Local Writer Explores Heavy Metal Music in Africa

OAKMONT, Pa. – Pennsylvania native, Edward Banchs, 35, has incorporated his three passions into a project he has been working on since 2010: Africa, heavy metal music, and writing.

Author Edward Banchs (Photo courtesy of LinkedIn)

Author Edward Banchs (Photo courtesy of LinkedIn)

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Bringing Back Boys’ Baseball

By Darren Myers

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) boys’ baseball team is on its way back. The team is currently in its club phase, meaning that all of their games are exhibition games and they are not eligible for a playoff run. The idea for the team was brought to the attention of Athletic Director, Dave Murray, by Electro-Mechanical Engineering major, Cody Shoemaker.

Shoemaker, a member of Student Government Association (SGA) last year, used that position to plant the idea of a baseball team in the head of Chancellor Kevin Snider and other faculty members. “I started talking to a few students to see who was interested and I found three or four that were interested in bringing back baseball,” said Shoemaker.

Once the baseball club began gaining interest among the students, they asked Murray to be the club advisor.

The team is led by head coach, Jim Perry. There was very little time for Perry and the team to conduct any type of off-season training program. “The team was already in place when I got here,” mentioned Perry.

Perry, previously the head coach at Valley High School, enjoys the college atmosphere. “Before Coach Perry came, we were definitely less organized,” Shoemaker said. “I think it’s coming along decently, it’s a long process to revive a sport on a campus as small as ours, but we’re making strides.”

The team has 10 scheduled games for this season, but has been unable to play some of them due to the extended winter we had. They will participate in the Pennsylvania State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) where they will face other Penn State branch campuses, as well as local community colleges.

“Next year there will be a different atmosphere,” stated Perry. “I hope to have enough people recruited to be able to have tryouts.”

Perry is enthusiastic about building this team through the connections he has made from being involved in the Western Pennsylvania Coaches Association. He will use the connections he made as a high school coach to bring in enough talent to be a force to be reckoned within the PSUAC.

The club will run through spring of 2016 and will then make the attempt at becoming a varsity sport.


“Into the Woods” Goes onto the Stage

By Paige Owens

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Last semester, Penn State New Kensington’s Drama Club put on a performance of “Beyond Therapy” in late Nov. with freshmen, Jon McCabe and Laura Gensamer, leading the cast.

Klase Danko, a member of the community, rehearses one of her songs for “Into the Woods.” (Photo by  Regina Cherish)

Klase Danko, a member of the community, rehearses one of her songs for “Into the Woods.” (Photo by Regina Cherish)

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PSNK Public Relations Class Teams up with Local YMCA in Semester Long Project

By Sarah Steighner

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — The Penn State New Kensington COMM 471 Public Relations Methods class has partnered with the local Valley Points Family YMCA for a real life hands on project.

The goal of this semester-long project is to focus on boosting membership recruitment and retention at the local YMCA through the class’s use of Public Relations (PR) which is being taught by Professor Rosemary Martinelli.

Mike Newell is the CEO of the Valley Points Family YMCA and spoke about his experience working with the class during a phone interview. “Professor Martinelli reached out to United Way for an idea of a local community agency that may benefit from PR work and in turn recommended that we speak with the class,” said Newell.

Cindy Elliott, Director of Associate Advancement at the YMCA, has also been working with Newell and the PR class on this project. “We had a great initial meeting with the class, talked through our goals and answered their questions,” said Elliott. “They also visited us at the YMCA and we tried to provide them with information that we wanted feedback on as to how we can better serve families in the communities.”

Newell explained that their YMCA offers a broad range of activities and programs. However, their main areas of focus include youth development and social responsibility. In addition to the Valley Points     Family YMCA, they also operate the Kiski branch YMCA.

During an interview, Martinelli explained that the Public Relations classes she had taught in the past have always had her students take on real life projects and this class would be no different. “We’re technically in the classroom but I want and expect the students to think outside of the classroom and this project absolutely requires that,” said Martinelli.

Martinelli expressed that this semester-long project is much better than simply only using a textbook to teach. “This project has given the students an opportunity to network within the community, and gives them true ownership of the work they do,” said Martinelli.

Martinelli explained that by week 15 of the class, the course will come full circle as her class rolls out an entire campaign and all their ideas in the form of a presentation to the YMCA, communications department, and other faculty on campus.

