September 27, 2023

Scholarship will help paramedic’s degree plan

As someone who has been a constant volunteer, paramedic platoon chief Jeffrey Hutchins, of Montoursville, Penn., has recently reaped an educational reward as the winner of a Learning Partner Scholarship presented by Columbia Southern University.

“I have dedicated my life to helping others when they are in need. I have officially been a volunteer since age 14, but actually grew up around the fire station, helping many years before that,” said Hutchins, who has worked for Susquehanna Regional EMS for 17 years.

Over those years, he has earned multiple awards for his service including:

  • Lycoming County Paramedic of the Year – 2004
  • Susquehanna Health Paramedic of the Year – 2006
  • Montoursville Fire Department Distinguished Service Award – 2005
  • Award for Outstanding Community Service – American Legion Post 251
  • Montgomery Fire Company Firefighter of the Year – 2002

The Learning Partner Scholarship, which is awarded to employees/members of companies or organizations that partner with CSU, covers tuition for up to 24 months for one specific online degree program with CSU. The scholarship is awarded six times a year.

Hutchins learned about the scholarship from the Willing Hand Hose Co No. 1 in Montoursville which is a learning partner to CSU, one of the premier online universities in the nation. Hutchins plans to use the scholarship toward his studies at CSU where he is currently seeking a bachelor’s degree in occupational safety and health.

He explained that with the gas industry booming in his area of northern Pennsylvania, the OSH degree will help him apply to a less physically demanding job as he has a back injury.

“We are approaching 800 gas wells being drilled as well as connections to the transcontinental pipelines. There are numerous job opportunities beginning to be available that have never been here before,” Hutchins explained. “I cannot begin to describe the amount of money, jobs, and infrastructure improvements the gas industry has brought here. I hope to complete my degree and be able to attain a health and safety or environmental safety position.”

In addition, “I decided to pursue a degree with Columbia Southern University due to the ease of online use and cost. I also like how the courses are geared toward emergency services and the per-course track allows me to take classes at my pace, around my schedule,” said Hutchins, who is also a part-time telecommunicator in the 911 center of the Lycoming County Department of Public Safety. He is an assistant fire chief with Willing Hand Hose Co. No. 1.

To learn more about the Learning Partner Scholarship, please call 888-785-3006 or send an email to