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Home » Student News » Keystone College spotlights Public Health and Science Graduates

Keystone College spotlights Public Health and Science Graduates

In celebration of National Public Health Week 2021, we’re spotlighting Keystone College Division Biological & Physical Sciences and Mathematics graduates who have tirelessly served on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Get to know some of our successful alumni and their outstanding accomplishments as they share helpful advice for current students.

Isabel Castro Alvarez
Isabel Castro Alvarez
Research Coordinator | NYU School of Medicine / Langone Health

Keystone Graduate 2012

Keystone Major: General Major with a minor Chemistry

Most rewarding: Having the opportunity to collaborate with other public health professionals that share the passion of taking part in research that searches for a cure or improvements in the quality of life of our patients, is the most rewarding aspect of my career. This gives my daily life meaning and provides me with a sense of fulfillment in knowing I am in a field where not only do I serve others but I also have a plethora of opportunities for learning.

Most challenging: Though we all share the common goal of enacting change, seeing the tangible effects of my work especially in vulnerable populations, is sometimes difficult. We need to continue to invest time and efforts in order to make systematic changes in the people and communities that need it the most. At the end of the day, barriers for change are always difficult but they inspire me to push myself in continuing to make progress towards solutions and resolution.

Advice for current students: It is important to never shy away from advocating for yourself. Many wonderful opportunities are available and all it takes is putting yourself out there and showing how devoted you are to the field and your career. Also, do not be afraid of having tough conversations with your peers about current public health issues that need to be addressed in our society. Your peers can be a critical source of knowledge and may enlighten you on how others interpreter today’s world issues. This will strengthen your cultural competencies and your ability to tailor future Public Health interventions to different communities.

David Baldo
David Baldo
Clinical Research Associate | Stryker

Keystone grad year: 2013

Keystone major: General Biology with a minor in Chemistry

Most rewarding part of job: Following patients through their medical journal and their progression to a healthy, active life.

Most challenging part of job: The inability to help all patients at the same time. Millions of people suffer every day, and it is disheartening to see these people in agony, unable to participate in life.

Advice for current students: Thrive every day. Never stop learning and pushing towards your goals. Your success won’t happen overnight, and you must prove to everyone you have what it takes to succeed. Patience much be taken, but never give up on your goals. Dedication is key! In my career journey, I didn’t focus on one field, but rather multiple fields to make myself more knowledgeable. This led to more possibilities in marketing myself during my job search. The more I learned and the more experience I gained, the better successful I am at what I do in life.

Barbara Burns
Barbara Burns

Physical Therapist | Professional Physical Therapy

Grad Year: Keystone College 2016 Bachelor of Science

Most rewarding part of job: getting my patients back to where they want to be and reaching their goals. Overall making them feel better.

Most challenging part of job: knowing not every patient will get better -Advice for current students: work hard and always follow your dreams no matter how challenging it might be.

Marissa Conti
Marissa Conti

MRI Technologist | Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Keystone College Class Year: 2014

Keystone Major: Allied Health

Most rewarding part of job: The most rewarding part of the job is being a part of a patient’s healthcare journey. No matter the reading of the images that were obtained during their study, being able to provide a patient a good experience in what might be a challenging time in their lives is what I strive to do everyday. It’s also a benefit that I get to do that with a career that I absolutely love and that I am constantly learning new things in.

Most challenging part of job: The most challenging part of the job is trying to help someone who is claustrophobic through their study. Sometimes a little TLC and being able to listen to what might stress someone out and remedying that as much as possible can really help get a patient through a MRI enough that you can complete their study.

Advice for current students: Keep persevering to reach whatever goals you have for yourself, no matter how small you might think your goal is, and just keep trying to better yourself. Each small step will eventually take you to where you want to be.

Gina Daniels
Gina Daniels
Registered Nurse | Geisinger

Keystone College Class Year: 2013

Keystone Major: Biology

Most rewarding part of the job: Working with my patients. Working in the cardiac unit with open heart surgery patients I am able to watch and be a part of their recovery from day one. It’s so rewarding when they meet their milestones and are finally able to go home.

Choosing the most challenging part of my job is difficult. Working under pressure, handling the stresses of the job, coping with death, long hours including weekends/holidays, difficult patients, the list goes on and on. However, they say if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life, and it’s true. Those difficult days don’t come close to the rewarding experiences, and I wouldn’t trade my work for anything.

