Penn College

New faculty bring experience, diverse backgrounds to Penn College

Front row, from left, are Craig Zimmerman, Kenneth E. Welker Jr., Mark W. Wilson, Christine B. Kavanagh, John F. Chappo, Tanae A. Traister, Mary E. Erdman, Ashley D. Holmes, Tammy A. Miller and Summer L. Bukeavich. Back row, from left, are Craig A. Miller, Robert A. Way, Michael Damiani, Shaun D. Hack, David E. Bjorkman, Michael J. Reed, Robert K. Vlacich and Bonnie L. Heintzelman. Not present: Anne K. Soucy. Credit: Penn College / Penn StateCreative Commons

Pennsylvania College of Technology recently welcomed new full-time faculty, including employees who served the college in other roles before joining – or returning to – the teaching ranks.

The 19 “new” faculty members include those who began their Penn College employment with the fall 2014 semester, as well as those who started with the spring 2014 semester in January.

“Penn College has a long-standing tradition of excellent teaching,” said Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost. “This group of new faculty is poised to carry on that tradition well into the future. These newest faculty members bring exceptional credentials from both their educational and professional backgrounds. We are very pleased to welcome them to the Penn College family.”

School of Business & Hospitality

Summer L. Bukeavich, instructor of business administration: management and marketing, joins the college in a full-time capacity after teaching two years part time. She has also taught for Ashford University. Her work outside of education is in marketing and communications, developing the social media strategies for Yellow Book, a marketing firm in the Philadelphia area. She holds a bachelor’s degree in corporate communications from Lycoming College and a master’s degree in organizational communication from the University of Delaware.

School of Construction & Design Technologies

Robert A. Way, instructor of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technology, graduated from Penn College in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in HVAC design technology. He began his 13-year career in the HVAC industry with the Trane Co. as an existing building services sales representative. He later joined the staff of Follett Corp. as a product specialist for medical-grade refrigerated products, which entailed serving on new-product development teams and providing product education for service agents and hospital engineering staff.

Kenneth E. Welker Jr., lecturer in HVAC technology, graduated from Penn College predecessor Williamsport Area Community College in 1984 with an associate of applied science degree in machine tool technology. Twelve years ago, he established his own business in the plumbing and heating service industry. Most recently, he was employed at Penn College as the HVAC toolroom attendant, an adjunct faculty member and a mentor who guided students through numerous service projects. He brings expertise and real-life experience in the plumbing and heating service, troubleshooting and installation industry.

School of Health Sciences

Mary E. Erdman, instructor of nursing, joins the full-time faculty after four years as a part-time clinical instructor in all levels of the nursing degree programs. She brings 18 years of practice as a registered nurse in specialty areas of geriatrics, medical/surgical and orthopedics. Her clinical experience includes 14 years of hospital experience and supervisory roles. Erdman holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing (magna cum laude) from Penn College and a master’s degree in nursing (summa cum laude) from Walden University.

Bonnie L. Heintzelman, instructor of nursing, joins the Penn College faculty after teaching for Geisinger Medical Center School of Nursing, Thomas Jefferson University School of Nursing and the Central Susquehanna LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) Career Center. She has extensive clinical experience in adult intensive care, as well as in flex registered nurse roles and as a nurse educator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Albright College and a master’s degree in nursing from Bloomsburg University.

Ashley D. Holmes, instructor of health information technology, joined the faculty in January after a number of years of professional experience with Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre. Her professional roles included increasing levels of responsibility and managerial experience. Holmes holds an associate of applied science degree in health information technology with a coding specialist certification from Penn College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in health information technology from the University of Pittsburgh and is pursuing her master of health informatics and information management from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center.

Christine B. Kavanagh, instructor of nursing, is a nurse practitioner who has been involved as a part-time clinical instructor of all levels of the nursing program prior to joining the full-time faculty. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Pace University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Penn State. She has blended many years of service as a dietician with the Williamsport Area School District with more than 20 years of nursing practice. Her specialty areas are intensive care, medical/surgical, pediatrics and dietician.

Laura K. Landis, lecturer in nursing, joins the full-time faculty on a temporary basis this fall. Previously, she held a part-time position at the college as a nursing instructor. In May, she completed her master’s degree in nursing with a focus in leadership and management. Her other experience includes labor and delivery, endoscopy, medical/surgical and coordinator for Healthy Beginnings.

Tanae A. Traister, instructor of nursing, served as a part-time clinical nursing instructor for two years prior to joining the full-time faculty this fall. She is a bachelor of science degree cum laude graduate of the nursing program at Penn State and holds a master’s degree in nursing from Drexel University. She has 15 years of clinical experience with Geisinger Medical Center, specializing in adult critical care and adult/pediatric post-surgical recovery.

