Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences (PA College), central Pennsylvania’s preeminent learning institution for the health care field, announced today that its Respiratory Care program has received the President’s Award for Excellence in Credentialing Success from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

PA College is one of only 23 colleges and universities in the country to win this award, and this is the third year in a row that PA College was honored by CoARC for its Respiratory Care program. In 2020 and 2021, the College received the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credentialing Success Award.

“Our Respiratory Care program uses real-life scenarios, simulated learning and classes taught by experienced faculty to prepare students for their roles in hospitals, sub-acute care facilities, home care and more,” said Joel Benner, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences Respiratory Care program director. “Our department is thrilled to receive this award and will continue to push for the most advanced respiratory treatment education in the country.”

PA College’s Respiratory Care program was chosen by CoARC’s board of directors for The President’s Award for Excellence in Credentialing Success because it demonstrates the following criteria:

  1. Has three or more years of outcomes data;
  2. Holds accreditation without a progress report;
  3. Maintains documented RRT credentialing success of 100 percent;
  4. Meets or exceeds established CoARC thresholds for TMC high cut score and retention.

Both the President’s Award for Excellence in Credentialing Success and the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award recognize the College in preparing its Respiratory Care students to achieve the highest educational and professional aspirations. The award is presented as part of the CoARC’s continued efforts to value the RRT credential as a standard of professional achievement and is based on a rolling three-year average of factors like test scores, retention, and student/employer satisfaction.

“On behalf of all faculty, staff members and students, Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences is honored to receive this recognition,” said Dr. Mary Grace Simcox, president of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “The field of respiratory care is more critical than ever, and it is our mission to pave the way for a brighter future for healthcare. We’re thrilled to be recognized for the high-quality education we strive for, as well as our students’ success and commitment.”

The Respiratory Care degree program culminates in a guaranteed placement period with one of PA College’s clinical affiliates. According to most recent data from CoARC, PA College graduates awarded a Respiratory Care Associate Degree maintain a 97 percent placement rate. The current national placement rate is 86 percent. Program gradates also hold a 100 percent employer satisfaction rate and a 100 percent RRT credentialing success rate.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for respiratory therapists is $61,830. Employment demand for respiratory therapists is projected to grow 14 percent through the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an even greater need for licensed, skilled respiratory therapists to provide critical care for patients with severe pulmonary conditions caused by the virus.

For more information about Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences and the Respiratory Care Associate Degree, click here.

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

Tanya Vigunas Freiberg, RN, BSN ’12 ’19
Alumna, and Student, MSN – Nurse Practitioner program

Two-time alumna Tanya Vigunas Freiberg began her career in health care in 2004, working as a Nurse’s Aid at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital.  Looking to advance into nursing, she enrolled in PA College, earning her Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree in 2012, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree seven years later.  As an RN, Tanya worked in the Trauma Neuro ICU at Lancaster General Hospital for seven years, before moving to the Critical Care Supplemental Staff in 2018.

 Now enrolled in the Psychiatric/Mental Health specialty track of our Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Practitioner program, Tanya is following a passion sparked earlier in life. Before starting at Lancaster General Hospital, she worked in the community with adults with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. She enjoyed working with this population and always felt she would find her way back to this type of work. Tanya explains: I am eager to help people affected by mental illness and promote mental health. I hope to work with children and adolescents to help them heal as well as learn healthy coping and emotional wellbeing.”

When asked to describe her health care hero, Tanya shares that she is inspired by all the wonderful health care professionals she has been privileged to work with and is always learning from her knowledgeable and caring colleagues.  Yet, she points to her grandmother, Barbara Keener Reed, RN ’55 as the person who very much encouraged and influenced her to become a nurse. Tanya explains: “When I was in the ASN program, my grandmother prayed that I would get to do my psychiatric nursing rotation at Philhaven where she worked as a psychiatric nurse. She actually waited to fully retire so that we could have the opportunity to be there together. After graduating, I was eager to work in the hospital Trauma Neuro ICU because I enjoyed neurology. Over the years I took care of many patients with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, and I never forgot my time as a nursing student a Philhaven. It was here that a passion to work with adolescents experiencing mental illness was ignited. My grandmother helped ensure I would have that experience and be under her wing to learn what she had through her years as a psychiatric nurse.” (To learn more about Barbara, read her Alumni Profile, below.)  

Alumni Spotlight

Barbara Keener Reed, RN ’55
Retired, WellSpan Philhaven

“My education equipped me for meaningful work, self-sufficiency and offered a sense of dignity,” shares alumna Barbara Keener Reed, RN ’55 of her studies at the Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing (now PA College). It was also the start of a series of life experiences that would expand her world view, as she began to interact with patients and professional staff whose cultures and outlook differed from her own. After graduation, Barbara married and moved to Chester, PA where she worked as a staff nurse at Crozier Hospital, before becoming a stay-at-home mom in 1957.

After spending fourteen-years in missionary service in Somalia, with her growing family and minimal opportunities for active nursing duty, Barbara felt apprehensive about re-entering the profession on returning to the United States. However, knowledge and skills were not lost, and Barbara thrived in mental health nursing at Philhaven Hospital (now WellSpan Philhaven). This specialty proved to be a wonderful fit, and even after her retirement, Barbara continued to work PRN (as needed) until past her 78th birthday.  She adds: “Among many treasured memories is that of a former patient, encountered in other circumstances, who remembered me and initiated conversation. The change in her was so remarkable I would never have guessed her to be the same person!”

Barbara also pursued another passion on the side, working in case management for a program affording safe shelter for victims of domestic violence. Some women with histories of abuse or drug addiction, whom she met through church, also began to confide in her. This spurred Barbara on to enroll in studies in Marriage and Family Therapy, Marriage Therapy and Pre-Marriage Counseling.  She notes: “I was not qualified to ‘hang out a shingle’ but gained more understanding and skills, so I happily helped on a volunteer basis those seeking my counsel. If I were young today, I would most likely aim to become a clinical marriage and family therapist.” In retirement, volunteer opportunities to speak about her husband’s and her lived experience with his Alzheimer’s Disease have been most rewarding. Among the hundreds of listeners were chaplains, pastors, family caregivers and student nurses at her local community college.

Barbara has lived independently at Landis Homes since 2007, first with her husband who died in December 2017. She enjoys walking within the community’s campus, reading, playing Scrabble, scrapbooking and traveling. “Family is first in my interests,” adds Barbara, who is especially proud that her granddaughter, Tanya Vigunas Freiberg ’12 ’19, a two-time alumna and current PA College MSN program student has followed in her footsteps. (To learn more about Tanya, read her Student Profile, above.) Barbara published a memoir last year, entitled Standing on Holy Ground and Some Not So Holy (most of the first chapter can be read here).

