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Summer Term online courses allow pre-med student to volunteer in hometown EMS

Above photo includes Cole Schairer (bottom left) with fellow members of Cardiac on Campus.

As a rising senior and biology major on a pre-med track, Cole Schairer (he/him) planned his Summer Term to allow him to finish two certificates, graduate early and pursue a volunteer project that’s close to his heart and his hometown.

During the school year Schairer volunteers with Cardiac on Campus, a UW–Madison student organization that promotes heart health by providing free CPR classes, donating AEDs to campus buildings and organizing electrocardiogram (ECG) screening drives. As an ECG chair member, Schairer assists with planning drives and instructing monthly CPR classes.

“It’s more common than we’d like that high school or college athletes will suddenly go into cardiac arrest, not knowing they were at risk. An ECG screening can prevent that from happening,” says Schairer.

His summer plans, however, will take him back to his hometown of Birnamwood, Wisconsin.

“My hometown has a population of 800, it’s really small. It’s the kind of town where everybody knows everybody and relationships are very strong,” says Schairer.

Taking Environmental Studies 112 and Land Architecture 360 online during Summer Term 2023 allows him to complete Global Health and Environmental Studies certificates while making a difference in his community.

Schairer performing fieldwork for one of his environmental studies courses.

Schairer earned his basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license in 2021 but has spent most of the time since then as a full-time student in Madison. This Summer Term he’ll get to serve in his rural hometown’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS), where he is the team’s youngest volunteer.

“The EMS in my community is a volunteer service, meaning the handful of EMS providers have full-time jobs elsewhere. Due to a lack of trained EMS providers in the area, it’s often difficult to offer emergency services 24/7,” says Schairer.

Providers are so limited that Birnamwood shares EMS providers with another nearby town.

“Unfortunately, if we are unable to provide EMS services, members of my community could be waiting 25 minutes or more for the next closest EMS service to respond, and that time can often be the lifesaving difference for patients in emergency scenarios,” Schairer adds.

Working as an EMT impacted Schairer early on, he says, adding, “Immediately I just fell in love with it. It’s so exciting and I get to make a difference. There’s a million different things you can see with EMS.”

Schairer is looking forward to graduating early and finishing his senior year in the fall of 2023. “Because I already did classes last Summer Term and came in with some credits from high school I’ll be graduating in 3.5 years, even after adding 2 certificates.”

Outside of school and volunteering, Schairer says he’s looking forward to spending quality time with his family this summer. “Last summer I didn’t have much free time because I took challenging science courses and I was preparing for the MCAT,” he says. “This summer I’m excited to have more me-time. I’ve been living in Madison full-time since my last niece was born so I’m excited to see her more.”

Schairer is hoping to use his extra semester after graduation to get an advanced EMT license, be better equipped to serve his community and eventually go on to medical school.

Schairer with his niece.

See the Summer Term website for more information on getting ahead and achieving your academic goals with summer courses. Or contact us at Share your Summer Term story by using #MyBadgerSummer on Instagram. Tag @UWSummer and you could win a prize!