Advice for current students:Never stop learning until you find what you truly want to do. I was in college for 9 years and ended up with 2 bachelor degrees and 3 minors and love where I have landed. And I still plan on continuing my education further!

Nicole Depew-Fall
Nicole Depew-Fall
Correction Counselor II | PA Department of Corrections

Keystone College Grad Year: 2011

Keystone College Major: Natural Biology with a Forensic focus

The most rewarding part of my job is getting to help individuals as they re-enter the community.

Most Challenging: Dealing with challenging/strong personalities in the corrections setting.

Advice for current students: Have an open mind with your future career goals; life may take you in directions you never planned or even thought about.

Nicole Dobson
Nicole Dobson

Director of Programs | Feeding Westchester

Keystone Grad Year: 2012

Keystone Major: General Biology

Most Rewarding Part of Job:  It’s so fulfilling to see clients, including thousands of children, have access to nutritious food (at least 50% fruits and vegetables) that otherwise may not be available to them. We connected our clients in Westchester County, NY with over 20 million pounds of nutritious food during the pandemic!

Most Challenging Part of Job:  Food insecurity is a multi-faceted and deep-seeded social determinant of health with multiple causes.  So in order to truly end the cycle for clients, I have to strategically individualize my approach based on background factors within their lives or connect them with supportive services.  A common misconception is that food insecure individuals are all unemployed.

Advice for Current Students:  Surround yourself with at least a few people on campus who are extremely driven and have their eyes set on the end goal.  It sounds funny, but it makes all of the difference.  Before you know it, their habits will become your own.  Speaking from experience, I am still extremely close with the people who were that for me – and every one of us has a successful career :)! Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box with your career.  There are many paths that you can go down, and probably many you’ll love that you haven’t heard of yet!

Patrick Dunleavy
Patrick Dunleavy
Currently a fourth year veterinary student at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. I anticipate becoming a veterinarian on May 22, 2021.

Career Plans: I have accepted an Associate Doctor of Animal Health Services position in Washington.

Keystone major: Biology

Most rewarding part of career: Being able to save animals

Most challenging part of career: Being unable to actively discuss problems with animals since they cannot speak. Also, having to be looked at as the person that euthanized a family pet regardless of the reason, euthanasia is always overwhelmingly sad.

Advice for current students: Find something you are passionate about and do it. Commit to it and give it your all.

Jenna Harris
Jenna L. Harris, PharmD, BCPS, MA

Clinical Pharmacist – Rheumatology | Upstate University Hospital

Keystone grad year: 2011

Keystone major: General Biology

Most rewarding part of my job: Getting patients started on medications that change their whole lives! I serve patients with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, etc., so sometimes when they finally get to my clinic, their disease progression is to the point where they don’t want to leave their homes. Once they get started on the right therapy, it is life changing for them and it is amazing to see them transform into positive, optimistic patients who are excited to tackle their life again!

Most challenging part of my job: Dealing with insurance companies.

Advice for current students: Don’t stop working towards your career until you find a job that doesn’t feel like work! You’ll know you’ve found it when you wake up genuinely excited to head to work every day.

Gabrielle Henry
Gabrielle Henry, MPH
Emergency Preparedness and Response Research Fellow | CDC/NIOSH

Keystone Grad Year: 2014

Keystone Major: Forensic Biology

Most Rewarding part of the job: I love helping people! Working in public health makes this possible. I love telling people good news/sharing information and awareness that could help different populations.

Most Challenging part of the job: The ever changing updates/requests. Working on the COVID-19 pandemic response means things are constantly developing/changing/being updated. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with everything that is changing so fast. I just started this current position so it is a bit overwhelming, but also important work that I am proud of.

Advice for current students: Take advantage of opportunities that come your way.  Opportunities may come your way that you never thought you’d be interested in or aren’t part of your plan. My advice is to go out of your comfort zone. You may find you’ll love something you never thought you’d be interested in. Taking advantage of opportunities, and going out of my comfort zone are the reasons I ended up in Public Health and the career I now have.

Victoria Homfeld
Victoria Homfeld
Veterinary student Lincoln Memorial University, College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2023

Keystone College Class Year: 2019

Keystone College Major: General Biology

Most rewarding part of schooling: The most rewarding part of attending veterinary school is that I am learning so much about the role of veterinarians in helping to maintain the human-animal bond.

Most challenging aspect of schooling: The most challenging aspect of veterinary school is the strenuous workload.

