Charlie Karchner receives his diploma in engineering from Chancellor Gary Lawler.

'My journey to commencement'

Leading up to commencement May 3, recent Penn State Hazleton graduates reflected on the journey and experiences that led them there.

Leading up to commencement May 3, recent Penn State Hazleton graduates reflected on the journey and experiences that led them there.

Charlie Karchner, engineering

My time at Penn State Hazleton has been a blessed experience filled with good memories, friendly relationships, challenges and important life lessons. I couldn’t be happier for the friends, staff and professors that have shaped me into a person who is ready to enter the next stage of life.

As I entered college, I was planning on becoming a Construction Manager by completing the 2+2 program while finishing at Penn State Harrisburg. The STEM prerequisite classes at Hazleton were materially involved, which tested my character and challenged me to meet new standards. The topics from Math and Physics require students to dedicate a lot of time to understand the concepts. After struggling through some classes, I consulted with teachers and I found it in my best interest to push forward with the STEM prerequisite classes to fulfill my bachelor’s degree requirements. Advisors and mentors explained a degree offered on Hazleton’s campus called Engineering. I revamped my study habits and understood topics much more. I was successful with my Engineering classes and began working towards completing the requirements for two minors, math and business.

A major factor to my success was playing sports. I found solace in being a student athlete while playing golf and baseball. I was recognized as Penn State Hazleton’s Male Student Athlete of the Year in 2019. Also, while serving as THON’s family relations chair, I had the pleasure of welcoming a new adopted family to Penn State Hazleton’s THON chapter. Austin Yaletchko and I danced 46 hours for the kids in February all in an effort to find a cure for pediatric cancer.

I worked on a few projects throughout my senior year to continue my academic success. I worked with seniors Austin Yaletchko, Dave Ecklund, and Jordan Williams on our senior CAPSTONE project to provide backup power to ARCIL’s disabled clients. I worked with freshman Ty Shaffer on a research project named “Swinging for the Fences: Dynamics of an At Bat.” It taught me relationships between sports and physics and the project was awarded first place at Penn State Hazleton’s research symposium. If it wasn’t for the community at Penn State Hazleton, none of this would have been possible. I thank you all dearly.

Nichole Rebarchick, corporate communication

As a senior in high school I was sure I wanted to get away from my hometown, to have a brand-new fresh start. After moving into a school in Allentown, PA, I quickly learned I wanted nothing more than to move back to my hometown. I began my academic career at Penn State Hazleton with no idea what major I wanted to pursue. After meeting with Paul McDermott (instructor in business and business program coordinator), I was drawn to Corporate Communication.

I was starting late, a semester late to be exact. I was so determined to be finished with my degree in four years that I worked as hard as I could, taking 19 to 21 credits each semester. I worked two part-time jobs and spent all of my free time getting assignments done. Without the support of my family and professors on campus, I don't think I would have been able to complete my degree, let alone complete it in 3 and a half years.

I am so grateful to all of the people I have met on Penn State Hazleton's campus. I've met some of the greatest people, had amazing times with great friends, and all of that culminated at graduation. It still seems unreal to me that I won't be going to class in the fall. Or attending football games in the student section. Time has flown by, but I won't ever forget the memories I've made at Hazleton.

Nichole Rebarchick and her fellow corporate communication graduate Shahzad Devani

Nichole Rebarchick and her fellow corporate communication graduate Shahzad Devani. "Shahzad and I have gone through the corporate communication program together since the beginning, and I couldn't be any more grateful to have a friend like him," Nichole said.

Credit: Penn State