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.

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.

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).

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College is celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd with a series of events leading up to the special Saturday. Headlining the festivities will be former Penn Highlands’ student Erik Vogel of Reptile Encounters on Thursday evening at 6:30pm.  He, and Reptile Encounters, will be “bringing the wild” right to the College’s Richland Campus with snakes, iguanas, tortoises, and a 6’ alligator.

Family members young and old will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with amazing animals, all while learning about the impact conservation has on our world. It will be an exciting learning experience for all ages.

All events will be held at the College’s Richland Campus (101 Community College Way in Johnstown). Currently scheduled events include:


  • 9:30am – Yoga:  Take a deep breath before finals week to appreciate the natural world through yoga. Join instructor Elizabeth Hunsberger for Sun Salutation. All are welcome; no prior yoga knowledge needed. If possible, please wear comfortable clothes and bring a mat.
  • 12:30pm – Geocaching: It has been a long winter, so let us get outside for a GPS based scavenger hunt lead by Jill Mitchell. You will have a chance to win prizes. A smartphone or GPS device recommended.
  • 1:30pm – Nature Literature Reading:  Join us in the Courtyard to read or just listen to some fantastic literary works celebrating nature.  Works include poems, selections from works of fiction, or selections from works of non-fiction, especially those of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.  Not sure what to read?  No problem—we will be happy to help you find a work to read! For details, contact Dr. Russ Newman at 814.262.6419 or
  • 2:30pm – Airing of A River Runs Through It: Enjoy a great movie with plenty of beautiful scenery, love, drama, and fly-fishing.  Watch young Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer learn about life and fly-fishing.

  • 10am to 1pm – Chalk Walk: Come and show your artistic talent by creating your version of an Earth Day poster on the sidewalk at the East Hills Recreation entrance.  Help us turn the sidewalk into a burst of colors in beautiful Earth Day scenes… the more, the merrier!  Posters will be judged from 1pm to 3pm with prizes awarded to the winners. Chalk will be provided.
  • 12:30 to 2pm – Campus Clean Up: Join the facilities team outside for a campus clean up. Mulching and weeding of the flower beds will help get the College in shape for spring. Did you know that dirt may help with concentration! Now is the time to play in the dirt before finals!
  • 6:30pm – Reptile Encounters: Join Erik Vogel to get up close and personal with amazing animals while learning about conservation around the world. This is a great show for all ages.

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

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will be hosting its 5th Annual Criminal Justice Seminar on Monday, April 10th, from 2pm to 4pm. This seminar, entitled “Forensic Crime Scene Investigation,” will take place in the Richland Campus Auditorium at 101 Community College Way.

This year’s presenter will be Mr. Jeffrey Lees, the Cambria County Coroner. His presentation will cover the role of the Coroner and the Coroner’s Office, and will explain the manners and causes of death, crime scene preservation, and working with law enforcement. Mr. Lees is certified through the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.

Be aware that by its general nature, seminar content including photographic examples are to be considered graphic.

This event is open to the public. For any questions and to register, please contact Dr. Robert Clark or Dennis Miller of the College’s Criminal Justice program. The College be reached by phone at 814.262.6400; or email them directly at (Dr. Robert Clark) or (Dennis Miller).

The Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Annual Job and Internship Fair will be held on Wednesday, April 5th, from 11am to 2:00pm. This job and internship fair will be in the East Hills Recreation Gym, which is connected to the College’s Richland Campus.

This event is open to all Pennsylvania Highlands Community College students and alumni, plus any member of the community who holds or is pursuing an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. Individuals looking for jobs will have the opportunity to network with a variety of local and regional employers form a variety of industries.

For additional information, please contact the Career Services Center at 814.262.3850 or

College Logo - Somerset (Square)The Pennsylvania Highlands Community College Somerset Center will be hosting a combined open house with Conemaugh Allied Health on Monday, March 20th, from 5:30pm to 7pm. This open house will be held at the College’s Somerset Center, located in the Somerset County Education Center at 6024 Glades Pike, Suite 210.

Individuals attending will have the opportunity to speak with representatives from both organizations. If you are interested in a Conemaugh Health program or simply wanting to learn more about earning your college degree, this event is the perfect place for you to begin and have any questions answered.

To learn more about this event or if you have any questions about Penn Highlands Somerset, please contact us at 814.443.2500, 1.888.385.PEAK, or

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