Advice for current students: Without Keystone College, I wouldn’t be where I am today. My advice for current students is to recognize and appreciate the advantages of the tight-knit community that Keystone offers, along with all the faculty and staff who are rooting for your success.

Gwen Kettenburg
Gwen Kettenburg

Research specialist | University of Pittsburgh, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

Keystone grad year: 2018

Keystone major: General Biology

Rewarding part of the job: Contributing to the field of therapeutics and model development to study high containment pathogens and their pathology, such as H5N1 influenza and SARS-CoV-2

Challenging part of the job: Working in BSL3+ lab, developing a new model of infection and optimizing it for our pathogen of interest and for use for the entire lab’s future research interests

Research description: Development of a human lung slice model of infection and pathology of H5N1 influenza or SARS-CoV-2 in order to investigate viability of cell death pathway inhibitors

Advice for current students: Take part in undergrad research early on and stick with it, look for summer research opportunities to boost experience.

Megan Lewis
Megan Lewis
Veterinary Technician | Cherry Ridge Veterinary Clinic and a veterinary student at Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine

Keystone grad year: 2016

Keystone major: General Biology with a minor in Chemistry

Most rewarding part of job: Working in a field that I strive to be a doctor in in order to gain hands on experience.

Most challenging part of job: Compassion fatigue and burnout.

Advice for current students: Work your butt off, do extra things, be involved in as much as you can! It’s hard work but it will pay off in the end. If you want to continue on to a graduate program, research those schools and find out what they are looking for and do what you have to do.

Argit Marishta
Argit Marishta

MD/PhD Student |

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School/Princeton University

Keystone grad year: 2015

Keystone major: Biology and Public Health

Most rewarding part of job: Learning about the complexity of the human physiology

Most challenging part of job: Adapting to a rapidly increasing world of information

Advice for current students: Enjoy each day of the learning process and be curious. If you do it right, you will have a hobby for the rest of your life

Being a scientist or a health professional is the closest you will get to understanding nature, humans, and humanity.

Jake Mitchell
Jake Mitchell
Studying for a M.S. in Physician Assistant at St. Elizabeth University

Keystone grad year: 2019

Keystone major: General Biology

Most rewarding aspect of schooling: Having the opportunity to interact with patients and to help with their plan of care.

Most challenging aspect of schooling: Handling the intense and challenging school load.

Advice: Keep the goal in mind and keep working towards it! Always remember to take time for yourself and to unwind, everyone needs a breather once in a while.

Alexis Murdock
Alexis Murdoch
Physical Therapy Tech | Cawley Physical Therapy

Keystone College Grad Year: 2019

Keystone College Major: Biology Pre-Physical Therapy

The most rewarding part of my job is being able to gain real experience from the field and relate it to applications for grad school, while working with patients that you can’t help but bond with!

The most challenging part of this career is getting into grad school because the field is SO competitive.

Advice for current students: To all aspiring physical therapists, keep pushing! Apply for a tech position in the field to gain valuable knowledge and apply it to your graduate school applications!

Carmelitta M Oakley
Carmelitta M. Oakley
Micro Analyst I & Safety Officer, Adjunct professor at Lackawanna College teaching biology labs
Company Name: Microbac Laboratories, Pittston

Keystone Grad Year: 2018

Keystone Major: Bachelor’s in General Biology, minors in Chemistry, Mathematics & Psychology

Most Rewarding part of the job: Making a direct impact on the community by ensuring potable/non-potable water is safe to use and determining if the cleaning procedures of laundry fabric samples are up to par by testing for the growth of microbes.

Most Challenging part of the job: Currently, the most challenging part of the job is being the newly appointed safety officer for my location. I am completing safety audits for the first time and learning all proper protocols and regulations to assess the safety guidelines of the Pittston location and ensure we are following OSHA standards.

Advice for current students: Time management and flexibility are good skills to have, but don’t forget to step out of your safety bubble and explore the world around you.

Rachael Ogden
Rachael Ogden

Ultrasound/Vascular Technologist | Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center

Keystone Grad Year: 2016

Keystone Major: General Biology

Most rewarding part of job: The most rewarding part of my job is helping to save people’s lives. The images I take help to diagnosis diseases or life threatening illnesses.

Most challenging part of job: The most challenging part of my job is it can be physically demanding with lifting/positioning patients, and moving heavy ultrasound machine’s around the hospital.

