the objects recovered from an investigation.

“If there’s one thing that humans are particularly good at, it is making stuff,” stated Paula Zitzler, archaeologist and adjunct faculty member. “Everything they make has a story, if you know how to read it.”

Please join us for this free event on Monday, October 9, at the Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Blair Center, located in the Logan Valley Mall (next to Macy’s). Please contact the Blair Center at 814.201.2700 or for additional information.

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Pennsylvania Highlands Community College held its 10th Annual Black Bear 5K on Saturday, September 23rd, at the College’s Richland Campus.  Organizers would like to thank Wessel & Company for serving as the event sponsor. Proceeds from the event will support the College’s athletic program: Men’s Basketball, Women’s Volleyball, Cross Country, and Bowling.

Results are as follows:


1. Bryan Acosta, 21, 19:48.4
2. Grant Cruse, 21, 20:00.9
3. Jake Burnosky, 29, 21.18.5
4. Dan Tomak, 40, 21:37.1
5. Maddie Sprankle, 19, 22:52.6

MALE RESULTS (Walker times not listed.)

Top Three Overall
1. Bryan Acosta, 21, 19:48.4
2. Grant Cruse, 21, 20:00.9
3. Jake Burnosky, 29, 21.18.5

14 And Under
1. Noah Snyder, 11, 24:21.0
2. Christian Musser, 11, 27:42.6
3. Joshua Slavick, 12, 28:04.6

1. Tanner Kobal, 15, 24:57.6

1. John Skelley, 29, 23:47.3
2. Tim Schultz, 29, 24:28.1
3. Mike Bako, 25, 37:33.7
4. Mike Shaffer, 25
5. Andrew Stopko, 25

1. Matt Sheridan, 32, 24:04.5
2. Joseph Markum, 36, 27:12.9
3. Scott Hunt, 34, 27:13.3
4. Raymond Weible, Jr., 33

1. Dan Tomak, 40, 21:37.1
2. Mike Kick, 46, 24:41.3
3. Tom Newcomer, 42, 25:14.5

1. Greg Winger, 53, 22:54.7
2. Thomas C. Chernisky, 52, 27:41.4
3. Gary Honkos, 59, 28:38.3
4. William Locher, 59, 34:32.2
5. Paul Baron, 57

1. John Skelley, 61, 24:23.6
2. Denny Cruse, 65, 24:37.4

FEMALE RESULTS (Walker times not listed.)

Top Three Overall
1. Maddie Sprankle, 19, 22:52.6
2. Megan Montag, 34, 24:32.5
3. Michelle Maksymik, 37, 25:17.6

1. Melissa Nealen, 19, 30:00.7

1. Katie Dutry, 24, 27:04.0
2. Ashley Clites, 23, 31:59.8
3. Adrianne Kuhar, 20, 34:18.3
4. Hannah Frazier, 23

1. Daniella Errett, 37, 29:24.3
2. Jessica Ferguson, 35, 30:05.1
3. Melana Simms, 36, 31:15.1
4. Kara Skelley, 30, 34:55.8
5. Erin Martella, 32

1. Michelle Wissinger, 45, 25:43.4
2. Heather Newcomer, 42, 27:49.5

1. Deana Sherry, 53, 26:14.1
2. Joannie Nedwreski, 50, 28:35.1
3. Maura McQuaide, 58

1. Kim Asonevich, 61, 34:30.3

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Pennsylvania Highlands Community College would like to congratulate Liberal Arts & Sciences Student Christopher Geisler, of Johnstown, on his paper having been accepted for presentation and publication.  The Beacon Conference accepted Christopher’s paper, “The Changing Demographic and Treatment of Heroin Addiction,” last May and he was able to present it in June of 2017.

The Beacon Conference was established by mostly Honors faculty to recognize, celebrate, and showcase the academic achievements of outstanding students at community colleges in the mid-Atlantic region. It encompasses a wide range of disciplines, and was held at Orange County Community College in Middletown, New York, this past year.

His paper, prepared under the guidance of Penn Highlands’ professors Dr. Russell Newman and Daniella Errett, was judged the best of those presented in his panel, for which he received a monetary prize and selection for future publication in the proceedings of the Beacon Conference.  This year there were 162 total submissions for 21 panels.

Christopher wrote about a very timely and pertinent topic: heroin abuse.  His paper explored the sharp increase in heroin abuse across a variety of demographics. The link between the shift in demographics of the typical addict and the shift in public policy were also examined.

His paper was more than just a scholarly paper. Chris states, “This was written not only as a social commentary on a controversial, divisive, and relevant issue, but also as a personal indictment of a system that has failed myself, my friends, and my loved ones. I have more friends who have died from an

overdose, disease, or the lifestyle associated with heroin addiction than I care to count, so this is not an arbitrary issue to me. My hope is that this paper will provide inspiration in others to seek a more effective and empathetic approach in solving a problem that has become such a cumbersome burden on communities and families across the nation.”

After graduation, Christopher plans to double major in Mathematics and English, and then pursue a master’s degree in Education, hoping to fulfill a career in teaching. Christopher’s ultimate goal is to earn a doctorate and teach at the university level.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to participate in the Beacon Conference. It was a surreal experience and unlike anything I had ever been a part of. Not only did it strengthen my collegiate and career prospects, but it strengthened my resolve to continue along the path I chose for myself years ago,” stated Christopher Geisler.

Liberal Arts & Sciences Student Christopher Geisler standing in the courtyard. (Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Richland Campus)

About The Beacon Conference
The Beacon Conference was born in 1993 when Rockland Community College (NY), with a grant from the American Association of Community Colleges and the Kellogg Foundation, and in association with Bergen Community College (NJ), Brookdale Community College (NJ), Catonsville Community College (MD), Dutchess Community College (NY), Harford Community College (MD), Kingsborough Community College (NY), Middlesex Community/Technical College (CT), Nassau Community College (NY) and Westchester Community College (NY), organized two conferences for student scholars at two-year colleges in the mid-Atlantic region. Since then, the conference has been sponsored by a coalition of participating community colleges, which take turns hosting this event each year on the first Friday of June.

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