We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Kevin Carvalho ’23
When his work as a bartender was disrupted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kevin Carvalho ’23 decided it was the right time for a career change. Always interested in diagnostic imaging, Kevin’s pursuit of a career in health care was also inspired by his wife, a Medical Laboratory Scientist. He is now a student in our Radiography program and has loved learning about anatomy and radiology. Kevin is especially complimentary of his program faculty and shares: “I find Radiography very interesting, but I must give credit to my instructors as well for making things interesting. I enjoy their methods of teaching and it’s easy to tell that they care about education and want everyone to succeed.”
Kevin aspires to work as an MRI Technologist and may consider travel tech or lead positions after gaining more experience in his field. He adds: “I hope to not only meet patients’ needs with the quality of my work but aim to make each visit an enjoyable experience as well.” He currently works part-time as an MRI Tech Aide at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Reading, where he hopes to move into an advanced position after graduation. Kevin can speak some Portuguese and Spanish (his mother is from Portugal and his father is from Brazil) and is considering further study toward fluency so that he could better serve patients who might have language barriers to their care.
Kevin and his wife live in Reading, PA with their two daughters, ages 5 and 9. He grew up playing percussion instruments and hopes to find more time to play music after he completes his program. Kevin is also a first-generation college student, and shares: “I’m proud of the progress I’ve made. My parents have sacrificed a lot so that my siblings and I can have a better life, so I’m sure my success will be rewarding for them as well.”
Julie Justice ’11 ’14 ’22, MSN, CRNP, OCN, CBCN, FNP-C
Nurse Practitioner, Breast Surgical Oncology, The Surgical Group, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
While nursing was always her career plan, Julie Justice started her professional life in accounting, helping small businesses implement accounting technologies to make their processes more efficient. When she decided it was time to become a nurse, her passion for oncology fueled her educational and professional journey. Julie graduated with her ASN degree from the then-Lancaster General College of Nursing & Health Sciences (now PA College) in 2011. Her BSN followed three years later, and Julie earned her third PA College degree last year, when she completed our Nurse Practitioner Family/Individual Across the Lifespan Master’s degree program and was honored with her class’s Academic Excellence Award.
After working as a bedside oncology nurse, and later as a breast oncology nurse navigator, Julie took on a new role last month, as the first-ever Nurse Practitioner in Breast Surgical Oncology with The Surgical Group of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. “We are developing the position as we go along,” Julie explains. “I am responsible for discharge planning for patients post-surgery and managing acute and chronic concerns after breast surgery, as well as leading a team to develop and implement a breast cancer survivorship and wellness program. I also develop quality improvement projects within the breast surgical team to improve patient outcomes, provide anticipatory guidance and address barriers to care for patients recently diagnosed with breast cancer, helping them to understand what their treatment may look like even beyond surgery, as well as provide emotional support throughout their trajectory.”
Julie knows first-hand how cancer impacts not only the patient but everyone who loves them. Her mom’s cancer diagnosis put Julie’s passion for oncology into perspective. “As we traveled that road as a family, I realized just how much a nurse is needed to be a resource for those diagnosed with breast cancer,” she adds. “I have the opportunity to travel with patients through what will likely be one of the most trying times of their life. There is no greater honor than to be let into a patient’s ‘inner circle’ to help educate, advocate and support them through treatment and beyond. I have spent the last six years of my career ensuring the patients I encounter understand the ‘whys’ of their diagnosis and treatment recommendations but also helping them to make emotionally informed decisions. We move swiftly to start treatment even when a patient is still just trying to comprehend this new diagnosis. It’s so important that a patient understands the decision-making process and how those decisions can impact their quality of life long after treatment has been completed. It such a blessing to help them through this – but watching patients and their families get back to life is the best gift.”
Julie was recently inducted into the Psi Pi Chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society. In addition to her role with The Surgical Group, she volunteers her time to promote breast cancer screening and education and to get the word out about risk reduction and wellness. Julie also represents Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health as a Team Captain for Relay for Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Julie and her husband Steve live in York. They have three children, a grandson, Lincoln, age three, and a granddaughter on the way this spring. Julie is now relearning what she most enjoys doing with her free time, since she had little of it during the last three years of full-time work and graduate studies. So far, time with Lincoln, or a good baseball game or book are high on the list.
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!