BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Dezaray Belanger is not your ordinary college student. She is an undergraduate nursing student at Western Kentucky University and also a certified Emergency Medical Technician. 

Starting the EMT program in her sophomore year of high school, she graduated with a certification along with her high school diploma. 

Belanger always knew she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. Belanger normally works as an EMT during summer and winter breaks, but the coronavirus pandemic changed that. When students were sent home, Belanger went back to Cleveland, Ohio and started working as an EMT. She says the hands-on experience is helpful as she pursues a nursing degree at WKU. 

“I use a lot of skills, airway breathing, CPR, all of these things that are necessary and that are also used in the nursing program so it's definitely gotten my feet like at the door,” says Belanger.  

Learning to communicate and interact with doctors, nurses, and other EMTs came in handy when she had to return home due to the pandemic.  

“I think it's just really scary and uneasy because nobody knew the severity of it. We all knew that it was something very contagious, but still, now we don’t know much about the virus, it was just very scary,” says Belanger. 

The past few months working as an EMT has been a great experience, but she’s eager to get back into the classroom. Switching to online classes in the middle of the spring semester, Belanger hopes that her classes in the fall will have a sense of normalcy, and she’ll be able to learn hands-on. 

“I am a little nervous that things won’t be the same but with everything going on we just have to adapt and overcome everything that’s been thrown our way,” says Belanger.