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California University


Princeton Review Colors Cal U ‘Green’ or the fourth consecutive year, Cal U has earned a listing in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges, a directory produced in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council. This year’s guide profiles two Canadian and 320 U.S. institutions of higher education “that demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offering, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.” The listing for Cal U commends the University for its use of geothermal heating and cooling in its residence halls and notes that more than one-third of its energy consumption is derived from renewable sources. It points out Cal U’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and energy usage, and to provide internships with environmentally aware companies and career guidance on “green” jobs. The listing also mentions the Cal U Weather Center’s participation in the G.L.O.B.E. program, a worldwide education and science program that encourages students to report scientific data for dissemination through a free Web service, so they can collaborate with scientists around the world. The University’s commitment to a greener world also is reflected in: • Bachelor’s degree programs environmental studies, environmental earth science, geology and meteorology, plus concentrations in fisheries and wildlife, conservation ecology, environmental science, and environmental leadership and management. • An extensive energy monitoring system and a proven record of energy efficiency across campus. • Undergraduate research projects focusing on water quality, endangered species and habitat protection. • Campus dining options that include organic and whole foods, plus locally grown produce and meats. • A campus arboretum with nearly 500 native and non-native trees, including many of the species indigenous to Pennsylvania. • Establishment of the new Interdisciplinary Center for Environmental Studies (ICES). ICES director Dr. Robert Whyte is confident that the center has the potential to foster in greater collaboration in support of “green” initiatives. “There are many environmentally related activities at Cal U. Through the center we have an opportunity to extend the already excellent work being done across the campus by facilitating interdisciplinary and collaborative opportunities in the classroom and through service and research,” he said. “In other words, we are going to get more people talking to each other and working together.” To learn more about The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges, visit .


Enjoying a nice day outside the Kara Alumni House following the President’s Commission for the Status of Women’s Outstanding Woman of the Year luncheon are (from left) Rhonda Gifford, director of Career Services and chair of the commission; traditional undergraduate recipient Rebecca Geiger; staff recipient Darla Holley­Holmes; faculty recipient Suzanne Palko; and Interim President Geraldine M. Jones.

Commission for Women Adds Faculty, Staff Awards he President’s Commission for the Status of Women acknowledged the achievements of three members of the campus community at the Spring 2013 Outstanding Woman of the Year luncheon on April 24 at Kara Alumni House. For the first time, awards were given to an outstanding member of the faculty and the staff — Professor Suzanne Palko, from the Department of Nursing, and Darla Holley-Holmes, who provides administrative support in the departments of Psychology and Modern Languages and Cultures. Senior Rebecca Geiger, a sociology major with minors in history and women’s studies, was honored in the traditional undergraduate category. “In addition to recognizing undergraduate and graduate students, the commission believes it is important to honor the phenomenal faculty and staff who have gone


above and beyond their positions to support women and women’s issues on campus and in their communities,” said Rhonda Gifford, director of Career Services and chair of the commission. “For this reason, we decided this year to create both the faculty and the staff award categories.” The commission, appointed by the University president, is an advisory group that advocates for an environment where women can flourish professionally, intellectually and socially. • Palko was instrumental in bringing the RN-BSN program to Cal U in the 1980s — a time when registered nurses increasingly were looking to add a bachelor’s degree to their diploma or associate degree. She also developed and taught two courses, Women’s Health Issues and Women’s Experience, that could be taken by students — Continued on page 3

’Bots Battles Spark STEM Interest parks ignited, parts flew off and more than one battered robot limped out of the arena during the 2013 Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ Finals April 19-20 at the Convocation Center. More than 560 students from 42 high schools competed in the “smart sport” — an exciting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) robotics competition where robots designed and manufactured by high school students face off and fight for survival. In addition to the smash-’em-up robot battles, the 54 participating teams also were judged on their engineering, recordkeeping and interview skills. Eight years ago the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), — Continued on page 2


Clairton High School’s driver Zachary Loera maneuvers the final hit on the opposing robot as teammates Bianca Pulliam (left) and Eliza Sopko (right) embrace while faculty advisor Dennis Beard celebrates his team’s first­place showing inside the Convocation Center.

