Student Spotlight: EMT Katie

EMT Katie
EMT Katie

Phi Theta Kappa scholar earning Traditional Track Paramedic A.S.

A graduate of a Coon Rapids High School, Katie is an emergency medical technician (EMT) with five-plus years of experience in the field. She works as an EMT for an ambulance service in Goodhue County and teaches emergency medical services (EMS) classes—a job she has enjoyed doing for more than four years—at a major hospital in the metro area. She also does volunteer EMS work at regional science fiction/fantasy events, including CONvergence and MarsCon, the latter as director of medical services.

“I volunteer at both conventions as an EMT,” Katie said. “Both raise money for charitable causes. Last year, MarsCon donated profits to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.”

Katie is earning an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree in the Traditional Track Paramedic EMS program an Inver Hills Community College and is on course to graduate May 2019. She belongs to of EMSSA, a volunteer student EMS organization dedicated to supporting community well-being and education. She is also a member of the Alpha Omicron Beta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) at Inver Hills.

“My goal is becoming a higher-level clinician,” Katie said, “either in advance-practice nursing or possibly becoming a physician assistant. I also want to continue teaching in addition to working for an ambulance service. I would like to begin a career with a company that I can grow with professionally as an EMS provider.”

Helping save her boyfriend’s life

Katie’s boyfriend, Matt, works for Wells Fargo. Matt is a musician who plays guitar and bass. Katie met him at a MarsCon event. Some months ago, Matt suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), which is bleeding in the space between the brain and surrounding membrane. Matt’s hemorrhage was spontaneous and not the result of an aneurysm.

The key to survival is immediate medical intervention. The life-threatening condition is quite rare. The Brain Aneurysm Foundation reports that SAH accounts for “between 0.01 and 0.08 percent of visits to the emergency room.”

Katie was on the scene and her training and experience as an EMT got Matt the medical treatment he required. “Most SAHs are from trauma, and the spontaneous ones are from aneurysms,” she said. “Matt’s was not from an aneurysm—it just happened. His neurologist said he sees this about once every two years. Matt was one of the youngest patients he’d ever seen with one. What Matt experienced was an extremely rare version of what is extremely rare. I saw symptoms that point to a head bleed, and the hospital sorted out the specifics.”

“My training at Inver helped me recognize the seriousness of Matt’s symptoms,” Katie added. “I brought him to the hospital and advocated for his medical care. Matt spent four days in the ICU and another four days in a hospital room. He took three weeks to make a full recovery. I went on to present his case to my EMS class.”

Katie | Q & A

EMT Katie
EMT Katie

What do you like best about Inver Hills EMS program?
I like the location and the close relationship Inver Hills has with prospective employers.  I’ve made so many connections while going to school here that will serve me well in the future.

Why did you choose paramedicine as your career path?
I didn’t choose this path, per se—it chose me. It’s a common theme among EMTs and paramedics. We sort of stumble into the field, then we get hooked, fall in headfirst and never look back.

What is your greatest strength as an EMS student?
The fact that I’ve never given up, no matter what obstacles life has thrown my way.

What has surprised you the most about the EMS program?
How surprisingly easy some aspects are, and how surprisingly difficult other aspects are.

What is one thing every EMS student should know?
You are capable of more than you think.

Three words that describe you as an EMS student:

What has been your toughest challenge in life?
I’ve had to work very hard to get to where I am today in a lot of ways—and, I’ve got a lot of work to complete. I think there are lots of things in life that are works in progress.

What is your greatest accomplishment?
Accepting myself for who I am, strengths, struggles and all. And, being proud of who I’ve worked hard to become.

What person has influenced you the most in life?
My grandmother, Mary. She gave me such amazing advice and insight. I can still hear her speaking to me, even though she passed away years ago.

What would you tell someone who’s thinking about becoming a paramedic?
It’s not for everyone. But take an EMR or EMT class or job shadow at a local ambulance service. You will know fairly quickly if it’s the right fit for you. You might think it’s all blood, gore and sheer terror like Hollywood would lead you to believe. About 80 percent of the work is relatively routine.

Ten to 15 percent of the job is challenging in that you have to think through what your patient is presenting, figure out why (because it isn’t always clear), and then decide what (if anything) you can do about it. And, this has to happen very quickly; your patient depends on your rapid assessment and diagnostic skills. Around 5 percent or less of your calls are the ones that might make it to a Grey’s Anatomy episode.

Phi Theta Kappa Induction Ceremony fall 2018

Katie with her mom, Katrina
Katie with her mom, Katrina

Katie participated in the Phi Theta Kappa Induction Ceremony October 23, 2018, at Heritage Hall on the Inver Hills campus. Katie’s mother, Katrina, attended the event. Katrina retired from her job in Student Affairs at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She went on to work as a manager with UPS and Walmart. She is pursuing a second career as an emergency medical responder (EMR) and graduated from a class Katie taught.

