PSC Softball Wins Against Westmoreland County Community College

The Potomac State College Softball game against Westmoreland County Community College was a rousing success. The girls annihilated their opponent with a final score of 9-1 in favor of PSC. The game started a little slow with no one scoring until the third inning, where the girls scored 3 runs for the next 3 innings ending it all in the fifth inning.

“Coming together as a team to win instead of playing for yourself is a victory in itself, our team strives to play as a whole and we do that very well,” said PSC softball player Lexi Trickett about their victory.

The many fans of the softball team turned up to support the girls. Frequent spectator Zane Sine explained that he never misses a game if he can help it.

“They really knocked it out of the park here today. When they started scoring they did not let up until the game was over,” said Sine.

The pitcher for this game, Kadi Cosgrove, was later awarded a student athlete award.

STEM Attracts Families

 

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What do dissected pigs, lasers, snakes, equines, rockets, LEGOs and drones have in common? The Mineral County STEM Festival!
Faculty, staff, students and community members volunteered to present a variety of activities on campus March 24. The festival introduced children in Kindergarten through 12 grade to science, technology, engineering and math concepts through hands-on activities. About 1,000 visitors attended the STEM Festival.

The festival included displays put together by the students, faculty and the surrounding community. The Potomac State College agriculture department had horses and goats on display for the families. The equine students were showing the kids how to tack horses and explained their daily routines in the barn. The goat farm also brought some goats to the quad for the children to interact with.

“I think it is important for kids to feel comfortable around animals and gain experience about them,” said PSC equine student Mallie Otoole.

Ameicorps sent representatives from the Americorps Forrest Service and the Americorps Fish and Wildlife to teach the community about non-native invasive species. The point of their booth was to help educate the public on how to identify non-native invasive species and help reduce their spread and the harm that these species can cause to the environment.

“The earlier that children are informed the earlier they can get involved,” said Americorps Forest Service worker Haley Hutchins.

The Mary F. Shipper library had many classic displays, such as the virtual reality glasses that have been a hit at past STEM festivals. The families were allowed to put on the VR glasses and then they were read a story while being shown images through the glasses that went along with the story. A brand new drone display was also being shown in the library. David Miller of the PSC library was educating the public on drone safety and the importance of drones in the future of our society. The children were also allowed to fly the drones through an obstacle course that the library put up.

The sciences were very popular at the STEM festival. Professor of Biology Dr. Gerald Wilcox was showing off the difference between healthy lungs and a smoker’s lungs using real pig lungs. He used the pig lungs to show how smoking can discolor a person’s lungs. There were also dissected fetal pigs being shown to the children. They were even allowed to look through their organs.

“I was sad because they were dead, but I learned that their hearts are really small,” said seven-year-old Juniper Judy.

The Potomac Valley Chapter of the Mountain State Valley Council for the Blind sent representatives to the festival to educate people on technologies that allow for blind people to live independently. These technologies include the “Brail Note” that allows for blind people to type and the “Seeing Eye” application that allows for blind people to read through the cameras on their phone.

There were a lot of engineering presentations on display. The PSC engineering department had a gokart that they built on the quad for families to drive. Orbital ATK was present to teach children about the anatomy of rockets by letting them make their own rockets out of paper and launching them using a using an air bellow. The community robotics team “Rambunctious Robots” was showing off the robots that they built. These robots included a tank, one that used pressure sensors to push off of surfaces and one that is programmed to give high fives.

West Virginia University sophomore Olivia Young was present on behalf of the Science Public Outreach Team, a team founded by NASA and Greenbank Observatory, to educate on space and radio waves. She was running an exhibit that was showing how meteors strike the earth.

“I think it is important for kids to take an interest in science early because as we get older science becomes less about discovery and more about memorization. And it is important to keep that passion in discovery because it really goes a long way,” said Young.

