Penn State Hazleton student earns adult learner scholarship

Alpha Sigma Lambda scholarship winner Joshua Miller meets with academic adviser Tammy Spevak, Alpha Sigma Lambda committee member and scholarship chair at Penn State Hazleton.

Alpha Sigma Lambda scholarship winner Joshua Miller meets with academic adviser Tammy Spevak, Alpha Sigma Lambda committee member and scholarship chair at Penn State Hazleton.

Credit: Penn State

HAZLETON, Pa. — A student at Penn State Hazleton has been awarded a scholarship from the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society, a national honor society for adult learners in continuing higher education.

Joshua Miller, of Weatherly, who will complete his degree in Rehabilitation and Human Services in the fall, received the $2,700 Dr. Frank Neuffer Memorial Scholarship. He was one of only 12 students chosen from applicants from 78 colleges and universities to receive the award.

He is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society and said the scholarship is particularly meaningful coming from such an organization.

“This shows that there are programs out there that really advocate for continuing education no matter what your age is. It inspires people who are nontraditional students to move forward. It’s been a huge honor and accomplishment not only to be nominated, but also picked for this scholarship,” he said.

“The adult students inducted into the society are engaged in balancing the multiple responsibilities of home, family, career, community and education," said Gina Tarud, chapter councilor. "We congratulate Josh on his scholarship, which he received as a result of his hard work and dedication.”

“I am delighted to learn that Josh has received this scholarship from Alpha Sigma Lambda," said Penn State Hazleton Director of Academic Affairs Elizabeth Wright. "We are so grateful to the organization for its ongoing support of adult students.”

As an adult learner, Miller faces several challenges — carrying a full-time course load while working and balancing other responsibilities — but also sees the positives of being a nontraditional student.

“Sometimes being an adult on a college campus helps you grow as a student and a person, particularly when you find yourself acting as a mentor toward younger students in your classes. Interacting with younger students has helped me move out of my comfort zone, which can be a transferable skill to my next career opportunity,” he said.

He will earn his degree after completing an internship and then plans to pursue a master’s degree in the rehabilitation and human services field with the eventual goal of working with individuals with drug and alcohol or mental health challenges. He has been part of the RHS program at Penn State Hazleton since its inception.

“It’s been really neat to see the program grow and increase in the number of students. I’ve gotten very close to other students and instructors in my program and that adds a unique dynamic,” Miller said, adding, “The RHS instructors helped guide me in many ways, and all my professors at Penn State Hazleton were instrumental in me growing as a student and being able to achieve my goals. Not only did they give me grounds to learn the material, but to apply it as well. It’s great to see how what you’re learning in the classroom transfers over into the work field.”

“As an academically strong student in the RHS program at Penn State Hazleton, Josh is well-deserving of this award," said Lorie Kramer, RHS program coordinator. "Josh is a conscientious and motivated student, fully engaging in his learning and education, demonstrating leadership qualities, and actively pursuing his personal and professional goals. I have no doubt Josh will go on to make a positive impact in the RHS field.”