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’Bots Battles Spark Interest in STEM — Continued from page 1 along with a committed group of manufacturers and educators, brought BotsIQ to southwestern Pennsylvania. This year, KDKA-TV filmed the thrilling finals for a 30-minute television show that aired April 27. Clairton High School and its robot Bazinga came away with both the grand championship and the first-place battle award, but the experience made all of the participants winners. “What I see here is a combination of skills that is going to get young people interested in engineering, machinery, welding and working in teams,” said Jeffrey S. Kelly, CEO and owner of Hamill Manufacturing Co. and a former NTMA national chair. “Young people who are interested in how things are made are the future of the high-tech manufacturing workforce.” Cal U has hosted regional BotsIQ competitions in the past, but bringing the finals to the Convocation Center took a team effort, said contest organizer Dr. Michael Amrhein, of Cal U’s Department of Applied Engineering and Technology. “What we’ve done over the past eight years is to create a synergy, so this BotsIQ program and Cal U are strong partners,” he said. “With everything coming together here for this big event, it’s a really big partnership statement. We are hoping a lot of these students visiting today will come to Cal U for any degree, but especially for technology education or the new mechatronics engineering technology program that’s starting this fall.” As music boomed and announcer Chad McWreath called the play-by-play for another ’bots battle, Amrhein noted that many of the teams’ faculty advisers are Cal U alumni. Among them was Central Valley High School’s adviser, Bill Fiedler ’01. “This competition is the definition of STEM in education, because of all the practical uses of science and math the students are engaged in,” said Fielder, who is in his ninth year as a technology education teacher at the Beaver County school. “Things are moving, shaking, and the kids have to use calculus and physics in order to figure out how it’s all going to work together.” Greg Bohna ’98, a physics teacher and BotsIQ adviser, said his students at Brownsville Area High School benefited from contact with the team’s industry partner, Allison Custom Fabrication. “We spent several days meeting with their engineers and the firm’s vice president,” he said. “I thought that part of the process really made our students more determined and enthused about moving on to college to study engineering.”

Plum Area High School’s teammates Katie Shreve (left), Matt Haines and Yasimin Kelly make final adjustments on their robot while faculty adviser Martin Griffith ’95 looks on.

Whether they were near the two Lexan battle arenas or tuning up their robots in the “pit,” the students were focused on the competition. Senior Josh Faust, a football player at South Park High School and the team’s unofficial “Mr. Fix-It,” described BotsIQ as a team sport where you use your brain instead of your body. “Going from the computer screen to something you can hold in your hands is pretty cool. You can’t describe the feeling of seeing all the hard work and brainstorming come to life,” he said. “There’s a lot of teamwork. It’s an adrenaline rush when your robot is out there.” Ben Angell, a sophomore at Ringgold High School, said he enjoys using many different skills during the BotsIQ building phase. “I really enjoy learning the new electrical parts that go into the robot each year,” said Angell, who spent lunchtime with his sister Elizabeth, a Cal U student. “Last year we used a simple speed control. This time we have an advanced, larger one to handle bigger batteries. I also enjoy designing the outside of the ’bots, because I’m into art.” Andrew Stein, a junior at Central Valley, said he hopes to pursue a career in mechanical engineering. “I like working with my hands,” he said. “Machining, problem-solving and then the design aspect with engineering — this is right up my alley.” The team’s enthusiasm showed: Central Valley won the School Spirit Award; Propel Braddock High School and Brownsville Area took second- and third-place honors. Alex Krnosky, a junior from Hempfield Area High School,

Greater Latrobe High School’s Heidi Thorne (left), faculty adviser Stanton Glamp ’08 and Maddie Wilson work on their team’s robot during the BotsIQ competition inside the Convocation Center.

specialized in the documentation phase of the contest. Each team presented the judges with a thick binder of technical drawings and other records that show how the robot was designed and constructed. “I like it all,” said the aspiring machinist. Derry Area High School’s adviser, Ken Hackman ’89, is in his 21st year as a technology education teacher. His students take a year-round robotics class and put in about 100 additional hours after school to prepare for the BotsIQ competition. “The kids love this,” said Hackman, who often returns to his alma mater for technology conferences and night classes in robotics. “Their enthusiasm is contagious. You look for that kind of passion.”

