RailRiders Joining MiLB and Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond

Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) has announced a three-year partnership with Marvel Entertainment, one of the world’s most prominent storytelling brands, for an exciting event series that will play out in ballparks across all levels of MiLB starting in 2022, including PNC Field; the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Today’s announcement was made at the “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” exhibit at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, which celebrates Marvel history with more than 300 artifacts including original comic book pages, sculptures, costumes and interactive displays.   

“We are certainly excited to join clubs from across Minor League Baseball to help bring this fabled brand to PNC Field starting next season,” said John Adams, the RailRiders’ team president. “Marvel has really become synonymous with super heroes over the last decade and a half and this partnership will allow clubs to take the next step for all of our fans entertainment.”

The new partnership will feature 96 MiLB teams participating in an event series called “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond” during the 2022 through 2024 baseball seasons.

In each of the three years of the partnership, all 96 participating MiLB teams will host at least one Marvel Super Hero-themed game as part of the “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond” campaign, where teams will wear special edition Marvel Super Hero-branded jerseys on-field during the game with other Marvel-themed activities and promotions taking place throughout the game. Fans may visit milb.com/marvel for the latest updates on the “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond” series.

For more information on 2022 season tickets, visit swbrailriders.com or call (570) 969-BALL.

The Wright Center’s Free Health Insurance Enrollment Assistance

The Wright Center for Community Health announces that its enrollment assisters are now available to help individuals sign up for appropriate health insurance coverage.

Get free, no-pressure and unbiased enrollment information. Call The Wright Center’s Enrollment Department at 570-591-5253, or send an email to twc-insurance-enrollment@thewrightcenter.org. Please include your full name, phone number and place of residence (city, borough or township).

  • Immediately: You can connect with the team for assistance in enrolling in programs such as Medicaid, which is for eligible adults, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which is for kids and teenagers.

Also, seniors (ages 65 and older) can talk with the team about the Medicare Low Income Subsidy (LIS) program, which helps certain people with Medicare pay for prescription drugs.

  • Between Nov. 1, 2021, and Jan. 15, 2022: You can participate in open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace, choosing from a variety of insurance products accessible to Pennsylvania residents through an online exchange known as “Pennie.” The Wright Center’s team can help you understand and navigate the choices. (Of course, if you suddenly lose your employer-sponsored coverage or otherwise find yourself without insurance, don’t wait to contact The Wright Center’s Enrollment Department. You might qualify for a special enrollment period.)

Enrollment assisters at The Wright Center’s primary care practices in Northeast Pennsylvania, as well as at other health centers and medical facilities, are trained to help people identify and enroll in affordable coverage options, providing them with a financial safety net and greater access to care. Contact the enrollment assisters with your questions. Did you know, for example, that benefits under Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance (aka Medicaid) program might be available to you, even if you were denied in the past?

Gain peace of mind in knowing that you, and your family members, have health insurance coverage that fits your needs and budget.

At The Wright Center, which is a Federally Qualified Health Center Look-Alike, all patients are provided access to care regardless of ability to pay. If you are not insured or lack adequate insurance, you might be eligible for its sliding fee discount program, which allows The Wright Center to reduce fees for eligible patients, depending on household income and family size. Visit thewrightcenter.org/sliding-fee-scale for more information.

Penn State Scranton is a Perfect Fit for First-Generation College Students

Penn State Scranton alumna, Kalei Kowalchik, who graduated in 2020 with a degree in nursing, and current senior Dhruvi Patel, a business administration major, are both first-generation college students and both credit the campus’ staff, faculty and specific programs aimed at helping first-gen students for making their college careers successful, productive and enjoyable.

For years, Penn State Scranton has strived to provide first-generation college students with all the necessary tools to make their undergraduate experience a successful one.

Today, the campus’ commitment to this unique demographic remains as strong as ever. First-generation students remain a substantial percentage of Scranton’s overall student population, and about 47% of this fall’s new incoming students currently fall under that designation.

