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

Student Spotlight

Emma Sheets ’23
Student, 3-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program

Emma SheetsFrom a young age, Emma Sheet ’23 has been passionate about helping and caring for others, and first aspired to become a teacher. Later, when her interest shifted to nursing, she dove right into learning – researching basic nursing information and skills and creating presentations with quizzes at the end to test her knowledge. Emma attended the Introduction to Healthcare class at Lancaster County Career and Technology Center during her junior year at Solanco High School, learning more basic knowledge of the health care profession and the duties of a nurse. In her senior year, she became a full-time dual enrollment student at PA College and completed nearly 20 credits toward her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

Emma has loved the hands-on learning she’s experienced in her clinical placements so far and shares: “I have been very fortunate to have amazing clinical instructors. I have grown so much since my first day at the hospital last spring, and I can credit that to my instructors who have encouraged me along the way, even when I was nervous or did not feel confident. I am excited to see how I will continue to grow through the coming semesters, and then in my nursing career.” She continues: “I want my patients to feel that they can trust me as I care for them, and that they can feel comfortable and safe under my supervision. I love to conversate and get to know more about my patients instead of just putting all of my focus on their diagnosis and treatments.” After earning her BSN, it’s Emma’s goal to become either a Certified School Nurse or a nurse educator. “I think I would thrive in a school environment since I have a love for teaching, learning and nursing,” she adds.

It means a lot to Emma to be a first-generation college student. She explains: “I feel like I am investing in my future by becoming a nurse and creating an opportunity for myself that will support me throughout my life. It makes me feel very accomplished that I am pursuing a degree in a very challenging field of study that will impact the lives of many people. My family has been very supportive and encouraging to me, and they are excited to have the first college graduate and the first nurse in the family!”

Emma lives with her family in Peach Bottom, PA. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time outdoors and working with her side business in photography.

Alumni Spotlight

Sherry Martin ’17 ’98, MSN, RN-BC
Interim Nurse Manager, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital

Sherry Martin

Neither of her parents attended high school, so for Sherry Martin, attending college felt like “shooting for the moon.” Yet, this two-time alumna has since thrived in her academic and professional career. After graduating from the then Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing (now PA College) with her nursing diploma in 1998, Sherry spent twenty rewarding years as a cardiac nurse. In 2017, she graduated from our MSN – Education program, continuing her work at the bedside while also becoming a clinical instructor for our ASN program. “This was a great experience and helped to hone my coaching/teaching skills,” she notes. Currently, Sherry is the interim nurse manager on 6 East/6 West, a cardiac/telemetry floor at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital, where she served as assistant manager for the last three years. In this role, she organizes her day to round with patients, mentor staff, monitor patient quality indicators, onboard new staff and recognize the unit and staff for their accomplishments.

Recently, Sherry was nominated by one of her nurses and won the Nursing Administration Leader/Manager Award from Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania. In fact, Sherry calls Florence Nightingale her health care hero and shares: “she made a difference when no one else thought that she could. She made a huge impact by doing what she knew well, working hard and not giving up. The health care system is being stretched beyond capacity these days by a pandemic and health care disparities. This is when we need to join together and do what we know well, work hard and not give up until we turn the tide.”

When asked what advice she would give today’s PA College students, Sherry offers: “Health care is an exciting world with many opportunities. Give yourself time to saturate your learning in many fields and roles. Say yes and join a new committee or project; you won’t regret the experience you gain. Help one another, build each other up and pay it forward. No gift of time or sharing is too small to make a difference.” For her own part, Sherry tries to make the world a better place by demonstrating compassion to patients and supporting her staff with encouragement and positivity. “Grace needs to abound for all,” she adds. “Caring is sharing your time, skills and talents with those around you to try and make it better for everyone.”

In her free time, Sherry enjoys cabin life, hiking, gardening and decorating. She also recently started to grow cut flowers at her rural Lancaster County home and would like to also learn flower arranging. In addition to benefiting her own physical and mental wellbeing, Sherry enjoys bringing flowers to church events or brightening someone’s day. She also serves on the school board for a local private school. Sherry adds: “I’m very thankful for my understanding husband and four children, who have supported me in my profession and education. I enjoy watching my children grow into contributing adults and am their biggest fan whether it is a sporting event, concert or school activity.”

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

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, central Pennsylvania’s preeminent educational institution for the health care field, today announced that President Dr. Mary Grace Simcox has been named to the Central Penn Business Journal’s Power 30 for Health Care List.

The Central Penn Business Journal’s editorial staff selects the Power 30 as the state’s most influential leaders who shape their communities and positively impact the quality of life. The list is part of the publication’s Power 100, which showcases business owners, CEOs, lawyers, public servants, elected officials and others who are impacting lives, inspiring success, sparking innovation and leading the Central Pennsylvania community into the future.

“At Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, it’s our mission to educate for excellence in health care practice, leadership and the continuous acquisition of knowledge, and it’s a privilege to do so in Central Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Mary Grace Simcox, president of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “Being named to the Power 30 for Health Care List is an honor. My role is one that I truly cherish, as we prepare our future health care workforce and also partner with local health systems, institutions and businesses for the benefit of our students and the greater community.”

Dr. Simcox is the first and only president of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. She joined PA College in 1997 as the Dean of Nursing for a collection of programs that made up the Lancaster Institute for Health Education (also known as LIHE). Seven months later she stepped into an interim role overseeing all of LIHE’s programs, and the position became permanent. Working with a small group of staff and faculty, Dr. Simcox led the evolution of LIHE to become the Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences in 2001.

In the years that followed, Dr. Simcox oversaw the addition of three new bachelor’s degree programs and two expansions of the College’s buildings, and helped lead the College through a strategic planning process. In 2014, the institution changed its name to Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. Under Dr. Simcox’s leadership, the school grew from a collection of buildings spread throughout downtown Lancaster to a state-of-the-art centralized campus. She transformed the school from one that granted diplomas to a College that bestows associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.

PA College News