Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, central Pennsylvania’s preeminent educational institution for the health care field, today announced its Dean’s List honorees for the Fall 2020 semester with 444 students recognized. Additionally, 95 students were named to the President’s List.

To attain Dean’s List honors, students need to obtain a grade point average of 3.5 or higher during the semester. The President’s List recognizes a competitive group of students who maintain a 3.95 grade point average or higher during the semester.

“On behalf of everyone at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, we congratulate all of our Fall 2020 Dean’s and President’s Lists recipients on the recognition for their commitment to educational excellence,” said Dr. Mary Grace Simcox, President of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “Despite the challenges many of these students faced in pursuing their respective degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic, these students earned the highest levels of academic achievement through their diligence, resiliency and dedication to a rewarding career in health care.”

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences is dedicated to developing elite medical professionals equipped to navigate the changing landscape of health care and improve patient outcomes. PA College’s rigorous curriculum prepares students for a variety of health care settings and roles, and to work collaboratively across disciplines to foster a holistic approach to care.

Fall 2020 President's List
Fall 2020 Dean's List
PA College News

Viniquinn (Quinn) Terry

During his final semester in our Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program this past fall, Viniquinn (Quinn) Terry ’20 completed his program’s service-learning project at the Holy Spirit Medical Outreach Clinic in the Allison Hill area in Harrisburg. The clinic, located in the basement of Christ Lutheran Church, is a nurse-run organization offering various health care services including blood pressure screenings and dietary modification education. The nurses also offer social services such as assisting clients with finding primary care providers; transportation, employment and citizenship resources; and help with applying for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC). In addition, the clinic staff helps find resources that provide housing and assist in rental payments. The clinic offers these services in English and Spanish to help broaden the support for people in the community.

When he was a child, Quinn lived with his family in the same neighborhood as the clinic and benefited from services it and the church provided. When it was time to choose a site for his service learning, Quinn intended to work with a food back or soup kitchen, but a chance lunchtime conversation changed his mind. When a co-worker mentioned a clinic where she volunteered, and Quinn realized she was speaking about Holy Spirit, he knew he needed to re-connect with the organization. When Quinn learned from the clinic’s director that hypertension and diabetes were prevalent within the largely African American and Latino community it serves, he chose to offer education about these diseases for his service-learning project. After reading about a possible correlation between oral care and heart disease, Quinn was also eager to offer information about proper oral care to the clinic’s community.

FlagsReflecting on this experience, Quinn identifies many lessons he can apply to his career as a nurse. He notes: “As a nurse in the acute care setting, the most important lesson I learned was assisting with the patients’ needs after discharge. I now work very carefully with the case managers and social workers at my hospital to ensure discharge medications are covered by insurance and to schedule follow-up appointments. These were some of the issues the clients at the clinic faced.”

Quinn is also gratified by the “full circle” experience of giving back to a community and organization that had supported his family years earlier. He adds: “I found it rewarding how appreciative the clients were at the clinic for the simple services I would provide. One day a visually impaired woman needed help differentiating her pill bottles, but the bottles were all the same size and color. I simply helped her organize her medications into two weekly pill dispensers: one yellow for pills in the morning and one blue for pills at nights. She was overjoyed. Something I thought was insignificant turned out to be irreplaceable because she could take her medications without worrying about taking too much or too.”

PA College News

We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:

Student Spotlight

Sherry Moore ’21
Three-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program

With graduation just a few months away, Sherry Moore will soon be the third-generation nurse in her family. In addition to this source of inspiration, she came to PA College with a beneficial academic background, having previously earned a bachelor’s degree in Biobehavioral Health from Penn State University. Of her choice to enroll, Sherry explains: “I felt PA College could provide me the education to be a successful nurse, and since my journey began in 2018, doors have continued to open for me.”