Given that, the campus has placed a premium on providing numerous financial, advising, academic and mentoring resources to first-generation students. Because they’re the first in their families to attend college, first-gen students often face a variety of challenges, from navigating the application process to securing financial aid and paying bills to scheduling courses to gaining access to peer tutors and mentors.

That partnership starts with the admissions staff, which guides students and parents through the complexities of the application, financial aid and bill-paying process. From there, the student services and engagement and advising teams effectively introduce them to campus academic and extracurricular life through New Student Orientation (NSO). Once the academic year begins, First Year Seminar (FYS) furthers that transition, while the campus’ Learning Center provides additional academic support. And the campus’ brand-new JumpStart mentoring program has been designed specifically to retain and sustain first-generation, underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students.

“When we’re orienting first-generation students to the campus, we’re also orienting their families, because they don’t have a college experience to draw upon,” said Senior Admissions Counselor and Enrollment Marketing Specialist Julie Bialkowski. “We’re trying to support all students, but we know that because a lot of these students it’s their first experience with college, they have a lot more questions and don’t know how to navigate the process. There’s a lot of financial risk involved in a college education, so when we enroll you, we’re making a commitment to your success. It’s a partnership with the student and their family and Penn State. It’s all of our jobs to help them along and break down these barriers and show them the opportunities they have.”

All the right resources

For 2020 campus nursing program graduate and current doctoral student in Penn State’s College of Nursing, Kaléi Kowalchik, college was always a priority, and she was supported in her goal by her family members. But, as a first-generation student, Kowalchik found the college application and acceptance process daunting. She ended up applying to several schools and was happily surprised to be accepted to all of them.

In the end, she chose Scranton.

“Little did I know that Penn State Scranton would become my college of choice and the best decision I ever made for myself. I chose Penn State Scranton for a multitude of reasons — it was close to my home, the class sizes were small, its nursing program was well established with access to great clinical and educational experiences, it was a well-known university with a developed alumni society, and, most importantly, it was affordable. As a first-generation college student, I knew college was expensive and would be my financial responsibility. After considering all my options, it was evident Penn State (Scranton) was the right choice for me.”

Many college students, regardless of their background, struggle to adjust to college. The difference for first-generation students, Kowalchik said, is having access to the resources and mentorship that can help them over those hurdles.

“As a first-generation college student, I often felt lost throughout the process — specifically the weeks leading up to my first semester of college,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to buy to prepare for school, I didn’t know where I was supposed to go, what the rigor of my classes would be like, or even how long I would be on campus.”

Luckily, the campus proved an easy place to make the transition to college life, Kowalchik said, noting NSO was extremely helpful in terms of introducing her to critical resources and offices, her student peers, faculty and staff, and the overall campus atmosphere.

Coming from a single-parent household, Kowalchik was especially concerned about covering the cost of her education. So, she was grateful to have access to several campus grants and scholarships that alleviated some of her financial burden.

In addition, she was highly impressed with the seemingly endless student resources, and was gratified to befriend a large contingent of fellow first-generation students.

Gradually, she became happily immersed in campus life, thanks to its welcoming atmosphere.

“I was fortunate to get to know every department on campus as a student, and if that tells you anything about Penn State Scranton, it’s that it is warm, inviting, and caring,” Kowalchik said.

“Penn State Scranton’s ability for their faculty and staff to engage with the students and make them feel at home makes it such a wonderful college environment to be a part of. As I learned more about the campus each week and became familiar with the faculty and staff, I was able to build connections and relationships with each department that helped support me throughout my academic journey, for which I am eternally grateful. The faculty and staff genuinely care about their students’ well-being and personal experiences to help support them throughout this difficult journey.”

A dream realized

Another first-generation student, senior Dhruvi Patel, said it was her Indian immigrant parents’ longtime dream to send her and her brother to college.

