39 students completed degrees in December at Penn State Schuylkill

Thirty-nine students enrolled at Penn State Schuylkill completed the requirements for their degrees in December 2013. These students will be invited to participate in commencement scheduled for May 10, 2014.

While completion of a college degree requires a great deal of determination and persistence for most, if not all, students, some face additional challenges. This is exemplified by two students who graduated this December. Both Edward A. Breiner and Rose Snowell completed their degrees this fall, overcoming additional obstacles to do so.

Breiner, an honors student at Penn State Schuylkill, left Schuylkill County during his sophomore year in high school. After graduating from Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn. in 2010, he returned to Schuylkill County to attend Penn State Schuylkill. Breiner completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration in three and a half years, maintaining a 4.0 GPA while completing the rigorous coursework required for the Schuylkill Honors Program. He served as a peer tutor on campus and participated in many clubs and organizations on campus, serving as the president of the Business Society.

In addition to all of these accomplishments, Breiner walked 5 miles from his residence in Pottsville, Pa., for the first three years of college to attend classes at Penn State Schuylkill. While this was a challenge, he has grown to value the exercise and the determination that he developed as a result of this. He used this experience to look at the world differently.

Breiner completed his internship with Hexcel in Saint Clair and has accepted a full time position with the company upon completion of his degree. When asked about his advice for others who may enroll in college he said, “College is more than just a progression of classes to gain a ‘paper’ indicating what you have done. College is the greatest time of your life. It is an opportunity for freedom. …You have the ability to change your entire worldview. Choose wisely.”

Snowell, another recent graduate, is an adult learner. She graduated in 1975 from Pottsville High School and attended another university for three years. She decided to put her own education on hold so that she could focus on raising her daughter. She is very proud that her daughter has completed her college education and is successful.

With this goal accomplished, Snowell re-focused her energies on completing her own education and enrolled at Penn State Schuylkill. She completed an associate degree in human development and family studies and immediately re-enrolled to continue on for her bachelor’s degree with a dual major in sociology and behavioral science through Penn State Harrisburg. Fortunately, Snowell was able to complete many of her courses at Penn State Schuylkill. Snowell’s dream of completing her bachelor’s degree was realized in December 2013. Snowell’s dedication to her family and perseverance in completing her degree will serve as a great model for her 7-year-old grandson and the foster children that she has in her care, as well as other adult learners.

Snowell is currently employed at Penn State Schuylkill. She enjoys working with the students on campus, especially mentoring minority students and assisting them with the transition from metropolitan life to life in a small community. Snowell has served as the adviser for several student clubs on campus and also participates in many African-American cultural events in Pottsville. Her previous work experience includes serving as a therapeutic staff support. 

Snowell said, “My greatest challenge was finding the time to do everything that I needed to do”.  Now that she is finished, she sometimes can’t believe that she weathered the storm. She was able to do so by just moving ahead, realizing that time moves so fast.

When asked about her advice for others who may enroll she said, “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can’t do this journey alone; everyone needs help.” She continued, “Don’t wait unit it is too late. Seek assistance from the professionals to help you navigate the system. Go to the official source to seek advice rather than relying on your classmates or yourself; otherwise, you may get the wrong information and make a bad decision.”

Last Updated January 06, 2014