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, announced today that President Mary Grace Simcox, Ed.D., RN has been named to Central Penn Business Journal’s Power Health Care List for the second year in a row.

Central Penn Business Journal’s editorial leadership team selects the Power List honorees 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.

“I have the privilege of working with talented faculty and staff dedicated to the success of our learners at PA College”, said Dr. Mary Grace Simcox, president of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “Throughout my 21 years as president, I’ve watched this institution grow from a collection of buildings spread throughout downtown Lancaster to a state-of-the-art centralized campus. Being named to the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal‘s Power Health Care List is a great honor and one I share with our learners, faculty, and staff here at PA College.”

PA College News

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences (PA College), central Pennsylvania’s preeminent educational institution for the health care field, announced that it is currently accepting applications for its new Cardiac Sonography Associate Degree and Certificate Program that will be offered starting the Fall 2022 semester.

The Cardiac Sonography program at PA College is one of three ultrasound programs offered, including Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Vascular Sonography. The Cardiac Sonography Associate Degree is a two-year program, while the Cardiac Sonography Certificate is a one-year program for students who already hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or who will meet those degree requirements upon certificate completion.

“Cardiac sonography is an in-demand diagnostic imaging specialty,” said Veronica Eubanks, cardiac sonography program director at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “Using ultrasound equipment, cardiac sonographers conduct echocardiograms to obtain images of the heart’s structure and function, which is critical in identifying serious health conditions.”

The program’s curriculum includes three clinical rotations through various health care facilities, as well as hands-on instruction in the on-campus ultrasound suite. Students will apply their knowledge to complete a diagnostic echocardiogram to include 2D, M-Mode, and Doppler interrogation and advanced measurements, independently interact with patients from initial greeting and preparation until the completion of the echocardiogram, combine and analyze the information obtained from the echocardiogram to indicate pathology and severity, identify critical results that determine if the cardiologist should be contacted, and more.

“Our new Cardiac Sonography Program comes at a time when there is great demand for sonographers,” said Dr. Mary Grace Simcox, president of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 12,000 openings for medical sonographers and cardiovascular technologists are projected every year from 2020 to 2030. This program will not only allow students to gain a unique and unparalleled skill set, but also will set them up for success by launching them directly into a field where those skills are in high demand.”

The Cardiac Sonography Program at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences is pursuing initial accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). This step in the process is neither a status of accreditation nor a guarantee that accreditation will be granted.

Both programs prepare students to sit for the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography Cardiac Sonographer exam. Due to CAAHEP accreditation requirements, the first class of graduates will be eligible to sit for the exam after completion of the program and one year of cardiac sonography employment.

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

Tiffany Weinsheimer ‘23

Tiffany Weinsheimer
When Tiffany Weinsheimer decided to continue her nursing education, she needed a program that would fit her busy schedule – which includes working full-time and raising a family. She enrolled in our evening & weekend Associate of Science in Nursing program and is on track to earn her degree in May 2023. Tiffany appreciates the flexibility that PA College offers her and notes that her faculty’s varied backgrounds and approaches to teaching have resulted in excellent learning experiences. Her mother, Lynn Balmer, RN also helped Tiffany get to where she is today. “My mom was a nurse for 41 years,” explains Tiffany. “She has taught me a lot about being patient and accepting of others. Growing up with a mother as a nurse has inspired me to continue to learn and become a great nurse.”

Twenty-one years ago, Tiffany began her career in health care, passing out ice pitchers to the residents of Moravian Manor Communities in Lititz, PA. Since that time, she first became a Certified Nursing Assistant there, and later earned her Licensed Practical Nurse credentials. Recently, Tiffany also became certified as a dementia practitioner. Of this long-standing commitment to the geriatric population, she notes: “I would like to help them to live their final years as pleasantly and comfortably as possible.” Yet, Tiffany may also consider working in other areas once she becomes an RN. She shares: “I also enjoy orthopedics and rehab. Being able to see the patients get better is a great feeling. I hope that presently and, in the future, I am able to assist in helping patients to reach their full potential in health.” A recent honor will help Tiffany reach her goals. She is a recipient of a scholarship from the prestigious Nightingale Awards of Pennsylvania, which recognizes academic achievement, leadership potential, community service and personal commitment to the profession of nursing.

Tiffany is married to her high school sweetheart of 24 years, and they have three beautiful children. She is grateful for her family, who support her throughout her education and career.

Alumni Spotlight

Erin Spohn ’21, MHA, RHIA, CHPS
Assistant Privacy Officer, Penn Medicine

Erin Spohn
As a full-time working mother of three, Erin Spohn ’21 knew she needed to choose a graduate program wisely. She enrolled in our Master of Healthcare Administration program and after earning her degree, was promoted from Privacy Manager at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health to Assistant Privacy Officer for Penn Medicine. In this role, Erin supports the commitment to protecting the privacy of personal information of patients, research subjects, faculty, staff, students and others in the community. “My degree from PA College has helped me to become a more effective leader, have a better understanding of health care delivery and facilitated my development of core competencies such as problem-solving, strategic thinking and innovation,” shares Erin. A recent accomplishment has been working with a core group of stakeholders to assess and ensure compliance with the 21st century Cures Act, a federal legislation mandate that is significantly impacting increased patient access to medical records.

Erin’s family share her deep-rooted passion for health care. Her late father, Charles “Charlie” Bortle, EdD, was a significant force in the paramedic community locally and in Philadelphia. Erin shares: “Little did I know that his wisdom, mirth and unwavering support for Emergency Medical Services would have such an impact on my future career choices. When I was younger, I would tag along with him and volunteer to ‘victim’ for EMS students acting as a live ‘dummy’ to be prodded, poked, tapped and listened to with stethoscopes while I explained how my ‘injuries’ occurred.” After Erin’s father lost his five-and-a-half-year battle with renal cell carcinoma in October 2017, the family generously established PA College’s first-ever paramedic program scholarship in his name. Read more about the Dr. Charles D. Bortle Memorial Paramedic Scholarship fund here.

Erin’s share this advice for current students: “First, let your passion drive your career and become an expert in whatever health care area you love. When you’ve had a hard day, bring yourself back to the reason why you choose health care in the first place. Second, practice flexibility. Health care is an ever-changing landscape due to technical advancements, ageing populations, changing disease patterns, new discoveries and political reforms and policy initiatives. Change can be challenging but if you can remain flexible, be proactive and commit to thriving in the midst of it all, you will be successful. Lastly, reach out and establish a mentor. Establishing supportive and encouraging relationships promotes personal and professional growth. Navigating health care does not come with a how-to-guide and having a great mentor can be invaluable.”