“My parents wanted to go to college but couldn’t because of their financial issues, so when we came to the U.S., they really pushed me and my brother to pursue whatever we loved,” said Patel, a business administration major with a concentration in accounting.

Penn State Scranton caught Patel’s interest because of its diversity and small-campus feel – in particular, she felt she’d get more one-on-one attention from faculty here than at other colleges.

With help, she successfully navigated her way through the application and financial aid process. Eventually, she also convinced her parents that “going to a small, public college instead of a big, private college wouldn’t make a difference because my career will depend on my hard work,” she said.

Since arriving at the campus, Patel has thrived in her coursework and taken full advantage of additional resources outside of the classroom, including resume writing and job interviewing assistance that she credits with helping her land her current internship.

Meanwhile, she’s completely devoted herself to extracurricular activities, serving as a peer mentor and tutor, Lion Ambassador and NSO leader. And she’s an avid participant in campus events and activities like Diwali, THON, bingo and Crafternoons.

Over time, Patel has forged close connections with numerous staff and faculty members, among them Bialkowski, Assistant Teaching Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences Jim Hart, Interim Director of Student Services and Engagement Matt Nied, Adjunct Lecturer in Business Pat Sheridan and Lecturer in Business and Economics Frank Sorokach.

“It was very important to be active on campus because I needed to figure out my college life and career on my own, and for that I needed to be confident and make connections,” said Patel, who intends to go to law school after completing her degree. “I love the campus and the faculty. They have pushed me to be better since day one and I wouldn’t be as confident as I am today if it wasn’t for them.”

Of course, it helps to have staff and faculty members who know firsthand the struggles of first-generation students. That list includes Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and FYS Coordinator Raymond Petren, who was the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

“Even though my parents provided me with the opportunity, they couldn’t provide me with guidance for success in college,” Petren said. “When I got there, I was like a ship without a rudder. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do or say. I felt like an outsider among my peers who often seemed so comfortable in that new context. Many of my peers had both interpersonal and financial resources that I did not have as a first-generation student and a child of divorce from a working-class family. It was only when a mindful professor connected with me, noticed my potential and provided personal guidance that the fog lifted and I felt as though college was a place for me. That was in my third year.”

It’s Petren’s hope that FYS can provide students with the same level of support he received from that professor, albeit much earlier in their college careers.

“Not only does FYS acclimate students to the academic rigors of college, but it connects them with their peers, the Penn State Scranton community, and both campus and University systems that provide support and promote progress. It’s particularly important for first-generation college students, who are typically academically prepared, but often have less guidance from their parents or other family members as to how to navigate the college experience,” Petren said. “First-year students are also likely to experience imposter syndrome – uncertainty about whether they belong here. FYS helps them confront these challenges and identify both personal and institutional resources that foster personal growth and success. An important part of FYS is engagement with FYS peer mentors, who are more experienced students who form relationships with FYS students, share their own experiences and provide guidance in times of uncertainty. A number of our peer mentors are also first-generation students, so they have relevant experience to share.”

“Our peer mentors really become that first line of defense in helping our first-generation students make the transition to college,” Nied added. “For a lot of our students, they can just go home and ask mom and dad about a particular issue. First-generation students don’t have that. So, they’ll go to their peer mentor and ask, ‘How do I do this?’”

This comprehensive, compassionate approach to the first-generation experience appears to be working well, as both Kowalchik and Patel can attest.

“My decision to attend Penn State Scranton continues to be one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself, and I am very proud of the school I graduated from and continue to encourage others to apply and attend,” Kowalchik said. “Penn State Scranton is a well-rounded option for all student populations, but especially first-generation college students. Like any opportunity in life, you get out what you put in — meaning, you have to be willing to learn, explore, try new things and trust the process throughout your college experience.”

“I couldn’t have picked a better college — it’s like my second home!” Patel added. “I would recommend this campus to anyone in a heartbeat.”