When she was 10 years old, Katie attended her mom’s own 1994 PTK induction ceremony at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. Katrina wore her PTK pin to her daughter’s 2018 ceremony and shared her graduation stole for the above photo, which documents the inter-generational pride PTK membership promotes.

More about Katie…

Katie loves traveling and exploring new places. She has learned how to travel relatively inexpensively and is proud of that accomplishment. She plans on visiting all 50 states by the time she is 40—she’s up to 38 states.

Katie loves music and is a huge fan of Lindsey Buckingham, lead guitarist and vocalist of Fleetwood Mac. As a child, she wanted to grow up and marry him. She revealed that aspiration when she met Buckingham later in life.

“I took a shine to the Rumors album when I was little,” Katie said. “My dad got tired of me trying to get into his record collection, so they got me the album on cassette tape. I would sit in my room and sing along to the first half, then flip it over and sing along to that one, then flip it over again, etc. I’m sure the kindergarten bus driver who heard me singing the songs on the way to school wondered what the heck my parents were doing letting me listen to those songs. I had no idea at the time, but the album came to represent many things for me as an adult.  I know what a lot of the songs are about, and they have been a source of comfort, healing and expression for me as an adult.”

Katie also sees herself as a “complete nerd.” She loves anything related to Star Trek (she’s a Trekkie), Dr. Who (she’s a Whovian) and Star Wars (those fans don’t have a nickname yet). She’s a huge fan of British comedy, too, Father Ted in particular, and considers herself a Ted-head.

“I partake in just about any nerdy activity you can imagine,” Katie said. “Cons, gaming, etc. I also love going to movies and live shows.”

More about EMS at Inver Hills…

First responders, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics are primarily employed in the following locations:

  • Public safety agencies
  • Hospitals
  • Private and public ambulance services
  • Fire departments

Paramedics provide care in a variety of emergency medical and traumatic situations. With enough education or experience, EMTs and paramedics can become emergency service supervisors, managers, directors or executive directors. As a program graduate, you are eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT) written and practical exams to become certified nationally and in the state of Minnesota.

Learn more by visiting Emergency Medical Services.

EMT Katie gallery

Katie | 21 Answers


  1. Favorite season:  Early fall and early spring
  2. aaa_tedFavorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.):  Skylines, metropolitan and natural. One of my hobbies is taking photos of skylines.
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Anything where I can go out and play with my dog, Penny Lane, a 4-year-old Chihuahua mix; she’s copper with a stripe.
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: I’m good with the one we have—the bald eagle.
  5. Place you would most like to visit: At the moment, it is a tiny island off the coast of Ireland where TedFest is held. It’s a week-long fan convention held every February for a 1990s Irish television show called Father Ted. I’m a Ted-head. I’ve wanted to go for years. I still haven’t made it there.
  6. Favorite holiday: Halloween, followed by Christmas as a close second.
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Cats. They make everything better. I have a black cat named Dolce Sempre, which means “soft and sweet” in Italian.
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Too many to count. Maybe John Cleese because I’m also a huge Python (Monty) fan.
  9. Favorite band or performing artist: Also varied. I listen to every genre, and it depends on my mood.  I am a huge classic rock fan. So, Zeppelin, the Beatles and Fleetwood Mac are among my favorites.
  10. aaa_fleetwoodYour personal motto if you had to have one: “Many is the word that only leaves you guessing, a-guessing ‘bout a thing you really oughta know.” — Jimmy Page, Robert Plant
  11. Coolest thing in the world: The resilience of the human race.
  12. Scariest thing in the world: The self-destructive power of the human race.
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Father Ted
  14. Favorite all-time movie: The Princess Bride
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: To look back at the end and have no regrets.
  16. Most valuable material possession: My grandmother’s guitar.
  17. First thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: I’d buy my way out of student loan debt.
  18. Dream occupation: One where I don’t feel like I’m at work.
  19. aaa_carlinPerson you would most like to meet: George Carlin. I never saw him live before he passed away. Such a shame!
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: The guitar. I can play, but I’m nowhere near mastery.
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: To overcome our biases against each other and learn to love each other for who we are, how we live and what we believe. That’s why we are constantly fighting with each other tooth and nail.
Learn more about the EMS program at Inver Hills by contacting:

Jeff Morgan
Director of Emergency Services

Learn more about Phi Theta Kappa at Inver Hills by contacting:

Vicky Knickerbocker
Humanities and Human Services Faculty
Phi Theta Kappa Faculty Advisor

Nicki Bottko
Associate Director of Student Life
Phi Theta Kappa Staff Advisor

Jenni Yamada
Student Life Activities Coordinator
Phi Theta Kappa Staff Advisor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *