We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Medical Laboratory Science program
Sherry Lorenz has always wanted to be a scientist and remembers being interested in the topic before even beginning Kindergarten. She has pursued this passion throughout her adult life – from her previous college education to her career to date. After studying to be an environmental technician at Harrsiburg Area Community College and earning a degree in Biology from Millersville University, Sherry has worked as a chemist, in quality control, as a documentation specialist and in pharmaceutical deviations.
Realizing that she felt most successful when she could help others in their time of need, Sherry decided to add to her educational credentials, and shift her career focus. She is enrolled in our Medical Laboratory Science program, on track to graduate in the summer of 2023. She appreciates her program’s small class size, which affords her ample opportunity to ask questions and receive individual attention from her instructors. Sherry also takes advantage of PA College’s large campus, and its many spaces for quiet study and collaboration with other students.
With all the hands-on lab experiences she has available to her, Sherry feels confident she’ll excel in a hospital lab one day, helping patients get the results they need. She adds: “I hope to eventually help manage a medical laboratory in the area. I already have management experience in several positions I held at other facilities. I enjoyed helping make tough quality determinations at my other jobs, and helping other colleges get their jobs completed successfully. I love to help hold meetings and brainstorm new ideas for the establishment of new protocols.”
Sherry has three children – two sons ages 16 and 2 years old, and a daughter who is 22 years old. “I am an adventurous person, and love trying new things, going new places – especially when I can do them with my children,” Sherry shares. She has been zip lining and kayaking, enjoys painting, visiting museums and art galleries and loves salsa dancing. Sherry’s love of science also extends to her hobbies – which include geology and entomology.
Doretta Hess ’22
Director of Professional Coding, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
Doretta Hess has found inspiration on her educational journey from her grandfather. His thirst for learning led him to attend 8th grade three times, because his family felt that a high school education was inappropriate. After she completed high school, Doretta earned an associate degree in Specialized Business from Consolidated School of Business. Even 25 years later, Doretta still recalls how rewarding it was to see her name on her diploma at graduation, becoming the first person in her immediate family to obtain a degree.
First hired by The Heart Group as a cashier/biller, Doretta later learned medical coding and moved into a supervisor role. To leverage the additional advancement opportunities that became available when The Heart Group joined Lancaster General Health, she enrolled in our Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration (BSHA) degree program. In 2020, Doretta was promoted to her current position of Director of Professional Coding for LG Health. She graduated from PA College in May 2022, and finished her Capstone work, magna cum laude, in August 2022.
Doretta shares: “The BSHA program at PA College helped me to gain a more in-depth understanding of the unique complexities of health care management. The coursework allowed me to examine my leadership style and to think more critically about my approach with staff as well as the way I interact with those in clinical departments. My degree has allowed me to see the benefit of the work I do and its impact on health care delivery and to think more critically about new ways to do things.”
A passion for helping people discover better ways of doing things informs Doretta’s work in medical coding. She explains: “Medical coding can be complicated and frustrating and I find it rewarding when we can help provide clarity or tools that save time for clinical staff. The most rewarding part of my career has been the relationships that I have developed. The pace of health care is fast and can be intense. I try to make my interactions meaningful.” Recent accomplishments for Doretta’s team include participating in onboarding a new, large-volume, practice to the medical group, as well as working through all the obstacles that the pandemic brought, including rolling out telemedicine. Doretta also shares her professional expertise by serving on the Medical Billing and Coding advisory board for York Technical Institute.
When asked what advice she would give our students, Doretta offers: “Don’t be afraid to try new things. None of us have all the answers. Don’t be afraid to begin in a role that you feel may be below your skill level. Your ability to work well with others, to be transparent, to learn from your mistakes and to exhibit professionalism will be invaluable to the success of your career. Many students at PA College are working, raising children and going to school which means they are stretched thin. Give yourself grace but also be encouraged by those around you who have the same struggles.”
During her free time, Doretta enjoys time with family and friends, including her sixteen-year-old son, Bill who was her biggest supporter during the six years she spent pursuing her bachelor’s degree. Favorite activities include hiking, camping and traveling – especially to the beach.
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!