HAZLETON, Pa.— Two professors at Penn State Hazleton are headed to a national conference to present information about a program they facilitate at the local campus.
Garrett Huck, assistant professor of rehabilitation and human services (RHS), and Lorie Kramer, assistant teaching professor of rehabilitation and human services and coordinator of the RHS bachelor’s degree program at Penn State Hazleton, are guest speakers at the National Council on Rehabilitation Education spring conference in Anaheim, California, which takes place March 13 to 15.
The educators will present a concurrent session to rehabilitation educators and others involved in their field. They will detail “Penn State in Motion,” a program Kramer created at Penn State Hazleton that incorporates Huck’s research. Penn State in Motion brings members of the community to the Penn State Hazleton campus to work with students in a Rehabilitation and Human Services course on activities that help their physical motion.
They will discuss the logistics of the program, including the idea behind it and how they started it and incorporated it into a course at Penn State Hazleton.
“It’s great we are able to talk about something we are doing in Hazleton at a national level. This could be something that could be really useful for other programs looking to implement some experiential activity into their own classrooms. I’m excited to bring something from our smaller campus to some of the biggest schools in the country,” Huck said.
Kramer said, “My hope is that if we give them the logistics and ideas of how to start this program, other campuses might be able to start it at their level.”
The Penn State in Motion program started in the fall of 2015 and is held once a semester. It has grown each semester since its inception and now, about 35 guests participate in a session.
“Before the program started, I would assign students to interview someone with a disability and write about it. Many came to me and said they didn’t know anybody,” Kramer recalled. “I talked with another faculty member and she asked if I had considered bringing people with disabilities to campus. As I began creating the program, I was considering ways we might be able to tie some of Dr. Huck’s research into it.”
Huck said, “Much of my research focuses on health promotion for people with disabilities and preemptive health interventions to reduce susceptibility to conditions before they happen. Some practitioners may not consider physical activity as a life-enhancing intervention for this population, but we know there are physical and emotional benefits to participating in physical activity.”
Both educators said the program has been a success on campus for the participants and students alike.
“I can see the students gaining a different experience and perspective through this program. They write a reflective paper on their experience and many of them write about how the program opened their eyes to things they didn’t realize before,” Kramer said.
In addition to their presentation during the conference, Huck and Kramer anticipate bringing back valuable information to share with their students.
“Every year I’ve gone to this conference, I learned new things that make me a better educator. I’m informed about new topics and have gotten many good ideas from other presentations I’ve attended to bring back to my classroom,” Huck said.
Kramer agreed, saying, “I think it’s a great opportunity for us to stay current in the field.”