Public Administration Online Graduate Becomes a State-Certified Fire Training Instructor Thursday, June 2, 2016
Meet Tony Zoroya
Job titles: Transport Coordinator and Local Level Suppression Instructor
Employers: STAT MedEvac and Pennsylvania State Fire Academy
Degrees earned: Bachelor of Science in Public Administration
Graduated: May 2016
College activities: Point Park's 2015 and 2016 Alternative Spring Breaks
Hometown and current residence: Munhall, Pa.
High school: Steel Valley Senior High School
Hobbies/interests: Camping, outdoor activities, history and aviation
LinkedIn: Tony Zoroya
As a transport coordinator, what factors made you choose Point Park?
I knew that if I wanted to advance within my company or within UPMC (who partners with STAT MedEvac), I needed to have a bachelor's degree. These days, more and more management positions require a bachelor's degree so I wanted to give myself the best possible opportunity to advance in my career.
Also, two of my coworkers were finishing their degrees at Point Park and finally convinced me to pursue a B.S. in public administration. It's the best decision I have made. Aside from that, I liked how Point Park had a "small town" feel to it. Everyone you meet remembers your name and the staff, students and professors are so nice and helpful. Cost was another factor, and I know I received a quality education. What put me over the top in my decision to enroll was the fact that the professors were public safety and administration leaders in the Pittsburgh area. I would be learning from the best in the field.
How did your classes help you complete the requirements to become a state fire training instructor?
I was able to be mentored and work directly with two of my professors, Dr. Robert Skertich and Thomas Cook, to obtain my rating as a suppression instructor. They allowed me to work alongside them at the Allegheny County Fire Academy and learn from them to obtain the certifications I needed. Not only was I instructing other students under their guidance, but I was also learning new skills to advance my instructor status. In and out of the classroom, they were always around to help and answer questions I had.
As for the public administration classes, they gave me far deeper insight into topics such as community risk reduction, management and facilities and fleet maintenance. Every public administration class I took had real-world applications that I use every day.
What was your favorite class and why?
I took a philosophy class in one of my first semesters, and as nervous as I was thinking I wouldn't understand it, it ended up being one of the most rewarding classes and changed the way I look at a lot of things each day. However, all of the public administration classes were my favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed them. There were tough times and long nights studying, but learning what you love made it all worth it.
What's your best Point Park memory?
My best memory is my first Alternative Spring Break Weekend in Lafayette, La., in 2015 to help volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. As an online student, I wanted to get more involved with school activities, but I was also very nervous that I wouldn't fit in with younger students. What happened was amazing though. All of the students and staff members showed me that they are some of the nicest and smartest students anywhere. I made a dozen new friends in a few days and looking back it was such a fun and rewarding trip. It was just what my soul needed at the time.
A very close second best memory is walking off the stage at graduation and getting a firm handshake from Dr. Skertich who said, "I'm proud of you brother."
What are your career goals?
I have really fallen in love with being a fire instructor so I would like to do that more often. My degree in public administration has opened up a lot of doors in the area of government and public safety so I can see myself there shortly. Anytime I am doing something related to the fire department or teaching, I am in love. I'm always going to follow my heart because I know it's true that if you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life. Point Park has made that a reality for me. I look forward to serving in the public and fire service fields.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
If you think it, you can do it. I was really nervous about tackling going back to school and working full time. Anything is within reach if you put your mind to it and have the drive and passion to put forward. I love Point Park and I look forward to starting here in the fall for my M.B.A. degree.