Janet Kacskos

  • Prof & First Responder Receives Exclusive Award A national award that honors veterans and first responders has been given to Millersville University’s Dr. Duane Hagelgans. The Blanket of Honor award has only been given to 332 individuals to acknowledge their accomplishments. “I am honored and humbled to be selected for this award,” says Hagelgans. “It was totally unexpected. To be chosen to be part of such a small and elite group is truly an honor.” The Blankets of Honor program honors veterans, veteran caregivers, Gold Star Families, veteran support members, or first responders. “From what I was told, the group receives nominations and then takes into consideration all the work done by those who are nominated to see if they meet the criteria for being chosen and honored,” says Hagelgans. “At the presentation ceremony, they stated that I am the first ever firefighter honored by the Blankets of Honor.” Hagelgans was inspired at the age of 15 to pursue a career in firefighting and emergency management. “A friend of mine’s father became the chief of a volunteer fire company.  He was a very dedicated volunteer. I joined the volunteer fire company because of him,” says Hagelgans. “However, my service to people, which is truly what being in these professions is about, comes from my parents. They were both very hardworking, loyal people who would do anything for anyone, which is where I got my drive to help others.” Hagelgans shares that dealing with injuries and deaths is one of the hardest aspects of emergency management. “In this profession, we deal with people and their worst days. As a profession, we are learning that we must do a better job to protect those in our profession from the emotional toll that dealing with disasters takes on our responders,” says Hagelgans. “In today’s world, the suicide rate for responders is higher than the rate of line-of-duty deaths, and this is not, and cannot be, acceptable. As a society and as professionals, we must take better care of our own, those who give their all to help their communities.” Hagelgans started teaching at Millersville in 2007 as an adjunct professor and became a full-time faculty member in 2012. He serves on various committees for the emergency management graduate program, the university and in the greater community.  Currently, he is researching better methods to teach emergency preparedness to school-age children and methods for better leadership in the emergency services. “The number one thing I hope to pass onto my students is to be prepared for whatever life may throw at you,” says Hagelgans. “There is a statement I learned, and it’s often stated, ‘Predictable is Preventable!’ As a society, we can never take the approach that we can be too prepared or that ‘it won’t happen to me.’ Preparedness is the key, and that key is based upon never being complacent.” Hagelgans credits the emergency management programs at Millersville as a whole when he sees alumni take what they learn in the classroom and apply those skills in emergency situations. “There is nothing like the feeling of seeing our graduates go out and do great work all around the world, helping citizens when disasters strike,” says Hagelgans. Hagelgans has been involved in emergency services for over 40 years. In 2011, he retired from the Lancaster City Bureau of Fire, where he held numerous positions. In addition to an associate degree in fire science technology from Harrisburg Area Community College, Hagelgans attained a bachelor’s in occupational safety from Millersville University and a Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law. A video of Hagelgan’s ceremony can be viewed here.  To learn more about the Blankets of Honor Award, click here. To nominate someone for a blanket, click here.           […] “Prof & First Responder Receives Exclusive Award”

