Podcast #48 features scholarship talk and February events

By Paul Miller

Knightly News Co-Adviser

The Knightly News podcast is pleased to release episode #48, featuring Central Penn College Education Foundation Director of Development Sandy Box and Student Activities Director Adrienne Thoman.

Also featured on the podcast are Knightly News President Brian Christiana and Knightly News Vice President Ian Kemmerer.

Box focuses her discussions on the deadline of the Education Foundation Essay Contest.  Twice a year, students can submit an essay about a specific subject in order to apply for scholarship monies from donors to the foundation.  Box plans on awarding up to $100,000 in scholarships to our students this term.

The subject of the essay that students will write about is as follows, “Describe areas in your life where you demonstrated leadership and overcame obstacles either through your school, social, or family life.”

In addition, Box discusses tips for success on the essay and important areas to focus on when writing.

Students have until Friday, Feb. 2 at 11:59 p.m. to complete and submit the essay in order to be considered.  The application can be found at http://foundation.centralpenn.edu/.

On our second segment, the show welcomes Adrienne Thoman, discussing some of the tremendous events that we have on campus during the month of February.

Being Week 4, she specifically notes the importance of meeting with advisors and attending scheduling workshops provided on campus.

The Records and Registration office will hold workshops at the following times in the 2nd Floor ATEC lobby:

  • Feb. 1. 1 – 3 p.m.
  • Feb. 2, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Feb. 6, 1 – 3 p.m.
  • Feb. 8, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Professor Paul Miller will also be holding registration workshops at the following times in ATEC 300:

  • Jan. 31, 2 – 3 p.m.
  • Feb. 8, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Thoman also discussed “Adrienne’s Featured Three” events for February, including the upcoming Super Bowl party on Feb. 4 and Knights Basketball doubleheader on Feb. 9.


This episode can also be found on our SoundCloud page during the month of February:  https://soundcloud.com/user-511685837/the-knightly-news-podcast-episode-48

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under On Campus Happenings

Rife ready to make history with the Humanities Film Series

By Brian Christiana

Knightly News Reporter

Professor Jared Rife will be making history on Jan. 26 at the Capital BlueCross Theatre when he presents the film Jaws in front of faculty, staff and community members.

This is the first film to be included in the Humanities Film Series, which will include other instructors from the department. It is a historic event because it is the first humanities film series Central Penn has ever offered, according to college sources.

Professor Paul Miller will present “The Big Lebowski” during the spring term, Dr. Marcie Rovan will present “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” during the summer term and Professor Thomas Davis will present “Airplane!” during the fall term.

The facilitators will offer commentary on the film during the first half hour, will screen the film and will offer an opportunity for questions after the film.

The event is scheduled to run from 6:30 – 9 p.m. Admission is free.

Film Series - Jaws, Ad - Facebook


Brian Christiana is the 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-advisers professors Paul Miller and Michael Lear-Olimpi.

Leave a Comment

Filed under On Campus Happenings

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.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Central Penn College in the Community

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.

Leave a Comment

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

Local journalist to give COM class the scoop on the field

By Michael Lear-Olimpi

Knightly News Co-Adviser

Christen Smith, a staff writer for Guns.com, will speak to Prof. Lear-Olimpi’s COM220 (Journalism I) class on Jan.24, from 11 a.m. to noon, in ATEC 308.

Smith will join our COM220 class on Jan. 24.

Smith will join our COM220 class on Jan. 24.

She will address, and answer questions about, what she does as a daily reporter for a niche-market website and news service, and about working for a daily general-audience news operation.

Smith will also talk about story generation, source development and story craft, and about the skills she uses on the job.

Prior to working for Guns.com, Smith was a reporter for Capitolwire, in Harrisburg, reporting each day, as she explains it, “from the front lines of the Pennsylvania government.” She covered legislation related to education, consumer protection, tax reform and healthcare, and other issues affecting residents of the commonwealth.

Smith went to Capitolwire from The Sentinel (Carlisle) and its website, cumberlink.com, where she reported on county government, other politics, health, business and economic development.

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and media studies from The Pennsylvania State University, where she was an opinion writer for The Capital Times student newspaper.

