Alumnus Chris Rosa was not gloating when, in a recent email exchange with Howard Huth, Director of the SUNY Cobleskill Paramedic Program, he used superlatives to describe the specifics of his current position. “I know you always enjoy knowing where your paramedics end up,” Rosa told Huth, “but I think I might be in the running for farthest east – currently working [in] the US Embassy in Kabul.”

The Afghan capital certainly classifies as nontraditional, in terms of locations in which SUNY Cobleskill graduates often find their careers taking shape. For Rosa, the road to the US Embassy in Kabul began in Ulster County. It is there that Rosa joined EMS in 2011, before subsequently relocating to Cobleskill. He enrolled in the College’s Paramedic Program in 2015, traveling a winding road to earning his degree in 2017. While he worked in the field prior to earning his degree, and remains in it, he says the rigor of the Paramedic Program retains its influence on his preparedness and ethic.

“The [paramedic] course at SUNY Cobleskill is demanding [and] rewarding, academically and professionally,” recalls Rosa. He adds, “the A&P (anatomy and physiology) coursework required for the class help significantly with understanding the pathophysiology of the diseases we study.”

After graduating, Rosa relocated – this time to Montana – before earning a contract to work overseas in embassy medicine. If his career trajectory continues in such a direction, due to the logistics of his contracting agency, he says he is likely apt to deploy to more remote areas.

Now with years of experience, Rosa reflects with gratitude for SUNY Cobleskill, and with appreciation for lessons learned. He says the Paramedic Program provides an ideal platform for students to progress from EMT to paramedic level.

“It is not just a ‘medic mill,’” says Rosa, using a common industry term to articulate a program that is perhaps more ordinary, “but teaches multiple different skills and instills traits that are useful outside of the ambulance. It taught the basis for the majority of the knowledge that I have. The next goals I have are to either become a flight medic or transition from embassy medicine to remote and austere medicine.”