Countdown to Commencement: Danielle Howard

May 9, 2014

As the campus community prepares for commencement May 10-11, the Office of Marketing & Communication Services is featuring a series of articles about the Class of 2014 as they prepare to become Heidelberg graduates and alumni. We hope you enjoy the “Countdown to Commencement.”


Danielle Howard knows exactly what she wants, and she isn’t afraid of working hard to get it. The biology major and soon-to-be graduate has her sights set on becoming a physician’s assistant. Her ‘Berg coursework and off-campus experience as a certified EMT will serve her well as she prepares for the challenges of her chosen career.

“I’ve always liked a fast pace and high stress. That’s how I live my life,” said Danielle.

In addition to a full course load and three part-time jobs, Danielle completed EMT basic training, a rigorous five-month program at Owens Community College. The course fulfilled a health-care work experience requirement for Danielle. She followed that with her Honors Program service learning by serving as a volunteer EMT with the Bettsville EMS operation in rural Tiffin.

As part of her training, she completed clinical rotations in an emergency room and did ride-alongs with firefighters and paramedics in Toledo. Essentially, she can perform basic to advanced medical care, but is not permitted to administer IV drugs; she’s fine leaving that to the paramedics.

Although Danielle had originally considered firefighting as a career, the experience during her clinical ER rotation solidified her career choice to become a physician’s assistant.

“After (the ER clinical), I knew for a fact that I have to work in an ER. I’ll always keep up my certification as an EMT, but as a PA, I will have a higher certification than a paramedic,” she explained. “The things I love about medicine are what PAs and nurse practitioners already do. It’s a perfect fit for me.”

She looks forward to “every day being different” in the ER with opportunities to have a hand in saving lives.

In the year between graduation and when she plans to begin her two-year PA program, Danielle will work full time for Rural Metro in Cleveland, a private ambulance company that handles patient transports. “It’s the best starting job I could ask for,” she said.

She feels well prepared to start her career. “The Biology Department here is fantastic,” Danielle said, adding that her experience in the cadaver lab set her apart from her peers. “The professors here give you a lot of tough love, and it’s exactly what we need.”