  • Breathing in Lancaster County Even though Dr. Greg Blumberg, assistant professor in Earth Sciences at Millersville, has asthma and his mom called him the “human barometer” growing up, his intense interest and study of air quality didn’t come until after he received his doctorate. Blumberg grew up in Texas and would have flare-ups when the air quality was bad. In Lancaster, he has two air purifiers in his house and often wears a mask when working outside during an unhealthy air quality day to breathe easier. People love to talk about the weather, and the air quality is often added to many conversations because of smoke from wildfires during the summer months, firewood in the winter months and other pollution. “Places like Thailand have the worst air quality in the world, and interestingly enough, the hills and valleys of Thailand are a lot like Pennsylvania’s terrain,” says Blumberg. “Our terrain looks like a bowl, and the smoke settles into the bottom.” With discussion of air quality in South Central PA, the AQI (Air Quality Index) and PM2.5 (particulate matter) categories have become common vernacular. The AQI is a measurement from the Environmental Protection Agency and ranges from 0 to 500, with different numbers equating to different levels of health concern. Blumberg explains that PM2.5 are fine particles. Particles 10 micrometers or smaller can enter our nose and lungs, and finer particles of 2.5 micrometers or smaller can even enter our bloodstream. PM2.5 doesn’t only come from wildfire smoke. These particles are dangerous pollutants also prevalent in vehicle exhaust and from burning fuels like wood, oil, or coal. When fine particulate pollution is extremely high, experts recommend that people reduce their time spent outside, avoid intense activity, use air filters, or wear respirator masks. Keelie N Steiner is a senior at Millersville who is quite engaged in studying air quality. She helped put air quality measuring equipment at the intersection of Highway 30 and 283 in Lancaster County. “My work is making sure the instruments will run remotely – I have them hooked up to two computers,” explains Steiner. “We’re also getting ready to put equipment in a new shed outside Caputo to monitor the air quality.” Blumberg and Dr. Rich Clark, who recently retired from Millersville, are in the planning stages of a field project to study air quality in our region. “We have a drone in the Earth Sciences department that we can use to lift our air quality instruments.  This drone was funded by the University and contributions from the One-Day Give,” says Blumberg. “And we could also use our kites. The kites were provided by the AEROKATS and Rover Educational Network, a NASA Science Activation Team. They want to introduce NASA technology and practices in authentic, experimental learning environments.” There are multiple ways that students at Millersville will be involved in studying air quality this fall. Blumberg says both his “Chemistry of the Atmosphere” and “Meteorological Instrumentation” deal with air quality. “We have lots of instrumentation in the meteorology program so that students can get hands-on experience. I can take them outside and say, here’s our Lidar; turn it on and make some hypotheses as to what is happening with the air quality. It helps to build their confidence.” Emmanuel Owusu is a graduate student at Millersville who has interest in Environmental and Occupation Health Science and was recruited to help with air quality testing. Originally from Ghana, Owusu is interested in the diseases that result from environmental pollution such as the negative impact of air pollution on human health across the globe. “There have been several studies that show a significant association between PM2.5 and eye problems such as glaucoma, dry eye disease, maculopathy and cataracts,” says Owusu. There are many careers in air quality, from working with the EPA and the various weather services to conducting research for companies. “Even Mars Candy has hired meteorologists to predict climate impacts on chocolate,” says Blumberg. “Climate change is certainly a factor here as we see increases in the length of fire season, as well as the frequency and severity of fires,” says Blumberg. “As temperatures become warmer and the atmosphere dries, it loads the dice against us. Climate change is the steroids that make fires harder to combat.” He says it’s hard to say if poor air quality from the Canada fires will be a continuous issue for the Millersville area, but “the Earth is telling us, we better get on it.” Having conversations about air quality and its connection to the climate is the number one thing people can do to help. “If we’re talking about it, we see it as a problem, and that’s what will help us enact solutions,” says Blumberg.   […] “Breathing in Lancaster County”

  • Janet Kacskos wrote a new post on the site Millersville News 5 months ago

    New Leader for PA Inclusive Higher Education Consortium Millersville University and the PA Inclusive Higher Education Consortium have announced that Dr. Erica Jones, professor in the Department of Exceptionality Programs at Commonwealth University at Lock Haven, has been appointed to fill the PIHEC leadership role for 2024. It was previously held by Dr. Ariana Amaya and Zach Hulings of Gwynedd Mercy University. In 2020, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Millersville University a $2.38 million grant to expand its programs for students with intellectual disabilities. Millersville’s Dr. Thomas Neuville is the principal investigator of the grant. The grant is in collaboration with Duquesne University , Gwynedd Mercy University, Commonwealth University – Lock Haven and Temple University. Additionally,  Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities serves as research coordinator. This significant collaboration was organized by the Pennsylvania Inclusive Higher Education Consortium, a division of Millersville University, which resulted from a previous DOE grant. PIHEC is dedicated to the mission of inclusive postsecondary education for young adults with intellectual disabilities, a movement that began in the U.S. in the 1970s and has evolved toward robust, authentic college experiences only in recent decades. As educational policy and practice have begun to reflect the essential right to equal opportunities for students with disabilities, so too have expectations increased for the participation of students with intellectual disabilities in higher education. Commonwealth University – Lock Haven, under the guidance of Jones, has developed an initiative for students with intellectual disability to attend university as full-time, non-degree-seeking students. This innovative and inclusive initiative represents a model for inclusive program development regionally and nationally. Emily Gardner, a student currently enrolled in the inclusive program at Lock Haven, says “I have benefitted from the program and I get to do more things on my own. I am treated as an adult and benefit from peer coaches. The professors are more than willing to work with me.”  According to Jones, students increase independent living and social skills. “Inclusion is one of our core values and motivates us to create a campus environment where differences can be expressed and respectfully heard and where every person experiences a sense of belonging,” says Dr. Daniel Wubah, president of Millersville University. “The Integrated Studies program at Millersville University ensures a vibrant community for ALL students.” In a recent survey conducted by Think College nationwide and in Pennsylvania, young adults with intellectual disability who graduated with a credential, report that they have an employment rate of 73%, while adults with a cognitive disability nationally and in Pennsylvania are employed at a rate of 20%. For more information contact Thomas Neuville at Millersville University, Thomas.neuville […] “New Leader for PA Inclusive Higher Education Consortium”

