Students Gain Valuable Experience at Little League World Series

Published 08.26.2005

Student News

On Thursday, Leah J. Schell of South Williamsport, (left) a senior in the physician assistant major at Pennsylvania College of Technology, staffed the infirmary for a 12-hour shift at International Grove, the residential area for Little League World Series players and coaches. She was supervised by Susan Swank-Caschera, assistant professor in Penn College's physician assistant program.Students in the paramedic and physician assistant majors in the School of Health Sciences at Pennsylvania College of Technology are contributing their time and knowledge at the Little League World Series in South Williamsport.

In addition to earning a hands-on lesson that incorporates skills they will be learning in class, students benefit from experiencing the rewards of helping in the community.

"Volunteerism is something we try to promote in all of our classes. We encourage students to try to help out, to contribute to the community," said Susan Swank-Caschera, assistant professor of physician assistant.

While the effort has become a required part of class work for physician assistant students, six paramedic students are volunteering their time after classes and field work to assist at the event.

"It's truly a labor of love," said Mindy L. Carr, clinical director for Penn College's paramedic program. "It's extra work, but the students who do it love it, and the ones who didn't wish they had."

The students also benefit from working as part of a community partnership that − together − provides any needed care for the thousands who pass through the World Series complex. The partnership includes urgent caregivers at the infirmary, athletic trainers, Little League's medical directors, emergency services, the state Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Swank-Caschera explained it is a unique opportunity for students to gain perspective on how multi-faceted medicine is and how much effort and coordination it takes to run an international event like the Little League World Series.

Physician assistant students helped to set up the infirmary at International Grove, the residential area set aside for the baseball teams. They set up the infirmary on Aug. 14 when the first Little League team arrived, and will man the infirmary 24 hours a day until the last baseball team leaves on Aug. 29. The students work under the supervision of Penn College physician assistant faculty members and Dr. David N. Ambrose, medical director for the Little League World Series, to provide urgent care for players, coaches and their hosts, or "uncles."

Physician assistant students working at the World Series are juniors and seniors. About 30 students are participating.

"It helps them to practice physical exam skills, interviewing techniques and medical documentation on actual patients," Swank-Caschera said.

Paramedic students will help to provide emergency medical needs at the World Series. All six volunteers are certified emergency medical technicians and expect to earn their degrees in the paramedic major in August 2006. The students will serve as support staff to Susquehanna Health System paramedics, who will supervise them.

Paramedics are stationed at the Little League World Series during games, and provide emergency care for the thousands who attend the event each day.

The six paramedic students volunteering at the event are Jennifer C. Blew, South Williamsport; Katie J. Dennison, State College; Luke T. Marlowe, Gettysburg; Andrew L. Mattocks, Honey Brook; Daniel J. Myers, Franklin; and Masumi Yasuda, Williamsport.

Yasuda is a native of Chiba City, Japan, and was excited to meet the players from Chiba City Little League team, which is representing Asia in this year's Little League World Series.

Physician assistant students stationed at the games are: Jonathan E. Baldwin, Milan, Ill.; Anthony W. Casto, Williamsport; Jason Chacker, Sewell, N.J.; Jeffrey W. Chan, Drexel Hill; Mandy M. Collins, Coudersport; Amanda M. Derby, Penfield, N.Y.; Melissa M. Fry, South Williamsport; Jennifer L. Knadler, Tamaqua; Kellen L. Kreger, Morris; Whitney N. Lerch, Williamsport; Lucia L. Martarano, Bloomsburg; Glenn A. Miller Jr., Elizabethtown; Pamela A. Morrow, Bloomsburg; Destiny S. O'Neill, Milton; Chadwick J. Perry, Williamsport; Michael P. Podobinski, Marion Heights; Mark J. Rockwell, Linden; Svetlana Z. Rutgayzer, Philadelphia; Leah J. Schell, South Williamsport; Parul P. Shah, Williamsport; Leo T. Sillick, Vestal, N.Y.; Devin E. Smith, Selinsgrove; Jessica A. Sposito, Williamsport; Sarah E. Steeves,New Paris; Casey W. Strobl, Coplay; Adam D. Thompson, Mill Hall; Patrick J. Wallace, South Williamsport; Jessica M. Whiting, Liberty; Miriam J. Witmer, Virginia Beach, Va.

Physician assistant staff and faculty helping at the Little League World Series, in addition to Caschera, are Joseph Mileto, director of the physician assistant program; and adjunct faculty members Lane Bower and Cory D. Sefchick.

The physician assistant and paramedic students also work closely at the World Series with Dr. Gregory R. Frailey, medical director for the college's paramedic program and assistant supervising physician for the physician assistant program.

For more information about the academic programs offered by the School of Health Sciences at Penn College, call (570) 327-4519, send e-mail or visit online .