Earning a bachelor’s degree in her long-time field of emergency medical services administration was only half of Penny Engelking’s dream. The other half is sharing her knowledge with the next generation.
“After being a licensed paramedic in Texas for 26 years, I felt a call to teach EMS and create a legacy of EMS professionals,” she said. “My degree from Columbia Southern University gave me the tools I needed to make this dream a reality.”
In 2017, Engelking realized her time in the line of action had expired and was no longer her EMS calling. Although her heart was still in it, Engelking said if she continued, her body would eventually fail her. It was at this point she knew what to do with all those years of experience—teach it.
“I realized that I needed to give myself the opportunity to educate the next generation of EMS professionals,” said Engelking. “To make this dream a reality, I needed to go back to college, and this is when I enrolled in Columbia Southern University.”
While the EMS program provided her with the tools she needed to earn her degree, Engelking said that her online education with CSU also helped prepare her to teach in ways she could have never anticipated.
“Funny thing is when I landed the dream job to teach EMS full time, we were all thrust into online education one month later,” she said. “CSU, unlike many universities new to this online education, knows what they are doing. My online education at CSU prepared me to tilt and make online content for my EMT students.”
Now an associate professor of EMS at Temple College, Engelking spends her time training the next generation of EMS leaders. Inspiring others to overcome their fears and find ways to serve others is a call this CSU alumna is always willing to answer.
“I was fearful to start this journey. I could face the worst calls. I could help patients on their worst day. Yet, taking this step to fulfilling my own educational goals was so scary to me,” said Engelking. “If you know in your heart that you are ready to take the next step towards your own personal educational journey, commit to its success.”