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News @ PSU

News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Technology student named national SkillsUSA president

To his technology professors, Jack Frederick is a dream come true.

Growing up, Frederick first got his mechanical feet wet through his family’s plumbing and heating business. He wasn’t even old enough to drive when he bought, remodeled, and sold a ’77 K-5 Chevy Blazer. And before he finished high school, he was working as a service technician for a BMW dealership in his hometown of Wichita, learning the ins and outs of automotive repair.

Looking back, his appointment last week as the president of the college/postsecondary division of SkillsUSA seems like an achievement just waiting to happen.

“This is absolutely unbelievable,” said Frederick, a sophomore automotive technology major at PSU who first got involved with the national organization as a high school senior. “I feel like I’ve completed a longtime goal.”

Frederick was elected as one of five officers for his division at the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City on June 29, where officer hopefuls participated in campaigns that included speeches, Q&A sessions with the audience, and a SkillsUSA knowledge test. Last week, he was elected president by his co-officers at a training conference in Leesburg, Va.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that partners students, teachers, and industry members with the goal of creating a more skilled and leadership-focused workforce. With more than 280,000 student members and approximately 15,000 teacher and advisory members, the organization covers most disciplines. Officers for the two divisions – high school and college/postsecondary – are selected each year.

It’s not only an honor for Frederick, who revived the PSU SkillsUSA chapter when he came to Pitt State last year (the chapter hadn’t been active since 2002), but for the entire College of Technology.

“Ever since Jack came to our school I’ve been totally impressed by his leadership and willingness to try to make things better,” said Ron Downing, assistant professor for automotive technology and faculty adviser to the PSU SkillsUSA group. “He’s always calling me with great ideas. As a teacher, it gives me a new energy, because he’s really a phenomenal young man. This is a boost for PSU.”

Although he’ll be juggling classes while traveling across the country for SkillsUSA events next year, accepting the presidency does mean Frederick will have to sit out on some things. Until his term ends next summer, Frederick can’t compete in the organization’s competitions, despite his history of top scores at the national level. But taking on the challenges of this new role, he says, is worth the compromise.

“This has been a big confidence booster for me,” he said. “Being involved in this organization has opened so many doors. My biggest goal now is to just give back to PSU.”
(Photo by Lloyd Wolf for SkillsUSA)

---Pitt State---

Monday, July 23, 2007

PSU welcomes Cutting Edge Auxiliary Camp

It’s a treat for the eyes and ears this week as band students wash the Pittsburg State University campus with color and sound.

The 14th annual Cutting Edge Auxiliary Camp runs July 23-26 on the campus of PSU. The camp, designed for 7th-12th graders, offers training and instruction for flag corps, drum majors, percussionists, and section leaders. Approximately 330 students from 45 different school districts in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri are signed up this year.

The camp begins each day at 9 a.m. and runs to 5 p.m. At 11 a.m. on Thursday, the students will converge for a performance in front of Russ Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

The camp is organized and led by Cutting Edge Executive Director Diana Williams. It runs in conjunction with the Brass Spectacular show, scheduled for 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25 at PSU’s Carnie Smith Stadium.

For more information about the Cutting Edge Auxiliary Camp, contact Williams at 417-438-1914. For details or ticket information on the Brass Spectacular performance, call Doug Whitten, PSU director of athletic bands, at 620-235-4070.

---Pitt State---

Friday, July 20, 2007

Endicott named director of Custodial and General Services

John Patterson, Pittsburg State University vice president for Administration and Campus Life, today announced the appointment of Wanda Endicott as director of Custodial and General Services. Endicott, of Mindenmines, Mo., is currently the university’s custodial services supervisor.

“I am confident Wanda will do a great job as director of this important area,” Patterson said. “Anyone who has worked with her will attest to her positive attitude and her skill in managing people and resources.”

Endicott, who will celebrate 21 years with PSU in December, said she first joined the staff as a seasonal custodial worker in 1975. She took a break from work to raise her two daughters and returned to Pittsburg State when her oldest daughter was a senior in high school. Both daughters went on to earn degrees from PSU.

Endicott praised the custodial staff for the work that they do to keep the university’s buildings looking sharp.

“When I visit other campuses, I always look to see how others compare,” Endicott said. “Our people are really proud of what they do and it shows.”

---Pitt State---

Amershek named director of Building Trades and Landscape Maintenance

John Patterson, Pittsburg State University vice president for Administration and Campus Life, today announced the appointment of Tom Amershek as director of Building Trades and Landscape Maintenance. Amershek has served as assistant director of the PSU Physical Plant since 1993.

“Tom’s loyalty to the university and his years of service speak volumes about his affection for PSU,” Patterson said. “Tom clearly has the skills and experience to be successful in this important new role.”

Amershek, who grew up in Frontenac and now lives in Arma, has an associate’s degree in architectural drafting and a bachelor’s of science degree in construction management from PSU.

Amershek said Pittsburg State is fortunate to have a staff of skilled professional employees who maintain the university’s buildings and grounds.

“These men and women play an important and sometimes overlooked role in the university’s educational mission,” Amershek said. “I am proud of the work they do and I’m excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Amershek said he is also proud of his long association with Pittsburg State University.

“I’m proud to be a Gorilla and I look forward to serving my alma mater in every way that I can,” Amershek said.

---Pitt State---

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ivy new dean of enrollment management at PSU

Dr. Steve Scott, Pittsburg State University vice president for Academic Affairs, announced today the appointment of Dr. William Ivy as dean of Enrollment Management and Student Success. Ivy comes to PSU from Oklahoma State University where he is currently an assistant vice president in the Division of Enrollment Management.

“Dr. Ivy brings a wealth of excellent experiences in enrollment management to this newly defined role at Pittsburg State,” Scott said. “Because of the scope of his experiences, we are expecting him to play an immediate and critical role in our efforts to refine and extend our enrollment management activities.”

Scott said an “area of high expectation” for Ivy will be his focus on recruiting, enrollment, and retention data.

“I'll be asking him to redesign and reformat the data we collect and help us rethink how and to whom that data is shared in an effort to broaden ownership and participation in recruitment and retention efforts,” Scott said.

Ivy said he was looking forward to “trying to help the campus look at enrollment management in a very strategic way.”

Ivy holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Arkansas State University, a master of arts degree in political science from Memphis State University, a master of science degree in education (counselor education) from Henderson State University and a doctorate in philosophy (higher education and personnel) from the University of Mississippi.

For the past 27 years, Ivy has served Oklahoma State University in a variety of leadership roles in the areas of student academic services, enrollment management and alumni relations.

Ivy, who was on campus recently to participate in one of the Campus Advisement, Registration and Enrollment Sessions for incoming freshmen, said he enjoyed the fact that the size of the Pittsburg State campus made it possible for faculty and staff to have more personal interaction with students.

“Part of what I like about the job,” Ivy said, “is the addition of ‘student success’ to the title. The focus is both on bringing the students here and their success after they arrive. I like that we have a continued presence in students’ lives.”

“It is an exciting time to be at Pittsburg State University,” Scott said, “as we work our way through a number of senior-level leadership changes. I’m confident that Dr. Ivy will fit well within our culture, and that he has the skills and experiences needed to help move us forward.”

---Pitt State---

Friday, July 13, 2007

Mini-Baja team takes First Place at Korean competition

(Pictured are the PSU team members who took First Place at the SAE Mini-Baja competition in Korea: Cody Emmert, Matthew Merz, and Pete Allen.)

Sometimes, the second time is the charm.

The PSU Mini-Baja team that swept in for a second place finish at last year’s SAE Mini-Baja event in Korea has taken the competition by storm again.

The three-man team took first place overall at the competition, held June 29-30 at Yeungnam National University in Daeug, South Korea. Cody Emmert, who captained last year’s team, returned again this year with new teammates Pete Allen, a sophomore from Augusta, Kan.; and Matthew Merz, a junior from Meriden, Kan. Both are automotive technology majors. Emmert, from Seneca, Kan., earned his bachelor’s degree in technology in May.

The team traveled to Korea on May 29 to spend four weeks at Gyeongsang National University in Jinju, South Korea, making major modifications to the last year’s vehicle. (SAE Mini-Baja rules state the same car may be used, but only if it is significantly modified.) They then traveled to Daeug for the competition.

Before the muddy, 3-1/2 hour mountain endurance race, the team competed in several smaller events, taking first place in maneuverability and scoring high in the rock crawl, acceleration, and pulling courses. Ranked sixth out of 80 teams after those events, the team then won the endurance race, earning enough points to rank first overall. Yeungnam, the host university, had taken first place the past three years.

“It wasn’t until they presented Yeungnam with the second place award that we knew we had won,” said Emmert, who will return to PSU this fall to begin work on a master’s degree. “Competing in Korea the past two years has been a priceless life experience. We couldn’t be more pleased.”

The team was presented with a First Place trophy and a flag that the winner keeps until next year’s competition.

“I thought the accomplishments in 2006 were fantastic, but I have to say taking first place overall is an awesome accomplishment on the part of Pitt State’s team,” said Dr. John Iley, who works closely with all of PSU’s Mini-Baja teams. “We are very proud of them.”

This is the second time the PSU team has competed in the Korean Mini-Baja event, which is one of seven SAE Mini-Baja events in the world. Last year’s team spent five months in the country as part of an exchange program between PSU and Gyeongsang National University. Three other PSU Mini-Baja teams, including the exchange team from Gyeongsang who studied at PSU last semester, scored competitively at two SAE competitions in the U.S. earlier this year.

For more information on the PSU Mini-Baja team, contact Dr. John Iley at
jiley@pittstate.edu or at 620-235-4373, or Matthew Keller at mkeller@pittstate.edu at 620-235-6515. To learn more about the SAE Mini-Baja competitions, go to www.sae.org.

---Pitt State---

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Technology workshops for kids kick off at PSU

With summer in full swing and many parents looking for kid-friendly entertainment in a cool environment, the Department of Engineering Technology at Pittsburg State University is offering hands-on entertainment with an educational twist.

The Department’s 5th annual round of summer workshops begins next week, and features new courses focused on math, science and technology for 9 to 14-year-olds.

“Construct your Future,” a workshop that gives kids the opportunity to explore professional aspects of the construction industry, will run from 9 a.m. to noon, July 16-20. Activities include 3D modeling, computer estimating and scheduling. “Plastic is Fantastic,” a workshop designed to give kids a first-hand look at methods used in the plastics industry, will also run next week from 1-4 p.m. each day. The workshop includes experiments in molding, testing, and extruding different types of plastic. In order to have something to remember their work, students get to keep their final projects.

The two-part Adventures in Robotics workshops will begin the following week, July 23-27. “Adventures in Robotics 1” will be held from 9 a.m. to noon (session 1) and 1-4 p.m. (session 2) each day. “Adventures in Robotics II” will be held July 30-Aug. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon, and is available only to kids who have completed an “Adventures in Robotics 1” workshop or have LEGO robotics experience.

The workshops are all held at the Kansas Technology Center on the PSU campus. Registration for each workshop is $90, and materials and snacks are included. Late registration will be held on Monday morning, July 16.

For more information or to sign up for a workshop, contact Randy Winzer at 620-235-4370 or the Department of Engineering Technology at 620-235-4350.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gorilla Bookstore hosts Harry Potter release party

The Campus Activities Center at Pittsburg State University is hosting a Harry Potter book release party to celebrate the most recent edition in the famous J.K. Rowling series.

A party for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” will be held from 10 p.m. to midnight on Friday, July 20, at the Gorilla Bookstore in the Overman Student Center. The evening will include a Harry Potter-themed costume contest, spelling bee and trivia contest, as well as face painting and refreshments. Winners will receive prizes including movie tickets, books, and a hardback set of the entire Harry Potter book series.

Copies of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” can be purchased at the party for $20.99, 40 percent off the retail price. Participants are encouraged to reserve a copy ahead of time.

For more information or to reserve a copy of the book, contact Fawn Baker in the bookstore at 620-235-4875.

---Pitt State---

New PSU degree program gets national certification

( At right, Dr. James Harris accepts the INFOSEC certification from CNSS. The award was presented by Ms. Joan Ruhl with the National Security Agency.)

As concerns rise about the safety of information in a world dependent upon electronic communication, a new degree program at Pittsburg State University is teaching students how to manage security issues associated with the storage and transmission of information.

PSU’s Information Assurance and Computer Security program received its first national distinction recently when it was INFOSEC (Information Systems Security) certified by the Committee on National Security Systems. The certification was made at an awards ceremony at Boston University on June 6. It makes PSU one of about 100 schools in the nation to achieve this honor.

Dr. James Harris, a professor in PSU’s Computer Science-Information Systems Department, which offers the program, said the certification is the first step in the process of becoming a Center of Excellence, a distinction the Kelce College of Business hopes to earn within the next few years.

The Information Assurance and Computer Security program was introduced at PSU in 2005. Instructors spent six months collecting data on the program before submitting it to CNSS, which then spent a year reviewing the application.

“There are hundreds of concepts and topics that have to be covered to meet the training standard for this certification,” Harris said. “The unique feature of our program is that we require several courses in accounting. We have a very strong internal auditing program, so we have built on that strength.”

Harris said the program goes far beyond technical training and teaches students that they need to manage a process that begins with policies and procedures. For more information on the Information Assurance and Computer Security Program, contact Dr. Harris at
jdharris@pittstate.edu or visit www.pittstate.edu/csis.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

New PSU Formula SAE team receives honors

The award-winning engineering technology teams at Pittsburg State University have a new reason to celebrate.

The PSU College of Technology’s new Formula SAE racing team achieved a noteworthy win last week at the annual international Society of Automotive Engineers Formula SAE competition in Fontana, Calif. The six-person team took second place in the Perseverance Award category, earning them the distinction as a “Top 5 Rookie.”

The PSU Formula SAE team was offered to students as an alternative to participating in the Moonbuggy Race competition. Senior engineering tech majors are required to take part in one of the competitions. The students spent months building the car from the ground up for the competition. They raised about $17,000 in donations for their trip, spending nearly $13,000 of that on the car.

The PSU team took 47th place overall out of a total of 80 teams, many of which are Division I universities. Although the 20-lap race is a highlight of the week-long competition, the challenge for many teams is simply making it through the extensive technical inspection. The team spent more than three days making adjustments to the car in order for it to pass inspection before competing in other events.

The advantage of making it through the first year, he said, is that next year’s team will be able to fix trouble spots ahead of time. In addition to this year’s car being overweight and using too much fuel, the team had to repair a broken CV joint and a problem on the left rear hub. Advisers said the goal next year will be for the team to score in the Top 25, and for underclassmen to take notes and prepare for their shot at the race.

For more information about the SAE competition, visit

---Pitt State---