  • Janet Kacskos wrote a new post on the site Millersville News 5 months ago

    MU Helps Girls on the Run Reach Their Goals On Sunday, Nov. 19, over 500 third to eighth graders gathered on Millersville University’s campus to run a 5k together. The participants were part of Girls on the Run Lancaster-Lebanon, and they celebrated the hard work they’ve put in over the past two months. Girls on the Run is a national nonprofit organization that seeks to motivate young girls by combining physical activity with motivational lessons. Throughout the 10-week program, girls meet for these lessons while steadily building up the physical endurance to run, jog and walk a 5k, which takes place at the end of the 10 weeks. Dr. Gail Gasparich, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost of Millersville University, is a member of the board for Girls on the Run Lancaster-Lebanon. She explains that Girls on the Run is unique in its focus on both physical and socio-emotional development for its two age groups, 3rd-5th grade and 6th-8th grade students. “The real goal of Girls on the Run stems from the fact that at this age, self-confidence begins to erode. This is a way to get in front of that,” she says. “The girls really build a strong cohort. They look out for each other, build friendships and skills they can take beyond the program, and everybody’s learning together.” “Physical activity is so important for mental health, and being physically active in a group setting can really bring about a positive mental health change for these girls at such a crucial time in their lives,” she adds. “This is a way to make exercise and learning a more fun experience.” The Lancaster-Lebanon Girls on the Run 5k events take place twice a year, with Millersville University hosting the race each fall. The runners began the race at Pucillo Gymnasium to kick off one of the largest 5ks in the area, one which celebrates each individual runner regardless of their finishing placement. Gasparich notes that these kinds of events that bring in the surrounding community are beneficial for the University. “Our students come from our community, and being able to contribute is really important,” she says. “It aligns with the University’s goals to help students develop and to help inspire students to change the world.” Additionally, Girls on the Run is a meaningful organization for Gasparich. “When I first came to Millersville University, I really wanted to find an association that I could get behind,” she says, “My whole career has been spent trying to get women involved and empowered, and this program is a perfect fit.” “The organization is really focused on bringing together the community and helping these young girls discover their own superpowers,” […] “MU Helps Girls on the Run Reach Their Goals”

  • Janet Kacskos wrote a new post on the site Millersville News 5 months ago

    Advocating for Undergraduate Research Ensuring that policymakers and leaders understand the importance of undergraduate research and scholarships is essential to all college students. This is why it’s important that Dr. Carrie Smith and Tatiana Pashkova-Balkenhol, along with five students at MU, were accepted to be part of the Council of Undergraduate Research’s Scholars Transforming Through Research program. The program allows participants to learn and understand how to communicate to stakeholders the importance of their research and scholarships through both virtual and in-person events. As team leaders, Dr. Smith and Pashkova-Balkenhol represent MU through two programs, the Center for Public Scholarship & Social Change and the McNairy Library Music Research Fellows program. They offer guidance to their students, Tehya Walters, Ty Geiger, Sydney Rauchut, Sarah Qundes and Julissa Rodriguez to actively engage in the Scholars Transforming Through Research activities. In order to be part of the program, teams had to submit an application that was reviewed against others from across the country, making for a competitive application process. Each application discussed how team members have been impacted by undergraduate research. Smith, coordinator of the Center for Public Scholarship & Social Change at MU, explains why she wanted to be part of the program. “I work with and mentor students in conducting community-engaged research. For community-engaged research to be truly effective, it requires an understanding of how to explain sometimes complex and obtrusive findings to various stakeholders.” The students involved in the program have completed research or are in the process of completing research. The program will allow them to learn how to communicate with leaders. “The STR program is focused on enhancing undergraduate students’ communication and advocacy skills so that they can convey the value of their undergraduate research experiences to various stakeholders, such as funding agencies, elected officials, future employers and community members,” Pashkova-Balkenhol explains, an Undergraduate Research & Instruction Librarian. The students will present their research at Made In Millersville. Pashkova-Balkenhol notes the connections between Scholars Transforming Through Research and Made in Millersville. “Both STR and Made in Millersville are focused on promoting the undergraduate research experience. Both encourage students to translate their research projects into comprehensive and accessible summaries and communicate the value of their projects to diverse audiences.” Recently, both teams attended the in-person training event where they participated in networking events with faculty and staff from other universities. They also visited Capitol Hill to meet with staffers from Senator Bob Casey, Senator John Fetterman and Representative Lloyd Smucker’s offices where the students put their training to work,  advocating for funding undergraduate research, university-community partnerships, arts and humanities and youth mental health. Pashkova-Balkenhol understands the importance of undergraduate research and the skills students gain from engaging in it. “Students who participate in undergraduate research opportunities are better prepared for graduate schools or professional careers. Students improve transferable skills, such as critical thinking, presentation and written communication and time management skills. They build overall confidence in their abilities and create communities of practice where they learn with and from each other.” By completing the program, Pashkova-Balkenhol hopes to accomplish one main goal. “Upon the completion of the program, we will be able to put our advocacy skills into practice by advocating for sustainable funding to support the future students’ participation in the library’s research fellows’ program,” Pashkova-Balkenhol says. Overall, Smith hopes to create new policies to help make a change by completing the program. “I hope that we will come away with valuable skills in learning how to communicate community-engaged research to various stakeholders. In particular, I hope that we will learn how to translate our work into concrete policies and change on the […] “Advocating for Undergraduate Research”