All are welcome to attend.

Leave a Comment

by | January 23, 2018 · 7:10 pm

Podcast Episode #47 Discusses the CPEC Job Fair and Knightly News Election

By Paul Miller

Knightly News Co-Adviser

On our latest edition of the Knightly News Podcast, we welcome Career Services Director Steve Hassinger to talk about the upcoming Central Pennsylvania Employment Consortium Job Fair, as well as speaking with new Knightly News Media Club President Brian Christiana.

The podcast is joined by Sharon Kelly, her first time on the podcast, as well as being hosted by Co-adviser Paul Miller.

During our discussion with Hassinger, he tells us about the importance of attending networking events and job fairs such as CPEC.

This job fair is also quite unique in that, “Some employers will come out to a job fair held by a consortium like this that may not come to (smaller job fairs)”, Hassinger notes.

Hassinger also promotes the services from his office that students can use to be successful at the fair.  He discusses the professional clothing available, resume assistance, career planning, as well as other services that may be helpful in preparation.

The fair takes place on Feb. 20 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg, located in Camp Hill, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.  No advance registration is required, but students do need to bring an updated resume, as this is part of the registration process.

Further information can be obtained by visiting http://cpec.info/ or by emailing Hassinger at stevehassinger@centralpenn.edu.

In the second segment of the podcast, we welcome newly crowned Knightly News Media Club President Brian Christiana.

Christiana, a sophomore, has been heavily involved in the club since arriving on campus.  His peers voted him to the position after former President Sherri Long completed her degree after the fall term.

On the show, Christiana discusses many initiatives that he has for the club, including more breaking news and spearheading the sports live stream and commentary project.

The Knightly News Media Club is in excellent hands with Christiana, as we look forward to a fantastic 2018 with him at the helm.


You can also hear this episode during the months of January and February on our SoundCloud page, located at:  https://soundcloud.com/user-511685837/the-knightly-news-podcast-episode-47.

 

Leave a Comment

Filed under Club Activities, On Campus Happenings

Humanities Film Series and Alumni Events Among Topics on Podcast Episode #46

By Paul Miller

Knightly News Co-Adviser

In this week’s edition of the Knightly News Podcast, we welcome Assistant Professor of Humanities Jared Rife and Alumni Engagement Director Sarah Blumenschein.

In our conversations with Rife, the main focus is the upcoming Humanities Film Series, in which he will present Jaws.  This event takes place on Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the Capital BlueCross Theatre on the Summerdale campus of Central Penn College.

The Humanities Film Series is a collaborative effort between Rife, Brant Ellsworth, and other members of the department.  The goal is to have an open discourse about films that were important in the lives of the individual faculty members.

Film Series - Jaws, Ad - Facebook

During the show, Rife discusses his own journey with film in his life.  He specifically discusses influences from his mother, a short film that moved him called The Red Balloon, and his affinity for Steven Spielberg and his films.

Rife goes on to discuss how film can be used as a teaching tool, and how he implements using film in his classes at the college.

In our second segment of the podcast, we are joined by Sarah Blumenschein to discuss alumni events for the winter term.  The podcast is also joined by former Knightly News President Sherri Long in her last episode as a student at Central Penn.

Blumenschein features two major events, the CPEC Job Fair on Feb. 20 and the Easter Bunny Breakfast on March 24.

According to the CPEC website, “The CPEC Board is comprised of representatives from sixteen south central Pennsylvania colleges and universities and nine business/corporate members.”

The job fair is one of the largest in the central Pennsylvania area and is the largest job fair affiliated with the college.  For more information on this event, please contact Career Services at (800) 759-2727 or email Career Services Director Steve Hassinger at stevehassinger@centralpenn.edu.

Blumenschein also takes time to discuss the Easter Bunny Breakfast, held at the Knight and Day Cafe.  This annual event also occurs on the same day as East Pennsboro Township egg hunt, so attendees could make a day out of the events if they choose.

