Jack DeloStritto, Biomedical Engineering Technology alumnus
Why did you choose Penn State New Kensington, and more specifically, the BET program?
Growing up, I’ve always been great with my hands, starting with my first Jeep. My father would always help me work on it, and it wasn’t long before I was able to start doing work on it myself. A few years and two Jeeps later, I had an interest in doing something in the medical field, but I wasn’t sure if there was anything I could do that could utilize my skills. I ended up going to college and trying a few different majors, all while joining the Army National Guard as a Light Wheeled Vehicle mechanic. After about 3-4 years of trying different career paths at other institutions, I still did not feel like I was doing what I was supposed to do.
That’s when my friend recommended that I talk to his father who works at Mercy Hospital as a biomedical technician since he knew I was good with my hands and had an interest in the medical field. Before that conversation, I had no idea what a biomedical engineering technician was or what they did, but right then, I had the feeling that I was finally onto something good. Alan recommended Penn State New Kensington (PSNK) and it’s BET program and directed me to Myron Hartman. I met with Myron, and he explained how PSNK was one of the best schools in the entire country for this program due to its accreditation by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. Myron was able to see what credits would transfer from my previous course work and created a class schedule for me. I enrolled into the program that day!
What are your strengths and interests, and how did the BET program help to engage you as a student?
In terms of strengths, i’d probably have to say dedication. When I started the program, I was newly married and had gone through some schooling already, so I did not want to waste any time getting through the program. Dedication, remembering why I was there and who I was doing this for (my wife and I), helped me to stay focused and resulted in doing well through the program.
What part of the BET program resonated with you the most – the hands-on work, the medical aspect, technical work, the idea of helping those in need, or something else entirely?
I would say that hands-on work, technical work, and the idea of helping those in need really go hand in hand. One thing to remember about this field is that YOU, as a biomedical engineering technologist, are making a difference in the hospital and actually get to see for yourself just how you are making that difference. You see it when you’re working in the field and see a patient on a piece of a equipment that you serviced. The professors at PSNK do a fantastic job preparing you for that reality. When we work, it’s not about us; it’s all about the patient and helping to ensure their safety!
What was your favorite class or activity during your time in the BET program?
My favorite class would be any class that was directly BET-related. Basic college courses are required in the program, but the BET courses were the most interesting to me. We got a whole lot of hands-on training on different types of equipment in the BET lab. Our class was pretty close, and we had a lot of fun just about every day of our BET classes. We still keep a group message thread going and stay in touch because of that.
Can you talk about your internship with Children’s Hospital?
My internship with Children’s was with their clinical engineering department, which is the department of biomeds for the hospital. Throughout my internship, I got to work on all types of equipment. One thing about this field is that it is changing constantly. Equipment is constantly being updated, so you’re always seeing something new. I was able to go around to departments in the hospital, both with or without other biomeds, and service that department’s equipment. Each day was certainly busy and filled with different learning opportunities. The biomeds at Children’s were nothing less than extremely kind and helpful. They are very knowledgeable in their specialties and were always willing to show me different operations or equipment. With them, I never felt like I was in the way. The shop there was like a family, and a very funny one at that.
What do you hope to do with your degree?
I was hired for the Clinical Engineering Gen I position at Children’s! Another thing about this field is that there are many different opportunities and career paths. A biomed can work in a hospital environment, field service, or for a manufacturer just to name a few! The medical field is not going anywhere, so neither are biomeds. Personally, I want to work in the hospital field, but I am excited to see where my career takes me!