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Summer commencement held for PTA and paramedic graduates

Summer commencement held for PTA and paramedic graduates

NORFOLK, Neb. – Northeast Community College typically holds commencement ceremonies each spring to mark the conclusion of the academic year. However, there were two groups that were recognized for completion of their respective programs this summer.

On Sun, Aug. 15, approximately 30 graduates of the College’s Physical Therapist Assistant and Paramedic programs were honored with a full commencement ceremony in Northeast’s Lifelong Learning Center on the Norfolk campus. The event was held after students in both programs completed their clinical and field experiences this summer, a requirement to be conferred their degrees.

The Physical Therapist Assistant program at Northeast prepares students to work as healthcare providers who are employable in any physical therapy setting. Students are trained with current technology and innovative exercise equipment to simulate realistic clinical settings.

Speaking on behalf of the PTA program, Tere Karella, PTA instructor, said students participate in 16-weeks of clinical experiences that take place in hospitals, outpatient clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities across Nebraska and other states.

“Students are assigned a clinical instructor who oversees the student during the clinical rotation. Clinical instructors are physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who do not get paid to be instructors. They volunteer their time with students from across the country because they believe in the future of physical therapy,” Karella said. “The students do an amazing job representing us as faculty, our program, and our college. We are well respected in this state. Many clinics and hospitals will only hire graduates from our program.”

Northeast’s Paramedic program provides students with the required knowledge and skills to care for patients who are injured due to trauma or suffer from medical problems. Instructors not only teach, but work as paid professionals in the paramedic field.

Paramedic students also participated in clinical, field, and internship experiences over the past several months. C.J. Prewitt, paramedical instructor, said along with demanding coursework, they also completed their hours at clinical and field sites throughout the region.

“These sites and clinical preceptors truly guide our students and work with them side-by-side leading them with knowledge and experience that is priceless,” Prewitt said. “At the end of their program, each student must complete their internship with a set preceptor or preceptors. They work the same shifts as their preceptors, and really get to hone in on their skills and patient care. Each and every internship site and preceptor are key to developing the students to not only prepare them for the beginning of their careers as paramedics, but also to mentor them, guide them and help them finish their program strong and ready to succeed.”

Graduates also heard from Leah Barrett, Northeast president, and Scott Crawford, Northeast paramedic instructor who has 31-years of service in the field of emergency medical services.

“The common denominator is people. It is how you treat people, not how you treat disease, that will define you as a medical professional by your patients and peers,” Crawford said. “Medicine is an art practiced as a science in the context of a myriad of rules and constants. The art of medicine is taking care of people; the science is in practice and contemplation of the craft. This paradigm will bring you to the patient with a committed heart and open mind.”

During her student address, Tara Millard, of Allen, PTA class president, thanked instructors in both programs and their families for their patience to teach, support, and guide them to successfully complete their programs.

“As students, we know our programs are not easy. Not only did we lean on each other to make it through the curriculum, but we leaned on you as our loved ones for moral and emotional support,” Millard said. “Without it, we wouldn’t be standing in front of you today graduating as paramedics and physical therapist assistants.”

Twenty-six students were conferred degrees during the ceremony.

Associate of Applied Science Degree - Physical Therapist Assistant

Allen – Tara Millard.
Bancroft – Kennedy Schuttler.
Clarkson – Kiara Brabec.
Hebron – Cambrie Cottam.
Humphrey – Kaitlynn Sjuts.
Imperial – Hayley Vitosh.
Leigh – Hannah Kasik.
Laurel – Alisha Beyke.
Norfolk – Paige Detour.
St. Libory – Katelyn Buhrman.

Diploma and Associate of Applied Science Degree - Paramedic

Bloomfield – Isahia Swan.
Norfolk – Sarah Perrigan, Devin Wanke.
Silver Creek – Theresa Martinez.

Associate of Applied Science Degree – Paramedic

Dodge – Nathan Luey.
Norfolk – Chris Kneifl, Netahlya Munn.
Pierce – Hannah Malec.
West Point – Trina Osuna.

Out of State

Colo., Broomfield – Jonatha Tighe.
Colo., Erie – William DiLullo.


Diploma - Paramedic

Bradshaw – Schuyler Hellerich.
Columbus – Jose Audelo-Rios.
Grand Island – Alexander Webb.
Newcastle – Kevin Kneifl.
Norfolk – Max Hesman.
Winnebago – Rohahehs Aldrich, Nila Doxey.
York – Timothy Moser.  

Students also received pins signifying completion of their respective programs.

Northeast’s PTA and Paramedic Commencement Ceremony was broadcast live by Northeast’s Media Arts - Broadcasting program. It may be viewed online at under the On-Demand tab.




                                                 PHOTO CUTLINE 


Rohahehs Aldrich, of Winnebago, receives his Paramedic diploma from Northeast Community College President Leah Barrett during a commencement ceremony held Sun., Aug. 15, in Norfolk. Aldrich was one of 26 Paramedic and Physical Therapist Assistant students to receive their degrees and program pins during the ceremony. The event was held after students in both programs completed their clinical and field experiences this summer, a requirement to be conferred their degrees.