Stoplight to be Stationed on State Street Should Secure Strolling Students’ Safety this September

 

 

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  “I used to have friends who’d call and ask me to help them cross the street,” said Steffan Chapman, a PSC student. 

  For some PSC students, crossing 220 from Catamount Place is difficult due to the lack of a stoplight or crosswalk. The closest crosswalk is on St. Cloud Street, a block from Fort Ave.

  Recent events at West Virginia University Morgantown campus have revealed the urgency and importance for proper student traffic safety. On February 1, 2018 Leah Berhanu, a WVU student, was hit at the intersection of Morrill Way and Patterson Drive near Evansdale Campus entrance. Berhanu was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

What is PSC doing to prevent this? 

To prevent an accident like the one in Morgantown, the city of Keyser and PSC administration have plans to place a stoplight at the bottom of State street. This light will create a safer, more convenient place for students to cross. Discussion of the stop light began nearly two years ago under former campus president Dr. Colelli, said PSC Chief of Police Brian Kerling. 

  Construction of the light will be completed no later than the end of September 2018, according to West Virginia Division of Highways’ Kenneth Clohan who oversees the placement of stoplights and other road signs in seven WV districts. Until the light is in place, PSC drivers and pedestrians can take precautions to remain safe.

What can drivers and pedestrians do until light is installed?

“Actually pay attention,” said Kerling when giving advice to drivers and pedestrians on campus.  Kerling emphasizes that both drivers and pedestrians need to be completely aware of their surroundings.

Kerling said he was on Campus Drive recently in the patrol car, and a female was walking in the middle of the road. She had her face down, looking at her cell phone. The female headed straight towards the patrol car, and Kerling had to come to a complete stop before she walked into his vehicle. Kerling encourages pedestrians to use the sidewalks and look up from their phones. 

  WVU released a list of tips to pedestrians and drivers on how to stay safe on the streets. For pedestrians, WVU encourages students to obey all traffic signals, make eye contact with drivers, show your intentions of crossing and always assume a car won’t stop for you. The safe use of cell phone usage was emphasized within the tips.

  A study conducted by the National Safety Council in 2015 shows that cell phone usage while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. It also showed that one out of every four car accidents is caused by texting and driving.

In 2015 alone, 3,477

total deaths and 391,000 injuries were due to distracted driving in the U.S.

Source: DMV.com

  “When someone else is driving and they are checking their phone, eating or fidgeting with the radio, I tend to feel very nervous and uncomfortable,” said PSC freshman Mariah Boyce.   

  “I’m sometimes tempted to smack their phone out of their hand,” said Katie Shreve, PSC freshman, “it makes me cautious to ride with them again.”

  Most drivers will acknowledge that texting or being distracted while driving is dangerous. According to AAA poll, 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, but 35% of those students admit to doing it anyway. “To be honest, I eat, text and talk on the phone while I drive,” admits one PSC student who wishes to remain anonymous. 

  WVU campus administrators are working to protect their students and prevent any more tragic accidents. Kerling stated that last school year signs instructing pedestrians to use side walks were placed on State Street. 

   In Morgantown, University Police recently placed portable signs at busy intersections where accidents have occurred. Morgantown campus’ SGA also held two safety walks near busy intersections to identify where areas may need additional safety measures for pedestrians. “We recognize that all these immediate actions are not permanent,” said Rob Alsop, WVU vice president for strategic initiatives in a WVU press release, “but long-term solutions will take time to investigate and then implement appropriately.”

PSC and Keyser Focus on Building a Community

The Indie on Main is providing cultural experiences including art shows and theatre performances for the city and campus community. Photo courtesy of The Indie on Main

   The first day of your college life begins, and you’re excited. As you head to your first class, you’re greeted by unfamiliar faces and quickly find yourself given an intense workload that’s entirely your responsibility.

   You’re living with a stranger, missing your old bed, pulling all-nighters and finding it hard to make friends in what little spare time you have. It’s easy to get overwhelmed during your college experience. Potomac State College is working to make sure that students stay happy through it all.