Born and raised in Lancaster, Erin is celebrating 18 years of marriage to her husband Brett this month. The couple have three children: Taylor, age 17, Brennan, age 13, and Logan, age 6. Erin volunteers with a local rescue fostering puppy mill dogs who are often in need of medical attention and a loving ‘furever’ home; currently Sheepa, a Newfoundland and Reece, a Pit Bull mix, live with the Spohns.

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 337 students were named to the Dean’s List and 74 were named to the President’s List.

To attain Dean’s List honors, students need to obtain a grade point average of 3.50 or higher during the semester. The President’s List recognizes students who maintain a 3.95 grade point average or higher during the semester.

“It’s always an honor to recognize our students for their diligence and commitment to the health care field each semester,” said Dr. Mary Grace Simcox, president of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “I’m proud to lead the next generation of our health care workforce and with that, hopefully improve patient outcomes for years to come.”

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. The College’s rigorous curriculum prepares students for a variety of health care settings and roles, and for working collaboratively across disciplines to foster a holistic approach to care.

The complete Dean’s and President’s Lists for the Spring 2022 semester are listed below.

Dean’s List

Erika GregoryAbbottstownNursing
Ashley LombardNew OxfordNursing
Anne MetzLittlestownNursing
Sarah SmithNew OxfordNursing
Steven WukovitzNew OxfordHealth Sciences
Kaitlin BowersTempleNursing
Jesenia CruzWest ReadingNursing
Jennifer EckReadingNursing
Shandeliz GarciaReadingNursing
Sarah GroscupShillingtonVascular Sonography
Megan HoffertWest ReadingNursing
Tomishia JohnsonShillingtonNursing
Tara LoomisWernersvilleNursing
Corey LucasMohntonNursing
Lori Ann MurrayReadingNursing
Felicia NeifeldWest ReadingNursing
Jocelyn PapayFleetwoodNursing
Jennifer ParisReadingNursing
Melissa ReyesReadingNursing
Hannah RothMohntonDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Courtney SnookSinking SpringRadiography
Mohamed SolimanReadingNursing
Tara TruaxReadingNursing
Kaylee WelchMorgantownCardiovascular Technology
Lisa ZaycerReadingSurgical Technology
Irene YooBensalemNursing
Laura CochranColoraNursing
Sade FeltonElktonNursing
Rachel SmithNortheastNursing
Hannah BahlsOxfordNursing
Dorothy BehrndtGlenmooreNursing
Veronica BelmontNottinghamNursing
Christopher CollettiNottinghamNursing
Madeline GoteLincoln UniversityNursing
William HallWest ChesterCardiovascular Technology
Whitney KamradtPottstownNursing
Taylor LonsingerCoatesvilleDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Perry MarinoAvondaleRespiratory Care
Taylor OberHoney BrookDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Gabriela OrozcoOxfordRespiratory Care
Hope PeppernickCochranvilleDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Naomi RichardsLincoln UniversityNursing
Karina SalasDowningtownVascular Sonography
Vanessa SanchezWest GroveVascular Sonography
Mackenzie SheelerAtglenRadiography
Stephenie ZdrojewskiNottinghamNursing
Samer DossMechanicsburgCardiovascular Technology
September FuhrmaneckCarlisleNuclear Medicine Technology
Kylie HauensteinCarlisleNursing
Cara McconnellCamp HillNursing
Laura MorrowNew CumberlandNursing
Courtney SeitzingerMechanicsburgRadiography
Yashoda AdhikariHarrisburgNursing
Nakita DobbinHarrisburgNursing
Emily FoltzHarrisburgNursing
Abigail FosnotHarrisburgNursing
Trisha GivenHarrisburgNursing
Erica HarlacherMiddletownNursing
Maya HarrisHarrisburgNursing
Tiler HurstMiddletownHealth Sciences
Hari KarkiHarrisburgNursing
Sejalben PatelHarrrisburgNursing
Nancy PhamHarrisburgNursing
Chandra ThapaHarrisburgNursing
Sila UpretiHarrisburgNursing
Grace WanyoikeHarrisburgNursing
Jessica CarneyAstonCardiovascular Technology
Ewan LewisDrexel HillNursing
Stephanie StraccioneProspect ParkNursing
Robert GillisWashingtonHealth Sciences
Keegan KazokasParkerHealth Sciences
Elizabeth WarnerColorado SpringsNursing
Stephanie BurrellAberdeenNursing
Karla StenderEdgewoodNursing
Zoe BurnsMifflintownNursing
Alexis AdamsEphrataRadiography
Abdullah AlshahraniLancasterMedical Laboratory Science
Taylor AmicoLancasterRadiography
Kendall ArmentColumbiaNursing
William AvilesColumbiaRadiography
Howard BarkerLancasterNursing
Dustin BawellLeolaRespiratory Care
Marissa BaylorLancasterNursing
Melody BennerLancasterNursing
Joy BhattiLancasterNursing
Tanena BinderLeolaRespiratory Care
Ana BittsLancasterNursing
Olivia BolettieriLititzNursing
Jenna BrantleyElizabethtownNursing
Lauren BrenemanWillow StNursing
Tara BrennerDenverDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Lauren BrommerColumbiaNursing
Alaska BruneauMount JoyNursing
Stephanie BujnoReinholdsNursing
Gianna CarboneLeolaNursing
Jacqueline Castro PerezLancasterNursing
Bailey CoonNarvonNursing
Cyannie CoronadoLancasterRadiography
Zavier CuevasLititzNursing
Emily CummingsLancasterNursing
Emma CurtisQuarryvilleRadiography
Alyssa DavisNew HollandRadiography
Paige DenlingerLancasterNursing
Serena DerosaLancasterNursing
Amanda DeSanctisLancasterNursing
Elisabeth DetzMount JoyNursing
Olivia DickersonLititzNursing
Florence DiniNew HollandNursing
Christina DombachLancasterNursing
Jessica DombachMariettaRespiratory Care
Amanda DorseyLancasterNursing
Allyson DullWillow StreetNursing
Emma EbersolePeach BottomNursing
Sara EbyEast EarlNursing
Renee EshbachMillersvilleNursing
Araya FahnestockElizabethtownNursing
Beverly FlemingEphrataNursing
Maggie FloydLancasterNursing
Emily FolkerEphrataNursing
Brittany ForsytheLititzSurgical Technology
Lauren FoxMount JoyNursing
Alesha FrankAdamstownNursing
Nikita GlassPequeaNursing
Cheyenne GlickKinzersNursing
Nicholas GlobigMountvilleNursing
Brandi GodshallManheimNursing
Glorymer GonzalezLancasterNursing
Jose Gonzalez-VillegasLeolaRespiratory Care
Ashley GoodDenverNursing
Erica GoppoldLancasterNursing
Kristalyn GroffMillersvilleNursing
Kaitlyne GuestLancasterNursing
Jessica GustafsonLancasterSurgical Technology
Jazmin GuzmanLancasterNursing
Margaret HackmanDenverNursing
Lori HagenLancasterNursing
Cody HainesLancasterNursing
Amy HainesLancasterNursing
Jaclyn HarmerWillow StreetNursing
Angela HarrisElizabethtownNursing
Izabela HartenstineLititzNursing
Makayla HartingLeolaDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Tiffany HazelwoodPeach BottomNursing
Mackenzie HeiserLancasterRadiography
Brianne HeisermanManheimNursing
Megan HelselColumbiaNursing
Charlotte HenryLancasterNursing
Ashley HermanMount JoyNursing
Kaylani HernandezWillow StreetNursing