Human Resources Center, Inc. Offers Tips for a More Inclusive Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and it’s crunch time for spooky ghosts and goblins! With trick-or-treating given the green light in most areas, preparations are in full swing. While trick-or-treating is generally regarded as a fun-filled night with children running door-to-door and absconding with candy galore, Halloween can be less than accessible for individuals with disabilities. The Human Resources Center of NEPA has a few tips to help ensure a more inclusive Halloween for all!

Tip #1: Sit at the end of your driveway with the candy bowl. This helps individuals in wheelchairs, walkers or with ambulation difficulties to participate in trick-or-treating — plus, it might even help those who are a bit more socially anxious!

Tip #2: Keep outdoor lights on for those who may be visually impaired.

Tip #3: Describe the candy you’re giving out. Some individuals may struggle with sight, while others may have dietary or sensory restrictions that prevent them from enjoying certain kinds of candy.

Tip #4: Be mindful of bright, flashing, or loud Halloween decorations. Individuals that experience processing disorders, seizure disorders and/or increased sensitivity may find these decorations overwhelming.

Tip #5: Withhold judgement. Individuals who are trick-or-treating without a costume may have sensory limitations and not be able to tolerate a costume. Trick-or-treaters who appear “too old” may experience an intellectual or developmental delay. Individuals who don’t excitedly announce, “trick or treat,” at your door may be nonverbal.

In general, HRC would like to encourage everyone to be kind this Halloween. This holiday and it’s fun is for everyone regardless of age, ability, or level of participation. Have a wonderful Halloween!

PennDOT Receives Concurrence on Transportation Funding Study

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced today that it has finalized its PennDOT Pathways Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study after receiving concurrence from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). A PEL Study is a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that considers several factors, including the environment, community and economic goals.

PennDOT conducted the study to identify possible near-term and long-term solutions to the funding gap our transportation system faces. The PEL Study evaluated the feasibility of various funding options for near- and long-term implementation and established a methodology for evaluating environmental justice effects associated with each.

The study will serve as a guide as PennDOT pursues and implements alternative funding strategies to help support our entire transportation system. The most near-term funding needs are in PennDOT’s highway and bridge programs, but there are significant needs across all transportation modes. The findings of the PEL Study will help guide the implementation of future funding strategies and can be modified as needs evolve.

The PEL Study is designed to bridge the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and the planning process for a project or initiative. FHWA provided its concurrence with the study’s findings, which is an important step to advancing the alternative funding initiatives.

A draft of the PennDOT Pathways PEL Study was made available for public review and comment in Spring 2021. PennDOT received 342 comments during the public comment period, which lasted from April 29 – June 1, 2021. These comments are captured in Appendix D of the final PEL Study and will be used to inform decisions moving forward.

The Transportation Revenue Options Commission (TROC), which was established by Governor Tom Wolf’s Executive Order on March 12, 2021, received a briefing on the draft PEL Study. The draft PEL Study was also used as a resource for the Commission’s report on potential options that will reduce Pennsylvania’s reliance on state and federal gas taxes to fund transportation, presented to Governor Wolf on July 30, 2021.

For additional information on transportation funding in Pennsylvania, visit www.penndot.gov/funding.

Subscribe to statewide PennDOT news and traffic alerts at www.penndot.gov/news or choose a region under “Regional Offices.” Information about the state’s infrastructure and results the department is delivering for Pennsylvanians can be found at www.penndot.gov/results. Find PennDOT’s planned and active construction projects at www.projects.penndot.gov.

Follow PennDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PennDOTNews and like the department on Facebook at Facebook.com/PennsylvaniaDepartmentofTransportation and Instagram at Instagram.com/pennsylvaniadot.

Marion Munley Presents at Western Trial Lawyers Association Summer Seminar

Munley Law is pleased to announce that Marion Munley spoke at the Western Trial Lawyers Association Summer Seminar, titled “Using the Defendants’ Words and Documents to Win Your Truck Case.”

