Paige Sonon of Temple spent a week of the 2019 summer break working in Negril, Jamaica, through Alvernia University’s Alternative Breaks program. Sonon is studying BSN Nursing at the university.
During the Alternative Break to Jamaica, Sonon engaged with children while assisting them with their educational and creative skills, painted a school, sorted clothing donations, attended mass and learned about the Franciscan charism. The team also learned information about poverty, environmental sustainability and education in Jamaica.
Alvernia’s Alternative Break programs organize weekend and week-long service and immersion trips for students to inspire and empower them to lead lives dedicated to serving the underserved, promoting peace and justice and working towards the common good.
Kutztown University’s Observatory has discovered another exoplanet, KELT-23Ab. The discovery was featured in an article in the Astronomical Journal with KU student Daniel Johns, undergraduate physics and astronomy major, and his advisor Dr. Phill Reed, professor of Astronomy & Physics, serving as the lead authors. KU student Ryan Rauenzahn is also a contributing author.
The 0.6-meter on-campus research telescope at KU captured the exoplanet passing in front of a star on July 3, 2018, but more than a dozen other telescopes and 50 additional co-authors were involved in the discovery.
“Being the lead author of a large project like this really opened my eyes to the amount of work and collaboration that goes into discovering an exoplanet,” Johns said.
Reed and his fellow researchers at the Observatory are members of a follow-up observing network for the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) exoplanet discovery project, which is owned and operated by Lehigh University, The Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University.
“KELT is a wonderful collaboration of exoplanetary scientists,” Reed said. “I am extremely grateful for the valuable opportunities they have afforded me and my students!”
The newly-discovered exoplanet orbits a star, KELT-23A, that is located 408 light-years from Earth and is nearly identical to our own Sun. The planet itself is a “hot Jupiter,” meaning that it is a giant, gaseous planet like our Jupiter; however, this exoplanet is slightly different than our Jupiter because it lies extremely close to its host star. At a mere 2.8 million miles from KELT-23A, KELT-23Ab completes a full orbit every 2.26 days. Using additional data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft, the team determined that KELT-23A is actually a member of a wide binary star system.
The KELT-23A system orbits another star, KELT-23B, that is much smaller and cooler than the Sun. KELT-23A and KELT-23B lie about 600 astronomical units from each other, taking more than 10,000 years to complete a single orbit. This discovery is important because it contributes to currently developing models about how hot Jupiters are formed. Jupiter-like planets must form farther from their host stars, where temperatures are cooler, and then migrate inward toward the star. This inward migration may be occurring via interactions with a distant companion star. In the case of KELT-23Ab, the planet is still migrating in towards KELT-23A and will likely reach the star within the next billion years.
The position of the exoplanet is ideal for future observations by space-based telescopes. Due to its proximity to the constellation Ursa Minor, KELT-23Ab is near the continuous viewing zones of both NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) space-based observatories. TESS, which will begin observing the northern sky later this year, has the precision to discover other planets in the KELT-23A system, and possibly even Earth-sized objects. JWST, which is expected to launch in 2021, will study the formation and evolution of galaxies, stars and planetary systems using infrared technology, which gives the JWST a better advantage at examining cool objects and makes KELT-23Ab a prime candidate for study.
Lebanon Valley College Opens with Record First-Year Class Third Consecutive Year
Lebanon Valley College opened its fall semester with a record number of first-year students. The new class of 478 students, the most in the College’s 153-year history, surpasses last year’s record of 473 first-year students. In fall 2017, LVC opened with 466 first-year students, also a record at the time.
Thirty-seven transfers students join the class, bringing total undergraduate enrollment to 1,638 students. There was also an increase in the number of full-time graduate health professions students (master’s and doctorate), from 84 to 93.
“The record first-year class is due to several reasons, including the personal attention provided by our faculty and coaches, offering majors desired by students and employers, and the tremendous employment success of our graduates,” said Edwin Wright, vice president of enrollment. “Combined, Lebanon Valley College has created a culture that enables students to go further and achieve more, personally and professionally.”