School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies

Anne K. Soucy, assistant professor of plastics technology, returns to the classroom and lab after spending five years as assistant dean in the School of Construction & Design Technologies at Penn College. She began her career at the college in 1999 as an assistant professor in plastics and later moved to the engineering design technology department. She holds a doctorate of engineering (in plastics engineering) and a bachelor's degree in plastics engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and she spent several years working in injection molding manufacturing.

Craig A. Miller, instructor of engineering design technology, joins the engineering design technology faculty after nine years with Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Penn College as a computer-aided design technology specialist and eight years as an adjunct instructor teaching various design-related courses. He brings eight years of design and production experience to the classroom from a commercial/industrial oven manufacturer, as well as numerous engineering design certifications and presentations. His experiences as an applications and mechanical engineer and his knowledge in areas of prototyping and animation will be a great addition.

Craig Zimmerman, instructor of building automation technologies, is a graduate of Penn College with an associate’s degree in heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology and a bachelor’s degree in building automation technology. He brings six years of industrial experience to the classroom as a senior application engineer with Pritchett Controls, Beltsville, Maryland, and two years as a service technician. He holds certifications in EPA Refrigerant Handling, Schneider Electric I/A Workplace Technician and I/A Series Niagara G3.

School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications

David E. Bjorkman, instructor of emergency management/social science, joined the Penn College faculty in January as the first instructor in the new emergency management program. Prior to his faculty appointment, he was the emergency management coordinator at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. He also held positions as a public health preparedness planner at Delta Development Group and as a police officer for both the city of Baltimore and Penn State University Park. He has taught at the University of Maryland University College (homeland security) and at Penn College, providing instruction as well as course development for the emergency management degree. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Shippensburg University and a master’s degree in homeland security in public health preparedness from Penn State, College of Medicine.

John F. Chappo, assistant professor of history/history of technology, holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Eastern Michigan University and both a master’s degree and doctorate in American history from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is an experienced educator in ground, online and hybrid modalities – in instruction, as well as course development and design. Chappo is broadly trained in American history, with a specialization in early American history. He held part-time teaching positions at Thomas Nelson Community College, Nelson, Virginia; Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester, New Hampshire; and the American Public University System, Charles Town, West Virginia. He has been awarded fellowships and has held department chair positions at several institutions. He is experienced in teaching at the K-12, postsecondary and graduate levels, in community college and university settings.

Tammy A. Miller, lecturer in biology, holds a bachelor of science degree in microbiology (with a minor in molecular biology and biochemistry) from Penn State. She has been a part-time instructor of biology at Penn College since 2008, teaching introductory biology and microbiology. Miller was the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Part-time Teaching Award at Penn College. Throughout her education, she held internships at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the immunology department at Penn State.

Mark W. Wilson, lecturer in graphic design, was an adjunct professor of art at Penn College before joining the full-time faculty. His employment experience includes managerial and graphic design positions at area establishments such as Sammy’s Restaurant, Hulls Landing and Springman’s Country Store Café. He also works as a freelance graphic designer and photographer and is owner of Mark Wilson Photography. He holds a bachelor of science degree in graphic design from Penn College and is pursuing a master of fine arts degree from Marywood University.

School of Transportation & Natural Resources Technologies

Michael Damiani, instructor of aviation maintenance, has more than 19 years of experience in the general aviation industry. He has served as the director of maintenance and pilot for the Golden Age Air Museum in Bethel for more than 10 years, and he enjoys flying personal and sport aircraft, particularly vintage and conventional-gear aircraft. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in sacred music from the Moody Bible Institute and enjoys performing classical and jazz music.

Shaun D. Hack, lecturer in collision repair, has 18 years of industry experience, including three years as an instructor at Red Rock Job Corps, where he taught nonstructural collision repair, welding and shop safety. He was also an owner and technician for Greenwood Collision Repair, which he developed from the ground up. Hack holds an ASE master certification in collision repair, as well as several other certifications. He also holds an associate degree in criminal justice from Luzerne County Community College.

Robert K. Vlacich, instructor of automotive service, graduated from Penn College with a bachelor of science degree in automotive technology management. He earned a master’s degree in workforce education and development from Penn State and is pursuing his doctorate with an expected completion in 2016. Vlacich has several certifications including Vocational Instruction (1 & 2), Safety Inspection Mechanic, Master Automotive Technician and Advanced Engine Performance Specialist. He has been an automotive instructor at Jersey Shore Area School District for the past 10 years.

For more about Penn College, which is celebrating its centennial throughout 2014, visit or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated August 21, 2014