Lydia HershbergerManheimNursing
Lillian HokeLancasterDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Madison HollingerStrasburgNursing
Jennifer HoovenLancasterNursing
Micole HooverEphrataNursing
Cate HuxtableLancasterNursing
Emily IbarraLancasterNursing
Blessing JohnElizabethtownHealthcare Administration
Elisabeth JonesElizabethtownNursing
Addison KaraschLancasterNursing
Jennifer KarmannWillow StreetNursing
Evan KerstetterLancasterHealthcare Administration
Ajla KladusakLancasterNursing
Brianna KropleskyMountvilleNursing
Sarah LambLancasterVascular Sonography
Heather LandisManheimHealthcare Administration
Sydney LeakwayConestogaHealthcare Administration
Madison LeakwayLititzNursing
Candace LeamanLancasterNursing
Tyler LeberLancasterNursing
Aspen LeedEphrataNursing
Nkaujhmoob LorLeolaNursing
Victoria LorussoLancasterRadiography
Marilyn LynasLancasterNursing
Taylor MardisHoltwoodNursing
Idriss MariamLancasterNursing
Adin MartinLancasterNursing
Taylor MaxwellLititzNursing
Travis MayLancasterNursing
Kayla McCauleyQuarryvilleNursing
Ashley McCluneLititzNursing
Olivia McCurninElizabethtownNursing
Mackenzie McDonaldEphrataNursing
Caitlin McGlincheyMount JoyNursing
Carly McgregorLancasterHealth Sciences
Sirenda McNeceLancasterNursing
Laura MeislLititzSurgical Technology
Christina MejiaLancasterNursing
Victoria MendezManheimNursing
Mena MetiasLancasterRespiratory Care
Nguyen MetzlerPequeaNursing
Jamecia MillerLititzRespiratory Care
Morgan MillerBainbridgeRespiratory Care
Kirk ModesettEphrataHealthcare Administration
Elizabeth MowrerQuarryvilleNursing
Becca MullerLititzNursing
Tristin MusserWashington BoroNursing
Nicole MyersLancasterHealthcare Administration
Elijah MyersElizabethtownHealth Sciences
Rachel NelsonEphrataNursing
Cody NessLancasterNursing
Shelby NguyenLancasterNursing
Merle OberholtzerLancasterNursing
Andrew OgilvieElizabethtownNursing
Brooke OnealLancasterNursing
Rose PetitLancasterNursing
Florence Petit-tonLancasterNursing
Josephina PruittLancasterNursing
Corinne QuerryLancasterNursing
Zachary RankElizabethtownNuclear Medicine Technology
Michael RaushLancasterNursing
Lily RedcayMount JoyDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Tyler RhoadesLancasterRadiography
Haley RineerLancasterNursing
Ingiany RiveraElizabethtownNursing
Brent RothermelMillersvilleNursing
Karissa RusinkoLancasterVascular Sonography
Angelle jos San JoseLeolaHealthcare Administration
Abryana SanchezLititzNursing
Kirsten ShadeNew HollandRadiography
Braedyn SheafferLititzRadiography
Jessica ShipkowskiManheimNursing
Riley SimmonsAkronDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Matthew SmedleyElizabethtownNursing
Alison StaufferLancasterNursing
Allison SteeleLancasterDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Jessica SternNew HollandRadiography
Supattra SutterLancasterNursing
Autumn SwopeStrasburgNursing
Jennifer Tepale-GomezLancasterNursing
Austin ThomasWillow StNursing
Ariel TobiasEphrataNursing
Lizza TorresLancasterHealthcare Administration
Skyla TownsleyQuarryvilleNursing
Catie TroutmanLititzHealthcare Administration
Samantha VanbrookhovenLititzNursing
Sarah VanderwendeLancasterNursing
Cassandra VanScyocMount JoyNursing
Kaknika VisetLancasterNursing
Julia WadeKirkwoodNursing
Brett WalkerLancasterNursing
Yue WangEphrataNursing
Preston WeaverLititzNursing
Paige WeaverLancasterSurgical Technology
Candice WebsterColumbiaNursing
Christopher WilliamsQuarryvilleNursing
Breanna WingenrothEphrataNursing
Ann-Marie WitherspoonManheimNursing
Bethlehem WorkuLancasterNursing
Cyani WylieLeolaNursing
Maggie XiongLancasterNursing
Benjamin ZazoLandisvilleNursing
Alaina ZeagerElizabethtownNursing
Alexis ZimmermanLititzNursing
Natalie ZimmermanEphrataNursing
Taylor ZimmermanEphrataRadiography
Razan AlanaziPalmyraNuclear Medicine Technology
Christine BechtelLebanonRadiography
Beth ButskoPalmyraNursing
Sarah CampbellAnnvilleRadiography
Ilena FaiolaLebanonHealthcare Administration
Olivia HainsLebanonNursing
Emily HornPalmyraNursing
Raisa JadotteLebanonNursing
Eryka KaplanLebanonNursing
Vivian LattanzeNewmanstownNursing
Madison LentzPalmyraNursing
Paige Logue-GreenawaltLebanonNursing
Collin LoserLebanonRespiratory Care
Anissa MachamerMyerstownNursing
MacKenzie PeifferLebanonNursing
Mercedes RestoLebanonNursing
Jennifer ReyesLebanonRadiography
Cassidy RitchieJonestownNursing
Sarah ShollenbergerNewmanstownNursing
Alexandria VulaticAnnvilleNursing
Laura WamplerLebanonNursing
Destinee White-fosterPalmyraNursing
Tessa WillhoyteMyerstownNursing
Kirsten WilliamsLebanonNursing
Dana BevisConshohockenVascular Sonography
Khadeja NunnPottstownNursing
Lamisha DansbyWilmingtonCardiovascular Technology
Richeal Fixon-OwooBearNursing
Vivian CarterPhiladelphiaNursing
Princess KennedyPhiladelphiaHealthcare Administration
Kathleen KnowlesPhiladelphiaRespiratory Care
Sharon YoungmanPhiladelphiaNursing
Neslihan TongucBristowNursing
Miah HinnershitzOrwigsburgNursing
Kelly ShoberBarnesvilleHealth Sciences
Kirstie ArmoldWrightsvilleNursing
Samantha ArnoldHellamDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Jessica BaldwinWindsorNursing
Paige BarefootRed LionNursing
Mohammad BariHanoverNursing
Brianna BassYorkVascular Sonography
Reagan BeaversonYorkDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Kameryn BowerYorkNuclear Medicine Technology
Jessica ButtDeltaNursing
Jenna CornmanYork HavenRadiography
Colleen DaiDoverNursing
Madison DaughertyBrogueNursing
Samantha De VeldeRed LionNursing
Christopher DeiblerWrightsvilleNursing
Logan DontellRed LionNursing
Hayley FlinchbaughSeven ValleysDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Latia FornerFeltonVascular Sonography
Erin FryHanoverNursing
Madison GaarderManchesterNursing
Gabrielle GalliYorkNursing
Nair GarciaGlenvilleNursing
Bernny GarciaYorkRespiratory Care
Hannah GrimYorkRadiography
Sara HammeStewartstownNursing
Sarah HeroldGlen RockNursing
Grace KelchNew FreedomRadiography
Tarisa KellyWrightsvilleNursing
Rochelle KirknerStewartstownNursing
Katherine LehmanWrightsvilleNursing
Brittani MadisonHanoverNursing
Grace McCamantHanoverNuclear Medicine Technology
Abbi MelcherYorkRadiography
Emeka OkerehRed LionNursing
Rachel RohrbaughRedlionDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Kylie RohrbaughRed LionNursing
Bailey SacomanYorkNursing
Noelani SebestaRed LionNursing
Taylor ShankWrightsvilleDiagnostic Medical Sonography
Paige SmeltzerYorkNursing
Skylar SweitzerYorkNursing
Kennedy ThorntonYorkNursing
Emily UrbaniakYorkNuclear Medicine Technology
Jessica WaiteYorkNursing
Chloe WarnerRed LionNursing
Jenna WorleyWrightsvilleHealthcare Administration
Jared YbarraYorkRadiography
Kelly YoungFeltonNursing