  • Janet Kacskos wrote a new post on the site Millersville News 5 months ago

    Grant Donation Brings New Equipment to the ‘Ville Millersville students studying automation and robotics engineering technology will soon have access to new equipment, thanks to a grant donation from Phoenix Contact. The Automation and Controls Lab in Osburn Hall will receive new equipment. Phoenix Contact donated close to $50,000 worth of hardware to Millersville as a part of their EduNet educational partnership. This includes industrial-grade computer systems used to digitize and control industrial processes. The equipment is being installed this semester and will be available to students starting in January. The new equipment is an upgrade to previous equipment in the lab. “Our previous equipment was almost 15-20 years old, and while it’s still valid as industry grade, it is becoming technologically ‘old,’” says Dr. John Haughery, assistant professor in Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology at MU. This updated hardware will allow students to get hands-on practice with equipment that is relevant to their education and future careers. The new technology will allow students opportunities to develop and work with Industrial Internet of Things for local and remote connectivity and control. Internet of Things is an industry term that refers to collective networks of connected devices and the technology that facilitates communication among itself. It’s especially relevant to students looking to be automation engineers, controls engineers and manufacturing engineers. “Individuals in these careers are becoming more and more valuable to the industry, as they have the skill set to solve some of the toughest engineering problems facing the industry that supply essential and non-essential products,” says Haughery. Phoenix Contact aims to prioritize sustainability through its business practices and with its equipment. Millersville’s own emphasis on sustainability is supported by the use of this new equipment. “This hardware provides students opportunities to gain experience using technologies necessary to control environmental and industrial systems efficiently with a mind to sustainability,” says Haughery. This includes consideration of lowering energy consumption, using less materials and tracking system health proactively. Click here for more information on Millersville’s Automa […] “Grant Donation Brings New Equipment to the ‘Ville”

  • Janet Kacskos wrote a new post on the site Millersville News 5 months ago

    Education and the Environment at the ‘Ville Millersville students and local educators will soon have the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiences geared toward providing an education-oriented scientific background. Millersville’s Watershed Education Training Institute is offering an environmentally educational workshop this fall semester. The GLOBE Workshop focuses on effective methods to educate students about water quality and will be held on Nov. 18 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. It is free to all participants and is open to all STEM BSE students, as well as formal and informal educators. Another workshop, Project WILD, was canceled and those who were interested are encouraged to attend the GLOBE Workshop. 30 spots are available for the workshop. Those interested in participating can sign up here. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the workshop. “Having these certifications shows that you’ve already put in some time in your undergrad to commit to professional development,” says Liz Rickrode, a graduate assistant for Educational Foundations professor Dr. Nanette Marcum-Dietrich. GLOBE certification allows future conducting of GLOBE related activities in the classroom, as well as permission to input findings into their database of ongoing research of water quality across different areas. “These workshops are very much designed to give you a hands-on experience working with a lot of environmental education aspects,” says Rickrode. Dr. Marcum-Dietrich co-founded WETi in 2016 alongside recently retired biology professor Dr. John Wallace. The institute currently aims to hold at least three workshops per semester but is working toward garnering more involvement. It is also available to rent for programs and is used to host local school districts in order for K-12 students to participate in hands-on, outdoor experiences. For more information on current and future WETi events, please visit: https://www […] “Education and the Environment at the ‘Ville”