Advice for current students: It may not feel like it, but these next four years are going to fly by. Make sure to enjoy every minute of it!

Nathalie Ortiz
Nathalie Ortiz

Nursing in hopes to get Doctorate in Nursing in Anesthesiology

Keystone Grad Year: 2020

Keystone Major: Biology

Most rewarding part of nursing is that it is an area that I can provide close care to patients, stand by their side in their time of need and help them in their care.

The most challenging part I would say right now is the school work but I know in the end it will all be worth it. For the actual career, I never like seeing a patient in pain, and that is why I try my best to bring comfort for the patients.

Advice: Have good time management! Believe in yourself and work hard towards your goals and don’t give up no matter how hard it may seem.

Kaleen Pastrana
Kaleen Pastrana
Case Manager and Domestic Violence Intervention Coordinator | Company Name: United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA

Keystone Grad Year: 2017

Majors: Public Health and Psychology

Most rewarding part of job: Watching people succeed and achieve their goals

Most challenging part of job: Not working harder than my clients and learning that you can’t save everyone

Advice for current student: Do not go into a field thinking you are going to save the world. Do what you love, and you will change lives without realizing it. You don’t know it all, and the best lessons are learned from the most unexpected places.

Melissa Perfilio

Pharmacy Intern | Doctor of Pharmacy student at Temple University

Keystone graduation year: 2020

Keystone Major: General Biology, Pre-Pharmacy

Most rewarding part of the job: Being an integral part of the community and impacting people any way I can

Most challenging part of the job: Time management and being able to stay mentally healthy

Advice for current students: Pharmacy is a very rewarding field and although I had somewhat of an idea of what I was going into, I didn’t realize how many different branches of pharmacy available. My advice is: Stay on top of your work, but also give yourself a break when needed. You also don’t need to choose your pharmacy path right away. Explore your options, it is very worth it in the end.

Carmelo Pioquinto
Carmelo Pioquinto
BSN | Gwynedd Mercy University

Keystone College Grad Year – 2020

Keystone College Major- General Biology with a in Chemistry

Most Rewarding Part of Career: Aiding the well-being of people not only in a health perspective, but also emotionally, and making sure to improve the whole well-being of the person

Most Challenging Part of Career: Understanding that even with the best of my ability there may circumstances in which I may not be able to help out the outcome and being okay with my best, even if I feel like I may be able to do more.

Advice for current students: If you really want to help out in healthcare, you have to be compassionate but firm. Do not allow your emotions to overtake while being understanding. Finding that balance will be a hard challenge, but you can find a way

Future Goals: I hope to become a traveling RN in order to see the environment and learn from others’ lifestyles that aren’t shared through mainstream media and attempt my best to help those in need who are less fortunate.

Heather Ramey
Heather Ramey

 Research Project Manager | Geisinger

Keystone College Grad Year: 2014 

Keystone College Major: Biology

The most rewarding part of my job is being part of a team that aims to help clinicians and patients seek earlier and more personalized preventative measures.

The most rewarding part of my job is learning the jargon and acronyms.

Advice for current students: Aim to improve yourself, not prove yourself.

Hayden
Hayden Richner

Associate Banker | JP Morgan & Chase
Marymount University, Master’s Health Care Management/Business Administration

Keystone Grad Year: 2020

Major: Public Health Minor: Economics & Political Science

Most rewarding part of job: I am learning intense business skills in a high policy & procedure focused environment. Customers put trust in the company and employees to handle their money and fix any issues arising with it. The DC Metro area is a diverse area exposing me to all walks of life and situations. Assisting someone to feel financially fit and educated is highly rewarding. I know the skills I am learning at the firm can translate to a healthcare finance career after graduation.

Most challenging part of job: Every detail counts. If one detail is missed, a person can lose their job. There is no “off” day when dealing with people’s money.

Advice for current students: Gain as many skills and networks as you can. Learn people skills, software programs, languages, etc. Life is very much who you know. Talk to people and don’t turn anything down but your collar.

Jerica Rode
Jerica Rode, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy and Clinic Director for PT Solutions

Keystone College Grad Year: 2015 with Bachelors in Biology Pre-Physical Therapy Major

Keystone College Major: Biology Pre-Physical Therapy

The most rewarding part of my job is being able to change the lives of people. We can see some individuals at the lowest points in their lives and are able to build trust and relationships to help them heal and live their lives to the fullest potential.

