PennDOT Customers Reminded to Use Caution When Renewing License, Registration Online

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today reminds its customers to exercise caution while renewing their driver’s license or vehicle registration online, and to make sure that they’re on PennDOT’s official Driver and Vehicle Services website,, for making these transactions.

For the safety of our customers’ identities, PennDOT will never ask for, nor accept, any identity documents over the internet or over text messages for any reason. Any website or text message claiming to provide this service is not affiliated with PennDOT. As such, customers should not submit any images of personal documents to such websites or texts as they will not be transmitted to PennDOT and could be used for fraudulent purposes.

“PennDOT is proud to provide our customers with comprehensive online services, like vehicle and driver’s license renewal, address changes, and much more,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “However, it’s important that customers ensure that they are on PennDOT’s official site before completing a transaction.”

Driver and vehicle online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include driver’s license, photo ID and vehicle registration renewals; driver-history services; changes of address; driver license and vehicle registration restoration letters; ability to pay driver license or vehicle insurance restoration fee; driver license and photo ID duplicates; and driver exam scheduling. There are no additional fees for using online services.

Additionally, third-party websites can appear “official,” and often pay search engines to appear at the top of search results for common terms, like “renew vehicle registration” or “driver’s license.” Many third-party sites charge additional fees for completing transactions – there are no additional service or convenience fees for completing online transactions on PennDOT’s website.

There are a few simple tips to help customers ensure that they are visiting PennDOT’s official website:

  • Rather than using a search engine to reach the PennDOT Driver and Vehicle Services website, enter the web address ( directly into your browser’s address bar.
  • PennDOT does not charge any additional service or transaction fees for completing online transactions. If you are charged any additional fees, you aren’t on the PennDOT website.
  • Look for the words “An Official Pennsylvania Government Website” in the top left corner. Many commonwealth websites display these words as an additional security measure.

If a customer has concerns about a third-party website, they can contact the PA Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555 or visit their website.

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The University of Scranton Offers New Online Master’s Degree Specialization

The University of Scranton’s online Master of Science in Health Informatics degree will offer a specialization in data analytics, beginning in the fall 2021 semester. Applications are currently being accepted for the program.

The curriculum for the master’s degree in health informatics was designed by Scranton faculty, who are active leaders and experts in this burgeoning field. The health informatics program’s mission is to “promote excellence in the Jesuit tradition by preparing graduates in the interdisciplinary field of health informatics to use data, information, knowledge and wisdom to improve health.”

Health informatics, data analytics and their associated tools have seen a rapid increase in importance in healthcare due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. This increase comes after a period of amplified interest in big data analysis in healthcare, in an effort to improve patient outcomes and efficiency. A 2019 Leadership survey conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) shows that executive-level leaders at both health information technology vendors and hospitals are now seeing clinical and business analytics as a higher priority than in the past. As a result, the demand for health informaticians who have data analytics, data mining and data visualization skills is increasing. Another HIMSS analysis shows one of the top five job growth areas for health informatics was found to be analytics consultant.

Burning Glass Technologies, a job market analysis company, projects positions for health information managers and directors will grow 20.5 percent through 2029, which is more than four times the national average. Master’s-educated professionals in this position earn up to $106,000 annually.

The online program with a data analytics specialization includes three courses that are offered by Scranton’s Operations and Information Management Department, requiring the completion of a total of 39-41 credits for the master’s degree in health informatics with this specialization. Two one-credit modules in statistics and management science are also required, but may be waived depending on the student’s background.

The additional courses students will take for data analytics specialization will provide an overview of descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics, data mining and data visualization. Graduates will be prepared to turn health data into actionable information.

Applicants to the graduate program must meet admission requirements. For additional information, visit the Master of Science degree in Health Informatics webpage or contact Margarete L. Zalon, Ph.D., professor of nursing and director of the University’s online Master of Science in Health Informatics Program at or 570-941-7655.

Sohns Rejoins NBT Bank’s Commercial Team

NBT Bank announced that Thomas Sohns has rejoined the Bank as Vice President and Commercial Banking Relationship Manager.

Sohns has 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to rejoining NBT Bank, he worked as Vice President in Commercial Lending for Landmark Community Bank in Pittston. A resident of Dunmore, Sohns earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Scranton. He is also a graduate of the Pennsylvania Bankers Association Commercial Lending School and the Emerging Leaders Program.

Active in his community, Sohns serves on the board for Dress for Success Lackawanna and the Jog for Jude Planning Committee.

Ferdinand Feola is Promoted to Senior Vice President at The Dime Bank

President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Bochnovich and the Board of Directors announced the promotion of Ferdinand Feola to Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer and a member of The Dime Bank’s Senior Officer team.