  • Janet Kacskos wrote a new post on the site Millersville News 5 months ago

    Glorious Sounds of the Season Returns for Its 18th Year Join Millersville University’s Tell School of Music for its annual holiday concert! The popular Glorious Sounds of the Season concert will return for its 18th year with three shows in the Clair Performance Hall of the Winter Visual and Performing Arts Center on campus. The three performances will take place on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m. The concert is a popular event, so get your tickets early. Glorious Sounds of the Season is an annual scholarship fundraising concert held by the Tell School of Music. Dr. Jeffrey Gemmell, assistant professor/coordinator of choral studies and founder of MU’s Glorious Sounds of the Season concert talks about the event, “The concert includes over 30 individual musical acts representing every facet of the Tell School of Music. Over 300 students and faculty perform, including singers, instrumentalists, large ensembles, small ensembles, commercial groups, solo acts, and everything in between.” “Selections are presented in a ‘surround sound’ format with performers positioned throughout the hall. The music is continuous, with rapid-fire seamless transitions between numbers, and all are controlled with lighting cues and feature continuous motion for momentum. With no intermission or applause between selections, the total length of the show is usually less than 90 minutes,” Gemmell explains. Gemmell predicts everyone will leave the show ready for the holidays. “A strong Millersville tradition, this concert always sells out as people return year after year to recharge their holiday spirit. The energy and pacing, delightful selections, and quality performances will inspire everyone and provide hope for a brighter future.” The preparation for this event begins in the summer when Gemmell begins researching music to include in the show. He then incorporates student-led groups throughout October, including a cappella ensembles like Chromatic and VilleHarmonics, as well as various instrumental groups. The final show is a mix of choral numbers and performances by the school’s wind bands, orchestra, jazz, and other instrumental ensembles. The show also includes solos by students, faculty, and rock bands from the school’s commercial music programs. Gemmell looks forward to the production and witnessing the audience’s joy throughout the concert. “This year’s GSS promises to be ‘glorious’ on every level, especially with a large variety of music from many different holiday traditions. The audience sing-alongs are always my favorite. It’s so much fun to hear the audience sing out with such gusto.” All profits from the show benefit the students directly through student scholarships in the Tell Sc […] “Glorious Sounds of the Season Returns for Its 18th Year”

  • MU Continues to Combat the Teacher Shortage Millersville University is committed to combating the current educator shortage in a variety of different ways, including expanding its online course options and publicly sharing the possible causes of and solutions to the shortage. This summer, the University hosted the Future Educator Academy to recruit high school juniors who are interested in education and provide a residential college experience. During July, 14 students from five school districts were able to experience what it’s like to be a college student, all while learning more about what their future as an educator could look like. “The ultimate goal is to recruit more students, especially students of color and first-generation students, into the field of education,” explains Dr. Miriam Witmer, associate professor of educational foundations and coordinator of the Color of Teaching program at the University. Witmer facilitated the academy alongside Dr. Jeffrey Wimer, professor of wellness and sports sciences. “Scholars have the opportunity to see what college life is like,” Witmer adds. “They also did a lot of self-reflection and learned about careers in education, so we hope they are motivated to pursue a college degree and to consider becoming an educator. Scholars from different schools were able to bond, so new friendships were made.” This was the first year that the academy was open to students outside of the School District of Lancaster. Other schools represented include York City, Penn Manor, Manheim Township and Ephrata. Students began the week with a low-ropes course team-building activity. This first day focused on good communication and problem-solving between the scholars. After that, the students were able to attend various classes offered by MU faculty, so they could experience a typical college classroom. Supplementary sessions on financial aid, student success, and building friendships were included during the week. A closing ceremony was held on the last day with families. Additionally, each student received a copy of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” by Sean Covey. “Reading this book and having group discussions about its content promoted a deeper sense of purpose and sense of community for the scholars,” says Witmer. Millersville University continues to address the educator shortage in other ways as well. In a recent survey sent out to 16 Central Pennsylvanian school districts, it was discovered that while many students have high respect for their teachers, they are uninterested in the profession due to their perception of low wages in the education field. “We need to educate high school students on the realities of the teaching profession through programs like the FEA and future teaching clubs in high schools,” says Dr. Lara Willox, dean of the College of Education and Human Services. “The starting salary may be less than in other careers, but there are many opportunities to increase salaries.” As for other strategies, Willox explains, “We have started a fully online early childhood program to allow working adults to earn teaching certification. We also have an emergency certification program that will enable teachers teaching on emergency licenses to get certified in less than 18 months.” Overall, the University is tackling educator shortage in many ways, but the academy in particular is an important tool for easing anxieties students may have about higher education and for recruiting more education students.  “It will be imperative for high school students to be exposed to teaching as a career choice,” Willox says. “Through the FEA, high school students are getting excited about becoming teachers.” “Future Educators Academy is one component of a comprehensive approach that Millersville University is undertaking to combat the pK-12 educator shortage in Pennsylvania,” explains Wimer. “Historically, these types of early college programs in education are called ‘Grow-Your-Own’ or ‘pipeline programs,’ because they increase student awareness and demystify the college experience. They also create enthusiasm for education as a career choice because of the possibility to return to the student’s home community for employment following college.” “Although the teacher shortage is far from over, and fixing it is slowly taking shape, the Future Educator Academy is supporting high school students by bolstering their career preparation and readiness for college,” says Wimer. Interested in becoming […] “MU Continues to Combat the Teacher Shortage”

