Abby Eby

Abby Eby ‘12 finds her niche

High Risk High Reward
It was 8 a.m. on her very first day of college. Abigail Eby found a seat in the half-filled nursing class and all she could think to herself was, “I am never going to be able to do this…what am I getting myself into?”

But in her heart, she knew she was in the right seat. Nursing had been her passion since she was a little girl. “My mom is an EMT and an active volunteer with our local ambulance station; when I was in 5th grade I got curious and asked to go on a ride-a-long to see what it was all about,” explains Eby. From that point on, she was hooked.

That very first experience sparked a passion for health services inside Eby. For six months during her sophomore year of high school, she took courses at night to obtain her EMT and CPR certifications so she could start to chase her dream of caring for others. Achieving those initial certifications led her to attain still others, which allowed her to drive ambulances, assist paramedics, and even teach CPR courses. In fact, to this day, she continues to volunteer with her local ambulance station every week.

“I love getting to know my community,” says Eby. “Many people will walk up to me in the grocery store and thank me. It’s rewarding to know that I am able to give something back to them.”

Being a member of the ambulance station had a serious impact on how Eby lives her life. She remembers her first trauma call when two seniors from her high school were in a car accident involving use of drugs and alcohol. “One student was killed and the other badly injured. The scene was so violent looking — the engine was found a quarter mile down the road. The accident impacted me to the point where I don’t drink or do drugs, and I get very bothered when people around me do.”

A year after her first class at Alvernia, an Army recruiter visited her sophomore nursing class to discuss the opportunities for students. It sounded like the right kind of challenge for Eby. “About six months later I signed a three-year scholarship letter and committed to the Army.”

The eager cadet got a taste of Army life, and life as a nurse, this past summer. In June, Cadet Eby left her family and identical twin, Katy, for the first time in her life as she flew solo to the Leadership Development Assessment Course (LDAC) at Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. It was one of the toughest things she had ever done. Katy, a business management and communication major at Alvernia, is not just a sister. She is Aby’s lifelong roommate and best friend.

“We’ve always shared a room, and still do,” explains 22-year-old Katy.

Fast-forward three years from Eby’s difficult first day at Alvernia to find her a confident student, one semester away from graduating, and part of an elite group of individuals serving our nation as cadets in the Army ROTC.

“I’m looking forward to beginning,” she says. “I have been preparing for the past two years, and I’m ready to get my time started with the Army.”

Did you know?

A National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America's Promise study found that participating employers and recent college graduates agreed on the necessity of out of the classroom experiences. The study emphasizes the importance of providing students with important knowledge and skills but also experience putting that knowledge and skills to practical use in "real-world" settings.

Did you know?

Seventy-six percent of participating employers put "teamwork skills and the ability to collaborate with others in diverse group settings" at the top of their list of desired capabilities in new employees, according to a National Leadership Council for Liberal Education and America's Promise study. These are among the skills fostered by real-world learning experiences.

Did you know?

Service learning is a method of providing personal and academic development through work with established nonprofit organizations in the community. It is an avenue to introduce students to a professional environment without the extensive commitments of an internship.

Did you know?

Service learning provides ideal real world learning opportunities. According to SmartBlog on Leadership, doing volunteer and service work for a non-profit organization that is connected to your major or academic program of study helps develop leadership skills, expands your perspective of the world, allows you to discover new skills in a safe environment, and develops a larger network of real world contacts to draw upon once you graduate.

Did you know?

Service learning can take you outside of your comfort zone, giving you an opportunity to work with new challenges, people, politics and interpersonal dynamics. It also offers new perspective on priorities. Hanging out with people who have had different life experiences encourages you to tackle challenges from different angles. Julie Zolfo, founder of Make Success Matter said that she volunteered for six weeks at the schools in New Delhi, India.

Did you know?

"Alvernia's Career Development Center works with students to find avenues for employment, internships, co-ops, career exploration, resume development, and graduate school options. Center staff help students assess their options and identify their own "brand" to complement their life after Alvernia.

Did you know?

A recent career fair at Alvernia attracted more than 55 employers who were seeking to hire employees, co-ops and interns for their organizations. Career fairs like this one are fertile ground for students seeking real world learning opportunities and to reap the benefits of such as employers look to to hire staff members who have honed their skills and abilities via practical experiences in real situations.

Did you know?

Since its inception, Alvernia has offered real world opportunities with an emphasis on service and careers that help those in need. Field experiences in areas like criminal justice, social work, nursing, occupational therapy, health care science and teacher training among others provide our students with rich learning opportunities to test drive what it's like to work in that profession.

Did you know?

In a recent American Association of Colleges and Universities survey of 302 employers, 79 percent said institutions of higher learning should emphasize helping students apply what they learn in real-world settings, and 66 percent said that completing an internship or community field project would help prepare students for success.