Penn State Shenango Announces 4 New Majors

SHARON, Pa. – Penn State Shenango is adding four majors that will be available beginning in the fall 2021 semester: corporate communications, criminal justice, cybersecurity analytics and operations, and health policy and administration.

“These new majors complement Penn State Shenango’s existing business and health care offerings to empower students when choosing the program that best fits their strengths and interests,” said campus director Jo Anne Carrick in a statement.”

The programs were added, she continued to align with in-demand jobs both locally and nationally. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau reports health care, computer science and management occupations are among the highest paid in Mercer and Lawrence counties, as well as in Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio.

The corporate communications program places an emphasis on humans and contemporary organizations. The program is well-suited for individuals looking to develop analytic, verbal and creative talents. Courses focus on organizational communication, business writing, negotiations, social media, public relations, marketing and crisis communications. Communications students will also gain journalism experience while working for the Penn State Shenango campus student newspaper. Students can also take a semester-long internship. 

“Employers consistently report valuing communication skills like writing, speaking, presenting and effectively interacting with others,” said Tiffany Petricini, assistant teaching professor and corporate communications program coordinator. “This program is perfect for creative students with interests in written, visual and verbal communication. Successful communicators know how to design and time messages for their target audience.”

Criminal justice is approached through an interdisciplinary lens, teaching students about the intersections of law, public policy and behavioral science in an effort to understand crime as a social problem and improve these systems for the good of society. The major also cultivates skills in critical thinking, communication, issue analysis and problem solving.

“Our program focuses on sharpening students’ talents of reasoning and judgement,” said professor Travis Milburn. “Students participate in an internship to provide valuable experience as they prepare to be a criminal justice professional.”

In the cybersecurity program, students will learn to analyze security issues from the perspective of human and information systems and how to anticipate and identify threats through the mastery of technology, articulate potential impacts to stakeholders and ensure the safety of online information. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for information security analysts was $99,730 in July of 2020. In addition, employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 32% through 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

“Students typically enjoy working with and on computers, operating systems and applications,” said Matthew DeMaria, information technology instructor. “Graduates will enter the field with great salaries, flexibility and high levels of job satisfaction.”

The healthy policy and administration program will allow students to specialize in health services management and health data analysis. Health services managers might manage a facility, department or program, while health analysts gather, compile and analyze data for health providers, payers and policymakers. All health policy and administration students complete an internship in a health care setting, giving them valuable experience and contacts in the industry.

“If a student is excited by the health care industry but wants to work in an administrative or management roles, health policy and administration is a great major,” said Maureen Dunn, assistant teaching professor in nursing and health policy administration.

For information in applying to the programs, contact Penn State Shenango’s admissions office at or 724 983 2803.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.