Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

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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Pennsylvania Highlands Community College sophomore Timothy Borish is making waves in the online video industry. Through Media Production, he is learning the trade and, as a result, Timothy’s first attempt at creating a virtual reality animation film went viral. His first 360-degree video animation focused on Cipher from Disney’s Gravity Falls television show. Cipher is a yellow triangle with arms, legs, one eye, and a top hat.

After posting his video to YouTube, Timothy was contacted by a company called Untitled Talent, and has since partnered with them to receive monthly advertisement revenue based on the number of views his content receives. As of this release, his “Bill Cipher 360” experience has received over 2 million views.

Tim’s video can viewed at and is best-viewed using virtual reality goggles after having been downloaded to a phone.

He is currently working on a sequel, but while that is being developed, he took some time to visit the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles over the summer. Joining over 68,000 people, he took some of the College’s equipment to document the experience for his YouTube channel. He spent time talking to the lead developer of the Atari Flashback, experienced new virtual reality domes, and countless other displays.

“Timothy Borish is a talented and creative student. He is a go-getter, always pushing himself to do more and to learn more in both traditional video and in virtual reality. Timothy is a pleasure to work with,” stated Rick Bukoski, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Penn Highlands Community College.

The College’s Media Production program features a blend of three major communication fields: television production, radio production, and e-based technologies. Graduates are prepared for any number of jobs in radio, television, and emerging media (i.e. social media).

Screenshot of Timothy Borish’s virtual reality video featuring Cipher.

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Homecoming 2017 at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will take place the week of September 18. Throughout the week, there will be various student activities and community service projects for students and alumni.

Student clubs and organizations will host “Spirit Week” Monday through Friday at each of the College’s five locations in Blair, Cambria, Huntingdon, and Somerset counties.

Homecoming 2017 will culminate with Family Day on Saturday, September 23, from 8 AM to 2 PM. Family Day will include:

  • 8 AM: 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament (Registration Required)
  • 9 AM: Black Bear 5K and Kids Fun Run (Details Below – Registration Required)
  • 10 AM – 2 PM: Interactive Inflatables, Kids Crafts, Games, Caricatures, Photo Booth
  • 1 PM: Women’s Volleyball Game vs. Howard Community College

The College Foundation’s annual Black Bear 5K and Kids Fun Run is on Saturday, September 23, and is sponsored by Wessel & Company.  Registration begins at 8 AM and the race will begin at 9 AM.  Pre-registration for the event is $15.00 and race-day registration is $20.00.  Proceeds from the race will benefit Athletics at Penn Highlands Community College.

For more information about Homecoming 2017, please contact the President’s Office at 814.262.3820 or

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Pennsylvania Highlands Community College and California University of Pennsylvania have collaborated to help better serve the region. The two institutions recently signed an articulation agreement allowing students to easily transfer credits earned through the Associate of Applied Science in Small Business Management (Penn Highlands) to the Bachelor of Science in Technology Management (California University of Pennsylvania) program.

This agreement allows Penn Highlands’ graduates the ability to apply for full junior standing upon admission into California University of Pennsylvania. A secondary purpose is to provide faculty and administration of both institutions with more precise guidelines for advising students interested in pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Technology Management.  These guidelines will help students achieve their degree in the most cost effective and timely manner possible.

With the addition of this new agreement, there now stands seven (7) articulation agreements in place between Penn Highlands Community College and California University of Pennsylvania. These program-to-program agreements include:

  • Small Business Management (A.A.S) to Bachelor of Science in Technology Management
  • Human Services (A.A.S) to Bachelor of Social Work
  • Business Administration (A.S.) to Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice (A.S.) to Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Computer Science (A.S.) to Bachelor of Science Computer Science
  • Early Childhood Education (A.A.) to Bachelor of Science in Education: PreK-4
  • Psychology (A.A.) to Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

These agreements follow the 2+2 model where students must earn an associate’s degree first before they are able to obtain transfer of credit with junior standing.

“Our commitment to this region gets stronger with every partnership,” said Dr. Walter Asonevich, College President.  “These agreements provide our students with a level of comfort and confidence in knowing their credits are able to transfer after graduation from Penn Highlands.”

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The College has five locations throughout the region: Blair, Ebensburg, Huntingdon, Richland, and Somerset.

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