It’s quite possible that Carlisle High School senior Sydney Overmiller’s career path was set early on in life.
Overmiller is the daughter of Candy McClintock and Steve Overmiller, the fire chief in Lower Allen Township.
“I’ve been running calls with him ever since I can remember," she said. "It’s definitely been a passion of mine - helping others and giving back to my community."
To that end, Overmiller plans to attend Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport for a five-year program that will culminate in a master's degree, and a career as a pediatric physician assistant.
“Any normal path that I would take, it would be four years at one school to earn my bachelor’s degree in health sciences, and then transfer to a physician’s assistant school for two years,” Overmiller said.
Overmiller started training in emergency services as soon as she was old enough, and most people her age don’t have the extra work and training that she’s accomplished.
She’s trained in hazardous materials awareness, fire ground support, exterior firefighting, national incident management, basic vehicle rescue awareness, hazardous materials operations, vehicle rescue operations and certifications for CPR/AED and lifeguarding.
Overmiller said she put in a lot of time, work, study and training at both the fire house and at the public safety training center at HACC to earn those certifications, which she puts to use when she goes out on a call as a junior firefighter.
“As a junior firefighter, we are able to assist the interior crew so I can do things such as throwing up ladders, and I can set up the equipment that they need. I bring water. I can help advance hose lines. I can do anything ... outside of the building to help assist with the interior work,” Overmiller said.
She admits responding to emergency calls is an adrenaline rush, and that’s exactly why she loves it.
“Each call is a different story. It brings a new thing to the table,” Overmiller said.
Inspired by seeing her father take care of people at accidents and watching the work of the emergency medical technicians, Overmiller is currently taking classes to become an EMT herself.
“It’s helping me to see the pre-hospital side of things,” she said.
She’s also taken classes to become a certified nursing assistant, which she said serves as a helpful base for her EMT work. She took a job at a nursing home, and said it was a great experience to be with residents and learn their individual needs.
“It was definitely a challenge every night to go to work, but I loved it,” Overmiller said.
There are parallels between caring for the elderly and caring for children, which she hopes to do in the future. Babies start with nothing and build up to doing things by themselves, while older people can do things by themselves but lose that ability as age and health issues take over.
“It’s definitely sad, but it’s heartwarming to know that you’re making an impact in these people’s live and to hear the families come in and thank you for what you do,” Overmiller said.
Throughout high school, Overmiller kept busy not only with her work in the medical field but also held down four jobs, took honors classes and has taken college classwork at HACC.
It’s no surprise, then, that she plans to keep busy when she heads to Penn Tech. She’s already done her research and plans to run with South Williamsport fire company while possibly coaching softball.
“I can’t just sit around. I have to be kept busy,” Overmiller said.