   One of these steps involved looking at students who decided to leave the campus. PSC surveyed students in 2016 and 2017; in both years, the surveys revealed approximately 20 percent of students surveyed who left experienced emotional problems, and 20 percent also indicated they felt alone or isolated. 

   In 2016, 35 percent of students surveyed said they were dissatisfied with social life on campus, a number that dropped to 9 percent in 2017.

   Pennsylvania-born student Aleeya Mayo said that the social life was one of the reasons she left PSC. 

   Mayo said she missed city life and being close to home. “Potomac State compared to Philly is like a completely different world. In the city I had all of my friends and family, about a million places to shop and eat, but at PSC I didn’t have that,” she said. 

   Counselor Kristin Morton had advice for students facing homesickness and emotional problems. “ Understand that homesickness is a very normal feeling when adjusting to a brand-new environment and does not mean that there’s anything negative about the new place or one’s ability to fit in there,” she said. 

“I definitely got homesick a lot, but something that helped with the distance was just applying myself to my school work 100 percent.”

 – Aleeya Mayo

   “The best way to move through homesickness is to get involved in your new environment.  The more engaged one is in building his/her new life, the quicker the feelings of homesickness will pass.” 

   Morton offered a reminder that Counseling Services is “always ready to listen” to students dealing with any issues.

   Combatting these feelings of homesickness are a high priority for the school. Alumni Relations Coordinator Derek Artimez believes PSC is capable of building a welcoming community that retains students through student life and academics that engage students. 

   “If we succeed in building a true community, then this will feel like a second home to students, relieving some of the strains of homesickness,” he said. 

   Dean of Students William Letrent has been working to offer activities students will enjoy. Surveys have been used to gauge student interest in various activities. 

   Letrent talked about changes coming in the fall that should help students get involved before classes even start. The fall semester’s Welcome Week will be focused more on team-building exercises and less on academia that some students found “boring.” 

   Students will be grouped with classmates from their WVUe class, in the hopes that students will see familiar faces as classmates on the first day of the semester. 

   Part of WVUe classes include encouraging students to participate in activities on campus.

 “We are looking at many ways to help students persist from one semester to the next until they complete a degree,” Campus President Orlikoff said.  

   “This includes academic support, advising and mentorship by faculty, student activities, financial assistance, welcoming facilities and an overall positive campus climate. We want students to feel they belong and are a part of the campus community so they want to stay and complete their degrees.  With a degree in hand, students are in a great place to launch into their future.”

   Making the area more college-friendly is something the city of Keyser is working towards as well. Stephen Settimi runs the Indie on Main, an art house designed to give local artists a venue to share their works with the public. 

   The Indie has worked with PSC in developing a script-writing opportunity for aspiring playwrights and has created a non-profit aimed at providing scholarships to students for the arts.

   Settimi said the Indie offers students “an exposure to the visual and performing arts that they might normally find in a city area.”

   Settimi added that students who want more things to do in the area need to get out, participate and make their voices be heard. 

   “There are lots of cultural and social groups in the area. They’re always looking for ideas,” he said. 

   Settimi and other local businesses try to give customers what they want to see, but in return participation is required. 

   He remarked that the Indie has shown numerous films, from classics to recent releases, but attendance has made it hard to justify the licensing fee. 

   The Indie now offers a “BYOM” – Bring Your Own Movie – where anyone can come in and stream what they’d like to see in a private theatre among friends. He added that the Indie tries to support anyone who comes in with a good idea. “We welcome people to come in and say we want to do this. Generally the answer is yes.”

Christian Clubs Create Community on Campus

By Zoe Sypolt

   Discovering who you are and what you believe is an essential part of the college experience.  When beginning this new adventure living away from home for the first time, many students find themselves searching for friends of likeminded faith for support when facing temptations associated with the stereotypical college lifestyle.  

   Potomac State College has three clubs to help students become more deeply rooted and grow in their Christian faith.

   Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) is an international organization that was founded in 1951. It is one college organization that’s fighting to decrease the staggering statistic that 70 percent of first year Christian college students walk away from their faith. 

   PSC’s CRU chapter, Campus Hope in Christ, meets for lunch every Tuesday in the Davis Conference Center from 12-12:30 p.m.

   Professor Vicki Huffman said she was one of those statistics. Although she did not necessarily walk away from her faith, she found it difficult to devote time to focus on her relationship with Jesus. She became a co-sponsor for CRU when she started working at PSC in 2005. 

   Although PSC’s CRU is much smaller than other college campuses, she described it as a “safe haven” for believers to fellowship together and share struggles and testimonies. They also sponsor a free movie night for students to attend. 

   Recently, the club provided free tickets for “God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness” at the Country Club Mall Cinema.

   Drew Waasdorp, current president of CRU, joined as a freshman in the fall of 2016. He described CRU meetings as a place where students can be filled both physically and spiritually, as they enjoy lunch and a hear message from local pastors and leaders each week.    

   After Sara Sredy attended the first CRU meeting, she knew the club would become a part of her weekly routine.    

   “We did a group activity that involved everyone writing on a piece of paper ‘God can’ and filled in the blank,” she said.  “It was something so simple but reminded me of how much God does in our lives.”  

   Sredy said that weekly meetings give her a break from academics and remind her to make time for faith in her busy schedule. 

   Cross Impact, another Christian student organization at PSC, is sponsored by the Gospel Life Baptist Church in Keyser. The chapter meets on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the Heritage Room. 

   While Professor Derick Matlick is the club sponsor, Pastor Mike Wyatt usually runs the weekly meetings. 

   “Our club is a place where students can come and feel support,” said Matlick. “The college environment can be pretty tough on an 18-year-old.” 

   Cross Impact is a way to reach college students with the Gospel and encourage growth. “We’ve seen kids come to know Christ as their Savior during our weekly meetings. It’s just a great place to give them the support that they may be lacking when they leave their home church and friends,” said Matlick. 

   Christians around campus are not just meeting weekly to revive their spirits. The Campus & Community Ministries Club meets every Monday in the library from 3-4 p.m. 

   It entails a variety of community outreach projects, including taking mission trips each spring, working with local community members, and creating seasonal items for the nursing home. 

   Last year, students spent their spring break rebuilding houses in southern West Virginia that were destroyed by the floods. 

   Local Pastor Lauren Godwin, the sponsor of the club said, “It’s a club where students get to serve others in the community, which is one of the things Jesus called us to do.” 

His Story of Her Story Praises Positive Women

By SeVohn Hunter

   When asked what woman influenced your life, most people will say their mother. Five men on campus decided to look past the exhausted answer and dig a little deeper.

   Derek Artimez, Dr. Edward Brown, Dr. Greg Ochoa, Nick Goff, and Zach Halterman discussed influential women who impacted their lives and careers at the “His Story of Her Story” event.

   Halterman, a PSC student, opened the presentation with a PowerPoint titled “Impactful Mothers.” His presentation named powerful women in history who are rarely referred to as mothers. He mentioned women like Cleopatra, the ruler of Egypt for three decades; Marie Curie, the famous scientist who discovered Radium; and Olympias, the wife of Phillip II. He also included his own mother at the end of the PowerPoint who he said “helps with everything I need without asking for anything in return and makes a mean cherry cobbler and buffalo chicken dip.”

   Artimez followed with a story about Tara Curtis, his Public Relations 101 professor. He described her as one who knew her students’ names and could converse with each of them about their personal lives. 

   Artimez stayed after class every week to help Curtis with cleaning up the classroom. He told her that if she needed anything, he would be there. Because of his generosity, Curtis gave him an interview and eventually an internship with the WVU Alumni Association. This opportunity introduced Artimez to his current career as PSC’s alumni relations coordinator.

