Most first-year students experience the challenge of balancing work and school—on top of the traditional challenges, Mays Landing, N.J. resident Savannah Masker ’24 is also an overnight Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Absecon Ambulance Squad.
The Biology/pre-Physician Assistant major is taking advantage of starting her college career online by working 12-hour overnight shifts as an EMT before her classes begin for the day at 8:30 a.m.
“It's easier since we're online, because I can work the night shift,” said Masker about how online learning enables her to better balance school work and EMT duties. “If we were on campus I'd probably only be doing weekend shifts, which would still be manageable, but I would probably feel overwhelmed.”
Masker has always known that she wanted to work in the medical field. She is inspired by the doctors and nurses that helped her when she was born prematurely with potential for serious health complications to her and her mother. Additionally, she has watched as her parents and grandparents have dedicated their lives to serving others as volunteer firefighters and first responders. For Masker, helping people runs in the family.
Masker’s average overnight shift as an EMT starts with reviewing all medical supplies and inspecting the truck for any malfunctions. This 30-to-45-minute process ensures that everything is ready to go if an emergency call comes in, enabling Masker and her team to work as efficiently as possible when working on someone’s wounds or even saving someone’s life.
“When I’m doing inspections, I always like to start with the jump bag because that's the bag that we carry in with us at all times,” said Masker. “It's everything you could need in the first five to 10 minutes of treatment before moving the patient into the ambulance. You just have to make sure everything is stocked by going through and counting so you can make sure there are the correct number of blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, and bandages. Sterile water is also always in there.”
After studying Health Science and Medicine in high school at The Atlantic County Institute of Technology, Masker decided to pursue an EMT certification. After volunteering all summer and passing the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certification test at the end of September, Masker is now a paid New Jersey Certified EMT with the squad.
But it’s not all work and no play for Masker. Starting at age four Masker began taking tumble classes, which led her to compete as a cheerleader. For the next 11 years, she competed on a highly competitive team in All Star Cheerleading, even making it to the Cheerleading World Championship.
After achieving her goal of competing at the world championships, Masker felt she had gotten all that she could out of cheer and made the tough decision to play field hockey instead. She now volunteers as a coach and will be playing for the Arcadia Knights team.
“Field hockey quickly became a way of life, and has taught me many valuable lessons over the years, such as, commitment, time management, and a competitive spirit that I carry with me on and off the field,” said Masker.