Two female students walk outside of Forker Lab on a fall day with books in hand.

January 2019: What's happening at Shenango?

Meet two alumni and a faculty member, save the date for our Scoop & Paint, and learn about the great events happening on campus for our students and community members.
Vol 1, Issue 3

Meet Kathy

Kathy Kwolek

Name: Kathleen Kwolek

When did you graduate? 1975

What was your major? Secondary Education, Chemistry and Math

What campus did you attend? University Park

What were you involved in on campus during your time at Penn State? Study and working at Sera-Tec Biologicals

What is your favorite Penn State memory? The evening when the campus erupted after Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in a tennis match.

Why did you choose Penn State? I loved the community, the opportunities, and the sprawling campus. Alumni have a permanent bond with those who came before and after them.

Who has made an impact on your life? Why? The students I’ve taught. My desire to give them a strong chemistry background in order to compete with students from much larger schools was my motivation to develop a unique three-year high school program.

One surprising fact about yourself: I’m an introvert who hides it well.

Where are you now? Family life, Location, etc.: I’ve been married for 41 years to Gary Kwolek, have a son (Chris), daughter-in-law (Britney), and precious infant granddaughter (Kamila). We all live in the New Castle area, along with my immediate family members. I am retired, but recently accepted a part-time faculty position at a nearby university.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment? Becoming a superintendent and attaining a masters degree and a doctorate in education.

Why would you recommend Penn State to future students? There are limitless opportunities for students from all backgrounds and cultures, as well as programs to meet every educational goal. It’s a distinguished and world-class institution, known all over the world (and there is nothing that can compare to a home football game’s excitement!)

Any advice to current/future students? Don’t let the size of the main campus intimidate you - the branch campuses are accessible to anyone and will provide you with a sound base regardless of whether you choose to transfer to University Park or complete your degree at the branch.


Meet Dr. Pettitt

Angela Pettitt

Name: Angela Pettitt

What is your role on the Shenango campus? Assistant Teaching Professor of English

How long have you been at Penn State? I started in fall 2010.

What are you involved in on campus? This year, I was elected chair of the Campus Faculty Senate, which has been a challenging and engaging experience so far. The journalist in me has always liked being part of the events taking place behind the scenes, so being active in the senate, serving on committees, helping people on campus edit their writing, mentoring students, and volunteering are all activities I enjoy.

What are you involved in outside of campus? I am part of the Steel Valley Triathlon Club and the Youngstown YMCA. I spend a lot of time at Mill Creek Park in Youngstown and try to be take part in various community events and activities.

Tell us about your education: I have a bachelors degree in journalism from YSU, where I was editor-in-chief of the campus newspaper, The Jambar, and then I went on to get a master of arts in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University, just south of Toledo, Ohio. 

What is your favorite Penn State memory? A few years ago, I helped chaperone the Student Activities trip to New York City. Getting to accompany so many students on their first trip to one of my favorite cities was wonderful. I led a walking tour of Midtown so they could see quite a few famous landmarks, such as Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, and Times Square, and I loved hearing what they liked (and didn't like) about the city. It was a great opportunity to get to know students outside of the classroom, and to share such an exciting experience with them.

Why do you love the Shenango campus? I love that I am able to get to know so many students and colleagues across campus. At larger universities, it's more common to only associate with the people in your own department, but at Shenango, I interact regularly with people from math, business, history, nursing, etc, as well as nearly all of the staff across campus. Likewise, I often have students for multiple classes, so I get to know them better and follow them through their time at Penn State.

Who has made an impact on your life? Why? There are so many people I've looked up to and been inspired by, both in my immediate life, as well as celebrities and important figures in society. I love to teach because of the wonderful example set by so many remarkably dedicated and talented teachers and professors I've had from kindergarten, all the way through grad school. I have looked up to many strong women throughout history and society, from Susan B. Anthony to Ruth Bader Ginsberg to Gloria Steinem, who fought their whole lives so that my path would be a little bit easier. And I have a husband who is a true partner in this crazy adventure called life, and who has encouraged and supported me for more years than I can sometimes believe. My life is full of people who have impacted me in one way or another.

One surprising fact about yourself: When I was 21 and my sister was 18, we backpacked for three weeks through Ireland, Scotland, England, and France. We stayed at youth hostels, took city tours, saw three musicals, traveled by train, bus, and foot, and even spent one night in an airport to catch an early flight to Paris. It was incredible.

What do you enjoy outside of the classroom?  Hobbies, interests, etc.: Well, I teach English, so it should go without saying that I love to read. It's also pretty well known around campus that I participate in triathlons, which gives me an excuse to travel to different cities for races and spend my weekends swimming, biking, and running. I like long bike rides to Lake Erie and spending the day at the beach with my family. I also enjoy home improvement projects like refinishing furniture, painting, and doing small Pinterest crafts with my son – though not always very well!

