Category Archives: Central Penn College in the Community

The Knightly News Media Club announces winter fundraiser

By Megan Smith

Knightly News Reporter

The Knightly News Media Club is selling Marianna’s 14” hoagies for $7, and 12″ pizzas for $8. There are several different kinds of hoagies and pizzas to choose from.

The subs include ham, Italian, roast beef, turkey, and much more. Not a fan of meat? There is a cheese sub available as well. The pizzas include pepperoni, cheese, white, meat supreme, and a Primo’s deluxe. Ingredients, topping, and more nutritional information can be found by selecting any of the options on the website.

All of the details about each of the individual subs and pizzas are located here: http://www.mariannasfundraisers.com/products/

MariannasThe deadline for pre-orders and payment is Feb. 21. Orders will be ready for delivery to your location on March 15 between 3 and 4 p.m. or anytime the following day.

Pre-orders have already began, so make sure to get yours order in today. If you would like to place an order, then please email Professor Miller at paulmiller@centralpenn.edu, and include the items that you wish to purchase, where the order can be delivered to, and when you would like them delivered.

Fundraisers in the past have helped The Knightly News Media Club by funding new equipment for podcasting, a quarterly pizza party, the club’s field trips and other club activities.

All of the club’s members appreciate your continued support and look forward to having more successful fundraisers to continue the expansion the club.


Megan Smith is secretary of the Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College.

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Knightly News to help with lung association gala

By Yuliani Sutedjo and Kathleen Tarr

Knightly News Reporters

The Knightly News Media Club will volunteer with the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania to help with its 27th Annual Sapphire Gala on March 3.

The purpose of the gala is to raise money and to support the association’s vision, mission and goals.

That mission is “To save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.” The association’s vision is “A world free of lung disease.”

Members have sought to achieve their goals through many events, such as the LUNG FORCE Walk, Pasta Run and the gala.

The 27th Annual Sapphire Gala will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill, from 6 to 11 p.m.The Sapphire Gala will include a variety of games, a live and a silent auction, and other entertainment.

Entertainment options will be provided by Famous Rumors. Participants from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio will perform a tango.

Some of the silent auction packages are San Francisco Wine Country; Alaska – The Call of Wild; The Wine, Wonder and Romance of France; and tropical Costa Rica.

The live auction will include trips featuring castles of Ireland, a Greek Island adventure and James Bond’s secret hideaways.

The Gala marks the largest philanthropic endeavor for the Knightly News

The Gala marks the largest philanthropic endeavor for the Knightly News.

The games will include heads or tails, wine pull, and Leitzel’s Jewelry lock box.

For the heads or tails, audience will purchase a flashing bracelet for $20 to participate. Audience members who participate will be asked to stand up. If a guest participating has the right side of the coin, then he or she will remain standing. The last person standing wins.

The wine pull will cost $20 and audience members can pick any number, and based on that number, they will get wine that matches the number.

For the Leitzel’s Jewelry lock box, there will be approximately 200 keys, and any member of the audience can purchase a key for $20. Then they will try the keys they bought to see whether they open a box. If the box opens, then the owner of the key wins the jewelry inside.

“We currently have approximately 200 participants to date (as of Feb. 7),” according to Kayla Juba, development coordinator at the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania. “We are anticipating approximately 300-350 attendees and more than a dozen local businesses to participate in this year’s event.”

Gala tickets cost $125 each. They can be purchased online. Once on the page, click on the Register Here link, in the left column..

Knightly News media club members say they are looking forward to volunteering at this the event.


To comment on this story or to suggest a story, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media club co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.

 

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A Day in New York City

Students visit United Nations, seek their own adventures

By Brian Christiana and Paul Jones

Knightly News Reporters

On Nov. 3, Central Penn Chief Diversity Officer Romeo Azondekon took several students to New York City for a visit to the United Nations.

The students traveled around the city and had to interview another person of a different culture or ethnicity.

“It was a very cool and an eye-opening experience. I had an opportunity to go into the United Nations, where many people don’t get to go,” said corporate communications major Michael Ademola.

The students were from the Student Multicultural Advisory Board, and Hispanic American Student Association.

