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Pictured is public administration student and Baldwin EMS assistant chief Todd Plunkett. | Photo by Jim Judkis

Meet Todd Plunkett

Degree pursuing: Bachelor of Science in public administration (capstone program)
Emergency Medical Services
Expected graduation:
May 2014
Degrees previously earned:
Paramedic certification from Center for Emergency Medicine and earned 66 credits through Community College of Allegheny County and professional development programs
Job title:
Assistant EMS Chief

Baldwin Emergency Medical Services
Hometown and current residence:
Baldwin, Pa.
Family, serving on urban search and rescue teams, focusing on school and NASCAR fan

What factors made you choose Point Park's B.S. in public administration program?

I have worked in public service for 25 years and was looking for a program specifically in public administration with a foundation in business. I wanted real-world knowledge that I could apply to my job every day, not just a "feel good education." When I discovered that Dr. Robert Skertich was director of the program, I knew he would understand the flexible schedule needs of non-traditional students and would bring his real-world knowledge to the classroom. Also, Point Park's 20 percent tuition discount for certified EMS responders was a great benefit, too.

How have your classes helped you in your role as an assistant EMS chief?

The knowledge I've gained in my EMS classes is incorporated into the work I do on a daily basis. Also, I have gained a variety of HR-related skills including how to better understand and manage people and run my operations more effectively. I'm also able to understand legal jargon thanks to my "Legal, Policy and Regulatory Issues in EMS" class. As a whole, I don't feel as though I'm wasting my time in any of the classes I have taken.

There is a core group of us in the EMS concentration. We have formed a good bond and they are very important to me. Not only are we learning from our instructors but from each other. I have developed some long-term friendships and colleagues I'll have forever.

Have your online classes helped you effectively balance college with work and family life?

Yes. Being able to build my schedule and take a hybrid style of courses both in the classroom and online has been paramount. With two small children and a wife who works as a nurse, I would not have been able to go back to school had it not been for the online class options. In my type of job, I have to be ready to go to work on a moment's notice so I like that the online classes offer me flexibility to getting my work done.

What are your career goals?

I'd like to improve in my current position as an assistant EMS chief. Ultimately, I'd like to become an EMS chief or director of a public service organization.

What advice do you have for individuals considering Point Park's public administration program?

Come to Point Park! But be prepared to work hard and not just go through the motions. Also, make sure you understand online learning before enrolling in an online class.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

My experience at Point Park has been nothing but positive. The program has been a perfect fit for me. I was concerned about coming back to school at age 39 but I was able to adapt quickly.


More About: online programs, public administration, EMS administration