Feola joined The Dime Bank’s management team in 2019 as Vice President, Chief Technology Officer. Within this role, Feola leads a strategic, cohesive bank-wide technology program to align technology goals to other departmental and organizational objectives. Feola evaluates and implements new systems and upgrades existing infrastructure for the optimal use of data, information, and digital technology platforms. These efforts assist in achieving greater convenience and time saving benefits for customers and increased efficiency for the bank’s employees.

President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Bochnovich stated, “Ferd’s 25 years of technology leadership brought a wealth of knowledge to the information technology side of The Dime Bank. He brings technology to the forefront of our business with our employees and customers. We are excited to have Ferd in this elevated management role as we pledge to continue to offer the best banking solutions to differentiate the banking experience at The Dime Bank.” Feola holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Valley Forge and has completed FEMA Incident Command Training. He is a published columnist writing technology articles for national publications. Feola is also a licensed minister and together with his wife, Bonnie, they have a passion for seeing families prosper and restored. They have been involved in Foster Care for several years, served in several positions in the local church, and have led and participated in multiple short-term outreach trips to Romania and Puerto Rico.

NET Credit Union Launches Indirect Lending

NET Credit Union recently hired Indirect Lending Manager, Kim Kramer, to begin our Indirect Lending Program. Kim has previous experience working in the program’s industry at other financial institutions. Indirect Lending will help increase both our membership and loan portfolios.

NET Credit Union’s personalized service, next day funding and competitive rates are just a few reasons why dealerships should enroll in our Indirect Lending Program. Indirect Lending offers the convenience to our prospective and existing members to sign all of the required loan documentation at the dealership without making a trip to the branch. Our team of experienced lenders are ready to help get your cars off the lot and into our members’ driveways. To learn more about our Indirect Lending Program or contact Kim with questions, visit

Community Group Awards a University of Scranton Faculty Member

Stacy Smulowitz

The American Advertising Federation of NEPA recognized Stacy Smulowitz, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and media at The University of Scranton, with the Silver Medal Award at a virtual ceremony on Mar. 12.

An Accredited Business Communicator (A.B.C.), Dr. Smulowitz is president of Smulowitz Communications, a strategic communication and leadership consulting firm. She also serves as executive director of the Eastern Communication Association and education chair of Boost Business NEPA.

At the University, Dr. Smulowitz teaches courses in advertising, leadership and organizational communication. She often includes community-based learning projects for students in her classes, which include developing and pitching marketing-based, integrated advertising campaigns to area organizations. Past clients for the classes have included Scranton Tomorrow, Cedar Bike & Paddle, East Scranton Business Association, Anthracite Heritage Museum and others. In addition, through her academic courses, University students also participate in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.

Dr. Smulowitz also serves as moderator for the University’s Advertising Club, through which students also work with area businesses to gain real-world experiences. Clients the student club has previously worked with include Sno Mountain, Café Sveda, Duffy’s Accessories, Coconut Summer, Stinky’s Chili and Anthracite Bicycle Coalition.

Dr. Smulowitz’s research focus is on theory and strategy for assessing and promoting excellence in organizational leadership. Her most recent book, The communication solution: Leading successful change in higher education, was published in 2021. Her work has also been featured in Leadership and Organization Development Journal, Journal of Intercultural Communication Studies, Measuring Business Excellence, Change Management: An International Journal, The International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods and in several books, book chapters and training manuals.

Dr. Smulowitz also volunteers with the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania and serves as a troop leader.

A resident of Shavertown, Dr. Smulowitz earned a bachelor’s degree from Wilkes University, a master’s degree from Ithaca College and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

Marywood University to Serve as Environmental Justice Community Hub for Virtual Conference

Marywood University will serve as an Environmental Justice Community Hub by joining several universities and organizations across the state for the virtual Environmental Justice in Pennsylvania (EJ in PA) conference on Tuesday, April 6th, 2021, from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. The virtual conference is free and open to the public. To register, visit

The summit is a virtual one-day event that will bring community members to activate local Environmental Justice hubs around Pennsylvania. The event will build on existing EJ work and events, with the focus of supporting ongoing activity through the EJ community following the event.

The program will begin at 9:30 a.m., with keynote speaker, Mustafa Santiago Ali, Ph.D., vice president of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization with the National Wildlife Federation. A renowned thought leader, international speaker, policy maker, community liaison, trainer, and facilitator, Dr. Mustafa Santiago Ali uses a holistic approach to revitalizing vulnerable communities, and has worked with more than 500 domestic and international communities to secure environmental, health, and economic justice.

The conference is a collaboration of The Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, Harrisburg University, and the Department of Environmental Protection/Office of Environmental Justice (DEP/OEJ). EJ in PA community hubs serve as the convener of local organizations who are interested in environmental justice, community health, and community connection. The EJ community hubs provide a space for local dialogues that will lead to actions that will ensure long-lasting environmental justice within the community.

For additional information about the Environmental Justice online conference, please visit For questions regarding Marywood University’s participation as a community hub, please contact Melinda Krokus, Ph.D., associate professor of Religious Studies at Marywood University, at