 

Jones poses in front of the New York City skyline.  Photo courtesy of Paul Jones.

Jones poses in front of the New York City skyline. Photo courtesy of Paul Jones.

Corporate communications major Morgan Littleford said, “I was happy to learn about all the different things about the United Nations and all the different cultures that are involved.”

The students went to different stores, such as the clothing outlets H&M, Forever 21 and other clothing stores.

The entertainment from street performers really helped brighten the mood. Littleford said that she really enjoyed them, and they made her laugh.

For information about these type of trips, contact Azondekon at romeoazondekon@centralpenn.edu or (717) 728-2437.


Brian Christiana is president of The Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College.

To comment on this story or to suggest a story, contact TheKnghtlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.

Edited by media club co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olmpi.

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Sexual assault can happen anywhere

Even at Central Penn, but awareness is power.

 By Sarayuth Pinthong

Knightly News Reporter

Sexual assault is very common on our nation’s college campuses.

Unfortunately, Central Penn is not exempt, but reports of sexual assault and sexual misconduct at Central Penn are rare.

Even though such reports are rare at Central Penn, with the help of Megan Peterson, Title IX officer and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) coordinator, students can receive the knowledge that could prevent sexual assault, and possibly save the life of their friends and themselves.

Well developed policy

“Central Penn has an extensive sexual assault policy,” Peterson said. “In our sexual misconduct policy, we go through definitions of different types of sexual misconduct, what constitutes the action and the process that we would go through if a person would bring forward a complaint of sexual misconduct.”

According to Peterson, depending on the type of complaint and how the individual wants it to be handled, sometimes individuals come forward for only resources and support. Sometimes someone comes forward to report to ask for an investigation and hearing, or an informal resolution.

“We have a process for each, depending on how the complainant is comfortable moving forward,” Peterson said. “Our goal is to never force a complainant to handle their case in a certain way if they’re not comfortable.”

Unfortunately, there is an exception. According to Peterson, if a person were to be involved with a violent assault, Central Penn has an obligation to take action for the safety of the campus community.

About our campus

In 2016, Central Penn College had four reports of sexual misconduct, Peterson said. Compared to the amount of sexual assaults occurring on college campuses nationwide, four is a very low number.

2017 had fewer reports.

“If we are strictly talking about sexual assault/misconduct and not other things falling under the Title IX umbrella (harassment, dating violence, etc.), then there were two reported cases of sexual misconduct in 2017, and none so far in 2018,” Peterson said in an email on Feb. 2.

The college publishes an annual security report made available on the college’s website.  Students can view the reported numbers of different types of crimes or sexual misconduct. Individuals can use the report, along with other resources on campus, to be vigilant during their everyday life and better recognize the warning signs of sexual misconduct.

The 2016 report lists two reported violations, under the heading of “Sex Offenses, Forcible (Rape, Sodomy, Sexual Assault w/object and Fondling).” The other two misconduct reports may have been incidents that did not have to be included in the report. Disclosure of reported campus crimes investigated must be reported to the campus community and the public, according to the state’s Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.

“One in four women are likely to be a victim of sexual misconduct while they’re a student,” Peterson said. “Seventeen percent of men are also likely to be a victim of sexual assault,” she said.

Being aware of sexual assault and the possibility that it could happen can benefit the Central Penn community.

“Alcohol is the number one drug of choice during sexual assault,” Peterson said.

On Jan. 24, the Central Penn College Diversity Committee and the Title IX Office held a discussion forum in the Capital BlueCross Theatre called “Food for Thought: An open, facilitated conversation about sexual harassment,” with two outside experts on the topic – one from the Carlisle YWCA and one from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape . Chief Diversity Officer Romeo Azondekon and Peterson also participated, with Peterson moderating. Dave Baker, Central Penn’s retention officer and athletics director, took Azondekon’s seat when Azondekon had to depart the panel discussion for a previous engagement.

A universal responsibility

The responsibility of sexual-assault prevention falls on everyone, experts say.

“If you don’t know that sexual assault is a risk, then you don’t know to be mindful and protective of yourself and your friends,” Peterson said. “From an awareness standpoint, we want to bring that issue to light. The more people that talk about sexual assault, the more people feel comfortable to address it.”

According to research, there are only two reasons sexual assault doesn’t happen. One, the person decided not to not move forward with the assault, or two, a bystander decided to intervene.

“If we’re not raising awareness and not having these conversations telling people what red flags to look for,” Peterson said, “the likelihood of knowing what to do and how to intervene is drastically lower than having an informed population.”

Peterson said changes to campus sexual-assault investigation standards from a preponderance of evidence to reasonable doubt that U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has discussed implementing since her confirmation last year haven’t been put in place yet, and it isn’t known when they might be.

For more information, contact Peterson at (717)-728-2398 or meganpeterson@centralpenn.edu.


This episode of the podcast is also available at our SoundCloud page during the month of February at:  https://soundcloud.com/user-511685837/episode-49-megan-cline-and-megan-peterson

To comment on this story or to suggest a story, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media club co-adviser Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi, who provided some update reporting.

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Themed housing event brings students together

By Brian Christiana and Dylan Kleintop

Knightly News Reporters

The residents of townhouse 135 held an event on Jan. 30 in the cafeteria lounge to study for midterms.

The theme of 135 is UBalance, which deals with managing time between school, work and other activities.

The event was for all students and the highlight of the night was the free Buffalo chicken dip.

“The whole point of this was to help bring the student body together, and to prepare for the exams along with scheduling their classes,” Sophia Charles, student residence assistant, said.

Charles is majoring in entrepreneurship and small business.

Fifty to 60 students showed up. Several people noted that it was good for the students to come study for different types of classes.

The students involved were Sophia Charles, Ashanti Conover, Nikolas Hollomon, Kyrin (KEYE-rin) Lloyd and the authors.

Charles, who decided to do a study hall, really did well with helping students with scheduling and homework.

A 2.0 GPA is required for students to live in a themed house. The students must participate in one event related to the theme of the house, and have an article presented in Student Central.

“I feel like this event had a very good vibe to it. It really helped bring students together and they all enjoyed some good food,” said Lloyd, a business administration major.

Ian Kemmerer, a corporate communication major, really enjoyed the food.

“I was really blown away by how much the themed house members put into this activity,” he said. “I hope there is another event like this.”

Another themed house, UCare, townhouse 147, focuses on community issues, and will hold a clothing drive soon during which members will set up boxes for clothing donations.

For more information on themed housing, contact Dillon Epler, associate director of residence life, at dillonepler@centralpenn.edu.


Brian Christiana is president of the Knightly News, and Dylan Kleintop is secretary.

To comment on this story, or to suggest one, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media club co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.

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Students spend snowy night on gridiron

By Brian Christiana

Knightly News Reporter

Some students recently took advantage of wintry weather by enjoying touch football in the snow on campus.

The game took place between the townhouses, starting at townhouse 165 and ending at townhouse 181.

The baseball team and several other students were involved. Gabe Arellano and Max Thorpe gathered many baseball and several other residential students.

“The game really helped me relax from all the stress that has come from school,” said Malcolm Fox.

The football game lasted from around 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The snow started coming down around 4 p.m.

Students involved were Ian Kemmerer, Jared Rivera, Todd Cook, Jerry Biller, Malcolm Fox, Gabe Arrellano, Max Thorpe, Kahmal Moore, Cain Caesar, Luis Padilla, Emmitt Enslin, and this reporter.

Several flag football games have been played this school year, but this was the first one in the snow.

“I was really happy to spend my evening playing football and hanging out with the baseball team,” Kemmerer said.

There were many spectacular plays that really made the event fun. Todd Cook and Gabe Arrellano had catches right along the corner of the end zone that had really had people in shock.

The highlight of the night might have been how many people kept falling from the snow.

Many great plays were held short, because of people falling. It really helped lighten the mood as it also had students laughing.


Brian Christiana is president of the Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College.

To comment on this story or to suggest a story, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.

Edited by media club co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.

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State journalism organization appoints Lear-Olimpi

By The Knightly News

Michael Lear-Olimpi, assistant professor of communication, has been appointed ethics and diversity chair of the Keystone Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).

Michael Lear-Olimpi. Photo by Roman Lear-Olimpi

Michael Lear-Olimpi.
Photo by Roman Lear-Olimpi

SPJ is the nation’s largest and oldest journalism professional-development and freedom-of-the-press advocacy group. Ethics and diversity are among the group’s focuses, and are among Lear-Olimpi’s areas of media interest and expertise.

The Keystone Pro Chapter covers all of Pennsylvania, except for the western third of the state.

Lear-Olimpi has been a member of SPJ since the mid-1980s. He served as president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter from 1998-2001, and as a member of the board of directors from 1995 until 2007.

He will also be helping reorganize the Philadelphia chapter, which disbanded recently. Philadelphia is the nation’s largest city and largest media market currently without an SPJ chapter.

Through his years in SPJ, Lear-Olimpi has been involved in journalism ethics and diversity matters. He has also been involved in similar roles with the American Society of Business Publication Editors, the editorial ethics code for which he has helped revise.

In his position with the Keystone Pro Chapter, Lear-Olimpi will be responsible for designing and implementing ethics and diversity efforts, such as training workshops, and education and outreach initiatives, along with offering members ethics and diversity advice.

SPJ offers professional and student journalists support in a variety of areas. Students can join SPJ, which has chapters on campuses of universities and colleges across the nation that offer journalism and communication degrees.


Michael Lear-Olimpi is c0-adviser of the Knightly News Media Club at Central Penn College, and the editor of our online content and quarterly publication.

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Rubina Azizdin: A REAL force of empowerment

By Sarayuth Pinthong

Knightly News Reporter

Rubina Azizdin, 35, founder of the Relationships, Empowerment, Authenticity, Laughter (REAL) networking group, continues to share her ethics and dealings with adversities that have made her an empowering female force in the Central Pennsylvania, and the Central Penn, community.

It doesn’t take much to find accolades recognizing Azizdin’s accomplishments throughout her life. Last year, she received the 2017 Shining Star Award from the West Shore Chamber of Commerce as part of its Luminary Awards, created by the Women in Business Roundtable Committee. She has been honored at least twice this year

Her background reveals connection with the Junior Board at the YWCA, West Shore Young Professionals, Central Pennsylvania Association of Female Executives, American Business Association, Board of the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers, and finally, Women’s Capital Area Networking, and that’s not all.

But to truly understand how Azizdin’s drive, determination and will contribute to her success, despite the obstacles, you must go back to where it all began.

The beginning

Rubina Azizdin, born Rubina Keval in Central Pa., is the oldest of four children. Growing up, Azizdin and her family would visit relatives in Africa. Her parents, Akbar Keval (father), from Ethiopia, and Ruksana (mother), from Kenya, traveled to the United States for their honeymoon.

Azizdin’s father was not formally educated, but very business-oriented. He was a very good mechanic and decided that moving to America would present better opportunities for his wife and future family.

Keval relocated himself and his wife from Africa to Canada, and finally, to the United States, bringing with him only $800. Years passed as Keval worked odd jobs, receiving money under the table to support his family. Keval worked on a farm picking tomatoes, fixed cars, and finally, after receiving his green card, started building his business.

Keval did really well for himself despite not having graduated from high school.  He owned several businesses, ranging from cleaners to a car dealership.  He came to America around the age of 30 and was able to retire at the age of 60 because of the empire he created. He and Ruksana returned to Africa for retirement.

Keeping culture

Azizdin was born in Elizabethtown. Along with her siblings, she was raised embracing the cultures of India and Pakistan. Growing up as a dual-cultured individual, Azizdin witnessed division, being Indian, and not being Pakistani.

She said many Muslims in Central Pennsylvania are Pakistani. Growing up, Azizdin didn’t have the day-to-day exposure to diversity.

“I’ve always been attracted to diversity,” Azizdin said.

The small community of Elizabethtown didn’t allow for exposure to the culture and diversity she longed for. As a child, Azizdin loved the frequent visits back to Kenya. She wasn’t seeing only friends and family, but was also finally exposed to the people who were missing in her daily life back in Elizabethtown.

“People usually gravitate to what they’re used to,” Azizdin said. “With me, it was with what I couldn’t have. I craved it and I still do.”

Azizdin loves her culture.

“My culture is my world, consisting of a blend of everything: African, Pakistani, Indian, and Ethiopian.”

Growing up, Azizdin wasn’t permitted to speak English at home. Her father didn’t want his children to lose the language and culture that comes with being who they were as people. Their language of Kutchi is rare and the one thing Keval wanted to maintain for his family.

Azizdin didn’t understand what her dad was trying to instill in the children. Now, with three children of her own, she understands completely. She teaches her children that they will speak their language because “it’s your language.”

Azizdin believes the challenges she has faced growing up allowed her to love diversity. It gave her the ability to relate to different people while embracing the culture they, as individuals, bring.

“I feel when you have cultural diversity, you tend to be a more open-minded person,” Azizdin said. ­­

Her career dreams always consisted of working in higher education, but her road to a career in that field was full of turns.

Azizdin grew up in a strict home. When she went to college, she derailed and started down a different path. Fortunately, she had people who pushed her back on track. She appreciated the people who assisted her and saw the benefits of wanting to help other people the same way.

Unfortunately, Azizdin said, her father didn’t have the same vision. He envisioned a career in medicine or science for his daughter. Azizdin explained that from her father’s perspective and her culture, success wasn’t reached by being a counselor. It was going into a program like science, engineering or medicine that would bring in the money. That was success.

So began her travels down Academic Lane toward success. She explored being a pharmacist because that’s what her father wanted, but didn’t like it. While figuring out her career path, Azizdin got engaged to her now-husband, Arfaat.

Building another dream

Arfaat left Kenya to attend Harrisburg Area Community College with Rubina.  She later decided to apply to the occupation therapy program at Elizabethtown College and Arfaat applied to the physical therapy assistant program at Central Penn College.  But, during her last two years in the program, Azizdin discovered she didn’t want to be an occupational therapist. Her true calling was working in mental health.

She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a bachelor’s degree in health, and started her master’s degree in counseling and human services. Later, she accepted a family counselor job at WellSpan Philhaven, where she still works after 10 years.

While working with WellSpan Philhaven, Azizdin was able to network with different people and organizations. She was able to meet with families during crisis intervention, and people in homeless shelters, churches, schools and other places where caregivers were needed.

“It was a blessing,” Azizdin said. “It was everything that I loved.”

Azizdin’s career led her to a part-time position at Penn State Harrisburg in career counseling, later to a career services position at Harrisburg Area Community College and then to her current position as a career counselor with Central Penn.

Azizdin wants to prove to women, reflecting on her culture, that they come from the same background, that a woman can be an educated, powerful and respected force in society.

“Just because your husband or your father has a view of you being unequal, that doesn’t mean that you can’t break out,” Azizdin said.

Azizdin witnessed many people being treated in a way she believed was unfair — even her friends. They had their freedom, she said, but at the same time, they didn’t. Some female students of Central Penn, for instance, may not yet understand how to be a powerful woman. Azizdin’s passion for informing other women comes from her experience as a young minority woman.

Getting REAL

This passion of Azizdin’s led her to create the REAL networking group. She decided to make the group women-centered because of conversations among women she heard in the Harrisburg area.

What came out of the conversations was the lack of connections being created. Relationships were superficial. After being approached by many women regarding similar concerns, Azizdin developed the REAL networking group.

The group is a nonbusiness-based one in which everyone is neutral. Members are able to discuss topics, build one another up and support one another, creating the sense of community that goes back to traditional values that are being lost, Azizdin explained.

The group has a Facebook presence of about 300 members and around 20 people attend a monthly Monday meeting, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., to have lunch, hear guest speakers and participate in empowerment activities.

Azizdin imagines the groups she’s involved with, like REAL, sustaining themselves within the community. Developing a strong local community is the goal, she said.

“I think charity starts at home.”

Azizdin believes groups should start out small, and build. Help the local people first and see where and how the groups develop.

Despite being a group primarily for women, REAL is open to anyone.

“I’ve never said that men aren’t welcome,” Azizdin said. “It’s just that women gravitate more toward the group.”

Good and bad experiences happen to everyone. Azizdin believes the experiences shape people. It’s just a matter of how people apply the experiences, she said.

