Penna History Partners
Penna History Partners is a collaboration between two passionate purveyors of Pennsylvania history. Our research and writing services primarily focus on Western Pennsylvania, as we are both natives of this region and love exploring its rich history. Whether you’re an individual tracking the ownership of your family’s homestead, a historical society documenting and preserving a landmark, or a municipality publishing an anniversary souvenir program, we are ready to help you with your local history research and writing needs.
Megan Hepler Orient – History Research & Project Specialist
Having recently returned to Western Pennsylvania area after a transient military family lifestyle, Megan Orient brings two decades of experience working in public, private, and nonprofit sectors, with strong emphasis in heritage tourism and marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education (French) from The Pennsylvania State University, as well as a certificate in Historic Preservation from Bucks County Community College where she received the May 2015 Historic Preservation Award.
Megan is passionate about historical research, the perspective it brings to daily life and its role in life-long learning. Her experiences include national register nominations, heritage site designations, tourism trail development, historic downtown redevelopment, Phase I archaeological projects, Section 106 reviews, grants management, and museum exhibitions. Additionally, she has written and managed newsletters, websites, and social media sites for several organizations. Two of her significant projects are Aquia Creek Battlefield and the Public Quarry at Government Island. Megan is a member of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (Mid-Atlantic Chapter), and a lifetime member of the Stafford County Historical Society.
Jennifer Sopko – Writer & Historian
Jennifer Sopko is a writer and historian with a love of local history. A Pittsburgh native who grew up in White Oak Borough, Jennifer’s writing projects focus on Western Pennsylvania with goals of enlightening readers about forgotten and obscure regional history and reinterpreting familiar stories. Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Since 2003, Jennifer has covered the Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland County and Western Pennsylvania as a freelance writer and journalist for several regional publications, including the Latrobe Bulletin, the Ligonier Echo and Westmoreland History magazine. She is the author of Ligonier Valley Vignettes: Tales from the Laurel Highlands (2013) and Idlewild: History and Memories of Pennsylvania’s Oldest Amusement Park (2018). Her next book will cover lost amusement parks across Western Pennsylvania.
Jennifer is the editor of Westmoreland History magazine, a triannual publication of the Westmoreland Historical Society, and an active community volunteer. She is also a board director or member of the Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association, the National Amusement Park Historical Association, the American Coaster Enthusiasts (Western Pennsylvania chapter), the National Carousel Association, the Senator John Heinz History Center, the McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center, the Latrobe Area Historical Society and Tube City Community Media, Inc. Learn more about Jennifer at http://www.jennifersopko.com.