A champion of victims’ rights and the civil justice system for over 25 years, Marion is known for her compassionate approach to representing the catastrophically injured and her tireless devotion to her clients and their families. Triple Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in Civil Trial, Civil Practice, and Truck Law, Marion has earned an AV-Preeminent designation from Martindale-Hubbell, the industry’s highest ethical and client satisfaction rating.

A leader in the lag community, Marion is an active member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and currently serves on the AAJ Board of Governors and on its Executive committee. She was the firs woman to become Chair of the AAJ Trucking Litigation Group in 2018 and is a past chair of the AAJ’s Women Trial Lawyers Caucus. Marion is the second woman in Pennsylvania to become Board Certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. Among her other professional affiliations are the American Board of Trial Advocates, the International Society of Barristers, and the Summit Council, an exclusive group of today’s top civil justice attorneys committed to the highest levels of trial advocacy, to obtaining justice for individuals and families who have been hurt by corporate wrongdoing, and to the protection of the civil justice system.

Listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 2012, Marion has been named the 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” for Product Liability Litigation–Plaintiffs in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last year, she was recognized as Best Lawyers 2021 “Lawyer of the Year” for Personal Injury–Plaintiffs for the Allentown metro area. Marion has also been selected to the list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers for the last 18 years and has been consistently recognized as one of the
top 50 Women Lawyers in Pennsylvania” in Super Lawyers Magazine. A graduate of Temple University School of Law (J.D., 1986), Marion received her undergraduate degree from the University of Scranton in 1983.

The Wright Center’s Rack of Warmth Project Begins November 1

The Wright Centers for Community Health and Graduate Medical Education are working to ensure everyone in the community is ready for the fast-approaching winter season by stocking the annual Rack of Warmth Project with free coats, hats, mittens, scarves and boots for community members in need.

A project of The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement, the annual endeavor features racks of gently used and new coats for children and adults, with other assorted items of all sizes stored below the racks. The racks will be available inside the lobbies of the eight primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties. The theme of the project is simple, according to Geraldine McAndrew, the director of community outreach: “Share a little warmth with our neighbors and friends.”

“The Wright Center strives every day to improve the health and welfare of our communities, especially for the most vulnerable people in society” said McAndrew, the director of Patient & Community Engagement. “We carry our mission directly into the communities we serve, addressing financial challenges and food and clothing insecurity. The Rack of Warmth Project immediately addresses the upcoming challenge that’s presented by the winter season – staying warm.”

All donations are provided by Wright Center employees and board members due to COVID-19 precautions. Their donations will be dropped off at the clinic of their choice. Donated items also will be machine washed and coats will be stored in dry-cleaning plastic bags for added safety.

Members of the community in need of warm garments can select items for themselves, family members, or friends and neighbors beginning Monday, Nov. 1. The initiative runs through Monday, Feb. 14.

The Wright Center for Patient & Community Engagement inspires and nurtures interactions with patients, community members and like-minded organizations to energize The Wright Center’s mission to focus on patient and community engagement and support. Overall, it focuses on improving access to health care while addressing the negative social and economic determinants

of health that affect patients, including food insecurity, homelessness, poverty and access to education.

For more information, please contact Geraldine McAndrew at 570-230-0019 or email her at mcandrewg@TheWrightCenter.org. The Wright Center for Community Health operates clinics in Clarks Summit, Hawley, Jermyn, Kingston, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. Visit TheWrightCenter.org to find the location nearest to you.

Penn State Scranton sees influx in out-of-state and international students

As Penn State Scranton’s student population has gotten more diverse, so have the events hosted by the campus. At left, students take part in the Cultural Cuisine Tour, in which students go to various ethnic restaurants in the Scranton area to experience the foods of other cultures. Students here enjoyed a traditional Indian meal at the Mayuri Indian restaurant in Scranton. At right, dancers performed at the campus during a past Hispanic History celebration. Other events such as Diwali, Chinese Lunar New Year and Holi are also celebrated.