Special guests at the contest included Ron Tomalis, the state Secretary of Education, and state Rep. Brandon Neuman, a proponent of STEM education. Industry partners staffed booths in the lobby and along the concourse to introduce themselves to the competitors and BotsIQ fans. A dedicated corps of BotsIQ volunteers handled judging duties, while Student Ambassadors and Cal U admissions staff led campus tours between bouts. “This is intended to be a multi-use facility, and a community outreach event like this is huge for the University,” said Michael Silva, general manager for VenuWorks at the Convocation Center. “It brings prospective students and parents to the campus. This is what we are here to do.”

GACO Seminar Looks at Federal Regulations ACO, Cal U’s Government Agency Coordination Office, will host a Federal Acquisition Regulations seminar at 8 .m. Thursday, the final two parts of a four-part series on FAR. The regulations outline the policies and procedures that govern the federal gvernment’s acquisition activities. Their purpose is to ensure that purchasing procedures are standard, consistent and conducted in a fair


and impartial manner. They apply to all federal executive agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services. These regulations govern the three phases of the acquisition process: acquisition planning, contract formulation and contract administration. Thursday’s seminar on “Regulatory and Legal Management of Federal Contracts ” and “Financial Management of Federal Contracts” will be held at the

Regional Alliance Center” in Cranberry, Pa (850 Cranberry Woods Drive). The presenter is Barbara Weaver, of the U.S. Small Business Administration. She is responsible for providing support, training and advocacy to small businesses doing business with the federal government. For information or questions about the registration process or seminar content, please contact Renee Decker at 724-7382346.

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Academic Excellence Showcased ndergraduate research stepped front and center when the Faculty Professional Development Committee presented the seventh annual Academic Excellence Days April 23-24 in the Performance Center. This year’s theme was “Taking the Lead Together.” Student Scholarship, Research and Creativity Day poster sessions gave students an opportunity to display their work and discuss their research. Seniors Thomas Henson and Ellen Newman, both biology majors in the Honors Program, showcased their investigation of parasites that affect six different species of frogs. Newman explained that the course on parasites had been offered for the first time in five years, and they were able to borrow specimens from the Physiology Club. “We found Alaria Americana to be the most interesting species,” Henson added. “We probably spent close to five hours doing the dissections and a week putting everything together with the proper IDs.” Freshman Imani Shell, an athletic training major who also is in the Honors Program, highlighted the need for polevaulters to wear helmets. A sprinter and jumper on the Cal U track and field team, Shell explained that fatalities have occurred when polevaulters miss the mats intended to cushion their landing. Her project focused on Kevin Dare, who was killed in a polevaulting accident at the 2002 Big Ten Championships.


A member of the track and field team, freshman Imani Shell proudly displays her poster and research about the need for pole­vaulters to wear helmets.

Now all Big 10 student-athletes must sign a waiver if they chose not to wear a helmet while pole-vaulting. “This is really interesting for me, because I’ve always felt that if I attempt this activity, I would want to wear a helmet,” she said. “There have been other fatalities and skull fractures. People need to be made aware.” Dr. Mark Aune, director of Cal U’s Honors Program, reported that nearly 400 students registered for the two-day event. Faculty also participated. Academic Excellence Days was held just a few days after Cal U hosted the

seventh annual Intersections Undergraduate Research Conference. In the future, Aune said, he hopes to link the two events. “For our honors students, participating in AED is an opportunity to complete the long and challenging research process by presenting their results to the world in a professional context,” he said. “Undergraduate research is an important part of the foundation of the Honors Program, and AED provides honors students with that final, public piece of the research project — sharing their results with others.”

Cal U student Brooke Romesburg, a member of the Parks and Recreation Society, measures trout caught by 7­year­old Connor Garden of Jefferson Hills, Pa., during the 18th annual Pike Run Youth Fishing Festival. Even a morning rain didn’t dampen the spirits of young anglers and their families who arrived for the April 20 event at Rotary Park in California. Faculty adviser Dr. John Confer, an associ­ ate professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, said this success­ ful collaboration between the University and the com­ munity attracted nearly 200 participants.

