“Being a biology major with plans to go to medical school, every experience I get to be involved with medicine is fuel to the fire.”
College campuses across the nation faced many challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Blackburn was no exception — it required a great deal of diligence, resilience, and creativity to protect the health and well-being of the campus community. To help combat the Coronavirus on campus, Blackburn added on-campus surveillance testing for COVID-19 as an additional level of health monitoring. While the primary objective was protecting the health and well-being of the Blackburn community, the testing process provided a unique opportunity for students to gain practical, hands-on experience in the medical field.
A senior from Otisco, IN, Parmenter played a pivotal role in getting students involved with the testing process at Blackburn
Parmenter contacted Shawna Poe, assistant to the president, to help with COVID health screenings as students returned to campus in August. Faculty and staff were pleased with the results, which led to letting these students participate in testing the rest of campus. Gary Ross, campus nurse, trained Parmenter to be able to perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as well as rapid COVID tests.
Parmenter explained how the team of volunteers at Blackburn helped, “The process happens in a span of less than two hours, so organization and communication are crucial to efficient and safe testing,” Parmenter explained. “We have a few people, myself included, who do the actual swabbing for the tests, but the rest of the work is done by the support team. This team ensures that everyone getting tested has accurate information so that the lab can process the information. The support team labels vials, registers the people getting tested, double checks their information, and bags the completed swabs. The efforts of these volunteers allows us to proceed so efficiently.”
“Community service is something I am very passionate about and being able to help our Blackburn community during a global pandemic is such a blessing.”Quentin Parmenter
In addition to his academic interest in science and the medical field, Parmenter has always had a passion for helping his community. “Being a biology major with plans to go to medical school, every experience I get to be involved with medicine is fuel to the fire. Community service is something I am very passionate about and being able to help our Blackburn community during a global pandemic is such a blessing. A future in healthcare is a future in helping others, and I am thankful for every opportunity to help whenever and wherever I can” said Parmenter.
Fighting a global pandemic has in many ways been a community effort. This special opportunity was something unique to Blackburn and its students. It is not every day that college students get to participate in scientific testing to fight a global pandemic!