Penn State Scranton’s student population continues to evolve in new and exciting ways, with recent growth coming among undergraduates from outside of Pennsylvania and the United States.

This fall’s incoming campus class includes 69 out-of-state and eight international students out of nearly 300 students. The increase reflects Chancellor Marwan Wafa’s ongoing mission to further diversify the campus, said Director of Enrollment Management Sandra Feather.

“Over the past few years, we’ve been taking baby steps. But we’ve also been growing in line with how our community is growing,” Feather said. “About 22 percent of our incoming admitted students are out-of-state, where typically our population is about 95 to 97 percent local. That is a huge game changer. And, as far as the number of international students, that is phenomenal for us, considering historically we’ve had one or two annually. Penn State has a strong international reputation, which makes a huge difference. And, as Dr. Wafa has put it, having that reputation globally helps us as a community to appreciate other cultures. That makes a big difference when fostering inclusion and diversity. That’s the future, and with the means of technology at our disposal now, we’re talking to people all over the world. So, why not have that experience with them?”

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Admission staff had to pivot to virtual appointments and eventually small in-person tours with prospective students and their families. The change, though, has proved highly beneficial in terms of recruiting both out-of-state and international students, Feather noted.

“With the virtual appointments and small campus tours, you’re able to connect with the student and parent together. It’s much more personalized,” Feather said. “We can talk about the things parents care about. You can’t do that during the day when you travel to New York and talk to a group of students in a high school. And we can customize the need now too, instead of just doing the same old PowerPoint.”

This year’s out-of-state student enrollees include residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Texas and Colorado. Incentive-wise, students from seven nearby states — Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia – and Washington, D.C., are eligible to receive the Discover Penn State Award if they attend one of the Commonwealth Campuses. For baccalaureate students, the award carries a $26,000 value over a four-year period.

Feather recently gave a campus tour to Carlos Salazar Paz, a 36-year-old adult learner who moved from Denver, Colorado, to Scranton to attend the campus and major in project and supply chain management.

Paz was attracted to Penn State Scranton for several reasons, among them the opportunity to earn a high-quality degree from an internationally renowned university in a small-campus setting.

“I applied to 15 schools all throughout the U.S. Penn State was the first school to send a letter of acceptance,” Paz said. “And at the same time, for my major Penn State is ranked very high, so it was a no-brainer. And I chose Scranton because of the family feeling that the campus has and the people.”

So far, the cross-country move has been a wise choice, said Paz, noting he’s thoroughly impressed with the campus and the faculty and staff members he’s met, including Feather.

“It’s been amazing so far, and I like that the small campus gives you the opportunity to meet people,” Paz said. “Every single person that I’ve come across has been very helpful, but most importantly very welcoming. It is hard to be away from home, but everyone here has made sure that I do not feel that way, at least when I am around them. I’m looking forward to meeting great people and making great connections.”

In 2019, Brooklyn, New York, native Melick Lubin transferred to the campus from State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, attracted by the chance to play on the men’s basketball team and to “attend a Penn State school and earn a Penn State degree.”

At first, he found the transition to the new environment a bit difficult. After about two months, though, things started to click into place, said Lubin, now a senior corporate communication major.

“I began to go to different events on campus to familiarize myself with the staff, faculty and other students,” he said. “The faculty and staff here love meeting new faces, so they are always willing to help you and provide you with the proper needs. And the campus provides many resources to help you get comfortable and acclimated to the new environment. Penn State Scranton has a ton to offer to out-of-state students, including many scholarships.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic has made the campus a significantly quieter place during the past year and a half, Lubin still finds it to be “very open and welcoming.”

“All the athletes here have built a bond, where we support and push each other regardless of the sport or activity. We also share the love with non-athletes. And the same goes for faculty and staff, who are open and loving and always have time to adhere to your needs,” Lubin said. “I would recommend Penn State Scranton to other out-of-state students and to any students looking to fulfill their dreams and goals while also enjoying the small-college experience.”

