PSC Fly-Fishing Course Coming Back this Spring



Students and community members will get the opportunity to learn the aspects of fly-fishing in PSC’s returning Spring course. Photo by The New York Times.

By Levi Linn


Students and members of the community can take a course that isn’t about hitting the books — it’s about learning how to fly fish. Potomac State College’s Introduction to Fly-Fishing course returns this spring.
Professor Tom Sydow is co-teaching with Charlie Laffey who has extensive knowledge of the Savage River watershed and regional Brook Trout streams. “He’s like a walking encyclopedia,” said Sydow regarding his colleague.
In this course, students will gain all the tools and knowledge they need to pursue this unique hobby. Students will learn about the equipment used, knot tying, entomology (the study of insects), how to read the water and on-stream tactics. All equipment for this course will be provided by the instructors.
“I’m always excited,” said Sydow when asked how he felt about the class starting soon. Sydow has been fly-fishing for almost 30 years and still enjoys it. “It means spring’s here.”
Sydow describes fly-fishing as far more advanced than regular fishing. It’s more difficult but more rewarding and far more interactive as opposed to sitting and waiting for a fish to bite. “Students will be interested because it’s an entirely different style of fishing than most people are used to,” said Sydow, “It’s interesting and takes a lot of skill.”
As for teaching with his colleague Laffey, Sydow can’t wait to get started. “It’s always fun with Laffey,” said Sydow, “We’re both easy going and very enthusiastic about teaching this subject.” Sydow and Laffey have fished together for years.
The fly-fishing class starts on March 8, with meetings every other Thursday in Science Hall 120 from 5-8 p.m. The cost is $99, and the course fills up quickly. The course is open to both students and the public, and registration is available on the PSC website. For more information on the course, contact
Sydow at

PSC’s “Willy Wonka” Opening on March 16



Photo from Potomac State College Website.


by Sevohn Hunter

On Friday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m., Potomac State College’s theater program will present its spring production of “Willy Wonka” at the Church-McKee Arts Center.
This production of “Willy Wonka” is based on Roald Dahl’s book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and will include all the songs from the 1971 movie. “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who lives in a tiny house with his parents and grandparents. Charlie and four other children find the five golden tickets placed in Wonka Bar wrappings and win a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
The cast and crew are comprised of college students and community members. The five golden ticket winners are played by middle and high school students: Elizabeth Badillo, Dylan Dolley, Brendon McCabe, Clayton Muir and Brielle Windle. The adult roles are played by community members who have participated in other productions or are parents of children participating. Willy Wonka is played by Robert Godfrey, who is a veteran of PSC productions.
Sean Beachy and Debi Beachy are the music directors for the production. Debi Beachy teaches vocals, and Sean Beachy provides accompaniment. Kimberly Rowley is a co-director who also creates and teaches all choreography.
Jordan Kline is the director the show. Kline previously directed productions in Frostburg and Cumberland, Maryland. Kline also performed in previous productions at PSC. Brian Plitnik is the producer of this production and chooses each year’s show. Plitnik said he cannot credit himself for the idea of recreating “Willy Wonka.” Rowley originally proposed the idea, and she and Plitnik agreed that “Willy Wonka” would be a great success for PSC.
Cast members shared how much they love the story of “Willy Wonka” and how eager they were to join. McCabe auditioned because he “loved the book, movie and any work by Dahl.” Windle said her dreams are coming true because she “always wanted to play the role of Veruca.”
“Willy Wonka” will be showing from March 16-18 and March 23-25. General admission tickets are $12 for children and $18 for adults. Regular VIP tickets include a backstage tour and priority seating. VIP Golden Tickets also include a chocolate reception as well as other VIP benefits. To reserve tickets, call the PSC Box Office at (304)-788-6855.

PSC’s Lady Cats Beat ACM in Women’s Basketball


2017-2018 Potomac State Womens Basketball

2017-2018 PSC Women’s Basketball. Photo from Potomac State College Website.