President’s List

Brianna ProgarGardnersProgar Nuclear Medical Technology
Kevin CarvalhoReadingCarvalho Radiography
Jason MattisChalfontMattis Cardiovascular Technology
Emily BoughersConowingoBoughers Nursing
Olivia FlockerziColoraFlockerzi Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Rachael BakerLincoln UniversityBaker Nursing
Sarah CarrLincoln UniversityCarr Nursing
Heather DeMicheleWest ChesterDeMichele Surgical Technology
Aliena FerranteParkesburgFerrante Radiography
Alena TestermanNottinghamTesterman Nursing
Robin ZubaParkesburgZuba Nursing
Isabella AielloGrantvilleAiello Nursing
Bhawana BaskotaHarrisburgBaskota Nursing
Courtney CarrMiddletownCarr Nursing
Diana ChavezHarrisburgChavez Nursing
Bailee ArmoldLancasterArmold Nursing
Nancy BachelderLititzBachelder Nursing
Brynne BakerWillow StreetBaker Nursing
Abigail BeattyLititzBeatty Nursing
Natalie BourneColumbiaBourne Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Davielle BrigmanElizabethtownBrigman Nursing
Courtney BrownElizabethtownBrown Nursing
Taylor BurkLancasterBurk Nursing
Breanna BurkholderDenverBurkholder Health Sciences
Carleigh DenlingerLancasterDenlinger Radiography
Bryanna DissingerLititzDissinger Cardiovascular Technology
Samantha DoblerMount JoyDobler Nuclear Medical Technology
Tamra DouglasLancasterDouglas Nursing
Adrienne GehmanNarvonGehman Nursing
Jamilyn GroftLancasterGroft Healthcare Administration
Danielle HeiseyLancasterHeisey Nursing
Ruth HersheyMillersvilleHershey Nursing
Madison HigginsLancasterHiggins Radiography
Kristen HollingerMountvilleHollinger Nursing
April IversonLancasterIverson Radiography
Alexis JacksonPeach BottomJackson Nursing
Emily KiserDenverKiser Nursing
Daria KolesnikReinholdsKolesnik Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Ellie KreadyLancasterKready Nursing
Mary LehmanLancasterLehman Nursing
Kayla MartinLeolaMartin Nursing
Nickea MetzlerManheimMetzler Nursing
Tenaya MetzlerManheimMetzler Nursing
Zachary MinneciElizabethtownMinneci Nursing
Brad MurphyColumbiaMurphy Nursing
Caleb MusserLititzMusser Surgical Technology
Amanda NoltEphrataNolt Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Marissa PeticcaLancasterPeticca Nursing
Brooke RathmanDenverRathman Nursing
Maria RosasMariettaRosas Nursing
Andrew RossGapRoss Respiratory Care
Amy RyanMount JoyRyan Nursing
Mark SadlerMariettaSadler Nursing
Jocelyn ShafferElizabethtownShaffer Nursing
Michaela SheltonLititzShelton Medical Laboratory Science
Claudia SmithLancasterSmith Radiography
Laura SpahrElizabethtownSpahr Healthcare Administration
Ashley SpanglerPeach BottomSpangler Health Sciences
Karyn StarrLancasterStarr Nursing
Kendra TishhouseLancasterTishhouse Nursing
Bethany WeberLancasterWeber Surgical Technology
Dawn BalsbaughLebanonBalsbaugh Nursing
Sophie BeidlerPalmyraBeidler Radiography
Elizabeth BrittonAnnvilleBritton Radiography
Carley KramerPalmyraKramer Nursing
Abigail MellorMyerstownMellor Nursing
Morgan ThomsonLebanonThomson Nursing
Emily WhiteLebanonWhite Radiography
Katie CumboWest NorritonCumbo Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Olga ChernovskiyYorkChernovskiy Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Sarah DouthitYorkDouthit Radiography
Holly FrockDallastownFrock Nursing
Brittany McSwineWindsorMcSwine Nursing
Gabrielle RussoYorkRusso Cardiovascular Technology
PA College News

This month, we’re honored to share the graduate remarks delivered to the Class of 2022, College leadership, faculty, family and friends by during our Commencement Ceremony on May 20, 2022.

