Nineteen Students Graduate from Paramedic Certification Program

Hodges University News

Students in Hodges University’s first paramedic certification cohort program participated in a special graduation ceremony on Monday, May 14 at Collier County’s Bureau of Emergency Services. In partnership with Collier County Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS), 19 students graduated from the program.

Students and their families were welcomed by Tabatha Butcher, CCEMS chief, as well as Kingman Schuldt, fire chief at the Greater Naples Fire District, who congratulated the students for their sacrifice and dedication to furthering their careers and commitment to serving others.

“As you graduate today and move on to your new career as a paramedic, your slate is clean and you have the choice to be amazing. Embrace it and enjoy making a difference in someone’s life, even if it is just in the little things,” said Butcher.

Hodges instructor and lecturer Dennis DiSarro presented the students with their certificates. The following students graduated from the program: Fatima Alexander, Sonia Alvarez, Paulino Barbosa, Jordan Boutilier, Jonathan A. Camps, Aaron M. Cline, Michael Fejes, Miroslav Formanek, Dakota Goguen, Justin Graeve, Fawn M. Hanning, Todd M. Nugent, Adam Orsolini, Gregory Raley, Stefanie Rankin, Ryan Rogula, April Staffieri and Anke Sturm.

The paramedic certification program launched in May 2017 with 19 students from CCEMS and Greater Naples Fire District. The 42-credit hour program is designed as an “A” shift-friendly program that enables students within the cohort to participate in the program without having to take time off or have someone cover their shift.

Students in the program attend on-campus lectures at Hodges University and laboratory instruction at CCEMS. In addition to lectures and labs, students participate in hospital clinical and ambulance internships. Upon completion of the program, students are equipped with the knowledge and entry-level skills to become paramedics. Graduates are also eligible to sit for the state of Florida certificate examination.

“I, personally, think this is the best program in Southwest Florida,” said Anke Sturm, who previously served as a medic in Germany before moving to the United States to continue working in EMS.

In a 2017 article about Hodges’ program, Jeffrey Ziomek, program chair of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at Hodges University, explained, “The individuals at Collier County EMS know at the end of 12 months they will have field-ready paramedics.”

Currently, CCEMS employs 102 male paramedics and 69 female paramedics. In a field dominated by men, five of the 19 graduates were women, which is the start of what Ziomek hopes will become a trend.  

“We all work together, it isn’t male versus female. Often, I don’t realize I’m the only female unless someone says something,” said Fatima Alexander. “Obviously, in this world you can be treated differently as a female, depending on your actions, what you do and how you are. In this field, if you really want to make it and you want to be part of a team and be thought of as part of the team, you have to pull your own weight and do your job.”

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