The Potomac State College Lady Cats brought in an exciting win for Women’s Basketball Monday, Feb. 5, against Alleghany College of Maryland. This home game marked the 10th win in their season of 18 games at this point in the season.


Going into the game Sydney Lyons stated they anticipated a win but were sure to be cautious because there is always a chance of losing.

During the entire game, PSC had a strong lead against ACM. After the first quarter PSC was up 24-10, and by the end of the first half, they were leading 65-22. PSC managed to break the 100th point mark by finishing the game with a final score of 118-65. “We were excited afterwards because we nearly doubled their score,” stated Lyons

PSC’s top scorers of the game were Kaliyah Creasy, Johnee Durham and Hayley Butcher all of which scored 17 points. Other high scorers were Katlyn Tichnell and Lyons both scoring 14 points. ACM’s top scorer was Jayln Whitlock with 23 points.

As of Feb. 18, PSC is at 11 wins and 10 loses for their season, and ACM stands at 10 wins and 13 loses.

Growing Textbook Prices a Problem on the Rise

For some college students, textbook prices are a heavy weight that they can’t always afford. Potomac State College business student, Zoe Sypolt, stated she budgets $500-$1,000 for her text books each year. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the price of textbooks has risen from January 1977 to June 2015 by a 1,041 percent increase.


The chart above shows the increase of textbook prices from 1977 to 2015, based on information from BLS.

Impact on Students

Lesley Nester, a PSC freshman, typically uses her financial aid to pay for books but still explained, “it’s a lot of money for books I don’t use.” Payten Reese, PSC sophomore, finds himself in the same scenario. “It’s ridiculous, considering you don’t use them half the time,” said Reese. Alex Ritte, a PSC student, said she uses rentals and online option to try to “take down cost as much as possible.” Sarah Hutton, a nursing student at Allegany College of Maryland, stated she spent $1,500 for one semester of books, $500 for another semester, and $400 for her most recent books. All of these she said she only used “a couple of times.”

Online Course Materials

Some classes don’t require a traditional textbook but online access codes. These codes are typically used to do online homework and provide access to a digital copy of the textbook. These codes also provide extra resources like studying tools or help from tutors. The only downside to this option is the cost. According to The New York Times the average online textbook access code bundle costs $126.

Math professor Dr. Stephanie Beck Roth explains that the benefit of these codes outweighs the cost. Through the program Beck Roth uses, students perform mastery learning. Through this method of learning, students must repeatedly get questions correct before they can move on to the next section. Beck Roth stated that with this program she has seen an increase in test scores. She believes with this system of learning, students are understanding more material.

Beck Roth also sympathized with the struggle to buy expensive books as a young person. “I was a student in this situation, it wasn’t easy,” said Beck Roth. She recollects stressing to the point of tears over having to purchase a $300 textbook in her college days.

“I typically don’t purchase textbooks for classes,” said PSC student James Beall. Beall expressed his frustration in already having to pay heavy amounts in student loans. “It would be a different story if I were failing classes, because then it would just be irresponsible for me not to buy books. But anything I need to know that goes unanswered in class I can find on one of the many databases provided to students by West Virginia University Libraries or other scholarly sources.” Beall also explained that his primary professor, Nicklaus Goff, is so good at teaching, that his ample class notes enable him to succeed.

This situation isn’t uncommon for students, however. Based on a study by NBC news, 65% of students admitted that they skipped buying books– some because they couldn’t afford them.


Image from screenshot of video by NBC News.

 What’s the Solution?

This epidemic hasn’t gone unnoticed, either. On Oct. 8, 2015, the Affordable College Textbook Act was presented to Congress. Within the bill it states, “more must be done to address rising costs.” It argues that with the rising price of books, opportunities for higher education diminish for some who can’t afford it. The goal of this bill is to expand the use of digital open textbooks to achieve savings for students. This would be made possible with educational grants.

Open textbooks are “high-quality college texts with an “open” copyright license allowing the material to be freely accessed, shared and adapted,” as defined by WVU is now offering training to faculty on open textbooks.