Commencement Speaker Spotlight

Alison Stauffer ’22
Graduate, Three-Year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program

Ali Stauffer Commencement SpeakerGraduates. Here we are. The moment we have been dreaming of. The day we get to honor all our hard work. Congratulations. Today marks the end of one journey and opens the door to another. Each of us here has made sacrifices, endured long hours of studying, and made many memories. As you are here, today, sitting in front of your family, friends, and faculty, think back to who you were before all of this started. How have you changed? What inspired you to choose this path? All of us have reasons for everything we do. Whether you wanted to become a respiratory therapist because your grandparent had lung cancer, you wanted to become a nurse because someone took care of you when you were sick, you became a surgical tech because you think the inside of the human body is fascinating, or you chose to be a sonographer because you wanted to help people. Whatever that reason may be, hold onto it. Lock it up and place it deep in your heart for the stormy days. That little piece of sunshine may be all you need to keep going.

In the world today, there seems to be a consistent amount of crisis. I mean look at us, the class that completed college during a pandemic, one mask at a time. Entering the medical field was a choice for each of us, whether we knew what we were getting into or not. I started my journey at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health’s ICU as a PtCA before I transitioned into the NICU at their Women and Babies Hospital. The ICU forced me to open my eyes and look at the world around me. I was suddenly transformed from a high school student to someone who had the power to make a difference in someone else’s life crisis every single shift. With consistent death, illness, and then the pandemic, I found peace in the little moments.

One of these moments that I will always remember is the day we were transferring a patient on hospice care to another unit. We pulled his bed up to the floor-length windows. He couldn’t even lift his own head to look out the window. I lifted it for him, and he felt the sunshine on his face and smiled with tears in his eyes. I couldn’t help but cry myself knowing the connection I had with this man made a difference in both of us. This career we chose will forever change our hearts and the hearts of others if we allow it.

What I learned from this experience I carry with me every day. We all know life is a series of countless moments tied together on an up and down continuum. Good or bad, we never know what is going to happen next. To get through the hard moments, I promised myself that I would never allow myself to get used to death and sadness. Acceptance is different from acknowledgment. Allow yourself to accept each of those moments. Never harden your heart. Never allow these moments to become “normal” or “a part of the job”. Yes, we cannot take each moment home with us and allow it to consume us. Rather, learn how to accept these moments rather than simply acknowledge and move on. Whatever you do, allow yourself to feel.

We have been consistently overcoming challenges left and right since this all began. We have become resilient and the differences we can make because of these challenges are going to be evident in our practice for years to come. This career path is ever changing and full of opportunity. Whatever your heart desires, chase it. The key to success is knowing your own heart. Know yourself and you will be able to fill others. Each of us can make a difference in the world around us in our own unique way. As Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Whatever it was that brought you to this career, guided you here for a reason. You are exactly where you are supposed to be right now. Treasure this not so little moment and find your peace. Thank those who helped you get here. Be proud of you. Your future patients are waiting. Thank you.

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 (PA College), central Pennsylvania’s preeminent educational institution for the health care field, announced that President Dr. Mary Grace Simcox has been selected as one of Central Penn Business Journal’s 2022 Women of Influence honorees.

Women of Influence honors high-achieving women for their career accomplishments. The 29 women were chosen out of over a hundred applicants based on their professional experience, community involvement, leadership and a commitment to mentoring. The honorees were selected by a panel of judges consisting of business professionals and previous winners.

“Being named as a recipient to this year’s Women of Influence award is an honor, and I want to extend my congratulations to the fellow honorees,” said Dr. Simcox. “Serving as President of PA College has provided me the opportunity to support thousands of people who have the same goals as I do — to make an impact in their communities through health care. To be recognized for doing this work that I love to do is a deep privilege.”

The winners will be honored on June 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Harrisburg Hilton, One North 2nd Street in Harrisburg. Access to the celebration is limited to honorees and sponsors. If available, a limited number of individual tickets will be offered after sponsorships close May 30. To secure a sponsorship, contact Suzanne Fischer-Huettner at The event hashtag is #CPBJevents.

Honorees will be profiled in a magazine that will be inserted into the June 24 issue of Central Penn Business Journal and will be available online at

“The 2022 Women of Influence honorees are leading companies, creating new products, changing the way we do business and most importantly, paving the way for future generations of women,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, senior group publisher of the Central Penn Business Journal. “They are providing an incredible impact on the Central Pennsylvania region and demonstrate hard work, professional success, leadership and a relentless commitment to making Central Pennsylvania’s community the best place to live and work. Central Penn Business Journal is honored to recognize the accomplishments of these incredible women.”

PA College News

Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences (PA College), central Pennsylvania’s preeminent educational institution for the health care field, will hold its graduation ceremony for 522 students on Friday, May 20 from 7-9 p.m. at the Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster. The ceremony will also be available via livestream.

The Commencement celebrates the 116th year in the life of Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. This is the College’s first formal graduation ceremony since 2019, and it will feature the first formal hooding ceremony for doctoral graduates.

PA College president Dr. Mary Grace Simcox will preside over the Commencement exercises and Alison Stauffer, class of 2022 Bachelor of Science in Nursing, will also speak. The Commencement keynote speaker is Andy Carter, president and chief executive officer of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP). He represents nearly 240 hospitals and health systems across the state, providing care for 12.8 million Pennsylvanians. Before coming to HAP, Carter served as the president and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Associations of America (VNAA), the national voice for nonprofit, community-based home health and hospice agencies. Before the VNAA, he led the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, where he created new public funding streams for Ohio’s six regional children’s hospitals and established the nation’s first statewide pediatric quality improvement initiative. Prior to entering the association field, Carter served for 20 years in a variety of leadership positions in community relations, state government, and business in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Ohio.

“We are thrilled to be able to honor our students with a formal graduation ceremony this year and to welcome them into the ranks of the many great alumni who have gone before them,” said Dr. Simcox. “It’s always a privilege to come together with families and friends of our graduates to recognize their hard work and dedication to their academics and the health care profession.”

Three doctorate degrees will be presented in Nursing Practice, and three post-master’s certificates will be presented: one Post Master’s Certificate in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and two Post Master’s Certificate in Family Nurse Practitioner Across the Lifespan.

26 master’s degrees will be presented: 11 Masters of Healthcare Administration; two Masters of Science in Nursing Administration; two Masters of Science in Nursing Education; five Masters of Science in Nursing Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; five Masters of Science in Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner Across the Lifespan; and one Master of Science in Nursing Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

144 bachelor’s degrees will be presented: one Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences; 19 Bachelors of Science in Health Sciences; eight Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Administration; 32 Bachelors of Science in Nursing (Pre-Licensure Track); and 84 Bachelors of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN Track).

