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In Good Hands: A recent Graduate’s Appreciation for York College

Spencer Prematta by his research

York College of Pennsylvania and regional medical experts helped affirm Spencer Prematta’s decision to go into medicine.

Days before graduating from York College of Pennsylvania with a Biology degree, Spencer Prematta ’22 was buzzing with excitement, gratitude, and perhaps a bit of exhaustion.

He cheerfully shared that he had just moved out of his residence and was making a decision about what discipline to study after learning of his acceptance to Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Virginia Tech.

He has a go-with-the-flow outlook.

“I’m going where I’m taken and see what I end up liking the best. I’m open to being adaptable,” Prematta says.

Given his range of experience, even at just 23 years old, he’s more than prepared for whatever comes his way.

Professors ‘made things come alive’

Prematta became interested in pursuing medicine as a child after health events that affected him and his family shaped his admiration for healthcare workers. He cites York College as being the catalyst that gave him the confidence to follow through on his dream.

“When I first came in, the [faculty member] that I first interacted with was Dr. Ron Kaltreider (Professor of Biology). He started my interest in it…Just a ton of faculty have continued pouring [knowledge] into me,” he says.

“I actually just said my goodbye to Dr. [Jeffrey] Thompson (Associate Professor of Biology) today. That was sad,” Prematta says. “Dr. Thompson really made things come alive and just showed me how amazing some of the science is and how we can apply it, and just made me see all of how it could be used to help people. They’ve all been so helpful in helping me find my way and figure out what I want to do, challenging me but also supporting me.” 

“Today, I was in the library writing thank-you notes at 8 a.m. I was crying and I was like, I got to get out of here before someone sees me,” he says, laughing.

Turning science into skills

While earning his undergraduate degree, Prematta gained broad experience in medicine and outreach.

In addition to working with First Capital EMS as an emergency medical technician, he volunteered with UPMC Memorial Hospital and, most recently, in a pediatric therapy program at WellSpan Health. Those experiences provided a variety of influences on his desire to become a doctor, he says.

“When people are in the middle of something scary, or being transported somewhere, they want someone to talk to, who can empathize with them, who makes them feel heard, because a lot of times, it feels like you’re not,” he says. “In that aspect, it cemented my desire to be in medicine.”

Being an EMT “showed me that it can be fun no matter what, but also showed me the different challenges and exposed me to the sad parts, too,” he says. “It’s given me a more well-rounded picture of medicine and experience that will only help me be better.” 

York College ‘did everything well’

“I’m just so thankful for what York’s done for me over the last four years, and that’s my biggest thing,” Prematta says. “I can’t say enough about York College. They did everything well. It wasn’t overwhelming, and they were always there when needed, always supportive.”

In addition to his experiences working with regional medical facilities, Prematta participated in Generations of Hope, a York College initiative to inspire public school students to become mentors and leaders. He also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and urban farming and community garden ventures. 

“I definitely hope to return to York. My hope is to go to Virginia for four years, and [then I] would love to do a residency at WellSpan York.”