Professors can also place their textbooks on reserve for students to use within the library. More than 70 courses have texts on reserve. One professor who makes most of her required textbooks available is English professor, Dr. Martha Johnson-Olin.

“I believe in providing my students with as many opportunities to succeed as possible,” said Johnson-Olin, “I worked my way through school, so I know what it is like to need two or three paychecks to buy a semester’s worth of textbooks. I want my students to know that they can succeed in my classes regardless of any financial struggles they may be experiencing.” Johnson-Olin stated that she makes sure her students know her books are available in the library, but they don’t always take advantage of it. “It depends on the student’s drive to succeed. I make the resources available to help, but it is a student’s choice to use the materials.”

Johnson-Olin also stated how she dislikes the rising textbook prices just as much as her students do. She attempts to provide open online access materials to help save money. “I have passed on excellent textbooks when I feel the cost is not reasonable for my students,” said Johnson-Olin.

Lastly, Johnson-Olin wishes that students understand a key aspect about textbooks: “Most teachers do not decide to use a book randomly or on a whim, and we build our courses carefully around the book(s) we ask students to purchase.” Johnson-Olin also explained that if students expect professors to be prepared for class, they should do their best to be prepared as well.

The rise in textbook prices is due to lack of competition in the textbook publishing industry. According to, only five publishers control 80 percent of the market. One of the most commonly known and wealthiest of these is McGraw-Hill Education. McGraw-Hill made a revenue of $2 billion in 2014 alone.

With this kind of industry, the average college student will spend approximately $655 on text books each year, based on information from The National Association of College Stores (NACS). But this price could be much higher with books costing as much as $300. The PSC website does not list an average cost for books per semester.

Potomac State College Veteran Goes From Building Bombs to Hitting the Books


Steffan Chapman said he has been a West Virginia University fan ever since he was little. He followed a dream and ended up at PSC. Photo by Molly Browning

“I was a troublemaker. I needed to get some foundation under my feet to kind of start a decent life,” Potomac State College student and veteran Steffan Chapman stated, explaining his original reason for joining the military.

Chapman worked on ships as Aviation Ordinanceman during his time in the military. “I built bombs, missiles, rockets, anything that went boom pretty much,” said Chapman. His training began in Pensacola, Florida. He then was stationed in San Diego, California for a short time before being deployed to Japan.

Traveling was Chapman’s favorite part of his time in the service. He’s been to Guam, South Korea, Hawaii, Florida, California, Chicago and Japan. “I have friends from all over the world now,” stated Chapman. “No matter where I go, there’s probably somebody kind of close to me.”

Chapman is an Upstate New York native, so the question arises: How did he end up at PSC? “Funny story, actually. I’ve been a West Virginia fan since seventh grade. Figured I’d try to follow a dream, and here I am at Potomac State.”

Chapman is studying psychology at PSC, with plans of becoming a high school guidance counselor. The laid-back atmosphere of Keyser allows Chapman to spend time focusing on his studies.

Although WVU and PSC are very helpful and offer plenty of veteran benefits, Chapman stated that the government made it especially difficult for him to receive the benefits. The process took over two months to finally get them. “The government isn’t only paying me, they are paying every single veteran who’s attending college, so they get backed up a lot.”

PSC also offers veteran parking and a veterans’ lounge, but Chapman said he doesn’t like to receive these special privileges just because he’s a veteran. “I’m just a normal person, you know? I had to take a different road.”

Chapman is also the Veterans’ Representative in the Student Government Association. Chapman expressed how it is somewhat hard trying to make a difference on the campus for the veterans, primarily because most of the veterans he knows are commuters who come to class then leave. However, Chapman states that he’s still working on ideas.

Potomac State College Students Give Back to Their Community


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“I knew that giving an afternoon of my time to this unique park would be the smallest token I could give back to this piece of history,” said Potomac State College student Maddy Buss. Buss volunteered to clean up trash at the Flight 93 National Park in Somerset County, Pennslyvania. While Buss volunteered she had the chance to speak with families of victims who were aboard Flight 93. “I don’t remember everything she said to me about her relative, but I remember exactly how she made me feel: heavy-hearted but incredibly enlightened.” Buss’s experience had a great emotional impact on her that, she says, will always last with her.

