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Penn State Mont Alto Commencement stories

5/10/2011 —

Penn State Mont Alto will hold its 2011 Spring Commencement this Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. in its Multipurpose Activities Center (gymnasium). The address will be given by campus alumnus Dr. Shaun B. Keister, associate vice president of development for Penn State. The campus has been graduating students for more than 100 years. This year, Penn State Mont Alto expects to recognize 143 students, 108 with associate degrees and 35 with baccalaureate degrees. About half of this year’s graduates are adult learners (24 years of age or older), and their ages range from 19 to 57. In fact, 71 adults will participate in the commencement ceremony while 72 traditional students do the same.

Interesting stories from the graduating class follow.

Jennifer Hutsler is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. A Chambersburg High School alumnus (’95), Hutsler earned her associate’s degree in Nursing  from Penn State at the Mont Alto campus in 2004. She worked as a nurse for Summit Health at Chambersburg Hospital until suffering a serious illness in 2007. After her recovery, Hutsler returned to Mont Alto to purse the bachelor’s degree she will be recognized for at commencement. Additionally, Hutsler is one of only six students accepted into the master’s degree program from the Penn State School of Nursing to be offered for the first time at Mont Alto next fall. She has maintained position on the Dean’s List each semester during her baccalaureate pursuit, and she was recently inducted into the national honor society, Alpha Sigma Lambda, for adult learners. Hutsler also received two scholarships while a student at Mont Alto.

Sharita Statum is graduating with an associate’s degree from our Occupational Therapy Assistant program; like all graduating students in that program she will start clinical work soon, and she will officially graduate later. Also a 1995 graduate of CASHS, Statum has successfully juggled the role of a university student with her role as a busy mom. In fact, Statum carried and gave birth to her third child during the Spring semester. Born during the third week of April, baby girl Lyric did not keep Statum from completing all of her OTA courses. She also completed her final presentation and did not miss her final exams. Statum will begin full-time fieldwork on August 1, 2011. Her official Penn State graduation date is expected in December. Statum is also mom to Jayden, 7, and Ja’Nye, 4.

Allegra Nittany Heebner of Fairfield in neighboring Adams County will be recognized at Commencement for earning her third Penn State degree. She completed her bachelor’s of science in Human Development and Family Studies in Fall 2010, but will be recognized this Saturday. In addition, Heebner completed an associate’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies in Spring 2008, and an associate’s degree in Occupational Therapy in Fall 2009.

Penn State Mont Alto has approximately 1200 students. The campus offers seven baccalaureate and eight associate degree programs, as well as the first two years of more than 160 Penn State degrees.


The students profiled above are available to interview.  Members of the media are invited to attend the commencement ceremony on May 14. Please contact Kristie Fry at 717.749.6112 or kfry@psu.edu to confirm attendance.

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