297 associate degrees will be presented: 13 Associates in Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography; two Associates in Applied Science in Cardiovascular Technology; one Associate in Applied Science in Nuclear Medicine Technology; 21 Associates in Applied Science in Radiography; 10 Associates in Applied Science in Respiratory Care; eight Associates in Applied Science in Surgical Technology; four Associates in Applied Science in Vascular Sonography; 41 Associates in Science in Nursing Three-Year Track; and 197 Associate in Science in Nursing Two-Year Track.

20 academic certificates will be presented: four Academic Certificates in Cardiovascular Technology; two Academic Certificates in Diagnostic Medical Sonography; five Academic Certificates in Medical Laboratory Science; five Academic Certificates in Nuclear Medicine Technology; one Academic Certificate in Surgical Technology; and three Academic Certificates in Vascular Sonography.

Additionally, 10 Professional Certificates in Healthcare Administration will be presented. 19 Technical Certificates will be given: four in Medical Assistant, and 15 in Paramedic Training.

The rain date for the graduation ceremony is Monday, May 23 from 7-9 p.m.

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

Allison Steele ’22
Student, Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program

Allison SteelePoised to graduate from our Diagnostic Medical Sonography program in August, Allison Steele is ready to help save lives. Motivated by personal loss, she is driven by her strong faith to make a difference for those in her care. “After my aunt lost her battle with addiction in 2017, I knew that I wanted to have a career in health care,” Allison explains. “There is not a day that goes by that my family does not think of her. It has been my faith that has guided me through college, and I plan to continue to be a light to those around me as I go into the field of ultrasound. You never know what someone else is facing behind closed doors. With a smiling face and a simple kindness, I know that my small part can make a difference.”

Allison first enrolled in PA College as part of our high school dual enrollment program, staying busy with clubs, volunteerism and part time work. These experiences prepared her for working with the public and helped Allison step out of her comfort zone. She adds: “Helping the community is something that I will always be passionate about and will venture into more in the years to come after graduation.” Allison currently works as a customer service specialist at a Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health outpatient site, which allows to her take advantage of the health system’s tuition reimbursement program. In addition to this incentive, Allison chose to attend PA College for our guaranteed clinical placements, small class sizes and one-on-one time with her instructors. She finds working with children especially rewarding and aspires to work in pediatric ultrasound. “I feel that God has led me this direction for a reason,” Allison shares.

Allison lives in rural Lancaster County, and has a passion for journaling, traveling, four-wheeling, hiking, kayaking, fitness and spending time with the ones I love. “Juggling work, being a full-time student, family time, having a social life, and finding time for myself has been a struggle throughout these past two years and I could not have done it without the love and support of my friends and family,” shares Allison. While she does not believe that earning a college degree is the only way to be successful in life, she is proud to be the first generation of her family to go to college. She is grateful to her parents for helping her reach this milestone, and shares: “I only hope that one day I can live up to the potential that they see in me. I am trying my very best to make my family proud and to prove true something that my dad has always said to me: ‘You can do anything you put your mind to.’” Her boyfriend of nearly five years is also one of Allison’s biggest supporters and has been a shoulder to lean on, especially during the past two years.

Alumni Spotlight

Stewart Sampsel ’21, MHA
Physician Recruiter, WellSpan Health

Stew SampselEver since his undergraduate days playing Division I football for the SUNY Buffalo Bulls, Stew Sampsel has loved a competitive challenge. These days, his playing field is health care, and Stew works as a physician recruiter with WellSpan Health. “My profession has always faced significant challenges, especially considering the aging workforce and complex economics of the health care industry,” he shares. “With the growing physician shortage in the United States, the recruitment landscape is highly competitive, but I love the challenge. I take great pride in identifying the perfect fit for each practice I represent. I have the unique opportunity to work with some of the most talented providers in the country. It’s always gratifying to hear success stories associated with someone you helped hire.”

Stew supports the service lines of Medicine, Primary Care and Orthopedic Surgery and is responsible for developing comprehensive recruitment plans that align with WellSpan Health’s strategic goals. His department helps meet the clinical needs of communities the health system serves throughout south central Pennsylvania. “I am keenly aware that my work has an impact on friends and neighbors who rely on WellSpan for high-quality specialty care,” notes Stew.

A 2021 graduate of our Master of Healthcare Administration program, Stew credits his PA College education with helping him to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate effectively with his internal and external customers. He offers this advise to our current students: “If you have questions or feel like you’re struggling, do not hesitate to reach out to the faculty and staff. They want to see you succeed! I was always impressed by their commitment to each individual student.”

A member of the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment as well as the Mid-Atlantic Physician Recruiter Alliance, Stew lives in York, PA with his wife Lauren and their two boys, ages seven and four. As a family, they enjoy camping, attending sporting events and going out for ice cream.

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

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

Student Spotlight

Michele Rebman ’23
Student, Associate of Science in Nursing program

Rebman Family
A wealth of life experiences – both traumatic and rewarding – have shaped who Michele Rebman is today. Several years ago, as a sophomore at Millersville University, Michele faced a family tragedy followed by her own severe illness, which involved organ failure and crippling depression and anxiety. She shares: “If it wasn’t for my therapist and my incredible support team, I would not be even half of the person I am today. They have all taught me that it is okay to not be okay and that mental health matters. I have learned that almost everything will work again if you unplug it for just a few minutes, even yourself. Sometimes, you simply just have to have courage and be kind when faced with a challenging situation.”

Michele also feels deeply connected with her PA College community and notes: “I am thankful to call PA College my home because the faculty and staff here are like family. What I love best about the ASN program is how supportive each instructor is and their willingness to help every student.” Michele aspires to work in an ICU or Trauma Unit once she becomes an RN, to gain a variety of experience before continuing her education. Currently working as a psychiatric technician and activities therapist for WellSpan Health Philhaven on their psychiatric unit, Michele also recently accepted a student nurse position at Lehigh Valley Hospital.

In addition to serving on PA College’s Student Council, Michele also pursues her passion for mental health through pageants. “This past fall I competed in my pageant system’s nationals and won the national title,” Michele shares. “I went from being the former Miss Pennsylvania to now being the reigning All American Miss title holder. I prepared for nationals while staying up with my grades and traveling all over the United States for appearances to promote my platform Mental Health Matters. I also help with my pageant system’s national platform Operation We Care which involves giving back to our first responders and our troops all over the world.”

This summer, Michelle will earn bachelor’s degrees from Millersville University in both biology and psychology and is on track to graduate from PA College in 2023. Her calendar may be full, but she notes: “My goal every day is to make at least one person smile. I also live by the quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ These words have helped me through more tough times than I can remember.”