Commission Adds Faculty, Staff Awards enrolled in the women’s studies minor. Palko is the longtime adviser for Pi Rho, the Cal U chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the nursing honor society. As a member of the Washington County chapter of Zonta, a nonprofit organization for professional women that seeks to advance the status of women worldwide, she also brought a service project to Cal U that provides women in developing countries with a clean and sterile environment in which to give birth. • Holley-Holmes has worked to launch Cal U Women United, which held its kickoff meeting in March. The group supports the growth, development and achievement of young women of color at the University.

orth Carolina’s poet laureate, former Cal U student Joseph Bathanti, returns to campus for an “Evening of Poet Laureates” 7 p.m. Tuesday in Eberly Hall, Room 110. Bathanti, who was installed as North Carolina’s poet laureate in September, is the author of six books of poetry, two novels and a short story collection. A native of Pittsburgh, he is professor of creative writing at Appalachian Joseph Bathanti State University, where he also is director of Writing in the Field and a writer-inresidence in the university’s Watauga Global Ryan Sittler Community. He has taught writing workshops in prisons for 35 years. Bathanti won the 2002 Sherwood Anderson Award and the 2006 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction, as well as various North Carolina writing awards. His fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in such literary journals as Texas Review, California Quarterly, Cincinnati Poetry Review, Connecticut Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Shenandoah, New Letters and Carolina Quarterly. Joining him for the reading will be Ryan Sittler, poet laureate for Berks County, Pa., from 20022008. The co-editor of two books on library instruction, Sittler is an assistant professor and instructional technology/ information literacy librarian at Manderino Library. A videogame designer as well as a poet, Sittler is the lead designer of A Planet in Peril: Plagiarism, a Web-based educational game that won the 2010 Caspian Learning Serious Games Challenge. The “Evening of Poet Laureates” is part of a Visiting Writers Series sponsored by the Cal U English Department and the College of Liberal Arts. A book signing and light refreshments will be offered after the reading. Admission is free, and the public may attend. Visitor parking is available in the Vulcan Garage, off Third Street near the campus entrance. For a list of the authors’ works and other information, visit .


Catch of the Day

— Continued from page 1

‘Evening of Poet Laureates’ Tuesday

Among other on-campus activities, Holley-Holmes is on the steering committee for the 4th annual Pennsylvania National Diversity Conference on Sept. 19 at the Cal U Convocation Center, with guest speaker Ret. Gen. Colin Powell. She also is the minister, assistant director of women’s fellowship and church secretary at Christian Life Ministries in Donora. • Geiger is president of the Activist Club and has helped to plan and promote the Audrey-Beth Fitch Women’s Studies Conference at Cal U. Her presentation “WoMo’s and Mr. Moms” explored the influence of gender roles on television and won the award for best presentation at the Intersections Undergraduate Conference. Geiger is vice president of Pi Gamma Mu social science fraternity and a

member of Alpha Lambda Delta service fraternity. After the awards were presented, guest speaker Linda Serene ’64 spoke about her leadership experiences at Cal U and in the community. She and her husband, Dr. Harry Serene, remain very active at their alma mater. The couple formed the Linda and Harry Serene Leadership Institute at Cal U, which sponsors an annual leadership camp for local high school students, a speaker series and a leadership conference. Most recently, Linda Serene was president of the Foundation for California University of Pennsylvania. In her talk, she shared some advice on how to be a success. “Trust yourself that you’re doing the right thing,” she said. “And believe in yourself. Hard work really does pay off.”

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Theatre Program, Academy Earn NAST Nod national accrediting body has given a standing ovation to Cal U’s Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and its community outreach program, the Mon Valley Performing Arts Academy. The National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) has awarded full accreditation to both the undergraduate degree program and the after-school and summer academy that provides hands-on theater experiences for area children. NAST, founded in 1969, is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials. Cal U’s bachelor’s degree program earned its initial accreditation in 2005. It is one of just 160 NAST-accredited degree programs nationwide. The Mon Valley Performing Arts Academy is one of just six such academies to hold NAST accreditation. “I have always known that we have a superb program for students, the University and our community,” said Dr. Michael Slavin, chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “But to have a national body come in, scrutinize our program and then come


Audiences in Cal U’s Steele Hall Mainstage enjoy performances by students in a nationally accredited degree program and after­school and summer academy that provides hands­on theater experiences for area children.

back and say ‘yes’ says to me that, nationwide, we are an outstanding theatre program.” The program’s next evaluation will come during the 2021-2022 academic year. NAST made its site visit to Cal U during 2011-2012, but the evaluation process took longer than usual because

the community outreach program was seeking accreditation, too. Dr. Michele Pagen, artistic director of the Mon Valley academy and a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, said the outreach program focuses on technique, education, discipline and professionalism.