On the international student side, the virtual outreach has also been extremely helpful, although sometimes a bit trickier to coordinate due to significant time differences, Feather said.

This fall, incoming students from India, South Africa, Jamaica, Nigeria and China will add to the campus’ increasingly diverse population. Feather attributes a lot of this recent success to the efforts of Ryan Geiger, the international student adviser and global education coordinator for the University’s Northeast campuses.

Given the cultural differences they encounter upon their arrival, many international students struggle to adjust to American collegiate life. Luckily, Feather said, the campus’ Student Services and Engagement staff have gone out of their way in recent years to ease the transition for students, from helping them move into their apartments to inviting them to their homes for holiday dinners to hosting a wide variety of diversity-themed campus events like Diwali and Chinese Lunar New Year.

“At first, there’s going to be some hand holding, but the staff and faculty are so passionate and do such a good job of making our international students feel comfortable,” Feather said.

“The international students don’t have that family support system when they come here, so it’s up to the campus community to become their family in a way,” added Interim Director of Student Services and Engagement Matt Nied. “It just goes back to Dr. Wafa’s goal of us being a welcoming campus. And as much as we try to do for them, the students do a lot for us, too, in terms of educating the campus community about their culture.”

Xinyi Chen recently completed her first two years at the campus and will now finish her bachelor’s degree in actuarial science and mathematics at University Park. She moved to the U.S. two-and-a-half years ago from China, deciding to attend Penn State based on its global reputation for first-rate academics and the fact that it offered her intended majors.

“When I first came to Penn State Scranton, I found that many things were quite different. Fortunately, the campus held many introductory activities such as the open house to provide us with the resources and assistance needed to ease my introduction to American higher education,” Chen said. “My adviser, Corinne Nulton, and my professors were very patient and gave me many suggestions on the course schedule. I am also very grateful to my professor, Dr. Taoye Zhang, for helping me get familiar with many things on campus. He also helped me with my undergraduate research and gave me lots of advice on my academics.”

Outside the classroom, Chen found her niche as a Learning Center math tutor. And she was an avid attendee of the campus’ diversity events.

“The campus did a great job promoting diversity, inclusion and equity,” Chen said. “The activity that impressed me most was the Lunar New Year, which gave us the opportunity to promote Chinese traditional culture and let us feel the festive atmosphere. Diversity at a university helps us build new perspectives on different

cultures. We can learn more things from people instead of just from the online resources that may make us misunderstand.”

“Penn State Scranton is a very welcoming place for international students,” Chen continued. “The students and faculty are great and always willing to help.”

Marywood University to Offer Transfer Tuesday Opportunities

Marywood University will hold three on-campus Transfer Day programs on Tuesdays, November 30, and December 14, 2021 and January 10, 2022 for college students or former college students considering transferring to Marywood University. Marywood welcomes transfer students at all stages of their college careers.

Interested students will have the opportunity to visit Marywood to discuss financial aid and scholarship options, transfer credits, take a tour of campus, and complete an application for admission.

Transfer Day will be held at the Office of University Admissions in the Liberal Arts Center, on Marywood University’s campus. Spring semester classes begin on Monday, January 10, 2022.

For additional information, or to register for Transfer Day, please call Marywood University’s Office of University Admissions, at (570) 348-6234, or visit http://www.marywood.edu/admissions.

NRCI Board of Ambassadors Finalizes Spirit of Hope Celebration for November 12

The Board of Ambassadors and Associate Board will host its ninth annual Spirit of Hope Celebration on Friday, November 12, 2021 from 7:00pm to 10:30pm at Mohegan Sun Pocono in the Keystone Grand Ballroom. 

The event features cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, food stations, live music by The Exact Change, a super silent auction and a gift card guarantee.  Tickets are $130 each and can be purchased by calling the Cancer Institute at (570) 904-8808 or online at www.cancernepa.org or purchased at the door the night of the event. 

