Headley and two members of the Alumni Society seated at a round table at the Scholarship Reception

EMET program well represented at scholarship reception

Both Headley and Mueller talked about how the generosity of others creates opportunities for undergraduate student scholarship recipients.
EMET faculty member and student were the keynote speakers at the campus' annual scholarship reception.

Lynsie Headley, a sophomore electro-mechanical engineering technology major from Ford City, and Robert “Doc” Mueller, associate professor of engineering at the campus, were the keynote speakers at the Penn State New Kensington Fall Scholarship Reception at Hill Crest Country Club in Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania.

Student scholarship recipients attending the reception were able to deliver personal thanks to the benefactors who established their scholarship.

Headley, the student keynote

Headley earned a Penn State New Kensington Alumni Society Endowed Scholarship, which funds yearly awards to campus undergraduates. Vera Spina, president of the society, sat with Headley and the other society recipients at the reception. Spina is a 2003 Penn State graduate and former campus student.

“Lynsie is a fantastic student, and I am thrilled she received the (alumni society) scholarship,” Spina said. “It makes me so proud to be able to give back to these students. Helping the students of Penn State New Kensington is the primary focus of the Alumni Society and it makes me feel exceptionally proud of our group of directors who give so much of themselves to help students.”

The society awarded a record $5,500 to four campus students this year.

In addition to Headley, Alissa Dolensky of Lower Burrell, Adis Juklo of Pittsburgh and Carley Carnahan of Lower Burrell were chosen for the scholarships based on their academic status (sophomore, junior or senior), cumulative GPAs (3.0 minimum), county of residency (Allegheny, Armstrong, Butler or Westmoreland) and an essay question ("Why do you feel alumni are willing to give back to the New Kensington campus, and how do you feel you will give back after graduation?"). In their essays, they portrayed the New Kensington campus as a positive learning experience that would encourage them to stay connected to the campus after graduation.

“The New Kensington campus shows a sense of unity, pride, and community,” Headley wrote in her essay. “Staff and students work like a well-oiled machine to create an experience that helps students thrive. Students have the ability to get involved while still working on classes and getting help when needed. Without that kind of support system, some would not succeed during their time at college or enjoy their time as much.”

When she is not on campus, Headley has a paid internship at Siemens in the Westmoreland County Business and Research Park. Under the supervision of Manuel Vega, an engineering manager, she works on modeling and drafting to make drives.

“I model some of the products that will be used to make the drives as well as do the drafting for the assembly of the drives,” Headley said. “I like that I can see the drives while they are in the process of building them. So if I have any questions or need to look at something, I have access to the answers, which I love.”

Headley worked 40 hours a week during the summer, but scaled it back to 10 hours after the start of fall classes. Her work schedule complements her class schedule.

“Siemens is really flexible with my school schedule,” Headley said. “My supervisor gives me the opportunity to create my own office hours based off of my schedule.”

The Lenape Technical School graduate merited her position through the campus’ GREAT (Growing Regional Excellence through Experience, Academics and Training) program. Now in its fifth year, the initiative matches promising engineering and Information Sciences and Technology (IST) students with local internship opportunities. The GREAT program is a partnership between the New Kensington campus, the Penn State Electro-Optics Center and industries within the greater Pittsburgh region.

“A major advantage of having an internship is that I get to tie what I am learning in my classes to the ‘real world',” Headley said. “Another advantage is having a job that I like to do because it is in my major, and not have to worry about needing a job that has little to do with what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Unlike many other programs, GREAT provides qualified engineering students with the opportunity to build professional skills and experiences starting as soon as their first year at the campus. The advantages of freshmen internships are numerous. This year, a record 15 freshmen were accepted into GREAT.

Outside the classroom, Headley is an orientation leader and chair of the Campus Activities Board. In the community, she is a volunteer at Burrell Township Volunteer Fire Department and a member of the township’s Historical Society. She will earn her bachelor’s degree at the New Kensington campus and will keep her internship at Siemen’s for four years.


The Muellers, the benefactors keynote

Mueller and his wife, Linda, recently established the Doc and Linda Mueller Trustee Scholarship at the campus. The $50,000 endowment is a need-based scholarship, and new and current students are eligible to receive the annual awards. First preference will be given to students in the four-year Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology (EMET) program.

“Our motivation was that scholarships allowed me to attend college,” said Doc Mueller, who was born and raised on a small farm in Kansas. “It is an appropriate way to repay the opportunities that were given to me because I had a degree.”

Mueller joined the campus faculty in 1998 and teaches upper-level courses in electro-mechanical engineering and lower-level courses in computer engineering technology. The EMET degree program emphasizes all fields of engineering technology related to typical, highly-automated manufacturing, production, or assembly plant processes. He holds a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and earned a bachelor's degree from Wichita State University in Kansas.

Prior to Penn State New Kensington, Mueller spent more than 30 years in the private industry working with industrial control systems. A registered professional engineer in Pennsylvania, he is a consultant regarding industrial automation and serves as an expert witness in product liability and wrongful-death lawsuits. He served for 21 years in the military and retired as a colonel from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Linda is founder and president of a personal care home in Butler, Pa. The 40-bed facility serves disabled veterans. Her association with the campus goes back to her student days. After becoming a registered nurse, she enrolled in the new bachelor’s degree in nursing program. She was a member of Penn State New Kensington’s first class of nursing graduates.

The Freeport residents are longtime Penn State donors and have advocated for other campus scholarships and programs. Doc received a teaching award in 2010. In keeping with his support of engineering students, he donated the award money to the Bernard and Geraldine Guss Endowed Scholarship. Bernie Guss, professor emeritus of engineering, established the scholarship in 2001 for local students majoring in engineering technology at the campus. The Gusses were on hand with their recipients, Bethany Weilblinger and Ryan Koscianski.


Learn more about the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology program >>