  • Connection Between Fall Weather and Bird Migrations Does fall weather impact bird migrations? Millersville’s Weather Information Center Director, Kyle Elliott, provides an updated fall weather outlook, and Dr. Aaron Haines, professor of conservation biology, explains the connections between bird migration and fall weather patterns. “Overall, temperatures should be warmer than normal this fall and precipitation near average,” says Elliott. “Early-season cold shots will be few and far between, with the worst of winter delayed until later in January and February.” Haines believes there are some general trends that suggest fall weather impacts bird migration patterns. “Fall migration is related to the passage of cold fronts,” says Haines. “Migrations are heavier in northerly winds, falling temperatures, shortly after the passage of a cold front. The efficiency of downwind flight is enhanced by the facts that average winds blow roughly in the migratory directions of the birds and that the birds show behavioral selection in terms of the wind directions and synoptic weather situations in which they initiate migration.” Hains explains that synoptic weather situations are weather conditions that occur over a large area for the same time period. Thus, birds will opportunistically use cold fronts and winds coming down from the north to help in their southward migrations. Haines’ professional research interests involve identifying more effective approaches to implement on-the-ground conservation strategies to benefit species of conservation concern. Haines has studied birds for the past 20 years and believes his calling is to preserve wild places and wild things for the betterment of human society. “The fall season is so dynamic for birds because of migration activity,” says Haines. “During the fall, we still see our breeding birds leaving at the beginning of the fall on their way south. We can also see birds that breed north of us and are just passing through on their way south. These birds we only see during the migration season. Lastly, we also begin to see birds that breed north of us but will stay and spend the winter in Pennsylvania.” “This is why the fall season is such an exciting time for bird watchers,” says Haines. “The diversity and richness of different bird species in a place like Pennsylvania is maximized during the migration seasons. We see more bird migrations during the fall because there are more young birds migrating after the breeding season.” Recently, Haines was part of a group project that modeled migration pathways for birds using multiple datasets including human counts and observations, satellite tracking, and radar. A resource suggested by Haines is Birdcast which provides real-time predictions of bird migrations: when they migrate, where they migrate, and how far they will fly. Interested in biology? Click here. Interested in studying meteorology? C […] “Connection Between Fall Weather and Bird Migrations”

    • Informative and germane to our changing ecological / climatological times, well done Dr. Haines and congratulations on the Ecological Applications article cited in this text.

  • Toys for Tots Returns to MU Millersville University is bringing back its annual Toys for Tots donation drive, but this year, there’s a twist: faculty, staff and students who donate will have the opportunity to win a parking permit. Two students will have the opportunity to win a full-year MU parking permit, commuter or residential when they donate a toy.  And, faculty and staff will be eligible to win a reserved parking pass. Toys for Tots, a not-for-profit charity, collects and distributes toys to children in need throughout the country. This is the 11th consecutive year for the toy drive, organized on campus by University Police. Last year, the Lancaster Toys for Tots program distributed 75,220 toys, supporting 12,109 children. Each student who donates an unused, unwrapped toy will have their name entered in a drawing for a free parking permit. The police will be collecting toys up until Friday, Dec. 22, when the students’ names will be drawn at 3 p.m. These permits have been donated by an anonymous staff member and Student Services, Inc. Faculty and staff who donate a toy will also have the opportunity to win a reserved parking pass. One faculty/staff name will be drawn on the same day at 3:15 p.m. You can donate toys at the following locations: Dilworth Hall – Human Resources Lyle Hall – Financial Aid Office Boyer Building – University Police Palmer Building – Facilities Management Office Gordinier Hall – Dining Services Office Student Memorial Center – Student Affairs Office Brookwood Apartments – Main Office The organization recommends that those interested in donating consider what they think would be appropriate for their own child or a young relative, as they do not publish a list of donation ideas. This helps provide a more varied collection to distribute to children. Donations that involve any food products or realistic-looking weapons will not be distributed. Toys for Tots also accepts volunteers interested in helping to hand out the toys and volunteers who can pick up/drop off toys. For more information, visit the Lancaster Toys for Tots website here […] “Toys for Tots Returns to MU”

