Augie students gain valuable experience as EMT

Written by Anima Upadhyay ’23 and Beth Ford

Alison Lawrence is a 2023 Augustana graduate who plans to to attend the University of California-Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine in the fall. Lawrence majored in Biology on the Pre-Medicine track, in addition to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies with a Minor in Spanish. She was involved at Augustana as a Tutor at Reading Writing Center, Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem Augustana Chapter,  a member of the Chi Alpha Pi sorority, member of Mortar Board honor society,  and was in the Cross country and track in her freshman and sophomore years. 

Lawrence attributes her successful admission to the UCI School of Medicine primarily to the diverse range of experiences she gained as a student at Augustana. This includes her research as part of the Texas Medical Center Summer Research program where she had the opportunity to work on Inflammatory breast cancer alongside renowned oncologists, further enhancing her knowledge and skills. Additionally, Lawrence gained valuable insights into her future by shadowing a local Internal Medicine Physician at UnityPoint Health. This experience provided her with a deeper understanding of her desired career path and solidified her passion for medicine. Particularly noteworthy is the significant number of patient contact hours she accumulated while working as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at Advanced Medical Transport (AMT).

After earning her EMT certification from Blackhawk Technical College in Wisconsin, Lawrence embarked on the challenge of working as a part-time EMT at Advanced Medical Transport in Milan, IL. With the responsibility of caring for patients and navigating the steep learning curve, Lawrence acknowledges the immense weight of her role. However, she has emerged from this experience with newfound confidence, honing her leadership skills and enhancing her ability to communicate effectively in high-stress and traumatic situations.

In recent years, up to seven Augustana students have worked at one time as EMTs at Advanced Medical Transport. According to Pam Westfall, AMT QC Operations Manager, “they (Augustana students) have brought a freshness and excitement to our market. It is refreshing to see these students ready to get learn and put their knowledge to work!” The group even had a photo shoot on campus in the Spring of 2022.

Lawrence’s advice to anyone on the Pre-med track is to do concrete medical service, whether shadowing for a doctor or working as an EMT because it will help learn about the process and the people they’ll be treating in the future. It’s also valuable training for learning how to become an empathetic healthcare provider.

If you would like more information about gaining experience in the health sciences field, contact Beth Ford, Career Coach,

By Beth Ford
Beth Ford Career Coach for the Health Sciences & First Year Student Advisor