About the Record First-Year Class
*45 are members of The Pride of The Valley Marching Band*40% are student-athletes*The class represents 15 states and seven international countries (Trinidad and Tobago, China, Finland, India, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Northern Ireland)
*Exercise science, physical therapy, actuarial science, biology, and early childhood education are the top majors
*Alumni referred 40 students through the inaugural Alumni Referral Scholarship, which awards incoming students $1,000 per year for up to four years
*28% of the class are enrolled in the health sciences (athletic training, exercise science, physical therapy, or speech-language pathology)
Fifteen students from a variety of Pennsylvania, New Jersey
and New York colleges have been selected to labor during this year’s Labor Day
weekend Writing Wrongs project. During a 72-hour workshop held in Berks County,
the students, working as staff writers, photographers, designers and social
media managers, will conduct research and interviews, draft articles and design
pages for a printed book available for sale through national book sellers that
highlights stories of members of the LGBTQ+ community, this year’s Writing
Among this year’s participants is KU student Jamilee Hoffman
of Chalfont, Pa., who will serve as the social media manager. Hoffman is a
senior communication studies major at KU. Learn more about Hoffman at the
Writing Wrongs website.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to make a difference by
getting certain issues spread throughout the media,” Hoffman said.
“This way, issues can reach to whoever they need to (such as a government
officials) who will be able to create justice for those issues, even it is only
in my surrounding town/community. That change could contribute to the overall
change that is needed in the world.”
In its fifth year, Writing Wrongs – a community journalism
project dedicated to generating awareness and promoting understanding of
critical social issues – is the brain child of Dawn Heinbach, a Reading Area
Community College and Kutztown University graduate. Heinbach’s sophomore year
honors project – to develop a community-based journalism workshop to share the
stories of local people impacted by societal issues – has grown into a
nonprofit organization that has produced one newspaper and three books on a
variety of issues ranging from homelessness and addiction, to sexual and
In discussing the growth of Writing Wrongs, Heinbach said,
“every year the program is expanding to include students from a wider
radius. We have students from well-known, competitive schools volunteering
their time and skills to explore these important issues as they pertain to the
residents of Reading. The point to remember when looking at the book and videos
they create is that the students accomplish all this in just one weekend.”
The LGBT Center of Greater Reading is partnering with
Writing Wrongs this year, providing speakers and a space for interviews with
members of the LGBT community whose stories will frame this year’s book.
Taylor Nattress of Blandon presented research at the 11th
annual Landmark Conference Summer Research Symposium at Elizabethtown College.
Students from Susquehanna University were joined at the
symposium by peers from Moravian, Goucher, Elizabethtown and Juniata colleges.
The symposium featured oral and poster presentations on a variety of research,
in such areas as physics, biochemistry, biology, ecology, environmental science,
mathematics, history, economics and computer science.
Nattress’s research, conducted with Dr. Michael Parra,
concerned the role of histones in eukaryotic cells.
Nattress is a biochemistry major in the class of 2021. A
graduate of Fleetwood High School, she is the daughter of Mark and Jennifer
Wilkes University welcomes 52 students into the honors programs newest class.
Caitlin Bower of Blandon is one of 52 students who are joining the program in the 2019-20 academic year. Bower is a Medical Lab. Sciences major. Bower also is part of the first-year class entering Wilkes.
Megan Makovsky of Fleetwood is one of 52 students who are joining the program in the 2019-20 academic year. Makovsky is a Pharmacy major. Makovsky also is part of the first-year class entering Wilkes.
The Center to Advance Palliative Care notified Daniel
Scheese of Birdsboro and other medical students at Geisinger Commonwealth
School of Medicine that their research, “Identifying and Increasing
Palliative Care Consults in the Medical ICU,” has been accepted for poster
presentation CAPC’s national seminar, scheduled for Nov. 14 through 16, 2019,
in Atlanta. The study addressed disparities in identifying appropriate patients
for palliative care during their hospitalization.
As part of the project, medical resident physicians were
educated on the inclusion criteria for palliative care, as well as the
protocols for a palliative care consult. Palliative care-eligible patients were
identified, and a notification was sent to the appropriate residents to
consider a palliative care consult.
Overall, palliative care consults increased by 131 percent over
the course of the study, leading the researchers to conclude that educating
medical residents about palliative care consulting and notifying them about palliative
care-eligible patients increased the number of eligible patients receiving a
palliative care consult.
The CAPC is a national organization dedicated to increasing
the availability of quality health care for people living with a serious
illness. As the nation’s leading resource in its field, CAPC provides health
care professionals and organizations with the training, tools and technical
assistance necessary to effectively meet this need.
CAPC is funded through organizational membership and the
generous support of foundations and private philanthropy. It is part of the
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
The students worked with Sukriti Kamboj, M.D., from the
Guthrie Clinic on the quality improvement project the poster describes. Those
invited to present are Daniel Scheese, Warren Acker, Gina Baiamonte and Laura