PSC gives students opportunities to get involved in giving back to their community.

WVUe coordinator/professor Andrea Schafer has made it a goal to help students develop life skills as well as career skills. In the WVUe curriculum, students are given an Outreach Engagement Assignment in which they are asked to find a way to give back or engage the community. “Life skills are just as important as career skills,” said Schafer. It gives the students an opportunity to “step out of their comfort zone.”

Schafer sees a lasting impact this assignment leaves on some students

“They see a personal impact or career impact,” said Schafer. Tori Kane participated in giving meals to veterans. After speaking with them, Kane decided she wanted to go into the military.

“I think it’s important to show that we aren’t selfish and only take care of what we benefit from,” said PSC student Cassidy Aldridge, when talking about giving back to her community. Aldridge works at her local YMCA as a front desk staff, child care staff and as a managing assistant. Aldridge found herself staying past her shift, helping the maintenance staff clean. “I noticed how hard the maintenance staff’s job was, so I decided to help out.” Aldridge was offered a higher-level position as a party handler in result of her extra volunteer work. Aldridge expressed that volunteering made her helpful and led to more opportunities at her job.

Not only does this assignment help students to develop communication and interpersonal skills, it also reflects two more of Orlikoff’s core values. Schafer says that accountability and appreciation are also very important here. By volunteering students are showing accountability “by showing up and going through with what they said they would do,” said Schafer. “Appreciation is realized when a student discovers they have a role and a voice on their campus and in their community,” expressed Schafer. WVUe isn’t the only way students are getting involved, however.

PSC Clubs host events that give students opportunities to fundraise or participate in the community.

This year The Intro to Event Logistics class hosted a toy drive Nov. 15th and 16th. During this event, gifts were collected and distributed through the local schools to students/families in need. “I think it is important for students to get involved in the community because it makes a difference in the lives of others,” said event coordinator Amy Weaver. “The realization that you have impacted someone’s life is a huge reward.”

During the month of October, PSC students and Morgantown campus students joined together to complete projects in various Mineral County areas. These projects included painting at the Mineral County Family Resources site as well as cutting grass, power washing sidewalks and cleaning the parking lots at the Mineral County Health Department. Students also worked on similar projects in the city of Piedmont.

PSC clubs are also active in the community. Catamounts Against Cancer has hosted Relay for Life events in the past. Catamounts Against Cancer raised over $1,000 dollars at a mini Relay for Life in October of 2016. This money was then donated to American Cancer Society and the Mineral County Relay for Life. The Student Government also participated in donating their time to paint a house in the community and placed American flags on the quad in honor of veterans for Veteran’s Day.

  “Our campus is an integral part of this community, and by giving back we are showing the community around us that we care,” said Weaver.

PSC’s 5 Core Values

 Jennifer-Orlikoff-PSC.jpg In a soon-to-be released video, Campus President Dr. Jennifer Orlikoff describes five core values for a successful campus community.

1. Service

  Orlikoff shares the importance of being service oriented. She expressed that “we create a welcoming campus community” with an above and beyond attitude to help others.

 2. Curiosity

  Curiosity encourages one to ask questions and to seek new knowledge. It also embraces problem-solving and critical thinking. “Curiosity is my favorite core value.” 

 3. Respect

   “We respect each other. We respect each other’s ideas and opinions. We respect each other’s background and cultural heritage. With respect, we have a united and inclusive campus.”

 4. Accountability

  This core value stresses the need for responsibility. “Probably the most difficult one, but it is so important to the smooth functioning of the campus.”

 5. Appreciation

  Appreciation is important to embrace and encourage. “With appreciation, we find joy in each other, we celebrate each other’s accomplishments, and we recognize the value that everyone brings to this campus.”