Along with developing ways to boost PR for the YMCA, the class is in complete charge of planning the presentation. This has included finding funding for linens, food and beverages, as well as the printing costs for invitations, brochures and other print samples.

Senior Communications major and student in the Public Relations Methods course, Regina Cherish, described some of the class dynamics during an interview. “The class is very stressful and full of absolute chaotic planning,” Cherish said. “The experience relies heavily on learning as you go, and a type of thinking on your feet problem solving.”

Cherish explained that the class is graded very subjectively and that it requires a considerable amount of work to be done outside of the classroom. As to what the class has specifically been doing, Cherish explained that along with much additional research, they have been taking the information that the YMCA originally provided and have been working to organize and compile it into brochures.

Cherish has been working as the Project Manager and Graphic Designer producing and designing these brochures and other documents. “The main thing that I have learned from this class is how to manage,” said Cherish. Cherish explained that while she does not want to go into working in Public Relations after graduation, she does want to create things similar to what she has been doing for this project.

The rest of the class is broken up into three groups. Each group focuses on a specific target audience; Students of Higher Education, Family, and External and Internal Communication. “The class is a unique situation where all of us have a mutual respect,” Cherish said. “We have all been in COMM 371 together and worked together in the class. We know each other well enough to play at our strengths. It’s easier to get three people to communicate than 10 people to cooperate.”

Junior Communications major Evan Keener, is also a student in the Public Relations Methods course and offered up his perspective on the class during an interview. “Having groups and team leaders help to make this project more efficient. I think this class is a great opportunity for our students to provide a real life experience to help us after graduation,” said Keener.

Keener elaborated on how he believes this class will help him in the long run. “I think taking this class and doing this project will help me to be more well-rounded for Communications,” said Keener.

The COMM 471 Public Relations Methods class will be hosting the formal presentation on April 29 in the Art Gallery at Penn State New Kensington. Other than the class and staff from the YMCA, other members within the communications department and additional PSNK staff are invited.



Charity Spar-a-thon to be held in New Kensington

By Darren Myers

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – On Saturday May 16, Grand Master Philip Ameris’ Cho’s Taekwondo Center, located on Carl Avenue in New Kensington, will host a charity Spar-a-Thon event for former taekwondo student, Michael Fraser.

The flyer for the Mike Fraser Benefit Fund: created by Philip Ameris Jr.

The flyer for the Mike Fraser Benefit Fund: created by Philip Ameris Jr.

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Soul Of A Citizen: Book Review and Thoughts

By: Millie Brasser

The Penn State New Kensington Fundamentals of Civic and Community Engagement class with Dr. Andrea Adolph has been assigned to read “Soul of A Citizen” by Paul Loeb this semester.

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Haunted Houses: You’re in For a Scare

By Darren Myers

Managing & Online Editor

UPPER BURRELL, Pa. — The best season is upon us: Fall. The days, once long and warm, are now short-lived. The nights now creep up on us faster than before. There is a crisp chill rushing through the air. Leaves are falling as the wind is blowing. The weather is more comfortable. The fashion is better. The colors you see outside almost leave you in disbelief. The longer nights that accompany fall open the doors to haunted houses.

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Halloween Costumes That Are to Die For

By Paige Owens


PITTSBURGH, Pa. – As the leaves change and begin to fall, the beloved summer air turns crisp and cool, and as Halloween is creeping up quickly, it’s never too early to start planning the perfect costume.

This year, a lot of Halloween costumes for men, women, and couples are going to be inspired from pop culture and films that have recently been released or films that we are eagerly anticipating.

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PSNK Student Funds Semester through GoFundMe

By Danielle Richardson

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — A student at Penn State New Kensington has successfully funded their senior year through GoFundMe.

Senior Louis Payne feels lucky to be finishing his final year at PSNK thanks to GoFundMe donations

Senior Louis Payne feels lucky to be finishing his final year at PSNK thanks to GoFundMe donations

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Penn State Soccer Program: Family is Everything

By Archama P. Ort

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – While fall creeps up on our campus in New Kensington, the weather gets cooler while the soccer season heats up.

