Connor Faint '18, an NCAA All-American in track and field at Eastern Mennonite University, is among many former Royals athletes working in healthcare. He works as an RN in the CVICU/COVID unit at Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Virginia. (Contributed photo)

EMU Athletics shares ‘Royal Dose of Gratitude’ to alumni working in healthcare

This spring, EMU Athletics has been celebrating alumni-athletes working in the health care professions.

“It has been so exciting to reconnect with former Royals  for this special social media campaign highlighting the outstanding work being done in the health care field,” said Director of Athletics Dave King. “And it has been very rewarding to hear the ways in which athletics prepared and shaped them for their current work.  I hope you are as inspired as I was in reading their responses.”

To view the entire series, visit the EMU Athletics Facebook page.

To join the series, send us a note in the comment box below and we’ll get in touch with you!

Below are a few of the more than 25 alumni-athletes. Scroll down to view a complete list (as of 3/24/2021). Thanks to James DeBoer, director of athletics communication for his work on this project.

Martin Pou ’20, Volleyball

Now: Assistant to the practice manager, Shenandoah Valley Gastroenterology

Lesson: Clear and quick communication is crucial both on the court and in the medical field.

Julie Kratz McElwee ’85, BNS ’86, Field Hockey

Now: Emergency department chair, Lewis Gale Hospital Montgomery, Christiansburg, Va.

Lesson: The importance of relationships and knowing who is behind you, to give support, when things are not going well.

Tyler Denlinger ’18, Cross Country/ Track & Field

Now: Vaccines process development engineer, Merck Pharmaceutical, Elkton, Va.

Lesson: I have found the lesson of “enjoy what you do” to hold a lasting effect from my time at EMU. There are few things in my life I hold more dearly than my experience with the EMU track and field squad. I love running and T&F, and that love enabled my teammates and I to collectively accomplish a lot of really difficult tasks…I found that my love of the sport and my desire to achieve goals  were useful in propelling me to accomplish unpleasant tasks such as lifting after a hard workout. This directly applies to my work setting—while I do not love every  aspect of my job, my passion for the end goal makes the unpleasant aspects more bearable.

Rachel Sturm ’18, Soccer/Track & Field

Now: Registered nurse, UVA Medical ICU/Special Pathogen ICU, Charlottesville, Va.

Lesson: I learned that I needed to stop worrying about society’s standards of success and focus on what God’s successes were for me. At the time there was so much pressure on my shoulders to be a successful athlete and a successful student. It’s hard to succeed in both, as one usually has to take over the other. In my case I had to choose my career to become a nurse. Yet, I never stopped giving it my all in academics and sports, which created a lot of frustration when I failed in my sport. Now I look back and realize, God gave me the talent to play college sports to introduce me to the people he wanted in my life. To give me the experiences I needed to grow into the woman and leader I am now. To let me learn failure and to strive from it. All these little things are God’s achievements for me.

Brooke Hensley ‘14, Softball

Now: Emergency department team coordinator, Sentara RMH, Harrisonburg, Va.

Lesson: The importance of playing together as a team to be successful because you cannot do it all on your own. Throughout my career, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been vital to work as a team in providing patient care in order to promote positive outcomes and save lives.

Laura Rosenberger ‘03, Track & Field

Now: Surgeon, associate professor of surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Lesson: EMU Athletics taught me how to be resilient during adversity and perseverance. Thankful for dedicated coaches and supportive teammates. Feels so pertinent to life right now in a pandemic!

Jess Rheinheimer Bishop ‘16, Basketball

Now: Registered Nurse, Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa.

Lesson: I learned many lessons from the basketball court but one that sticks out from Coach Griff is that you are the driver to your own success –  no one else can determine how successful you are going to be in life or in sports. You get out what you put in.

Katie Lehman Maust ‘09, Soccer

Now: Emergency department RN, Sentara RMH / Paramedic and training lieutenant, Harrisonburg Rescue Squad, Harrisonburg, Va.

Lesson: As an athlete, I was so thankful to be surrounded by people who were courageous, tenacious, hardworking, and supportive. Being part of a healthcare team has a lot of similarities to being on an athletics team and I aspire to carry those traits of great team members into my roles in the healthcare system.

Thanks to ALL of our Royals athletes working to make this world a safer place!

From left: Brent Yoder ’12, soccer, physical therapist and co-owner of Yoder Physical Therapy and Wellness in Sarasota, Fla.

Emily Augsburger ’18, field hockey, CCU Registered Nurse, Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

Jackson Maust ’09, soccer, physical therapist at Augusta Health, working in outpatient therapy and in acute care in the hospital, including with COVID patients; also a captain and life member of Harrisonburg Rescue Squad (Jackson is married to Katie, featured above).

Jamey Groff ’98, volleyball, oncology pharmacist, Hahn Cancer Center, Sentara RMH, Harrisonburg, Va.

Jessica Blanks Jaindl ’13, field hockey, registered nurse at Sentara RMH, Harrisonburg, Va.

From left: Juni Schirch Sauder ’16, cross country/track and field, athletics testing coordinator, EMU.

Laura Rittenhouse ’20, soccer, registered nurse, cardiac care, UVa Hospital.

Laurie Serrell ’19, cross country/track and field, registered nurse with Spanish interpreters training, Sentara RMH.

Leah Lapp ’20, triathlon, associate chemist, Merck Pharmaceutical, Elkton, Va.; attending Liberty University School of Osteopathic Medicine, fall 2021.

Linda Cimini Boesch ’11, field hockey/track and field, critical care RN, St. Luke’s University Health System, Chalfont, Pa.

Lisa King Burkholder ’08, RN, Sentara RMH and instructor of nursing, EMU, Harrisonburg, Va.

Mariah Foltz ’17, softball, RN, Sentara RMH, Harrisonburg, Va.

Mariah Martin ’17, field hockey, labor and deliver nurse, Sentara RMH, Harrisonburg, Va.

Nolan Prock ’12, volleyball, veterinarian, Healthy Pets Veterinary Care, Boca Raton, Fla.

R.J. Ocampo ’19, volleyball, EMT with Virginia Beach Volunteer Rescue Squad, Virginia Beach, Va.

Rodney Eshleman ’88, soccer, ICU nurse, Augusta Health, Fishersville, Va.

Sylvia Mast ’19, soccer, ED technician, Sentara RMH and EMT, Harrisonburg Rescue Squad, Harrisonburg, Va.