For more information about these events, continue to the web links below:

CPEC Job Fair:  http://www.cpec.info

Easter Bunny Breakfast: http://www.centralpenn.edu/about-central-penn/news-events-community/easter/


This episode can also be found on our SoundCloud page throughout the month on January:  https://soundcloud.com/user-511685837/knightly-news-podcast-episode-46

Leave a Comment

Filed under Alumni News, On Campus Happenings

The Knightly News Podcast Returns for Episode #45

By Paul Miller

Knightly News Co-Adviser

The Knightly News Podcast returns to the airwaves for 2018, with Episode #45 featuring Student Activities Director Adrienne Thoman discussing January events at the Summerdale Campus and Professor Maria Thiaw talking about her upcoming “Reclaiming My Time” program in the Capital BlueCross Theatre.

The show features Knightly News Vice President Yuliani Sutedjo as co-host and is hosted by Professor Paul Miller.

During Thoman’s time on the show, she discusses several unique events that are coming to campus in January, including the Winter Club Fair on Jan. 10 and the debut of the Humanities Film Series, featuring Professor Jared Rife discussing the eternal classic “Jaws”, followed by a screening of the film on Jan. 26.

In addition to those events, she also discusses three major events in January in her segment “Adrienne’s Featured Three”.  The events are listed below:

  • Free Ice Skating for Central Penn Students – Twin Ponds West, Jan. 14 from 2 – 4 p.m.
  • The Debut of Karaoke – Capital BlueCross Theatre, Jan. 25, 7 – 9 p.m.
  • Common Hour Series – Ron L. James – Capital BlueCross Theatre, Jan. 31, 12:10 – 1:10 p.m.

For more details on any of these events, or to register, contact Thoman at adriennethoman@centralpenn.edu.

In the second segment of the episode, we are joined by Professor Maria Thiaw, discussing her upcoming performance “Reclaiming My Time”, held in the Capital BlueCross Theatre from March 8 – 11.

The performance stems from extensive research that Thiaw has done on the American Griot Project, something that started as an oral history of those who were a part of the civil rights movements in the United States.

According to Thiaw, “(The American Griot Project is where) history, poetry and performance all come together to honor women’s role in our society.”  Read more about the American Griot Project at Thiaw Blog:  https://mariathepoet.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/american-griot-project/

Auditions for “Reclaiming My Time” will take place in the Capital BlueCross Theatre on Jan. 17 from 4:30 – 6 p.m. and on Jan. 18 from 5:30 – 7 p.m.  Interested parties should contact Theatre Director Janet Bixler at janetbixler@centralpenn.edu to set up an audition or to express interest in joining the crew.

The performance will offer four different showtimes:  March 8 – 10 at 7:30 p.m. each evening and March 11 for a special 2:30 p.m. matinee show.


This podcast can also be found at our SoundCloud page for the month of January:  https://soundcloud.com/user-511685837/the-knightly-news-podcast-episode-45

Leave a Comment

Filed under On Campus Happenings

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.

Leave a Comment

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

Brian Christiana Elected Knightly News President for 2018

By Paul Miller

Knightly News Co-Adviser

Congratulations are in order to Knightly News Reporter Brian Christiana, as he was elected the Knightly News president in a vote at a recent club meeting, held on Dec. 7.  Ian Kemmerer was elected vice president in the same election.

Christiana, a Shamokin native and graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Coal Township, is a residential student in his sophomore year.

The positions became available due to the graduation of current Knightly News Club President Sherri Long, and the impending graduation of Knightly News Vice President Yuliani Sutedjo.  Sutedjo will continue to serve in a mentor role to the new club officers until her graduation in March.

Brian Photo

Brian Christiana is honored to be the fourth President of the Knightly News Media Club.

Christiana discussed several initiatives that he hopes to achieve in 2018 during a speech given to club members prior to the vote, including an increased emphasis on breaking news and the future for sports commentary for our basketball and baseball teams.

During his time with the Knightly News, Christiana has shown a tremendous dedication to club functions and activities, especially taking the initiative to encourage involvement in the club from peers and starting his own fantasy football podcast with Kemmerer.

While it is bittersweet to see our current club officers turning to the next stage of their lives, the club believes they are in good hands for 2018 and beyond.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Club Activities