The most rewarding part of my job is being able to change the lives of people. We can see some individuals at the lowest points in their lives and are able to build trust and relationships to help them heal and live their lives to the fullest potential.

Advice for current students: You will be faced with challenges every day in your career but keep pushing forward and remember why you chose this path.

Rolando Rodriguez
Rolando J. Rodriguez

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at Rutgers University in New Jersey

I am in my final year of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Rutgers University and currently a student intern at the UFC Performance Institute (PI) in Las Vegas. At the PI, I coordinate and execute the evaluations and treatments of male and female professional mixed martial artists. I develop training modifications and injury prevention strategies during fighters’ training camps and utilize a wide range of treatment approaches to promote fast return to elite-level competition.

Prior to my clinical rotation at the UFC PI, I was an intern at Four Corners Regional Health center in Arizona providing physical therapy care to Navajo Native Americans, a group that has been through very difficult times, both in the past and currently (a population that has a higher per capita COVID-19 death rate than any U.S. state).

Plans Post-Graduation – I am pursing opportunities to work with an athletic population to further develop my clinical skills as a sports physical therapist. My future goal is to secure a role as a physical therapist in a college athletics department, providing rehabilitative and performance training services to student-athletes. Working in this space is of interest to me because I was a student-athlete at Keystone College and I appreciate what participation in college athletics offers young individuals—The opportunity to receive an education, continue to play the sport they are passionate about, and further develop life skills.

Keystone Grad Year – May 2018

Keystone Major – Bachelor of Science in Biology, Concentration: Physical Therapy, Minor: Chemistry

Most Rewarding Part of Job – The direct positive impact you make on an individual’s life as a physical therapist is the most rewarding part of the career. We see individuals at their lowest point and help build them up and get them back to doing what they love (e.g., playing a sport or holding their grandchildren).

Most Challenging Part of Job – Currently the most challenging part is studying for my licensure exam while completing my clinical rotation. Very exhausting and challenging but it will be worth it!

Advice for Current Students – In my opinion, the best time to network is when you are a student, because everyone wants to help someone who is still learning. If you see an individual working in the setting or field you wish to work with, the best way to find out more information about the field is simply by reaching out and asking for a moment to chat. Also, in school you are surrounded by teachers and mentors that want to see you succeed, so it is also imperative to make your interests known.

As students, we are more willing to volunteer, shadow, and observe to gain experience, learn skills, and make connections. An essential step in becoming a well-rounded professional is having the personal drive to make yourself available, find the contacts, and build a network.

Moral of the story – send the email / DM / LinkedIn message. You never know what can transpire from the connection.

Alecia Secules
Alicia Secules
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine student at Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine

Keystone College Class Year: 2018

Keystone Major: General Biology
Rewarding: Being able to educate about our animal companions and furthering the human-animal bond

Challenging: Stress and workload

Advice: Push hard for your dreams and goals and never stop until you are satisfied with the outcome

Kyle Steiner
Dr. Kyle Randy Steiner
Chiropractor | High Point Chiropractic Wellness in Syracuse New York.

Keystone grad year: 2017

Keystone Major: General Biology

Most rewarding part of career: When a patient comes to you during a re-examination and shares that they were able to do something they were unable to do in years because of your treatment

Most challenging aspect of career: There is only so much time in a given day, because I wish that I could help even more people.

Advice for current students: Don’t let anyone in life ever tell you that you can’t do or be something. Keystone is an amazing school with so many wonderful opportunities and I can honestly say the education I got at Keystone prepared me for my future.

Dr. Taelor Viviano, D.C.
Dr. Taelor Viviano, D.C.

I graduated from Keystone College in May 2015 with a bachelor’s of science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry and immediately pursued my doctorate at Sherman College of Chiropractic. 

After I graduated chiropractic school I opened my own office, Emerald Waves Chiropractic Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. 

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the miracles that happen when I help relieve the tension and trauma from patients’ nervous systems and bodies! I see children who couldn’t talk begin speaking, patients who had multiple miscarriages now be able to carry their baby to term, patients with chronic pain be able to walk, sing, paint, and dance, I see patients who couldn’t feel their fingers/ feet now can feel sensation.. Seeing the short term and long term effects of my specific chiropractic care is the most rewarding job I could imagine! 

The most challenging part of my job is the amount of debt I had to accrue to earn my degree. I actually enjoyed how much I learned and studied over my eight years of college, but starting off my adult life with six figure debt can be overwhelming at times and is definitely the most challenging part about my career. 

