We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Cathy Cooper ’19
Nuclear Medicine Technology
Cathy Cooper began her college career at York College of Pennsylvania as a biology major, driven by her dream of becoming a physician. However, finding that degree program to be too research-orientated, she began to consider allied health majors as a way to have the hands-on clinical experiences she sought. This led Cathy to nuclear medicine technology, and a special bridge program with Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences.
Cathy has been enrolled at PA College for the past year to complete the theory and clinical aspects of her nuclear medicine studies, before earning her bachelor’s degree from York College in August. When asked what she has liked best about her time at PA College, Cathy points to the program’s organization overall and the individualized guidance that she’s received, adding: “The instructors along with the college provide exceptional academic and professional support which helps me feel prepared to be successful in all aspects of my professional life.”
Cathy’s interest in healthcare stems from her upbringing. She shares: “Born and raised in Liberia West Africa, I’ve always had an innate desire to help others regardless of the circumstances. This desire was enhanced by my mother, who is a psychiatric nurse. After moving to the United States and learning more about all the different aspects of health, I wanted to share this knowledge in other underdeveloped countries like Liberia.” In May, Cathy took a study abroad trip to Liberia, to examine that country’s high maternal mortality rate. Along with faculty from York College, she interviewed healthcare workers, administrators, and patients, and together, they presented their findings to the National Public Health Institute and Ministry of Health in Liberia. Cathy hopes their insights might also be used to tackle maternal mortality in the United States.
Graduation next month will be a proud occasion, but Cathy is keeping her eye on her future dreams. She shares: “My ultimate goal is to contribute to the renewal of the healthcare system in Liberia through the establishment of hospitals and educational facilities to promote great quality care and educational opportunities. I hope to build or foster connections in which there can be continuous sharing of knowledge and skills between underdeveloped countries like Liberia and more advanced countries like the United States.”
Eric Sandblade ’96
Registered Nurse, Retired
Healthcare professionals pop up throughout Eric Sandblade’s family tree, including a grandfather and an uncle who were medical doctors, both in private practice and at Edinboro University for over forty years. Yet it was decades after completing high school, when a conversation at a reunion with a classmate who had just become a nurse prompted Eric to embark on a health care path of his own. He thought of this decision at age 50 to go back to school as a personal challenge and enrolled in the then nursing diploma program at Lancaster General Hospital School of Nursing (now PA College).
Coming from a background in education and industry, Eric chose our program because of the extensive clinical experience it offered, believing it was vital to his success as a newcomer to health care. While he enjoyed all of his clinical rotations, Eric especially enjoyed his time working with children, sharing: “It was a pure joy to work in labor and delivery since my two children were adopted from Korea at the age of 4 and 5.” He also recollects especially enjoying learning about all the body systems and functions as a student and appreciating the support of his study group.
After earning his nursing diploma in 1996, Eric worked in the dementia unit at the Masonic Home, at York Hospital on general medicine floors, including work with renal patients and in a mental health clinic. He also worked in the behavioral health unit at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. Eric’s final role, before retiring in May 2018, was in the residential nursing department at Willow Valley Communities.
Now fully enjoying his status as a retired RN, Eric likes to spend time with his grandson and to travel. He’s also an avid runner and took part in the College’s first 5K Scrub Run/Walk last September – showing his nursing pride by running in his scrubs! Eric’s already registered for this year’s event on September 14 and notes: “I hope to see some fellow classmates from the Class of 1996 at the starting line!”
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!