People of PA College: March 2019 Edition

by Karen Jenkins March 6, 2019

People of PA College: March 2019 Edition

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

Student Spotlight

Stephanie Damiron ’19


Stephanie Damiron ’19 is enrolled in our Radiography program with the goal of becoming an MRI technologist. Her mother’s back injury and subsequent surgery piqued her interest in a career in health care. She witnessed how radiography helped provide her mother answers to the unknown during a painful time and is excited to become trained to do the same. Her own experience with an MRI exam also reinforced her belief that diagnostic imaging would offer her the kind of professional experience she seeks: one in which she can be a comforting and reassuring technologist at what is often a time of worry and pain for patients. Stephanie has enjoyed working with patients in her program so far, and shares: “We don’t know what the patients are going through, but if we are kind, we can make a positive change in their lives.”

“I chose PA College because it gives me the tools I need to prosper in the field of healthcare,” explains Stephanie, who points to the opportunity to shadow other modalities within radiography as helping to assure herself that she selected the right path. She adds: “The instructors are also very helpful and a great resource whenever I have a question. My PA college experience as a whole has led me to the path I am on today.”  Having previously worked as an early childhood teacher for four years, Stephanie is grateful to have realized that something was missing for her in that role and led to a career change.  A previous attempt to shift to the healthcare profession didn’t work out for Stephanie, due to the demands of contributing to her single parent household.  Still determined to succeed, she decided to pursue her passion once more when she enrolled in PA College. After first working in a family practice with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, Stephanie is excited to now taking on a role within radiography.

In her free time, Stephanie is an avid reader, enjoys doing Zumba and spending family time with her significant other Leo and his daughter Ciara. She loves to travel, adding “I have been to the Dominican Republic too many times to count since both of my parents are from there. I get to enjoy both the countryside and city life (best of both worlds!) and the beautiful beaches every time I visit. I have a long list of places I’d like to visit, but hopefully my next destination is Italy!”


Alumni Spotlight

Amanda Clark, RN ’17

Emergency Department Nurse, UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle

Soon after earning a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology, Amanda Clark ’17 realized she had made a mistake. Deciding instead on a career in nursing, she enrolled in our Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program. While a student at PA College, Amanda also worked at Geisinger Holy Spirit as a Crisis Interventionalist in the Emergency Department. This role helped make Amanda’s eventual transition to her current position as an ED nurse with UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle somewhat easier. During her relatively short time there, Amanda has been asked to take preceptor classes by her Nurse Educator, joined the Peer Interview Team, and was assigned to have student nurses follow her in the ED for their clinical experiences. She recently completed a triage course at Harrisburg Hospital and is consistently assigned to triage, a leadership role within the department. Managers within the hospital are encouraging Amanda to do the Career Development Pathway that Pinnacle offers and she will soon being studying to take her CEN (Certified Emergency Nurse) exam. A recent UPMC Pinnacle video highlights Amanda’s nursing experience.

Reflecting on her student days, Amanda shares: “I think my entire time at PA College was a highlight of my life. It’s hard to choose moments when I was blessed with them every day during my time there. The people I studied alongside of were the most encouraging and caring souls I have ever met. Instructors in my first semester prepared us so well for what was to follow. Third semester is known among the students as the most challenging semester but I feel that is where the most growth was achieved. Instructor Karen Brandt was definitely the highlight of that semester. She made me feel like a nurse for the first time. She educated in a way that never made me feel like I was missing something or unprepared. She didn’t embarrass me when I had questions. She just genuinely loved helping.”

“Another highlight for me was how prepared I was for my actual nursing job after I graduated. All ED nurses have to take ACLS/PALS TNCC, ENA courses. I scored the highest grade in my TNCC class. The instructor pulled me aside and told me how well I had done and asked me how I studied. I told her PA College had already prepared me for a lot of the content. I also saw the quality of my education reflected during my orientation process when I was asked to come off early and be a part of staffing. My first day I had three ICU patients back to back and at the same time in addition to 2 other patients (my hospital ED staffs 1:4-5). After my shift the charge nurse approached me and said ‘I am really impressed you didn’t cry today. You were baptized in fire and you handled it.’ It felt good to be noticed as a new nurse who was already thriving.”

Amanda continues: “I am proud of how much I have learned and the amount of confidence I have gained. I am proud of the people I work with and the people I studied alongside of who have gone on to become ED, ICU, IICU, TELE, PACU, NICU, Psych, and L&D Nurses. I am proud we believed in ourselves enough to enter this amazing profession that has, literally, ENDLESS opportunities for growth. Mostly I am proud of every moment I have had the chance to be a part of a successful resuscitation, I am honored by the embrace a family member has given me whose loved one breathed their last breath. I am forever grateful for their words, ‘You did your best’ as they address the team who just coded their loved one. I am humbled by the trust given to me as nurse and the moments in my patients’ lives that I am a part of. It is something that changes you in the best way possible.”

Amanda lives in Perry County with her Nana, who “raised me since I was a baby and believed in me before I ever believed in myself. She helped cultivate my trust in Jesus and mold me into someone who was daring enough to go back to school at the age of 25 with a 2 hour commute and a part time job on top. I could never have done it without her.” A competitive rock climber, Amanda placed first in the Women’s Beginner at Spooky Nook Sport’s Friction Fest Bouldering Competition last year. She will compete again in the Women’s Intermediate category this year, adding: “I don’t anticipate placing. I am doing it for fun!”

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!