We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Amy Fitzgerald ’25
An eighth-grade science project planted the seed for Amy Fitzgerald’s future career in Radiography. “I had the opportunity to study the mechanics of a machine of my choice, which led to my love for medical imaging. My teacher at Fleetwood Area Middle School, Christopher Shiery, always gave students the chance to express their own interests and I often think about the strong impact he had on my future,” Amy shares.
Amy was initially drawn to PA College for its proximity to home and its affiliation with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. After touring campus, she was convinced that a “non-traditional” college was a great fit for her. She was also inspired by an alumna – her aunt Melinda Roberts ’89, RN, BSN (see below) – the only other member of her family to pursue a career in health care. Amy adds: “Being able to follow in her footsteps and go to the same school as her is exciting to me and I hope I make her proud!” Amy is also grateful for the support of her “biggest motivators” – her mom Tish, dad Mike and sister McKelvey.
Currently working as an X-Ray Technologist Assistant in the Emergency Department of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital while attending school, Amy looks forward to taking on the role of X-Ray Technician after earning her degree. She is excited by the many opportunities she’ll have to branch out into different imaging modalities as her career progresses. When Amy thinks about the positive impact she hopes to have through her work, she shares: “I want to help patients feel comfortable during an extremely tough experience in their life. I enjoy making people feel that they can express what they are dealing with and be able to feel like they are heard.”
Melinda Roberts ’89, RN, BSN
Occupational Health Nurse, Atlantic Health System
As the first person in her family to go to college, Melinda Roberts was motivated to work extra hard to succeed in school and make her parents proud. “My mom would tell anyone that would listen that I was a nurse,” she notes. After graduating from the then-Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing (now PA College) in 1989, she spent the first 23 years of her nursing career at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. Her many experiences there included working in a medical-surgical unit and the (former) sub-acute unit. She was also a case manager in the Emergency Department, was part of the team that started the Clinical Documentation Improvement Program and was a nursing supervisor. In 2000, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Millersville University.
After Melinda’s family relocated to New Jersey for her husband’s job, she began working for the Atlantic Health System. There she has been a nursing supervisor as well as a supervisor at the hospital-run Mega site giving Covid vaccinations. At the peak of the pandemic, they were administering more than 5,000 vaccines per day. Today, she is an Occupational Health Nurse. In this role, Melinda does pre-employment physicals, administers Covid and Flu vaccines to employees, does weekly antigen testing for employees that are not vaccinated against Covid and also works on the exposure hotline to triage employees with Covid – sending them for testing, assessing how their symptoms progress, helping them seek treatment options and assessing them for readiness to return to work. In 2005, Melinda spent two weeks in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina working in a Red Cross shelter providing nursing care to the people that were displaced by the hurricane.
“My degree has allowed me to work in numerous roles,” Melinda says. “I have learned so much over the years and I continue to learn each day. That is what I love about nursing, you can do many different things and work in many different settings and roles. I think the world saw how important nurses are during Covid. While everyone was staying home and quarantining, nurses were working 12-hour-plus shifts and we were the only people that were there to care for and hold a dying patient’s hand. I have always been proud to be a nurse but during that time I realized just how vital the work is that nurses do.” She is also very proud of her niece, Amy Fitzgerald ’25, a student in our Radiography program (see above), for all she has accomplished and for what lies ahead. “I know that she will get an excellent education at PA College affording her endless opportunities in her career,” Melinda adds.
Melinda and her husband of 33 years, Scott, have one daughter, Brittany and two grandchildren, Mia and Maverick. The family is building a home on Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and will be moving back to the state in May. Melinda is in the process of reactivating her Pennsylvania RN license and is looking for her next adventure in nursing.
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!