   Criminal Justice Instructor Goff gave a very passionate speech about Senator Susan Collins. 

   Collins was a key contributor to putting down the Skinny Repeal, an attempt to remove the Affordable Care Act, which she was against from the beginning. Goff endured a serious car accident, which led to high medical bills that were thankfully covered by his health insurance.     

   Later on, Goff was without healthcare for some time, but he was lucky enough to avoid any serious injuries or illnesses. He described Collins as a very strong woman because she stood up for what she believed in and said without healthcare he would not be here today.

   Dean of Academic Affairs Ochoa talked about his grandmother Vivian Flores. Ochoa’s family moved around a lot because his father was in the military, but he remembers his grandmother visiting everywhere they lived. He shared his many memories with her. Once when he was living with her, he had an internship at the company where she worked, and they would ride to work together every morning. His grandmother taught him to be strong, adventurous and easygoing. Ochoa said, “My nana was there at my birth, and I was there when she died.”

   Activities Program Manager Brown ended the night with a presentation on Mother Jones aka Mary Harris. Known as the “most dangerous woman in America,” Mother Jones was a passionate activist for child labor rights and was not afraid to defy the government.   

   She was also a labor organizer for the United Mine Workers and helped unionize southern coalfields of West Virginia. She was jailed many times for her actions against the government, but she never stopped fighting for what she believed in. “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living” is a well-known quote by Mother Jones.

   The community members, students and faculty who attended applauded the men for sharing their stories. Jaydin Haskins was a student of Goff’s and said, “I never would have known that he didn’t have healthcare [for a period of time] or how much the Affordable Care Act would affect everyone.”     

   Haskins said that the event allowed her to get to know some of the speakers on campus.

PSC Students Engage in Diversity Among Peers

 

2018 Diversity Ambassadors Group Photo color

Potomac State College students embrace diversity and get to know someone different than them. The students participated in a five week initiative where they spent time with a peer who came from a different cultural, religious, or racial backgrounds. Photo by Potomac State College.

Potomac State College encourages its students to embrace diversity and explore new cultures, and that was the ultimate goal of the Diversity Ambassador Initiative. This initiative challenged around 24 PSC students from different religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds to get to know each other over the course of five weeks. 

  Before the program began, the volunteers participated in a questionnaire to compare compatibility. Students were then partnered and spent the next five weeks together. Through the program, participants gained points from doing activities together like eating meals, studying in the library or just hanging out. 

   “We’d do things like play video games and just talk about what we go through in life and the struggles we have had to overcome as individuals,” said PSC freshman Canyon Hunt. 

  Founder of the program, PSC Activities Program Manager, Dr. Edward Brown, stated that this initiative challenges stereotypes and fears. Brown also said that this program has a lasting impact on the students, whether it be in their casual social lives or in the workforce. 

   Participants learn how to work with diversity and “take down barriers and stereotypes to get to know someone,” said Brown. 

  “I think the program went very well,” said PSC sophomore Serena Redman. “I would have to say that my favorite part would be getting to know someone and how different they can be.” 

   Being bi-racial, Redman said the initiative really stood out to her. “It got me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to really get to know someone for who they are, and not what they look like,” said Redman.

  “I’m an introvert,” said PSC senior James Beall, “so the program itself made me get out there and talk to someone I hadn’t before.” Beall stated that through this program he and his partner became friends and continue to do things together. 

   The initiative also helped to knock down the cultural barrier between rural and urban students. “There’s a cultural divide between urban and rural, so the program is really beneficial in that sense,” said Beall. 

  “To bridge that gap we definitely need this program because it brings people together in a friendly environment. It encourages people to get to know ‘other’ people. I really hope the program progresses every year. We need it to.”

  Brown is seeking funding for next year; he hopes that it will continue at PSC campus and expand to other college campuses. He will be presenting the program in Morgantown to WVU campus administrators and other institute observers at the Student Success Summit. 

For information contact Brown.