Alle-Kiski Alumni Society awards $3,600 in scholarships to campus students

The Alle-Kiski Society of the Penn State Alumni Association awarded $3,600 in scholarships recently to three Penn State New Kensington students: Joshua Swinehart of Spring Church, Jennifer Phillips of Vandergrift and Caitlyn Cody of Leechburg. The society's scholarship is funded through the proceeds of the annual alumni golf scramble, held in August at the Links at Spring Church in Apollo. In the past three years, the tournament has raised $24,000.

Swinehart, a senior psychology a major, carries a 3.78 grade-point average in the campus’ honors program. He is active in numerous extracurricular activities, including serving as vice president of the psychology club and as a member of Psi Chi, an international honors society. Swinehart was a student orientation leader as well as a member of the campus’ GECKO (Green Environmental Challenge for Kids Outreach) program. When not on campus, the Apollo-Ridge High School graduate tutors elementary students.

A sophomore in the psychology program, Phillips is a member of the dean’s list with a 3.85 GPA. The Mifflinburg Area High School product is a staff writer for the Nittany Pride, the campus student news magazine, and treasurer of Psi Chi.

Caitlyn is a sophomore in the animal science program with a 3.43 grade-point average. She serves as the secretary of the Student Government Association and as a student orientation leader. In addition, the Cypress Fall High School graduate was editor for the PA Hero Walk memorial book and technical assistant for the Video Learning Network at the campus.

The students 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 highlighted the intimate setting of a small campus as a positive learning experience that would encourage them to stay connected to the campus after graduation.

“Contributing to my Penn State experience is the small, family atmosphere at the New Kensington campus,” Cody wrote in her essay. “The faculty interacts with students on a closer level than they would at a larger campus.”

Since 1998, the society has awarded $40,000 to 48 campus students. The amount awarded is expected to rise dramatically in the next few years as the alumni group increased its endowment level by 50 percent in June from $51,000 to $76,000. The society's scholarship was established in 1992 with an initial principal of $15,000. Six years later, it was fully endowed at $25,000. The first campus recipient, Pat Neil, received a $500 scholarship.

Penn State alumni and friends are encouraged to reconnect with the University and campus by attending the Alle-Kiski Society meetings at 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday of each month. The next meeting is Sept. 16 in the campus Conference Center.

For more about the Alle-Kiski Society, contact Bill Woodard at or visit

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Last Updated September 11, 2013