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SEPTEMBER 11, 2012


PASSHE in the News

East Stroudsburg graduate student develops Lyme disease test kit

Melissa ShawTwo years after she came up with the idea of developing a tick-testing kit anyone could use, former East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania graduate student Melissa Shaw is about to see her product hit store shelves.

LYME-AID, a diagnostic tick testing kit that determines whether a tick is a carrier of Lyme disease, was developed by Shaw while she was working on her research involving the study of ticks and disease in Northeastern Pennsylvania at ESU’s Northeast Wildlife DNA lab. Periodically, Shaw and other students at the lab would be asked to test ticks brought in by community residents to check for Lyme disease, which is prevalent in the Pocono region.

Shaw worked with her faculty mentor, ESU biology professor Dr. Jane Huffman, and staff in the university’s division of Research and Economic Development, to develop the easy-to-use test kit. She submitted her idea in the university’s Business Plan Competition and won. In April, the university signed a non-exclusive license agreement with Garrett Hewitt International, LLC to commercialize LYME-AID. The intention is to have LYME-AID kits distributed and on-sale in more than 20 states by next spring.

The test kits help individuals find out if a tick they’ve discovered on themselves or a pet might be a carrier for Lyme disease, before symptoms appear. The kits include instructions on how to remove the ticks and how to prepare each specimen for mailing to ESU and the Northeast Wildlife DNA lab. Once a specimen arrives on campus, the lab’s staff will test the tick for Lyme disease and quickly respond by e-mail or phone to the individual submitting the specimen results of the testing are quick and 99.9% accurate.

Early detection of Lyme disease is paramount to a good recovery. If left untreated, Lyme disease can spread to the brain, heart and joints and symptoms can be severe and persist for months or years after initial infection. Lyme disease has also been reported in dogs in all 48 contiguous states and in endemic areas, 41 percent or more of dogs have been reported to be infected. Pets experience symptoms similar to humans when infected.

For more information, please call (570) 422-7892.


Workforce Development: Building Pennsylvania’s future

Venango College of Clarion University addresses high-priority workforce needs

Venango College of Clarion University of Pennsylvania has developed a wide range of programs that address high-priority workforce needs in northwestern Pennsylvania and beyond.

Working with business leaders in Marcellus Shale-related industries, Venango College faculty and staff recently developed a natural gas technology concentration within Clarion University’s Associate of Applied Science in Industrial Technology (AAS-IT) degree. Technical courses are offered through a partnership with Precision Manufacturing Institute (PMI) in Meadville. Students are prepared to seek immediate, entry-level employment in a variety of natural gas-related occupations.

The first two cohorts of students are completing the program this year with a third scheduled to begin coursework in the fall. Graduates of the associate degree program can continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Venango College’s new Bachelor of Applied Science in Technology Leadership degree program that was approved by the PASSHE Board of Governors in April 2012.

The BAS in Technology Leadership is an upper-division, online degree completion program that allows students who complete the associate degree to continue their education while working and raising families.  A core of business and leadership courses in the junior and senior years, coupled with the technical coursework in the associate degree, positions students to move up a career ladder to eventually seek management and leadership positions within the industry. The business courses, in turn, can serve as a springboard to eventual completion of Clarion’s online MBA program.

Clarion’s educational and career ladder approach addresses the long-term needs of the Marcellus Shale industries, with about half of all workforce needs requiring technical training at the certificate or associate degree level, and the other half requiring bachelor and/or graduate degrees.

For more information on the AAS degree, please click here. For more information on the BAS degree, please click here.


Mansfield University establishes Marcellus Institute

The Marcellus Institute at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania was established earlier this year to coordinate educational initiatives and to provide active leadership on opportunities and issues relating to the development of shale gas resources in the northern tier.

The Institute is working to develop new academic programs for Mansfield students focused on the expanding shale gas industry; to create and offer targeted continuing education and certification programs in cooperation with industry partners to assist with the development and maintenance of a well-qualified workforce in the region; and to conduct community education, outreach, and research efforts addressing diverse topics related to shale gas production.

The first two new programs were approved in late June by PASSHE’s Board of Governors. Both were developed in close collaboration with industry.

The new Associate of Applied Science in natural gas production and services degree was designed to prepare graduates for various career paths in the natural gas industry. The five concentrations within the program—permitting and inspection specialist, mud logging/geology specialist, environmental specialist, geographic information systems specialist and safety management specialist—have been identified by industry employers as well as major corporations in the northern tier of the Commonwealth as meeting a critical need. The program is closely aligned with the emerging and growing careers in the drilling industry as outlined by the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association.

The new Bachelor of Science in safety management was designed to prepare graduates for the expanding Marcellus Shale industry and associated energy businesses that have an immediate need for safety professionals. It also will prepare graduates for a range of occupational health and safety positions in other industries, both regionally and globally. The state Department of Environmental Protection has indicated a strong demand for safety workers, as has the Pennsylvania Statewide Marcellus Workforce Needs Assessment.

To read more about the Marcellus Institute, please click here.


Student Success: It’s what PASSHE is all about

Shippensburg’s Isabel Scott well on career path

Isabel ScottIsabel Scott knows how important internships can be to her future career as a financial analyst for an international company and is taking advantage of them while studying at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

Her first internship as a sophomore with the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union was so successful she eventually worked her way up to assistant manager. “I was able to work on campus and helped to assist students in opening savings, checking and credit accounts. Through the internship I was able to gain a lot of knowledge involving banking systems, which enhanced what I learned in the classroom.”

She subsequently was a materials intern for Volvo Construction Equipment at its headquarters in Shippensburg.

Isabel also had a study-abroad experience in Shanghai, China, where, she said, “I was able to demonstrate my skills that I have learned at Shippensburg University in the classrooms there and often surpassed those from top name schools.” She is also involved in the university annual student-faculty research program.

Isabel, who is the recipient of a PASSHE Board of Governors’ Scholarship and a H.O.P.E. Diversity Scholarship, is in the Honors Program and is active in numerous student groups including Student Senate and Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity. She also is involved in a variety of community service projects including helping with local food pantries and animal shelters, and volunteering at King's Gap State Park.

After graduation, she plans to earn a master’s degree in economics and eventually become a chief financial or chief executive officer of a company. “Although these plans and goals may seem out of reach, I am determined to work hard to achieve them and work to constantly grow as an individual.”


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