“I say grow with your experiences. Without experiences, we can’t be who we are.”

Always look forward to a pleasant and bright future, Azizdin said. How does she do it? It’s a two-part process.

“Surround yourself with supportive people,” she advised. “The other part is self-discipline. You just have to prioritize. If you want to get something done, there’s nothing stopping you.”


To comment on this story, or to suggest one, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.edu.

Edited by media club co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.

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Overcoming adversity and leaving a legacy

Meet Curtis Voelker — Mr. Central Penn, and the ‘Next Big Thing’

By Sherri Long

Knightly News Reporter

A picturesque autumn scene of colorful trees, a cloud-dappled blue sky and the historic Henszy’s Bridge is framed by the lobby windows on the second floor of Central Penn College’s Advanced Technology Education Center.

This iconic backdrop was the perfect setting for interviewing Curtis Voelker, admissions counselor at Central Penn College, who is often referred to as “Mr. Central Penn.”   

Curtis Voelker, Mr. Central Penn, with his Standing Ovation Award, for "The Next Big Thing." Photo by Sarayuth Pinthong.

Curtis Voelker, Mr. Central Penn, with his Standing Ovation Award, for “The Next Big Thing.”      Photo by Sarayuth Pinthong.

The persona of Mr. Central Penn evolved from a creation of Voelker’s in 2010 that tied into a new marketing campaign for the college.

“Mr. Central Penn was originally Will Power, who hailed from the planet of Potential in the solar system of Success,” Voelker, 26, said.

Voelker is the presenter for the admissions team at Central Penn and is always thinking of creative ways to connect with potential students. He began is speaking career when he was a freshman in high school. At the request of the foster program he was in, he gave a presentation sharing his personal story of overcoming the adversity of his parents’ arrest, when he was 14.

We are family

Voelker was featured as part of a portrait series created by Uproot Creative Services that showcased the stories of people helping in their communities. Voelker’s personal story video is on Uproot’s site. Voelker continues to share his story during his presentations to connect with and encourage others.

Though his focus during high school visits is on recruiting students to attend Central Penn, it goes well beyond being a job for Voelker. He wants potential students to understand the sense of family that he has experienced at Central Penn since 2009.

“Central Penn brought that sense of family to me, brought that sense of belonging,” Voelker said. “No one else in my family went to college. I didn’t think college was an opportunity for me, and then I met Todd Milano (president in 2009), who kind of recruited me, brought me under his wing. So, I got these great mentors, these great father figures, great mother figures here on campus. They’ve done so much for me here and I just want to try to continue to do as much as I can for Central Penn.”

Encouraging students

In 2012, Voelker earned his bachelor’s degree for business and marketing and was immediately hired by Central Penn. He enjoys being able to use his degree every day through recruiting and presenting, and is proud of the fact that Central Penn takes a unique approach to presenting to high school students.

“We’re one of the only colleges that do in-class presentations. Most admissions teams do what they call guidance visits,” said Voelker.

Guidance visits are appointments scheduled with a guidance counselor and students. The students sign up to participate during that time. According to Voelker, these scheduled visits may have one, three or five students who participate.

Voelker’s approach is to contact a high school teacher to schedule a classroom presentation. The teacher selects a theme of either finding the right college, managing conflict, understanding diversity, or how to make a good first impression. Voelker prefers to present to English classes because they usually contain students in the same grade level.

He also presents to school clubs and organizations, Future Business Leaders of America being one of them. Voelker serves as the alumnus representative for the Pennsylvania Future Business Leaders of America board of directors. He has been involved with the FBLA since his high school days.

“Serving FBLA is kind of my passions all rolled into one through serving the club I was in during high school, then through serving Central Penn, and then serving the students by being a part of the board.”

Dancing with the Stars

Voelker started serving on the board of the East Pennsboro Education Foundation in March. One of his main functions is emceeing Dancing with the East Pennsboro Stars, which is an annual major fundraising event. The main purpose of the foundation is to raise funds for educational purposes for East Pennsboro School District.

“One of the biggest things we’ve done is help fund the new media club at East Penn. It includes things like video cameras, sound equipment, helping students express themselves in different ways, in various projects and papers, and things like that,” Voelker said.

