Penn College to exhibit at nation’s largest science festival

Pennsylvania College of Technology will reprise its participation at the 2018 USA Science & Engineering Festival showcasing how science, technology, engineering and math play an integral role in culinary activities.

Faculty and students from Penn College will once again present hands-on demonstrations during “A Taste of Technology: Sweet and Savory Science.” The event is set to take place Saturday and Sunday at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“The goal is to introduce concepts of STEM using something we work with on a daily basis, that being food,” said Chef Frank M. Suchwala, associate professor of hospitality management/culinary arts and creator of “A Taste of Technology: Sweet and Savory Science.” “Everything we do in culinary arts is touched by STEM concepts. Some examples are the math ratio of a vinaigrette, cooking temperatures for caramelization, changing the structure of ingredients that evoke some chemical or physical property change. The list is endless.”

The USA Science & Engineering Festival showcases a host of interactive exhibits, presentations and science celebrities. The free public event is designed to inspire the next generation of innovators and encourage them to consider STEM career paths.

The 20-by-20-foot Penn College exhibit will feature continuous interactive demonstrations at three stations: spherification and reverse spherification, nanotechnology, and liquid nitrogen. Individuals will be invited to engage in the various procedures and sample the results.

Penn College students facilitating “A Taste of Technology: Sweet and Savory Science” are William Benedetto, of Howard, culinary arts and systems; Paul J. Herceg, of Chalfont, culinary arts and systems; Jacob W. Parobek, of Seltzer, culinary arts and systems; Cody T. Knarr, of Williamsport, culinary arts and systems; Keegan D. Sonney, of Erie, applied management; Sarah I. Tielmann, of Northampton, business administration: management concentration; Olivia M. Lunger, of Elysburg, baking and pastry arts; Somer A. Safford, of Port Allegany, culinary arts technology; Magdalen C. Bennett, of Erie, culinary arts and systems; Sarah A. Bryan, of Bellefonte, baking and pastry arts; Nora E. Smith, of Centre Hall, baking and pastry arts; and Cynthia R. Setzer, of Port Allegany, baking and pastry arts. Also participating is 2017 alumnus-baker Daniel C. Frankenfield, of Williamsport.

“The students who are participating are now becoming the instructors of STEM concepts,” Suchwala said. “Their interactions with the participants allow them to explain, demonstrate, guide and empower the participants. Hands-on activities allow the transfer of knowledge and help the guests see the depths of the field that are not always apparent.”

A representative from Penn College’s Admissions Office will also participate, distributing information to prospective students interested in the school’s 100-plus baccalaureate and associate degree majors. Representatives from the college’s School of Business & Hospitality will also attend.

The Penn College booth will open on Friday at 9 a.m. for “Sneak Peek Friday,” a day reserved for school groups, homeschoolers and military families to enjoy the festival. The general public is invited on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The college’s exhibit will be located in Halls ABC, Booth 3711.

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