  • CHAMPIONS! Men's Soccer Wins PSAC For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Millersville men’s soccer team won the PSAC Championship. The Marauders captured the title Sunday in Erie with a 1-0 win over PSAC East rival West Chester. A streak of three consecutive PSAC titles from 2018-21 was broken up by missing the postseason entirely in 2022, but the Marauders triumphantly reclaimed that championship–the fifth in program history–using a goal from Aaron Maynard in the 16th minute of play and an outstanding defensive effort in which Travis Holiday made four saves for a fifth-straight shutout. Fittingly, Steve Widdowson, the Marauders’ coach for all five of their conference championships, earned his 200th victory on Sunday as well. The two familiar foes were scoreless until a pair of senior defenders combined for the game-winner. Christian Vorchheimer drew a foul on a hard tackle 40 yards from the goal. Mike Kreider took the free kick, and PSAC East Defensive Athlete of the Year Aaron Maynard sprinted into the center of the box, out-leaped his defender and placed a header just under the crossbar. With the championship in the balance, the second half was played with even more intensity than the first. West Chester applied heavy pressure on Millersville’s end of the field with six shots, but the Marauder defense and Holiday remained dominant, preventing the Golden Rams from finding their way on to the board. Holiday made three saves in the match’s final 20 minutes. For the second time in his career, Bob Hennessey was awarded PSAC Tournament MVP after tallying four goals in the semifinal victory over Seton Hill. The win secures Millersville an NCAA Tournament berth, and the Marauders will find out their seeding on Monday during the NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer Selection Show at 7 p.m. on NCAA.com. POSTGAME REACTION FROM HEAD COACH STEVE WIDDOWSON • On the team’s play throughout the tournament: “Obviously the semifinal I thought we were absolutely dynamic, superb, and put on a great show and really represented what Millersville soccer is about. As expected the final was lot closer, more physical and more competitive, as these two teams who know each other very well. I think we played well and we showed enough to get our noses ahead and then defended like warriors to make sure we could see the game out. Overall, I think we deserved it just slightly. West Chester was great, and they pushed us all the way, and I could not be prouder of the two performances we put on this weekend.” • On moving on to the NCAA Tournament: “I mean, I think we would get a home game. We are hot right now and defending superbly, which always gives you a chance. We got the one we wanted and now we can celebrate, get a good week of training in, and then see where the journey takes us.” INSIDE THE BOX SCORE • Millersville out-shot the Golden Rams 15-8. • The Marauders had six corner kicks while West Chester had four. • With three shots a piece, Maynard and Hennessey led the Marauders offense. Kreider and Zander Leik recorded two each, and Connor Fiadino, Brendan Corpus, Jake Altimore, and Haven Thomas contributed with shots as well. NOTES •  Millersville has won their last nine matches entering the […] “CHAMPIONS! Men’s Soccer Wins PSAC”

  • 'Ville's Emergency Managers Millersville University was well represented at the International Association of Emergency Managers annual conference in California. Eight MU students attended the conference, “Emergency Management: Turning the Tide,” which was held Nov. 3-9 in Long Beach. Undergraduate and grad students joined Dr. Sepi Yalda, professor of meteorology and director of the Center for Disaster Research & Education, and Dr. Duane Hagelgans, professor of emergency management and chair of the conference. Also attending was Millersville 2021 alum, Adam Bachman, who is an assistant to the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Jen Easterly. The students attending included Brendan Calv, David Bludis, Grace Smith, Kaitlyn Then, Lisa Engle, Michael Murphy and Paige Scott. Easterly and FEMA Administrator, Deeanne Criswell were interviewed during a fireside chat by Hagelgans and then joined the Millersville students on stage for photos. Interested in studying Emergency Management as an undergrad? Click here.  Millersville also offers a graduate program in Emergen […] “‘Ville’s Emergency Managers”