Sherry has also committed herself to helping her classmates succeed. “I am the type of person who LOVES to help people, and this is also an inspiration for why I pursued a nursing career. Not just helping an individual to regain health, but to be successful in the classroom,” Sherry shares. This fall, Sherry became a peer tutor, an experience she describes as humbling, especially during the difficult times with COVID-19. “Pursuing a nursing degree is NOT easy, and the transition to online learning has been difficult. But being a support system through tutoring and witnessing these students being successful, has been the MOST inspiring thing during my time at PA College. It reveals to me the importance of having a support system through difficult times, and asking for help is the first step,” Sherry explains.

The nursing program has also challenged Sherry to think about ways to advance the nursing profession, specifically at the student level. “I have recently developed a new idea for a simulation experience that focuses on medication errors and how to prepare graduate nursing students to manage distractions. I feel it will help prepare graduate nursing students for their future practice and allow them to be successful. I don’t want to give too much information away, so stay tuned my friends,” she explains. Sherry is also Secretary and Treasurer this year for the PA College chapter of SNAP (Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania), a leadership role which has further enabled her to connect with nursing students from both our associate and bachelor’s degree nursing programs.

After completing her externship in a Labor & Delivery unit, Sherry fell in love with this area of nursing. It was a powerful experience for her to be part of the support systems for mothers during birth (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic), making compassionate and meaningful connections with patients. Sherry hopes to begin her nursing career in an ICU or cardiology unit, before transitioning to labor and delivery. “I feel gaining experience of these units will allow me to challenge myself and develop sound critical thinking skills,” she adds. Eventually, Sherry would like to purse her master’s degree in nursing, focusing on education. “Tutoring this fall has really inspired me and allowed me find a love for teaching,” she notes.

Sherry has lived in Lebanon County for the past 16 years. She loves to play soccer, watch Penn State University football, and workout regularly. In the summer time, Sherry volunteers at the county fair and enjoys kayaking with her friends.

Alumni Spotlight

Gissellie Ortiz ’18, BS, RDMS, RVT
Medical Sonographer, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital

Gissellie OrtizGissellie Ortiz’s academic career started at Alvernia University in her hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania where she earned a bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. After working for three years as a surgical technician at the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, Gissellie decided to pursue new educational opportunities at PA College. “I had to stretch myself fairly thin to reach my educational/professional goals,” she notes – working approximately 36 hours a week as a unit secretary/patient care assistant at Lancaster General Hospital while enrolled full-time in our Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. Yet Gissellie’s hard work paid off; she received both the Academic Excellence and Clinical Excellence Awards at graduation. She was also inducted into the Lambda Nu national honor society for radiologic and imaging services. Gissellie adds: “With the continued support of my parents and now fiancé, managing my time well, maintaining a good study pattern and doing my absolute best to find sleep where I could, I made it through my studies and have achieved my goals.”

Now roughly two and a half years into her new career, Gissellie shares that her work as a medical sonographer at Lancaster General Hospital has been challenging but rewarding. She is certified in abdomen, OB/GYN and vascular registries. She performs general studies as well as specialty exams, assists in biopsies and provides imaging support in surgical procedures. Gisselle shares that working closely with radiologists, co-workers and other medical professionals has given her a new-found respect for the medical field and has allowed her confidence to blossom. She also notes: “My degree from PA college helped me achieve a career, a better life, a promising future and an opportunity to continue growing not only in my profession but in my education as well. It has provided me with opportunities to succeed and to further advance and expand in my knowledge of the medical world. I look forward to possibly returning to PA College in the future to explore new and diverse avenues the healthcare sciences offer.”

When not at work, Gissellie is a part-time dance instructor and choreographer. Latin dance, such as Salsa, is one of her favorite pastimes. She also remains passionate about animals. She has two dogs – Chloe and Bambi – and a cat named Tigger. Gisselle now lives in downtown Lancaster and is looking forward to marrying her fiancé Paul (who she met through the dancing world) next October. She adds: “My parents are probably my favorite people in the world. They have always supported me in all my endeavors, and I hope to be able to support them one day.”

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!

PA College News