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Beyond the Classroom: Connecting With Our Community

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We understand the value of a well-rounded college experience here at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology (TSCT).

While their time with us is brief by design, our students make a long-lasting impact within our college community and within our surrounding communities.

TSCT’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) is actively engaged in a variety of community activities and service projects across Lancaster City.

AIAS is an independent, non-profit, student-run organization dedicated to advancing leadership, design, and service among college-level architecture students,” said Tedd Williams ’00, an Architectural Technology instructor at TSCT and graduate of the program. “It is the primary membership and advocacy organization for architecture students in the United States, with international chapters and members as well.”

TSCT’s AIAS Chapter was created more than 25 years ago, and its mission includes promoting excellence in architectural education, training, and practice; fostering an appreciation of architecture and related disciplines; enriching communities in a spirit of collaboration; and organizing students and combining efforts to advance the art and science of architecture. Membership is open to all students enrolled at the College, not just those enrolled in the Architectural Technology program.

How does the student organization identify service opportunities?

“Student officers are asked to locate a multitude of service opportunities within our local community,” said Williams. “Some of our greatest resources have been the City of Lancaster, Adopt-A-Block, Water Street Mission, Habitat for Humanity, & the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. We turn to Google sometimes, too.”

When coordinating service opportunities, Williams reminds students to ensure they’re taking care of their own backyard. “Whether the Architecture studio, college campus, or municipality, all are part of our local community in which we function. When we can support and assist our local communities, we help foster growth at all levels.”

We asked Juliette Forry, a second-year student and member of AIAS, recognizes the short- and long-term value of time spent in the local community.  “The more projects we can do, the more people we can help, and they help us grasp a greater understanding of the technical world we live in,” said Forry.

One of the most memorable community experiences Forry has had thus far was during a clean-up at Culliton Park in Lancaster City. “Towards the end of our clean-up, a bunch of local businesses came and set up different activities, games, food, and music,” she said. “It was just a really great time working with others and having fun.”

Williams reminds students of the importance of playing an active role within the local and regional community, and makes it clear that helping others is an important part of becoming a model citizen. “It is our hope that each student will recognize the importance of Paying It Forward as they continue with their community service efforts. If they want to see change in the world, they must lead by example.”

We asked Forry why being active in the community is important. Her answer? “Because people are important.”

We’re inspired by our students and faculty, and proud to call Lancaster City home.

Stay up-to-date on the community activities and service projects our students and faculty are engaged in this semester by visiting our official social media accounts.

in Alumni

Alumni Spotlight: Travis Brownell & PA House of Representatives

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Many people dream of obtaining a creative, satisfying career within their first few post-college years. For Travis Brownell, this dream is very much a reality as he continues to advance in his design career. Travis is a 2016 graduate of the Graphic Communications and Printing Technology program at Thaddeus Stevens College, a time which he describes as “inspiring” and a “fantastic education.” Now, 5 years later, Travis is working with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the state capital, Harrisburg, PA as a Communications Specialist. 

Tell us about yourself and your background?

I grew up in Lancaster County attending private school throughout my grade school years. I first attended HACC to complete my general education, and then attended Thaddeus Stevens. From graduation I was hired at a small print shop in Wyomissing, PA, spending my first 4.5 years there in my professional career. I then moved onto my new position as a communications specialist for the House of Representatives. I love traveling and exploring new areas, my most recent adventure hiking the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. I'm hoping to make my way down to New Orleans once life gets back normal from the pandemic.

How did your education and time at Thaddeus Stevens College help prepare you for your current position?

Thaddeus Stevens College helped me prepare for life outside of college by instilling a respect for what it's like to work in a professional setting, inspiring me to pursue my current career as a designer through fantastic education and [the support I gained from] passionate professors like Mike Brady and Bradley Adams.

What inspired you to choose your major/career path?

I had always leaned more into creative fields. Initially I went to college intending to study Journalism, then switched several times before landing on an English degree. Once I finished [my studies at] HACC, I realized this was still not the path I wanted to walk. I did some soul searching before my astute mother advised to look into a truly creative field such as design or 3D modeling. After some research I realized I had been essentially doing design in my spare time, playing around with several Adobe programs since I found it so fun to work in those suites. That's when I realized it made the most sense to pursue something I enjoy doing even in my free time.

Why did you choose Thaddeus Stevens College?

I had been looking for colleges that taught graphic design as a Major and had originally settled on Millersville University. At the time, I had a good friend (who has now become the first year Automotive Technology instructor, Naaman Hedge) who was attending and spoke about how great the environment and education was, and let me know they also had a design Major. After doing some digging and going to an open house to speak with the professors about what the classes, I decided it was the right decision to go to Thaddeus Stevens College.

What is most fulfilling about your current job?

[I appreciate] the fact that I am able to go to work and create something new every day. There's always going to be some challenge or aspect that needs to be overcome and problem-solved, and I enjoy those aspects of figuring out the puzzle.
The atmosphere is relaxed and my co-workers and supervisors could not be nicer. It also is a design-focused position, giving me the satisfaction of constantly working and creating entirely new projects and gives me the freedom to pursue my ideas.

What has been challenging about this position?

There have been challenging moments of quick-turnaround, which is expected in the design field. Some days you'll be given a project that needs finished within an hour or two, and while that can be stressful, it also keeps you sharp and truly tests your mettle. I don't mind those moments at all, but it is still a challenge to meet head-on nevertheless.

What is one piece of advice you would give a potential or current Thaddeus Stevens College student?

You put into your education what you get out of it. If you stay dedicated and put your head down, you will be successful not only at Thaddeus Stevens College, but in your life and career as well. As a secondary to that, always remember: your professors are there to help you, not to hinder you.


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