  • MU Junior Receives National Science Foundation Award Annisa Saengdara spent most of her summer studying human-dominated wetlands. Saengdara, a Millersville University junior environmental and spatial sciences student, was one of 10 students awarded the National Science Foundation Research for Undergraduates award in Interdisciplinary Problem Solving. She looked at Human-Dominated Wetlands during the 10-week program at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The REU program emphasizes engaging students in interdisciplinary earth systems research that builds collaboration and communication skills for solving complex environmental problems. The program uses wetland restoration as a lens through which participants will get hands-on experience in studying the interactions between science and society that shape ecosystem functions and services. REU participants receive a stipend of $6,000, free on-campus housing in RIT’s Global Village, meal allowances, and a travel stipend. Additional funding is available after the summer session ends for some students to travel to conferences to present their research. There are no qualifications to participate in the program, just an interest in wetlands. Projects are grouped into interdisciplinary research clusters that include the following approaches: biogeochemistry and ecology, sociological feedback, and geospatial patterns and scaling. The summer research experience centers around four key components: mentored research projects, interdisciplinary skill development, professional development workshops, and scientific communication and outreach. The program also offers weekly skills workshops and restoration activities in wetlands, public outreaches, and presenting in the undergraduate research symposium. “Out of the 10 participants, I was the only one given the task of using remote sensing. I was part of the created wetlands cluster, and my project was titled ‘Estimating SOC in created wetlands through hyperspectral imagery,’ says Saengdara. Her project used this hyperspectral imagery to look at organic content in soil from RIT’s managed wetlands in the High Acres Nature Area in Monroe County, New York using historical data from 2019 due to weather constraints. The program is particularly well suited for students who will be completing their second or third year and who have limited access to earth science or environmental science research opportunities at their home institution. This is an interdisciplinary program that welcomes participants from all academic majors who are interested in environmental science questions. Interested in studying environmental programs at Millersville University […] “MU Junior Receives National Science Foundation Award”

  • Excentia Partnership A Success Last year, Millersville University and Excentia Human Services announced a partnership to address the challenges facing the human services workforce in Lancaster County, which included developing Excentia Human Services’ Center for Training and Professional Development and creating two customized training programs. Within the first year, Excentia Human Services hoped to graduate 15 employees from the program.  They recently celebrated 44 graduates from the center, with more on the way. Excentia Human Services employees can undergo two programs through the Center. The Direct Support Professional Enrichment Program, through The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, requires about 50 hours of coursework and six in-person sessions, focusing on various topics like promoting professionalism and handling conflicts, crisis prevention and incident management, boundaries and more. Once complete, employees earn their DSP I certification. The Excellence in Human Services Leadership Program is a nine-month course where employees focus on leading with vision, emotional intelligence, communication skills, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, team dynamics and embracing change, among other skills. Mary Godin ‘15, director of development and marketing at Excentia Human Services, says the company has heard great feedback, particularly about the Excellence in Human Services program. “Most of this feedback centered on the fact that the course gave them the opportunity to enhance their leadership and managerial skills.” “What’s great is this program has participants in every facet of our organization, meaning upon successful completion of the course, their influence and learning will have far-reaching and dramatic effects on our organization, which will ultimately benefit our quality of service and employee morale,” she says. In fact, in collaborating with MU to create the Center, Excentia Human Services was recently named a Nonprofit Innovation Awards winner by Central Penn Business Journal. “We’re proud that the CTAPD is getting the recognition it deserves,” says Godin. “What a lot of people don’t know is that this curriculum is entirelly unique,” she continues. “There are two women who have dedicated hours of their expertise to developing this program for our employees – Hope Schmids, director of workforce development programs at MU, and Renee Rohrer, training lead at Excentia Human Services. Our Nonprofit Innovation Award honoree designation is a testament to their efforts and the partnership between Millersville and Excentia Human Services.” Godin says that this is an important partnership because it addresses the challenges facing the human services field. “In the past two years, the intellectual disability and autism communities have experienced a mass exodus of direct support professionals causing great concern, as they are vital to providing supportive services to people.” “Many human service agencies agree that their workforce is reaching a critical point in providing services to people, especially within the intellectual disability and autism communities. Excentia Human Services contacted MU, knowing its reputation as a regional powerhouse, to brainstorm a solution to this workforce issue. It quickly became clear that the closely aligned values of our two organizations would drive our collaboration.” The Center is now expanding its course offerings even further through NADSP. Excentia Human Services will offer its employees the opportunity to earn all levels of the Direct Support Professional certification. Employees who earned the DSP I certificate can continue with DSP II in early 2024 and DSP III later on. “Excentia Human Services believes in approaching everything they do with integrity, honesty, respect, and accountability; creating a positive, supportive environment where all people can have their voice heard; cultural competency, high ethical standards, and equality and fairness in all things; and building partnerships with the people we serve, their families, and everyone in our community,” Godin concludes. “Millersville University’s EPPIIC values align seamlessly with our values.”               […] “Excentia Partnership A Success”

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