We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Arlyn Perez ’22
Student, Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration
“My health care hero was my grandmother,” shares Arlyn Perez. “She was a caring, compassionate and genuine person; she was also an LPN and the reason I became interested in health care.” Arlyn was also inspired by her mother – a first-generation college student who earned her degree while raising four daughters – to pursue higher education. Sadly, the death of Arlyn’s father, and the unfair treatment he received during his illness, have also driven her to stay in the health care field. Arlyn’s journey began at a community college where she graduated as an LPN. After discovering that direct patient care was not for her, but committed to continuing in the health care field, she earned an Associate’s degree in health care management. This helped Arlyn to obtain her current position as the office supervisor for Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Healthy Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery.
Interested in continuing to learn and advance her career, Arlyn enrolled in our Healthcare Administration bachelor’s degree program. She values the small class environment that allows her to interact with other students and faculty. Arlyn explains: “It was important for me to have an opportunity to get to know my professors and for them to know me as well. Plus, I value the ability to take online classes and still feel a sense of connection. What I like best about PA College is the feeling that I count.” Arlyn is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was also recently honored with the Association of University Programs in Health Administration’s Bugbee-Falk Book Award. Recipients receive a collection of books from their field as a symbol of their academic success, the need for continued learning and their commitment to excellence.
Arlyn plans to continue her career working in the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion. She shares: “It is important to have a workforce that represents our communities as it relates to race/ethnicity, language, gender, sexual orientation, religion, culture, disability, and socioeconomic level to render the best possible care to our diverse patient populations. Patients and their families put their trust in our hands, and a workforce that matches the makeup of their community can reduce the risk of medical errors, shorten hospital stays, and are able to find a new way to care for the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of the population they serve. Increasing diversity in healthcare can help increase provider comfort levels, improve communication, reduce health disparities, and increase patient trust.”
Originally from Puerto Rico, Arlyn now lives in Lancaster with her husband and two children. She loves traveling back home to spend time with family, and for fun, enjoys Karaoke and Zumba. Her favorite quote is from Earl Nightingale: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
Lucy Martin ’11, RN
RN case manager, Hospice and Community Care
The path that led Lucy Martin to become a nurse began in the 1980s and 1990s, when she used her special education degree to manage group homes, including Friendship Community, a residential program for adults with developmental disabilities. Later, she focused on raising her young children until her world was changed in 2006. Her husband was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (Philadelphia Chromosome+). For the next year, in addition to caring for her young family, Lucy focused on helping him through all of his care, including a stem cell transplant. She adds: “Through this time when he was in/out of the hospital many times, I observed the medical setting and the quality nursing care he received.” When she needed to return to full-time work, Lucy decided to get her nursing degree. As her husband continued his recovery, she worked as a certified nursing assistant for a home health company, while attending PA College’s evening/weekend Associate of Science in Nursing program.
After graduation, Lucy got a job as a program manager for a skilled nursing facility and later obtained her certification as a rehab nurse and worked with post-surgical patients as well as long term patients at a different facility. About a year and a half ago, she began to feel the need for a change. Lucy’s husband reminded her that she has always aspired to be a hospice nurse, and several others – including one of Lucy’s patients who was herself a hospice nurse – shared with her how rewarding this work could be. Today, Lucy works as an RN case manager at Hospice and Community Care, visiting patients in their homes helping them and their family/significant others to journey and maneuver their last days. Lucy explains: “It’s rewarding to make a difference in the lives of the patients I care for. Sometimes the smallest suggestion or change can make a world of difference in managing the symptoms they are facing. I try to treat patients as I would like myself or family member to be treated. I remember when my mother was on hospice services and I strive to provide the same and the comfort, assistance and care that she received.”
When asked what advice she would offer today’s PA College nursing students, Lucy shares: “There are so many options you can choice in nursing. Be patient with yourself and pick an area to focus on, but don’t be afraid to change course and try a new line of nursing. For those who are going back for a second degree or even a first degree in later in life, don’t give up. It’s worth it. It may be hard at the time, but the rewards of nursing are great.”
In her free time, Lucy enjoys reading, playing games and spending time with family. She and her husband live in Lititz. They have three young adult children – a son who is a Penn State University graduate in computer engineering, a son who is a senior physics major at Penn State and a daughter who is currently finishing a Youth with a Mission term in Orlando, Florida.
Seeking People of PA College
Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!