March is Women’s History Month, when we celebrate the contributions of women throughout history and contemporary society. With this series, we intend to highlight some of NPRC’s women for the work they have done throughout their careers and for their contributions to the College and higher education.
NPRC’s President Susan “Susie” Snelick is one woman who is admired by many, both at the College and throughout the region. Susie will celebrate her second anniversary as NPRC’s President in April and has been crucial in the growth of the institution during her tenure. With a background in workforce development, including previously serving as the Workforce Investment Board Director and later the Executive Director at Workforce Solutions for North Central PA, her expertise has been key in new programming and continuing to update ongoing course options. Susie’s experience in business and workforce development is evident with more than 30 years of experience providing her native region with opportunities in education and workforce training that area residents deserve.
Her time at NPRC began before the name Northern Pennsylvania Regional College was coined for the institution. She was appointed to the original board of the Education Consortium of the Upper Alleghenies (ECUA). She would continue serving on the College’s Board of Trustees until December 2020. Her tenure as President did not begin much later as she was named NPRC’s next president in April 2021. In addition to her service at NPRC, Snelick also served on the board of another regional higher education institution; the Brockway Center for Arts and Technology. Bettering people’s lives through workforce and educational opportunities has been a passion for many years, and something she knows the region needs to continue to thrive.
“Having lived my entire life in this region, I have worked hard to ensure that our rural region has the opportunities afforded to them similar to urban areas,” she noted. “I wholeheartedly believe that education transforms lives. From workforce development certificates and credentials through a doctorate degree, every step along the path is life changing. Every individual is unique. One pathway is not going to work for everyone. We need to meet people where they are and provide them with the tools and enough information to make the best decision for themselves. As our region continues to grow and prosper, workforce development and academic offerings will be critical to our employers’ success.”
Like many of the students who are currently enrolled or have already become graduates of the College, President Snelick is a proud first-generation college student and graduate. Helping first-generation college students has now become her life’s work and is one that excites her each day to do more. “Being a first-generation student, I went into the experience with both eyes closed. As I got my feet underneath me, I made the most of my experience and it helped shape the person I am today.”
So far in her time as President, Susie has helped the college grow the Workforce Development department, sign an articulation agreement with Commonwealth University, and helped the College work towards accreditation. “I attribute this to the amazing team I am fortunate to be a part of. We have accomplished wonderful things to be proud of. I know there are even greater things ahead for us and I am thrilled to be leading this institution.”
Susie believes in a leadership style that includes treating others how she would want to be treated, listening to every opinion, showing appreciation for others, using active and intent listening, expecting more of herself than anyone else, being transparent with her team, and allowing leaders throughout the workplace to build a culture that makes people excited for what they do in their careers. From one-on-one meetings with each employee to brainstorming sessions across various locations in our footprint, Snelick has made sure that all employees feel welcome and heard by one another. The opportunity to learn and grow not just in the day to day of the college but in employees’ personal lives is not just expected, but it is encouraged and supported. The culture is what it is at our institution because of Susie’s drive to make NPRC the best place it can be for years to come.
Snelick has also spent time in her career as the Regional Liaison for the National Association of Workforce Boards, been appointed to the Governor’s Middle-Class Task Force, participated in the Disney Institute’s Leadership Excellence Program, and chaired the PA Workforce Development Association. A woman who has taken on many roles and had many different experiences throughout her life, Snelick hopes others will find ways to do the same in their own careers. “I would encourage anyone reading this to always reach for the stars. Never rule yourself out of an opportunity. Make sure that you see the value in the work that you do every day and treat everyone with the respect and kindness they deserve.”
From first-generation college student to college president, Snelick’s path serves as an inspiration to many of our first-generation or first-time college students that there is truly no cap on what they can achieve in their educational journey and working career
Susie is only one of the inspiring women at NPRC we celebrated this month. We are thankful for all the readership this March on our four featured women but acknowledge that we are an institution that is home to more than just these dedicated and strong women. We hope that sharing their stories has inspired readers and informed them that they have an entire world of possibilities in their lives and careers!
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