Tennis Nets Championship he women’s tennis team, a perennial powerhouse in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, began its 2013 post-season by winning a seventh consecutive PSAC championship. After winning their ninth straight PSACWest title with a perfect 5-0 mark, the Vulcans cruised to 5-0 victories over Millersville and host IUP in the semifinals and finals, respectively. Cal U has not lost a conference team-match since 2006. In the finals, Cal U jumped out to a 3-0 lead with victories by its doubles teams: junior Lucie Sipkova and sophomore Lucie Ray; sophomore Ramona Czakon and freshman Alexandra Borgenhoff; and senior Jade Pondicas and freshman Maxine Colen. Rey and Sipkova clinched the conference crown when each posted a 6-0, 6-0 victory in singles competition. Sipkova was named the PSAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Ranked 16th nationally in NCAA Division II, Cal U improved to 14-9 overall this season. Seven of the team’s losses have come against NCAA Division I teams, and the other two were to nationally ranked Division II schools. The Vulcans head into their ninth consecutive NCAA Division II post-season appearance as the top seed in the Atlantic Region. The team’s seven straight conference championships give the program nine overall, including previous league titles in 1991 and 1993. Along with the former men’s tennis team,


“My purpose in establishing the academy was to provide a program for youth that focuses on the education of the student,” she said “We focus on mastery of various techniques. The summer program adds the element of production to the mix, so they learn the techniques and then apply them in a fully realized theatrical event.” Pagen added that NAST accreditation means the academy meets national standards required of college and university programs across the country. “We are now among an elite few,” she said. “The bachelor program’s accreditation being renewed is a big deal. The academy having its own separate accreditation is huge!” Slavin also emphasized that the entire University played an important part in obtaining the recognition. “They (NAST) are not just looking at the Theatre and Dance Department but the whole university and everything the student does,” Slavin said. “They are not going to give you accreditation if they do not believe the school is providing the facilities necessary to create a good theatre artist. “We are elated.”

Campus BRIEFS Mother-Baby Attachment Is Topic Dr. James McKenna, director of the mother-baby behavioral sleep laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, will present “Scientific Studies of the Evolution of Human Mother-Infant Attachment: Implications for the Health and Well Being of Mothers and Babies in Urban Industrialized Settings” at 7 p.m. Thursday in Eberly Hall, Room 110. McKenna is an expert in the areas of infant sleep, breastfeeding and sudden infant death syndrome. He is the Edmund P. Joyce chair in anthropology at Notre Dame. The lecture is free and open to the public. For information, visit .

Arts Group Presents Survey Findings Junior Lucie Sipkova leads Cal U into the Round of 16 at the NCAA Division II Championships beginning Wednesday in Surprise, Ariz.

the women’s tennis program has the greatest number of conference championships in school history, followed by the men’s basketball program, with eight, and softball, with six. Interim athletic director Dr. Karen Hjerpe pointed out that under the direction of 11thyear head coach Pablo Montana, the squad has earned Intercollegiate Tennis Association AllAcademic Team honors for the past nine years. “It’s truly remarkable what our women’s tennis program has accomplished,” said Hjerpe. “Their unprecedented success on the court, coupled with their exemplary academic performance, makes them a complete studentathlete program for others to emulate — and one that we can all be proud of.”

Jobs created by arts and culture organizations generate $19 million in income for households in Washington County. That was one key piece of data presented by the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, which shared findings from its recent “Arts, Culture and Economic Prosperity” study April 22 in the Kara Alumni House. University President Geraldine M. Jones delivered welcoming remarks at the event, which was postponed because of last month’s power outage. A number of Cal U faculty and staff attended the forum, which highlighted the economic impact of the arts and culture in southwestern Pennsylvania. Nearly 500 nonprofit arts organizations make an overall economic impact of $1.2 billion in the 10-county region that includes Allegheny County, where many arts organizations are concentrated, the council reported. The program also included an arts education advocacy workshop presented by the Arts Education Collaborative.

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May 6, 2013 - Cal U Journal  
May 6, 2013 - Cal U Journal  

California University of Pennsylvania Journal, May 6, 2013. Volume 15, Number 8