What is your proudest professional accomplishment? Undoubtedly, being awarded the Rifforgiato teaching award in 2016 was the greatest professional honor I've ever received. Teaching is my vocation, and knowing I was able to connect with students enough for some of them to nominate me made me feel both proud of the work I’d done and encouraged to then do even better.

Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to future students? Penn State Shenango offers students that rare gift of personal investment. Every student who comes here matters, and students can establish relationships with faculty, find mentors, and connect with other students in ways that are so much more difficult at larger schools. It's very hard to remain anonymous or to feel ignored or overlooked here, and I think students benefit immensely from the sense of belonging we work so hard to cultivate here.

Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to a future colleague/employee? I think faculty and staff enjoy many of the same benefits as students. We feel included as part of the campus community and recognized for our work and efforts. Not many people hide in their offices all day, and that makes this a very welcoming place to work.

If you weren’t working in higher education, what would you be doing? In another life, I had planned to be an investigative reporter for the New York Times by this stage of my life. Journalism was a passion for me – until I had the opportunity to teach in grad school. Perhaps journalism might have remained my calling, but at this point, it's hard for me to remember that I ever wanted to do anything other than teach.

Meet Shauna

Shauna Phillips

Name: Shauna Phillips

Major: Nursing 

Graduation Date: December 2018

Do you plan to finish your degree at another campus? Nope, I graduated from Penn State Shenango with my bachelors degree in nursing. I’m now continuing with my masters degree through World Campus while remaining active at the Shenango campus.

Why did you choose the Shenango campus? It was close to home.

What are you involved in on the campus? I am the SGA secretary and I also am a Lion Leader.

What are you involved in outside of campus? Outside of campus, I work full time at Sharon Regional Medical Center.

Why do you love Penn State Shenango? I love everything about Penn State Shenango. I love the environment and the people that I get to interact with on a daily basis! You get to know everyone personally and create life-long relationships. Penn State Shenango has made me the person I am today.

What is your favorite Penn State memory? My favorite memory at Penn State would be participating in the alternative spring break in both 2014 and 2017.

Who has made an impact on your life personally or on campus? Why? My nursing professors have made an impact on me because they have encouraged me to keep moving forward in my nursing education.

Have you benefited from Philanthropy? Yes, through the alternative spring break.

Where do you see yourself after graduating from Penn State? I am going to continue working full-time and work towards my masters in nursing education

One surprising fact about yourself: I was born with six fingers.

Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to future students? I would recommend Shenango because there’s no better environment to be in. Everyone is friendly and helpful and put you on the right track to succeed. The class sizes are small and make things more personal.

Any advice to future students?  Give everything a chance.  Get involved and see what’s out there.

4th Annual Scoop & Paint event continues to raise funds for scholarship

Group of people holding up individual paintings of flowers

Penn State Shenango staff and faculty will host the fourth annual Scoop & Paint event at Noon on Saturday, Feb. 16, in the Great Hall on campus, 147 Shenango Ave. in downtown Sharon. Admission is $35 per person or $60 a couple. All proceeds will benefit the Heart of Shenango Scholarship, which is the campus’ only scholarship funded solely by contributions from staff and faculty. Since its establishment in 2010, it has disbursed over $18,000 worth of student scholarships.

The cost of admission includes all painting supplies and a large helping of delicious Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream.

Featured artist Chelsea Cimperman will teach the class how to paint a springscape that features a tree swing.

To purchase tickets, call 724-983-2836. Tickets are nonrefundable. Checks should be made payable to Penn State University. All participants must be at least 16 years old. Registration is limited.

Allied Health Job Fair Slated for February 6

Career Services

Students and alumni are cordially invited to attend the Penn State Shenango Allied Health Job Fair on Wednesday, Feb. 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Lecture Hall 222 at the Shenango campus, 147 Shenango Ave., Sharon, PA. Employers are most interested in nursing, occupation therapy, and physical therapy candidates. Prospective candidates are encouraged to bring copies of their updated resume and to be dressed in professional attire. For assistance with resume preparation, please contact the office of Career Services at 724-983- 2860 for an appointment. 

Organizations interested in participating in this event are charged $20 registration fee with non-refundable checks made payable to Penn State University. For registration information, please contact Heidi Friedrich at 724-983-2844.

Faculty Lecture Series Features Dr. Matthew Caputo

Matthew Caputo

Local Engineering

Thursday, Feb. 21, at 5:30 p.m.

Caputo recently joined the Shenango campus faculty as assistant teaching professor in engineering. He is a native to the Shenango Valley, graduating from Farrell High School. He earned his doctorate from Youngstown State University, where he studied materials science and engineering. During his undergraduate and graduate studies, Caputo was deeply involved in research actvities with his professors and plans to return those opportunities to his own students.



Our monthly newsletter includes articles about the unique things our faculty are doing to engage students in their classes; our highly motivated staff, as well as those who have given years of service to the campus; and our amazing students. We will also be taking an opportunity to recognize our generous benefactors, whose monetary gifts continue to increase our scholarship endowments and have a direct impact on making a Penn State education affordable.

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