Graduate looks forward to helping people, especially children

Tiffany Barlow has always been interested in helping people, especially children, so majoring in human development and family studies (HDFS) at Penn State York was the perfect choice for her. Barlow will graduate Friday night, Dec. 16, during Penn State York’s 11th annual fall commencement, with a bachelor of science degree in human development and family studies. Not only will she cross the stage to receive her degree, Barlow is also serving as a student marshal for her academic program, which means she is the top graduate in her major. Commencement is set for 6 p.m. in the campus’ Pullo Family Performing Arts Center and is free and open to the public. For those who cannot attend the event, Penn State York's commencement can be viewed on Comcast cable channel 18 or streaming on the website at

Barlow, 22, of Thomasville, Pa., recently completed an internship in HD FS and as part of her work planned and implemented a Celebration of Music event, held on the campus on Nov. 11.  The event raised more than $2,168.90 for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP). Barlow worked with EOP students as part of her internship, which also included working with the admissions office, the Nittany Success Center, and the student affairs office. 

The EOP provides opportunities to students of limited financial means who are interested in Penn state and who show academic promise and ability but may not initially fall within the general admission standards in terms of high school grades and standardized test scores.  The program offers support resources for these students to help them succeed throughout their college career.

“My internship was a great experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world,” she said.

Inspired by her Uncle Quin, a Penn State alumnus who also attended York campus, Barlow, never had a second thought about where she would go to college.  Prior to college, Barlow attended Bermudian Springs High School until she was a sophomore and then was home schooled through her junior and senior year.  She received an academic diploma from the state through the Susquehanna Home School Program.

Barlow is excited to be graduating and has a cheering section of more than 20 family members and friends who will watch her graduate.  She hopes to find a job that will incorporate her passion for children and higher education and plans to attend graduate school in the fall.  She would like nothing better than to be able to work for Penn State someday.

Gary C. Butler, president and chief executive officer of Precision Custom Components (PCC) LLC, is the commencement speaker.  PCC is a manufacturer of custom fabricated pressure vessels, reactors, casks, and heavy walled components requiring highly specialized machining, welding, and/or fabrication. Butler has held his position since 2001. He was the vice president and general manager at PCC in 1997, and thanks to excellent work to improve the company’s performance, he was promoted to his current position.

Through his leadership and the efforts of the entire PCC team, the company was named “Business of the Year” in 2010 by “Central Penn Business Journal” (CPBJ) for private companies with more than 100 employees. Butler was also recently honored as “Executive of the Year” by the CPBJ. Butler received a bachelor of science in Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University in 1971 and became a registered professional engineer in mechanical engineering in the state of Pennsylvania in 1975.

With a passion for education in our region, Butler’s community activities truly make a difference and his dedication is evident in the number of organizations he is involved with. He has served on the Penn State York Advisory Board since 2006 and currently holds the position of vice chairperson of the board. He is the president of the Manufacturers Association of South Central Pennsylvania, president of the Penn State Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Society, president of the York County Science and Engineering Fair, and a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers. It is safe to say that if it were not for the efforts of the entire Butler family, the York County Science and Engineering Fair would not be the success it is today. Butler and his wife, Susan, reside in York. They have two grown children, Jennifer and Brett, and both are proud Penn State graduates.

In addition to hearing from Butler, Penn State York will continue its tradition of open microphone where graduates can speak for a moment.  The top graduating senior in Penn State York’s baccalaureate programs, Shanna L Christensen, a bachelor of science in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology (EMET) with distinction; top associate degree graduate, Wanda S. Steffy, associate degree in Business Administration with highest distinction; and top master’s degree graduate, Ashley M. Gentzler, master of education in Teaching and Curriculum; will also speak.

Penn State York will award 25 master of education in teaching and curriculum degrees; 36 baccalaureate degrees; three bachelor of arts in communication arts and sciences; five bachelor of arts in English; 13 bachelor of science in business; six bachelor of science in electro-mechanical engineering technology; four bachelor of science in human development and family studies; two bachelor of science in information sciences and technology; and two bachelor of science in science.  The campus will also award 29 associate degrees: eight in business administration; five in electrical engineering technology; three in human development and family studies; one in information sciences and technology; nine in letters, arts, and sciences (liberal arts); and three in mechanical engineering technology.

Four Penn State York students who completed their work at another Penn State location will return to York, their home campus, to receive a degree during the ceremony.  Penn State York offers the first two years of more than 160 Penn State majors, a 2+2 program, and those students comprise most of the campus.  

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Last Updated December 16, 2011