Although not an official representative of the college on the Pennsylvania FBLA or East Pennsboro Education Foundation boards, Voelker said he “doesn’t know if there’s ever a time that I can’t find a way to connect it to Central Penn because that’s my goal; that’s my mindset.”

Central Penn Education Foundation

Voelker serves on the Central Penn Education Foundation as a trustee, a role he began while a current student. He was the first and only current student who was elected to the Education Foundation Board of Trustees and has served since December 2011. As a trustee, he helps select scholarship recipients and raise funds for those scholarships.

One way to encourage the newest alumni to give back to the foundation is through the purchase of a True Cord. These cords are worn by the students at graduation and have their graduation year as the purchase price. This year’s cost was $20.17.

“It’s a simple way to have them start to think ‘Hey, this is a way I can give back.’ It gives them a good feeling when they walk across the stage. Hopefully, that grows.”

Another role for Voelker, as a trustee, is helping with student engagement.

“With myself being a former student, and staff member, and alumni, I really try to help in terms of engaging student involvement,” he explained. “I’ve done a couple of fundraisers with students to help increase the thought of philanthropy and what it means to give back to the alma mater.”

Voelker encourages current students to get involved with events on campus and the community, taking leadership roles, and to work toward leaving a legacy. Voelker and Dillon Epler, associate residence life director at Central Penn, created and led the first Central Penn men’s leadership retreat.

Men’s leadership retreat

The theme for the retreat, held in August, was “A Legacy for Leadership.” The seven participating students identified personal and professional goals, then identified things they are involved in on campus or in the community.

After identifying these, they examined whether their activities were helping them achieve their goals. They discussed what they hoped to leave behind on campus with Central Penn, what legacy they wanted build for themselves, and the importance of leaving a legacy.

The college has had women’s retreats for the last three years, but this was the first men’s retreat. Voelker and Epler, who were housemates during their college days, were pleased with the response.

“This is one of the biggest things we’ve talked about, about wanting to just give back in this way, with leadership and mentorship,” said Voelker. “The group of guys were fantastic. They all took something away from it. They absolutely enjoyed it.”

Voelker, who believes in leading by example, was able to achieve one of his personal and professional goals in October.

TEDxHarrisburg

On Sunday, Oct. 15, Voelker achieved his goal of giving a TED Talk at TEDxHarrisburg. The sold-out event featured 12 speakers and 100 people in the audience.

The process to be one of the 12 speakers began in May with 60 applicants. According to Voelker, the theme for this event was “Evolve.” The TEDxHarrisburg committee reviewed the applications and proposals, and chose around 25 people for the second round. The second round required a one- to two-minute speaking sample.

“From there they chose the top 12, and those were the top 12 who spoke at the actual event,” Voelker said. “My sample presentation was basically two minutes of my personal story and how I could motivate others.”

Voelker’s TEDxHarrisburg presentation was entitled “Evolve through Adversity.” He involved the audience by having them simulate “the storm of success” through tapping feet and snapping fingers. He has received many requests and questions about being able to watch his presentation online. TED released the videos of TEDxHarrisburg 2017 on Nov. 22. Now, those who could not attend the live event may view Voelker’s presentation on The TEDxHarrisburg Team’s YouTube channel.

Curtis, TEDx Harrisburg

Voelker, TED Talk presenter. Photos by Sherri Long.

Voelker, TED Talk presenter. Photos by Sherri Long.

Standing Ovation

2017 has been a year full of service, goal achievement and recognition for Voelker. On Oct. 20, Voelker was awarded the Central Penn Alumni Standing Ovation Award in “The Next Big Thing” category. Voelker was one of four alumni nominees in that category.   

Voelker as superhero in a panel presented at the Standing Ovation Awards in October. Photo courtesy Central Penn College.

Voelker as superhero in a panel presented at the Standing Ovation Awards in October.                        Photo courtesy Central Penn College.

The “Next Big Thing” award recognized “a graduate who stands out among peers for outstanding leadership and service prior to one’s tenth reunion year. Community service, professional accomplishments, and other significant achievements are considered,” according to the nomination flyer from the Central Penn Alumni Association.