The Spirit of Hope Tribute to Courage honoree is Richard P. Conaboy Jr. Dick’s passion for helping others is remarkable. He has lost several family members to cancer, and he is also a cancer survivor and doing well. Despite the losses and pain Dick has faced related to cancer and his own addiction recovery, he has continued to give back to the local community through the Spirit of Hope Celebration Board of Ambassadors, the American Cancer Society, and other organizations near and dear to him.  

Dick is a graduate of Marywood University where he earned a B.S in Psychology. He has been in the field of addiction and recovery for over 20 years. He spent two decades working at Clearbrook Treatment Center where he over saw the day-to-day operations of the DDAP licensed and JACHO accredited residential treatment facilities as Vice President of Clinical Operations. He is currently the CEO of Lakeside NEPA Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center located in Scranton. Dick is well respected in the community as a speaker, educator, and advocate for those in the recovery community.

The Board of Ambassadors is a group of individuals and business leaders in northeast Pennsylvania who have come together to raise funds & awareness to fight cancer in the local community through their support and promotion of a gala event. 

The Spirit of Hope Celebration benefits the Cancer Institute’s Community-Based Cancer Screening Navigation Program. This program helps low income and un/underinsured individuals in northeast Pennsylvania get their recommended colorectal, breast, cervical, and lung cancer screenings. 

Front row, seated from left to right: Kristie Hynoski, Mohegan Sun Pocono, Traci Fosnot, Highmark, Inc., Marta Gomes, White House Black Market, Leo P. Vergnetti, chairmen of Board of Ambassadors, Meghan Gagorik, American Heart Association, and Jo Ann Romano Hallesky, Jo Ann Romano Hair Salon.  

Standing, from left to right: Amanda E. Marchegiani, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Nevin Gerber, Gerber Associates, Karen M. Saunders, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Nick Colangelo, John Heil, Patty Vergnetti, AARP Foundation, and Matt Beynon, BrabenderCox, LLC.  

Absent from photo:  Clarence Baltrusaitis, NET Credit Union, Thomas Blaskiewicz, McCarthy Tire, Dino Campitelli, Serenity Lodge, Trish Colangelo, Richard P. Conaboy, Jr., Thomas P. Cumming, Jr., Esq., Cummings Law, Thomas P. Cummings III, Esq., William Davis, Office of Rep. Kyle Mullins, Tom DePietro, DePietro’s Pharmacy, Mary Erwine, Erwine Home Health and Hospice, Joseph G. Ferguson, Esq., DBi Services, Greg Gagorik, James T. Gorman, BB&T Bank, Jennifer Heil, Charles C. Jefferson, Jefferson-Werner, LLC, Joe Mattioli, Paul McGolin, McGloin’s Flourish, Brian McQuestion, Pride Mobility Products Corp., Evie Rafalko McNulty, Lackwawanna County Recorder of Deeds, Philip Medico, Medico Industries, Inc., Dan Meuser, U.S. Representative, Chuck Morgan, David J. Nape, Centris Consulting, Inc., Christopher A. Peters, M.D., NRCI Board, Vito Pizzo, Pizzo Painting, Billy Rinaldi, Mark Construction Services, Inc., John P. Rodgers, Esq., Caverly, Shea, Phillips & Rodgers, LLC, Vince Scarpetta, Pure Green Consultants, LLC, P. Richard Scheller, Geo-Science Engineering & Testing, LLC, Patrick Sicilio, Kem-Tek Industrial Chemical Supplies, Eugene D. Sperazza, Esq. Law Offices of Eugene D. Sperazza, Melissa Stites, Hornbeck Chevrolet, Steven J. Szydlowski, Ph.D., University of Scranton, Joseph S. Tomko, Fidelity Bank, Joe Van Wie, JVW Inc., Dana Morris, Regional Hospital of Scranton, Linda-Marino Brooks, Jessica Ruddy, PennDot, Robin Long, and Vanessa Vergnetti, Premier.