This winter break, our universities continued to shine, while our students continued their learning through a variety of real-world opportunities.

Success Highlights

Cheyney University students who aspire to become healthcare professionals participated in the Winter Break Immersion Experience at AtlantiCare Regional Health Center. The exposure Cheyney students gained helped in the development of their identity as healthcare professionals and positions them for employment while gaining real-world exposure to professionals in various healthcare careers. The idea for this experience is rooted in Cheyney University’s intentional efforts to prepare its students for high-need, high-paying careers in our region and the expressed desire of AtlantiCare to support this through their DEI initiatives.

A team of Commonwealth University students recently returned to the small community of Harmons, Jamaica, along with faculty members Jennifer Bell, physician assistant studies, and Amy Way, health and exercise science. The 18 undergraduate and five physician assistant graduate students represented the Lock Haven, Bloomsburg, and Clearfield campuses. This is the seventh service-learning program to Jamaica for Lock Haven students led by Bell and Way and the second for Commonwealth University.

The Spirit and The Pride of PA Marching Band at Commonwealth University – Mansfield has earned a formidable reputation for excellence—underscored by their invitation to perform in the 2024 London New Year’s Day Parade celebrations. As one of the band’s drum majors, senior music education major Kaycee Hulslander helps drive that excellence. 

Frederick Douglass’ extraordinary life continues to have an impact, and an East Stroudsburg University graduate student is doing her part to ensure that his legacy lives on. Khristy Almonte, a first-year graduate student in ESU’s professional and secondary education program, developed a junior high lesson plan centered on the life and work of Douglass, who was born into slavery and became a social reformer, orator, writer, statesman, and key leader in emancipation.

Kutztown University received $30,000 from Kutztown Lions Club to support graduate students enrolled in the university’s visual impairment program. Graduate students can choose to pursue the visual impairment program as a track within the M.Ed. in Multicultural Education program. Through this concentration, teacher candidates who only want to teach students with visual impairments will achieve a thorough understanding of all required competencies for certification. Field experiences are provided in both elementary education and visual impairment settings.

A new space at Millersville University opened at the start of the semester to provide a physical refuge for students seeking to focus on practices that promote their spiritual and mental wellbeing. The Meditation and Mindfulness room is designed to cater to a diverse range of needs, whether students choose to use it for prayer, meditation, or reflection. Its purpose is to support various faiths, promote positive mental health practices, and provide a welcoming environment for exploring personal interests.

IUP’s Center for Teaching Excellence—in partnership with the Office of the Provost, Office of Social Equity and Title IX, and the University College—launched a multi-year initiative to support student success through professional development training for faculty and staff on inclusive practices. “Fostering a Culture of Belonging,” an introductory approach to inclusive teaching built on evidence-based practices to boost student persistence and completion, is offered through the Association of College and University Educators.

Students in PennWest California’s Professional Golf Management program are giving lessons to Cal students and staff as part of the program’s curriculum. The lessons are part of the program’s Golf for Business and Life course. The course, designed by Professor James “JR” Pond and the faculty of the PGM program, was developed to give PGM students first-hand experience in the business side of golf to hone their skills before they enter the golf workforce.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers exit the locker room and run onto the field, the elite athletes’ bodies are ready to perform at optimal levels, capable of explosive strength and speed. Their physical conditioning plays a significant role in the athletes’ preparation, but equally important is their nutrition. For the past two seasons, Dr. Kim Schwabenbauer, RD, CSSD, a PennWest professor within the nutrition and fitness concentration of the exercise science program, has worked with the team, tailoring their nutritional intake to the specific needs of the professional athletes. During last year’s training camp, she employed an intern who knows a thing or two about preparing his body for competition. Senior Eli Brinsky is a member of the Golden Eagles wrestling team and a nutrition and fitness major at PennWest Clarion.

PennWest Edinboro’s award-winning animation program once again ranks among the best in the U.S., receiving national ranking from Animation Career Review. A leading online resource for collegiate programs and careers in animation, game design, and related fields, Animation Career Review named Edinboro’s program No. 19 on the Top 25 Animation Schools and Colleges on the East Coast list for 2024.

Four students from Shippensburg University – Allyson Ritchey ’24, Aidan Piper ’24, Ethan Bauman ’24, and SGA President Harun Pacavar ’24 – attended Governor Shapiro’s inaugural College Day of Action on January 22. The event was designed to welcome college leaders and Pennsylvania influencers to the Governor’s Residence in Harrisburg. During the event, guest speakers and panelists discussed what they have done on their college campuses and the actions taken by the administration to better Pennsylvania.

It's 4 a.m. and two Slippery Rock University students are awake in Las Vegas, fixing their eyes on something that, to them, seems like a dream. Italia Romano and Artie Prioletti got permission to visit a scene that hours later would be the site of the most watched event in U.S. television history: the playing surface at Super Bowl LVIII. More than 123 million people watched the game and there were 15 SRU students and three professors who had the opportunity to work on site at Super Bowl LVIII during the week leading up to the game.

On New Year’s Day 2024, West Chester University’s Incomparable Golden Rams Marching Band made history by becoming the first marching band within Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to participate in the iconic Rose Parade. Transporting the 336-member band, their instruments, and more than 30 University faculty and staff members to Pasadena for this once-in-a-lifetime experience was no small feat and required a true community effort.