EMT student Sophie Campbell helps keeps Penn State safe while balancing school

Chelsea West Credit: Chelsea West / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — With more than 40,000 students on Penn State’s campus, there must be someone to keep them safe and healthy. Sophie Campbell, senior kinesiology major at Penn State, is one of those someones. As a student Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) for University Health Services, Campbell helps keep Penn Staters safe while simultaneously being one. 

Originally from Reading, Pennsylvania, Campbell came to University Park to fulfill her dream of going into the medical field. During her first semester, she took KINES 403: Emergency Medical Technician Certification, which prompted her to join the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Volunteer program. Starting her sophomore year, Campbell became a member of the team.  

Campbell works 12-hour night shifts while balancing her education. 

“You get in at 5 [p.m.], check our ambulance, restock equipment, get food downtown, and complete chores like disinfecting the ambulance. We peer review charts and then we run charts,” Campbell said. 

As the operations officer, Campbell oversees logistics, day-to-day operations, and big events like Penn State football and THON, alongside other members of the EMS team. 

“We all work together to serve,” she said.

Campbell said she had a strong interest in the medical field from a young age. In high school, she saw a dissected cadaver for the first time and was drawn to the science behind it. Her older brother, a Penn Stater, is an orthopedic surgeon, and his wife, a physician assistant. This was very influential for Sophie as she got to shadow him, see different aspects of the profession, and choose her healthcare career.

“It just made sense for me to come to Penn State,” said Campbell. “It's in my blood."

With a family filled with nurses and doctors, as well as her passion for the medical field, on her shoulders, Campbell hopes to become a physician assistant after graduation.

“I really liked the [physician assistant] profession because of the flexibility,” said Campbell. “I really like emergency medicine, but I want to explore other options. It fit right where I wanted to be.”  

The Emergency Medical Services Volunteer Program is a student-run experience for individuals interested in building up their resume and creating an identity at the Penn State University Park campus. More than 40 students participate in the program, from an array of disciplines and majors, including medical, engineering and more. 

“I love working with my best friends. It's like having sleepovers during our shifts,” Campbell said. “The trust you form with people is on a different level. You rely on each other during calls. It's not just EMS, it's more than that."

The University Ambulance Service responds to medical emergencies on the University Park campus and within the local community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For individuals interested in gaining emergency medical training experience at Penn State, please contact the EMS Education Office at 814-863-0434 or 814-865-1772 for additional information or email Students and non-students who already have certifications in CPR, EVOC and HAZMAT can apply for a part-time paramedic or EMT position with the University Health Services' EMS department at (search “EMS”).

Last Updated October 30, 2019