Tag Archives: Melissa Wehler

The Knightly News Podcast Welcomes Dean Melissa Wehler and Previews The Business Partner of the Year Breakfast

By Paul Miller

Knightly News Co-Adviser

The Knightly News Podcast has had a constant string of amazing guests and Episode 27 is no different, as we welcome Dr. Melissa Wehler, Dean of the Humanities and Sciences Department, and Rubina Azizdin from Career Services.

During the first segment of the podcast, Azizdin discusses the upcoming 13th Annual Business Partner of the Year Breakfast, taking place June 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in The Conference Center at Central Penn College.

Each term, the Career Services Department at Central Penn College puts on a special event in order to help our student network and gain experience in a professional setting.

The Business Partner of the Year Breakfast provides an outlet for students to meet local leaders, participate in discussions with business owners, and allows students to work on their elevator speech, all while offering a delicious breakfast buffet for all to enjoy.

For more information and to register, please check out Centralpenn.Edu’s page.  Act now though, as registration is only open until May 31.

In the second segment of the show, the Knightly News Podcast welcomes Dr. Wehler to discuss new initiatives being taught in our newly revised IDS101:  CPC Foundations class.

During the segment, Wehler discusses the importance of making quality decisions while in college, especially related to first-generation college students, which of which she is as well.

Wehler stresses the importance of having goals and making efforts to seek out professor’s office hours, the learning center, the library, and other school resources.

The Knightly News thanks you for your continued support!

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Podcast Episode 18 features Dr. Melissa Wehler and Career Services Director Steve Hassinger

The podcast previews the upcoming CPEC Job Fair and the Fashion, Media and Culture class.

By Paul Miller

Media Club co-adviser

In the latest Knightly News podcast, the Media Club had the opportunity to have two fantastic guests, Dr. Melissa Wehler discussing interesting insight in her Fashion, Media and Culture class, and Career Services Director Steve Hassinger previewing the CPEC Job Fair.

In Wehler’s segment, she discusses the self-identity that is included with the clothes that we wear and how marketing impacts these choices.

She also has a commentary regarding major brands and how they deal with public relations issues with spokesmen of their companies.

Wehler hopes that the class is offered in the fall so those who are interested in the course may take it at that time.

In Hassinger’s segment, Media Club Vice President Yuliani Sutedjo joins the group to provide commentary on the advantages to attending a job fair in general and discuss how our students can get involved in this amazing event.

The CPEC Job and Internship Fair is the largest such event that the Career Services department is affiliated with on a yearly basis and provides a great deal of opportunity for our students.

Career Services is offering transportation to the event, held at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg on Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To sign-up for transportation, please email careerservices@centralpenn.edu.

More information about the event can be found at the CPEC Website.

Background Music:  (Podington Bear) / CC BY-NC 3.0


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Maria Thiaw’s Message to Student Writers: Get Published.

The Central Pen e-zine is a good place to start

 By Norman Geary

Media Club Reporter

 Maria Thiaw, professor of writing and humanities, is used to honing the written word.

With Thiaw’s background in poetry and in writing for literary journals, and her long tenure at Central Penn, publishing “The Central Pen” – the college’s literary e-zine – was a perfect match.

“The Central Pen” was “The Midsummer Knight’s Dream” when Thiaw started teaching at Central Penn in 2004.

In 2007, Thiaw was handed the reigns.  The magazine was widely distributed among students and faculty, staff and their families, and in the community.  But magazine projects stopped when a funding problem arose.

 New times

In 2012, Melissa Wehler, Ph.D., came on board to assist with many projects. With the addition of Wehler, the online version of “The Central Pen,” less expensive to produce on the Web, came to fruition.  That’s when the publication became an e-zine – an electronic magazine.

Wehler’s experience, which included a strong background in blogging, added to Thiaw’s background in writing for literary journals, meant new life for “The Central Pen.”  This endeavor continued for a couple of years, and included students in many projects.

Eventually, student involvement began to dwindle. During this time, Wehler acquired another position at Central Penn, so Thiaw and professor Thomas Davis, who teaches writing, continued editing the e-zine.


Thiaw and Davis developed creative ways to enhance student involvement that included covering school activities and publishing their work. Thiaw and Davis knew when students publish their work, it would look good to future employers.  It also showcased students’ writing abilities and kept the community informed on college news.

“This is also a great way for students to further their careers,” Thiaw said.

“The Central Pen” is promoted primarily by social media. This project is coming out of the School of Humanities and Sciences.  When something new is published, it is shared through emails with people on a subscribers’ list who tend to sign up through club fairs.  It also goes out through Facebook and Twitter.  The Knight Writers Creative Writing Club has a Pinterest page and a Facebook page that promote the e-zine.

Through these channels, the word gets out.  If students are shy about writing, Thiaw offers this advice, “I would encourage them (to consider) all the benefits of getting published, and … we have really good editors.  We really are not going to publish something that is not ready.”

Want to get published?

To be published, according to Thiaw, it is important to receive direction and constructive criticism, and Thiaw and Davis are adept at helping students improve their writing.  Students have to be reminded that not all submitted work will be published.

“As a writer, you are always sending things out and, more often than not, you are going to get rejected,” Thiaw said.  “But keep in mind that the best organizations will tell you that your writing is not what we are particularly looking for, but try this organization.  Or, if you make these two corrections, then your submission will be ready to be published.”

With this in mind, Thiaw said she will help someone polish his or her work.