Voelker paused, as he thought about what receiving the award meant to him.

“That meant a lot. It meant a lot because there were great nominees, across the board, for all of the different awards. I’m glad we did that because I don’t know if a lot of people realize the standout students that we have. Specifically, for myself, I appreciated the praise for the individual stuff that I did, but it’s really a team effort. It took all 25 nominees to get to where we (alumni) are today.”

Continued education

When asked about earning his master’s degree in organizational leadership, Voelker shook his head, laughed and said, “Crazy.” He explained his response.

“Just thinking back. Littlestown. My graduating high school class was 87 students. We had one traffic light in the entire town. No one else in my family went to college, and I remember thinking, when I started Central Penn going for my bachelor’s, ‘Could I do it? What will the classes be like? What is this experience going to be like?’ I went through it, had an amazing experience, and then thought ‘Okay. Let’s keep it going.’ And then I got my master’s, and was just, like, wow!”

He is considering going for his doctorate.

“My grandma is asking me about it all the time. She wants a doctor in the family. I’m still looking for the free time I thought I’d have after I was done with my master’s, though,” Voelker said, laughing.

PEZ dispensers

Voelker does have some free time, but not much during the busy fall season of visiting and presenting at high schools.

“Any free time that I do have I spend working out or hunting PEZ dispensers,” he said.

Voelker started collecting PEZ dispensers, again, in 2016. His original PEZ collection was started when his father gave him a couple PEZ dispensers, when Voelker was little.

“I had a huge collection up until age 12. I had a whole closetful of seven boxes, two full notebooks of inventory. I had some from Europe, from overseas, whole different kinds of PEZ dispensers. With my personal story, they eventually went away, so, I had to restart from scratch.”

The future

What’s next for Voelker?

“I think right now, I just want to continue doing what I do now, pretty well. I want to increase, obviously, alumni council’s reach and position. Definitely want to increase the foundation. So, maybe no new projects, yet,” Voelker said.

But, Voelker said he is always open to opportunity and looking for ways to give back, which is something that is at his core. Specifically, finding ways to benefit Central Penn and its students and alumni, because he views Central Penn as his home and family.

“When we all continue to help each other learn and grow, we’re continually helping each generation of Central Penn students get that much better of an experience.”


Sherri Long is president of the Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College.

To comment on this article, or to suggest one, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.
Edited by Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi, club co-adviser.

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Filed under Alumni News, Central Penn College in the Community, On Campus Happenings

A place to pray

Interfaith prayer room to open soon

By Yuli Sutedjo

Knightly News Reporter

After almost a year and a half, the Interfaith Prayer Room has found a home — in the Boyer House.

The room will be used by students, faculty and staff to pray, and to hold religious or spiritual programs.

There will be different programs that will allow faculty, staff and students to learn about different religions, Chief Diversity Officer Romeo Azondekon said.

Making it comfortable                                                                                                             

Facilities put furniture in a room on the first floor of the historic building, on the northeast corner of campus along Valley Road, around the end of October.

The search has taken a while because space is limited on campus.

Members of the Student Multicultural Advisory Board (SMAB) will be coming in to arrange the furniture and to shelve books by the end of fall term.

Furniture includes a table for a student worker to use while on duty, possibly a beanbag chair, a sofa that the board and the Diversity Committee expect to be donated, and some other pieces from offices and other locations on campus.

The books, which were donated, include such works as the Bible and the Quran.

Schedule, and getting in

Once everything is set up, the interfaith room will be open three days a week and staffed by financial aid counselor John Steindel.

Steindel will supervise use of the room, and when and what day the prayer room will be available, said Azondekon.

To use the room outside of the yet-to-be-established office hours, faculty, staff and students need to schedule an appointment with Steindel. After that, Steindel will have the option to schedule the event and let security know about it, so that the room will be open when the group needs to use the room.

Azondekon said the room should be ready for use by the winter term, which begins in the second week of January.


Yuli Sutedjo is vice president of the Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College.

Edited by media club co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.

To comment on this story, or to suggest one, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

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Filed under Central Penn College in the Community, Club Activities, On Campus Happenings