Bio-Med Science Academy Career Day

As we’re all aware from this year’s hurricanes in Texas and Florida and earthquake in Mexico, emergency medicine is crucial as a first response. The Akron Children’s Hospital’s AirBear recently flew back to NEOMED for the second annual emergency medicine, firefighter and police career day for Bio-Med Science Academy. Along with the life flight crew, a fire medic and highway patrolman—who also play critical roles in saving people’s lives—the following first responders talked about their careers.

Jennifer Ruppert, respiratory therapist for the AirBear:

Why is it important to educate students about your line of work?

There are always people who need help, and it is important that we foster people who will want to help them. There are always medical jobs in this field.

Are life flight helicopters important in the recovery of areas affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma?

Right away, yes, but the helicopters are only useful for the immediate aftermath. In the islands where people were hit the hardest, there needs to be more help later on. For instance, the hospital where I work helps patients in Haiti, and more of the hurricane victims there die from the diseases and infections that are spread through the hurricane than the actual hurricane itself.

Alex Wain, Fire Medic

Why is it important to educate students about your line of work?

First, it shows the capabilities of the department. People don’t know all the services that we provide. For instance, there is an automotive CPR device on our vehicle. A lot of people don’t know we have it, so they may not call us if they need that kind of assistance. The second is that it gets more people into the field. I was exposed to firefighters and fire medics because my dad worked in the department. Coming out to schools and educating people lets them learn about the job even if they don’t have a family member who works in the field.

What common misconceptions are there about working in the fire department?

That we only put out fires. There are very few structural fire calls per year. About 85% of calls are for emergency medical services.  Another misconception is that we sleep all day until we get a call. We have a full 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. work day, like most everyone else.


Antonio Matos, Lieutenant Post Commander Ravenna Highway Patrol

Why is it important to educate students about your line of work?

It builds good community relations. Whether or not students are interested in joining law enforcement, we want the community to feel comfortable asking questions and calling us for help. I think that going directly into schools is important, too, because education can prevent bad situations. Teaching students about the situations we deal with and how we deal with them will help guide their decision-making in the future.

What common misconceptions are there about working on the police force?

There is a lack of knowledge. Not everyone in that department just stops people for speeding.  For instance, there are so many fields to go into when you become a state trooper. There are people in there who do computer forensics and all sorts of other things—fields that require strong foundational degrees in those areas. The people I work with who have journalism degrees are really important, because they can help to build good community relations.

Most people at the event said career days are important for spreading awareness and to build a strong community, but did this event accomplish those goals? The students who watched the helicopter land seemed to think so.

Melina Ferner, a Bio-Med Science Academy junior, said, “It is really cool to see a helicopter land and to see the K-9 unit. My ultimate goal is to go into the FBI, but I’d like to start out in a medical or law career. I had been looking into medicine and law enforcement thinking that they were two separate things. The EMS and Life Flight workers showed that you can combine those fields and get the best of both worlds.”

Amber Cocchiola, a senior at Bio-Med Science Academy and an intern in the Office of Public Relations and Marketing, contributed this report.  

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