Professor Maria Thiaw is proud to mentor the students as they learn more about creative writing. Photo by Tyler Willis

Professor Maria Thiaw is proud to mentor students as they learn more about creative writing. Photo by Tyler Willis

Plenty of help available

There are numerous resources on the Central Penn Summerdale Campus to assist students with their writing.  Some of these include the writing center, the Smarthinking online tutoring service and the library.

“No one leaving Central Penn should lack in any way when it comes to writing skills,” said Thiaw.

Besides the e-zine, Thiaw is involved with curriculum review and teaching classes.  She is also the advisor and the founder of the creative writing club on campus called The Knight Writers.  The club meets Wednesdays 3:30 p.m. in the Leadership Room of the library.  There is also a yearly poetry slam where students can win money for their performances.  In addition, there is a Central Penn poetry contest in April.

Because April is National Poetry Month, the winner of the contest can win the top prize of $100 and a year’s membership to The Academy of American Poets.  That person can also be entered to win the academy’s big prize of $1,000, and be published nationally.

Other pursuits

Thiaw is also on the Diversity Committee, and is involved in Word Wednesday and TED Talk Tuesdays, and various functions on campus that promote diversity. She is active in the arts and poetry community (in which she is known as Maria James-Thiaw), and is a member – and sometimes featured performer – of The Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel performance poetry group, which meets Thursdays at 7 p.m., at The Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg.  Thiaw is a longtime member of the Cartel, and serves on the board of Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers Wordshop.  The Wordshop meets Fridays at 7 p.m., also at The Midtown Scholar.

Thiaw has been widely published, including in an anthology through the Writer’s Wordshop, and went last year to Paris for a week-long workshop sponsored through the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts.  She recently attended the conference of the Associated Writers & Writing Programs, in Los Angeles, where she met many Pulitzer Prize winning authors.  She is doing research on a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program that she is starting on the Central Penn College campus.

With Thiaw’s experience, all students who aspire to be good writers should take full advantage of the writing opportunities she and others at Central Penn offer.

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Central Penn students, staff Present ‘Taboo’ Topics To End Violence

By Christine Fusselman

Media Club Reporter

On Feb. 25, staff and students presented the third annual production of “The Vagina Monologues,” in the Capital BlueCross Theatre.

Eve Ensler, Tony Award-winning playwright, performer and activist, wrote the piece, which premiered in 1996.

According to Ensler, after what began as general conversations with friends and developed into interviews with 200 women, she wrote the play to “celebrate the vagina.”

In 1998, though, Ensler stated, “the purpose of the piece changed from a celebration of vaginas and femininity to a movement to stop violence against women.”

The play represents a great variety of women in a range of situations. It is funny, it is poignant, it may make some people in audiences uncomfortable, but audiences nearly always relate to it. It is not just for women, either, and may give clarity to men and women who consider these topics unmentionable.

“I went to my first production as an undergraduate, and I found the message of female acceptance empowering,” Melissa Wehler, dean of The School of Humanities and Sciences, said  “I was emotionally moved by the stories of women — which were also stories about myself — being talked about in ways that were considered taboo.  I saw women taking ownership over their bodies in a way I had never seen before.”

Activities Director Adrienne Thoman directed this year’s production and seamlessly filled in to perform a monologue at the last minute.

“Bringing ‘The Vagina Monologues’ to Central Penn College each spring is always meaningful to me,” Thoman said. “On a college campus, unfortunately, sexual assault statistics are incredibly high. Nationwide, one in five students report that they have been forced to have sexual intercourse against their will before graduation. That is awful, terrifying and heartbreaking.”

Cast: (Back row): Christine Fusselman, Caitlin Copus, Casey Rodriguez, Morgan Littleford, Megan Peterson, Megan Cline, Teta Gaye, Yarisaliz Cales, (Front row): Madison Foley, Nautica Chance, Jaida May Woodfolk, Catherine Davis, and Jasmine Harvey. Not shown: Director, Adrienne Thoman and Crew: Tyesa Primer (stage manager) and Mallar Peters (sound/lighting)

Cast: (Back row): Christine Fusselman, Caitlin Copus, Casey Rodriguez, Morgan Littleford, Megan Peterson, Megan Cline, Teta Gaye, Yarisaliz Cales, (Front row): Madison Foley, Nautica Chance, Jaida May Woodfolk, Catherine Davis, and Jasmine Harvey. Not shown: Director, Adrienne Thoman and Crew: Tyesa Primer (stage manager) and Mallar Peters (sound/lighting)

The “Vagina Monologues” was again presented as part of what Ensler coined as V-Day. According to V-Day.org:

  • V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.
  • V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.
  • V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sex slavery.

“This show gives us a chance to start a proactive conversation about sexual assault and the many other issues unique to women,” Thoman said, adding that she was proud of Central Penn students and staff helping bring stories of women’s experiences to light.

Wehler said she began participating in “The Vagina Monologues” as an actor and as an audience member in college because doing so seemed taboo. Now, she participates for some different reasons.

“When I was in college, … I was drawn to the taboo at that age,” Wehler explained. “Now, I participate in it at our college because I think it’s important for my students to see me transgressing social norms and rules, and how empowering it can be to do so.  I also participate because I love being a part of a collective of powerful women who are not afraid to speak their truths and who help me to speak mine.”

Communications students and monologue participants Morgan Littleford and Jasmine Harvey, both 18, said, “It was fun!”

Harvey added that participating in the production helped her gain confidence in herself and her ability to speak in front of an audience.

Proceeds from this year’s event went to the YWCA Carlisle – an organization that provides support to women and girls with programming related to domestic violence and sexual assault (health and safety), empowerment and economic advancement, and racial justice and civil rights.


Editor’s note: Fusselman acted in the production.

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