Alumni Spotlight

Sheila Charmaine Murphy Thomas, RN ’64
Retired, Stanford University Medical Center

Charmaine Thomas
When Sheila Charmaine Thomas began her nursing education in 1961, the Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing (now PA College) was her number one choice. A forty-year career would follow, ending with two decades at the Stanford University Medical Center, where she specialized in Perinatal Nursing. Charmaine obtained certification in Grief & Loss Care, and then developed a collaborative Team of MDs, RNs, Social Workers, and Chaplains. She shares: “Our proactively-structured approach was recognized for training, and also provided to other local hospitals, Grand Rounds, and even hospitals in other states. We organized an Annual Memory Quilt, and a gathering together with families, where we made, or helped them to make, a quilt square in memory of their loss.” Sheila Charmaine was also part of the medical center’s Life Flight team – learning to fly a Cessna 152 airplane for transport safety backup, and later progressing to the helicopter rescue program.

When she retired from Stanford in 2002, Sheila Charmaine wore her nursing student uniform before celebrating at a party with colleagues (pictured here). However, she maintained her licensing until 2015, leading a Services-to-Seniors program through her church. This ranged from home health care assessments, transports to MD care, post-rehab home care and financial and legal assistance where needed, including serving as the Durable POA and Medial POA for individuals without available family resources. And as a breast cancer survivor for over eleven years now, Sheila Charmaine is proud to have also helped other women of all ages through this life-changing experience.

When asked what advice she would give to our students, Sheila Charmaine offered: “Learn something new every day, stretch your learning into challenging areas of your clinical experiences, really listen to your patients and their family’s concerns/questions and challenge yourself to expand your areas of skills and expertise every year with renewed goals. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone……Yes, who would have thought that Sheila Charmaine would learn to solo fly an airplane?”

Sheila Charmaine has been married to her husband Donald for nearly 58 years. He and his brothers own seven Planet Fitness franchises, an endeavor to which Sheila Charmaine has also contributed. Her hobbies include quilting, making stained-glass art works and travel – she has visited 56 countries and nearly all 50 U.S. states. She keeps physically fit through daily walking, cycling and running – having competed in fifteen half-marathons and one full marathon. Next year on her 80th birthday, Charmaine plans to compete in another half marathon “with her three daughters and as many of my six grandchildren who can keep up with me,” she notes.

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

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

Student Spotlight

Misti Heagy ’23
Student, Associate of Science in Nursing program

Heagy Family
A registered nurse at Women’s Place in Lititz became Misti Heagy’s health care hero during the birth of her third child. Her new son had two holes in his heart and the family didn’t know if he would require immediate surgery after birth or if he would heal on his own. Misti explains: “Aside from easing my fears of what was to come, my nurse was fully prepared and calm while I worried. While I was laboring, my son’s heart rate dropped drastically, and she flew in the room and rushed into action. My healthy baby boy was born two minutes later – thanks to her knowledge, coaching and passion. I will never forget what she did for me that day.”

Last year, when another life-changing event prompted her to reconsider her career path, Misti decided to become a nurse. This was no small decision, but with the support of her husband, she liquidated the business she had run for the past ten years and enrolled in PA College. In addition to the inspiring example of the Women’s Place nurse, Misti was tapping into her childhood dreams of becoming an OB/GYN, as well as a subsequent interest in midwifery. She has since come to realize that her true passion is for the babies. She hopes to work in Labor and Delivery or the NICU after earning her degree while continuing her education toward her ultimate goal of becoming a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Misti shares: “My hope is to provide excellent care to newborns in need of extra special attention. I hope to be able to put parents’ and loved ones’ minds at ease and earn their trust while working to preserve and enhance the lives of our smallest and most delicate population.”

In addition to positive recommendations from nurse friends, Misti chose PA College because she could utilize her military veteran benefits to help finance her education. During her eighteen years of service in the U.S. Army, she moved up through the ranks, training as a Combat Medic, Mortuary Affairs Specialist and Human Resources Specialist, among other roles and responsibilities. Misti is also a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom (2008-09).

Misti lives with her husband and their five children (and two ‘fur babies’) in Shaefferstown, PA. She works hard to balance her military commitment with school and her personal life. She’s a Disney marathoner, and when not studying is busy running and cross-training in preparation for several races in fall 2022. Misti’s husband is training for his first mixed martial arts fight and their children are involved in softball, drums, boxing and soccer. As a family, they enjoy Taco Tuesday, family night on Fridays, time on their boat and playing the video game, Fortnite.

Alumni Spotlight

Donovan Carper ’02, MSN, RN, NHA, CPT
Nursing Home Administrator, Moravian Manor

Donovan Carper
Alumnus Donovan Carper ’02 knows first-hand how vulnerable retirement communities have been during the coronavirus pandemic. In spring 2020, as then-Director of Nursing at Moravian Manor in Lititz, PA, Donovan and his colleagues quickly shifted their focus away from rehabilitation services to COVID-19 prevention. Their standout early success prompted inquiries from Center for Disease Control staff who visited Moravian Manor to gain input on their own regulation formatting and communications, as well as the challenges of preventing COVID in long term care settings.

Donovan earning his nursing diploma from the Lancaster Institute for Health Education (now PA College) in 2002. This experience was a critical foundation for his continuing education at both the bachelor’s and master’s degree levels and formed a trajectory of professional success. Promoted to the role of Nursing Home Administrator in April 2021, Donovan is proud that Moravian Manor became one of the first local facilities to be integrated into the Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health Preferred Provider Network. As the impact of the pandemic becomes less severe there, Moravian Manor is renewing their focus on rehabilitation outcomes. Donovan and his current Director of Nursing spoke about their rehab experiences and strategies at a conference hosted by Kairos last year.

Donovan also has a blog where he evaluates evidence behind current trends for stress management, nutrition and other non-pharmacologic approaches to common chronic ailments. This pursuit led to his meeting Dr. Shavkat Ruziev, founder of Lancaster Wellness, which focuses on preventive medicine and holistic medicine which combines pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic interventions for the treatment of depression, anxiety, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other chronic conditions. Donovan has since obtained his personal trainer certification to work with clients of Lancaster Wellness.

When asked what advice he would give to today’s students, Donovan shares: “Stay humble! Most nurse leaders dislike giving critical feedback. Yet feedback both positive and negative is essential. None of us are perfect, we all have things we need to improve upon. And like any coach, our leaders and instructors sometimes need to point these things out to us. I thank God for the nurse leaders and instructors who have given me feedback over the years—some of which at the time I found upsetting but upon reflection, held some truths. Reflect, stay humble, always be willing to learn and improve. Life gets boring if you stay the same and stagnate!”

Donovan lives in Cornwall, PA. In addition to pursuing health coaching and personal training in his free time, he strives to reserve one day per week for dedicated family time, reading and relaxing.

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