Sisters Follow Same Path From PFARS to Pre-Med

Emily, Patricia, and Mary Rose Young have forged a path to medical school that has its beginnings at the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad.  The road started with Emily, 21, a first year student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), and then followed by her sisters, Patricia, 19, and Mary Rose, 17, both enrolled in the LECOM Pre-Medical Program at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

All three sisters became EMTs in the PFARS Cadet Program while attending Princeton High School.  Here is how Patricia (the middle sister) describes their experience.

Did your older sister influence your decision to join PFARS?

When Emily joined the Squad, she would constantly talk about how interesting being an EMT was and how much she was learning.  I already was interested in helping those around me and PFARS seemed like the perfect opportunity.  I’m pretty sure that both Emily and I had an influence on sparking Mary Rose’s interest in in the Squad.

What was it like being on the Squad during high school?

In addition to serving on the Squad and maintaining good academic standing, we were active in many other activities.  We would inform our coaches or employers that as PFARS volunteers we were committed to serving at least 32 hours per month.  It was never an issue with them.

What were some of your other extracurricular activities?

We all began as lifeguards and taught swim lessons at the Princeton Y.  We taught “mommy and me” lessons all the way up to adult lessons, including private instruction to swimmers with special needs.  At PHS, we helped to create and run the SAVE Animal Club. It began with Emily as president, then me, then Mary Rose. Each one of us babysat for many families in Princeton.  Each of us also played PHS soccer, winter track, and lacrosse throughout high school.

Did your time with PFARS influence your decision to pursue a career in medicine?

My experiences with PFARS helped me to recognize how much I enjoy learning about medicine while helping others.  PFARS provided each one of us with a foundation of professionalism that we could not have found anywhere else.

PFARS helped me see that a career in medicine was a realistic option.  With the help of my mom (and watching Emily go through similar steps), I was able to find a program that suited me.  I am going into my second year at Ramapo College this fall, and I am a Biology major in the pre-medical program. This is the same program that Emily was in and the one Mary Rose will be starting this fall.

Sounds like your parents played a role in your career choice?

Our mom, Gina Sclafani-Boyko, is an optometrist. She showed us what the field of medicine has to offer and we’ve made it our own in different ways.  (Our oldest sister, Catherine Campbell, 26, is an occupational therapist.)  Although our father, John Boyko, is not in the field of medicine, he has been very supportive of our volunteer service.  He actually attended each of our PFARS interviews with us.

What are some of your favorite PFARS moments?

When I first joined PFARS, I was amazed at how patient and helpful the members were.  They made for a very welcoming environment. My sisters and I always enjoy the monthly drills because they refresh old material and provide a good way to learn new procedures. Many of the drills are hands-on, which is a great way to learn.  We also enjoy serving on the Stand-by shifts because we are able to engage with the community while serving in a professional capacity.

Are you planning to specialize in emergency medicine?

This is a frequently asked question; however, I do not know the answer yet. I have a few years before I have to decide and hopefully after more shifts with PFARS and more schooling I will be able to decide.  I will be sure to let you know.  In the meantime, I plan to continue riding with PFARS when I’m home on break and during the summer. My sisters are doing the same.