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Pittsburgh Goes Black & Brown for The Comedy Get Down Tour

By Nico Regoli

Editors Note: This article contains quotes from a live comedy show that might be unsuitable for children and offensive or vulgar.

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Friday, September 18, hundreds, if not thousands gathered into the Consol Energy Center, as “The Comedy Get Down Tour” touched down in Pittsburgh for a night of laughs, as provided by five comedy icons.

comedy get down

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Campus SGA

By Sarah Steighner

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Another semester has arrived, and the Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) Student Government Association (SGA) is bringing vast opportunities and resources for students.


SGA is mainly responsible for overseeing the management of campus clubs and exists to help PSNK students have a voice in regards to everything campus related.

The six SGA executive representatives this year include President Marissa Russo, Vice President Cody Shoemaker, Treasurer Adis Juklo, Secretary Aarush Gupta, Upperclassmen Faculty Senate Representative Bill Carney, and Underclassmen Faculty Senate Representative Jonathan McCabe.

President Russo is currently a 21-year-old senior majoring in Information Science and Technology. Russo explained that she wanted to be SGA President in order to give fellow students the same opportunities and experiences that she has had on campus.

Her duties as President include being chair for the Student Activities Fee (SAF) and Student Facility Fee (SFF) committees, holding public meetings, talking with students, and overseeing campus clubs with Vice President Shoemaker.

Russo has also been actively involved on campus throughout her time here. Aside from her involvement with SGA, Russo’s past activities and club involvement include the Outdoor Adventure Club and being a Lion Ambassador for the Admissions Office.

Russo explained exactly what SGA does for the school. “We exist to make the student experience at PSNK a great one. We listen to students and try to improve based on their feedback on everything from common hour activities to the classroom,” said Russo.

Russo explained one of the major goals that SGA hopes to achieve as it exists. “I believe we [SGA] help to promote the sense of community on campus. In our network of clubs, you can meet so many people and it really makes you feel welcome at home,” said Russo.

Director of Student Affairs, Theresa Bonk, and Student Life Coordinator, Lauren Blum, work together to help oversee the SGA staff and their needs.

Bonk described the numerous responsibilities of SGA. “The SGA is responsible for maintaining the fiscal accounts of the various clubs and organizations on campus. Along with their primary responsibility of representing the student body on campus, they must oversee the registration of the clubs and organizations on campus,” Bonk explained.

While Bonk works perhaps most closely with SGA President Russo in her leadership responsibilities, she gets to oversee the majority of the SGA executive team.

“I believe that this team is working well together, but as with any team it takes a little while for members to understand their individual roles in an organization and then how those roles compliment and support each other in order to accomplish the mission and goals of that organization. They have a lot of responsibility,” said Bonk.

Vice President, Cody Shoemaker, is another vital part of the executive staff of SGA. Shoemaker is a 24-year-old senior majoring in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology.

In previous years, Shoemaker has been a part of THON, Drama Club, CAB, and Outdoor Adventure Club. He has also held the positions of SGA Treasurer and Baseball Club President, while also being an Orientation Leader and working in the Athletic Center on campus.

“I think the SGA at PSNK brings people the opportunity to have an opinion on what happens on campus. Through SGA, we provide the students an opportunity to have input on where their activity fee and facility fee money gets used on around campus,” Shoemaker said.

The PSNK SGA also has an official office on campus. This office is located in Café 780 near the pool tables.

“The office is open as long as someone from SGA is there, which usually amounts to about 4 hours of the day. The main purpose is for SGA staff, however, we encourage people to stop in when the office is open,” Shoemaker said.

Bonk also encourages students to stop by the numerous offices on campus that aid in anything they need. “Students should feel free to stop by the Office of Student Affairs to share any concerns or issues that they may have and tell us how they are doing. In addition, students are also welcome to go to the Director of Academic Affairs and the Chancellor,” Bonk said.

“Students involved in clubs should stop at the Office of Student Life first to ask questions and get assistance for club needs. All of us are here to work with the students to help them succeed at Penn State New Kensington. I’m sure that any faculty or staff member would be happy to meet with individual students or student groups,” Bonk said.

The next public meeting for SGA will take place at noon in the Art Gallery on Wed. Oct. 21. SGA meetings are required for all club officers. However, they are open to anyone from the public who wants to be more involved and hear about what is going on around campus.

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