My advice for current students is to go shadow the type of profession you intend to work in. Make sure that your future career lines up ethically, philosophically, and financially for you. It’s easy to read about, or watch movies about different professions but it’s different to have first hand experience. Shadowing different doctors in undergrad helped me see the actual daily reality of each career path I considered. 

I specialize in a gentle type of chiropractic called Network Spinal. This technique is so rare that I’m only 1 of 7 Network Spinal Doctors in all of Florida! I have patients regularly travel from up to 2 hours away to get adjusted by me and I see patients of all ages, from newborns to great grandparents! My office is a center in my community where I hold many events for kids, teens, and adults. My degrees and studies have also allowed me to work as an adjunct Chemistry Professor, which was another amazing experience to have.

Ian Walsh
Ian Walsh

Health Administrator / Health Services Administrator | Revolutionary Home Health and Hospice, US Army Reserves

Keystone Grad Year: 2011

Keystone Major: General Biology

Most rewarding part of career: Being able to work behind the scenes and provide my clinical staff with the things they need to make a difference in patients’ lives.

Most challenging part of career: Recruitment and keeping spirits high.

Advice for current students: Network and always look for ways to improve. Making yourself marketable to employers is essential. Also, healthcare is a field where you need a work/life balance. Don’t bring work home.

Alyssa Williams
Alyssa Cuomo Williams
Dental Hygienist | Healthy Smiles of Delaware

Keystone Grad year: 2015
Keystone Major: General Biology

Most rewarding part of job: Educating patients on the oral/systemic link and how poor oral health can have an impact on their overall health. It’s a great feeling being able to improve someone’s smile and attitude, but more importantly, teaching them how to live a healthier lifestyle. I enjoy connecting with my patients and being a listening ear when they need someone, even if it’s just for that hour they are in my chair!

Most challenging part of job: The physical toll it has on your body. Although I am are sitting majority of the time to do my job, I am continuously putting stress on my neck, back, shoulders, and hands.

Advice for current students: Study hard and take your classes seriously because your undergrad grades could have an effect on your future schooling down the road when applying for certain programs/school. But mostly, just enjoy your four years at Keystone and make the best of it because they are here and gone in the blink of an eye!

Tristin Williams
Tristin Williams

Child Care Provider | TSL Adventures

Keystone Grad Year: 2020

Keystone Major: Public Health

Most Rewarding Part: Having the opportunity to give some “normalcy” to elementary aged children with activities and a constant support system for all/ any issues that may arise due to the pandemic.

Most Challenging: Children just want love and attention; and due to health regulations that are currently in place, the care we must provide is different. It is challenging to follow guidelines with elementary aged children. The children I specifically watch, have had their emotions and mental health effected during the time we are in. It’s a challenge to see that, and not have the ability to help everyone.

Advice for Current Students: Don’t forget to love yourself through the chaos.

Aileen Yaeger
Aileen Yaeger

Physician Assistant, General Surgery | St. Francis Hospital on Long Island

Keystone Grad Year: 2016

Keystone Major: Biology with a minor in Chemistry

From 2017-2019 I attended PA school at Touro College in Bayshore, NY to receive my Masters in Physician Assistant Studies. As a surgical PA my job involves assisting the surgeon(s) in the OR as well as managing patients in the pre/post-operative period on the floor alongside a team of other surgical PAs. The most rewarding part of my job is getting to see patients recover from what brought them into the hospital. The most challenging part of my job is just the opposite; seeing patients and their families struggle with a difficult hospital course. I love the PA profession because of the ability to work in any medical or surgical specialty with a good work-life balance. My advice to current undergraduate students looking to pursue any profession in health care is to start volunteering in health care as early as possible, (becoming an EMT is a great experience too!).

Wherever you start will undoubtedly help you with where ever you end up. But more importantly, always remember that just because the journey to your career may be a tough one, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. No matter what obstacles you face or how long it takes you, you can do it!

Tara Young
Tara Banfield Young MPAS, PA-C

Physician Assistant | Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital

Grad Year: Keystone College 2015 Bachelor of Science

Major: Biology

Most rewarding part of the job: Hearing that I helped a patient and that they appreciated the time I took with them

Most challenging: The long hours and constant adrenaline, definitely crash at the end of a shift Advice for current students: Set tough goals and work your hardest