Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

While some view winter as a chance to stay inside by the fire or enjoy the great outdoors through skiing and sledding, Steve Presciutti ’05 (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) considers it a time to help save lives and put his education to use.

For the past six years, Presciutti has been involved with the National Ski Patrol (NSP), a volunteer organization that provides life-saving emergency medicine in the outdoor winter environment.

“I am a certified Outdoor Emergency Care Technician, which is exactly the same as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), except we are trained to work with what we can carry on our backs since we do not have an entire ambulance at our disposal,” he explains.

Presciutti volunteers about 20 hours per week from December to April. Over the years, he has advanced from the youngest member on his patrol to an instructor.

“As an NSP instructor, I learned how to convey technical information clearly to a non-technical audience, which helped sharpen my communication and interpersonal skills,” says Presciutti, who graduated magna cum laude with honors in chemistry and a degree in biochemistry.

With experience ranging from treating small bruises and fractures to performing life-saving emergency care, he says he has had the privilege of helping others in vulnerable situations, which will prove beneficial once he enters his chosen field of orthopedic surgery. He will enroll this fall at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University.

“From these experiences, as well as leading complex triage scenarios, my self-assurance has grown,” Presciutti says. “Also, the people I have treated were from diverse backgrounds and increased my capacity for empathy, tact, and sensitivity. In a multicultural society, it is important for physicians to possess these interpersonal attributes.”

Last summer he participated in the inaugural offering of Ethical & Social Issues in Health Care in the UK and U.S., a six-week class that was the brainchild of Steven Lammers, Helen H.P. Mason Professor of the English Bible, and Alan Childs, professor and head of psychology. The course compared the United States and United Kingdom health care systems from the social, ethical, and cultural aspects of each.

Four day a week, Presciutti and other students interned at clinics, research facilities, shelters, schools, and a variety of other British institutions. The fifth day of each week was reserved for class and student-centered discussion to compare experiences.

“I thought it was too good of an opportunity to miss — to go over to London and not only be able to study some of the ethical and social issues facing the medical field throughout the world, but also to get some medical internship experience at the same time,” Presciutti says.

He shared findings from scientific research at the past two National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, including a presentation of collaborative research on contaminated water and treatment programs last year. He also presented the research at the 31st Northeast Bioengineering Conference hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology.

“Our multidisciplinary team developed a cost-effective treatment technology to decrease the concentration of perchlorate, which has been linked with health problems concerning hormone production,” Presciutti says.

He was both excited and nervous to work on an engineering project as a biochemistry major.

“I had to work with a whole new set of students and professors. But everyone made me feel like I was part of the team even though I lacked an engineering background,” he says.

This month, the Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, a Lafayette student group that built on this work, won a research competition hosted May 3-5 by the PA-American Water Works Association in Valley Forge, Pa.

Presciutti also conducted research with Yvonne Gindt, assistant professor of chemistry, on protein folding and aggregation, processes linked to a wide range of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes mellitus, and emphysema. The ongoing project is supported by a three-year, $100,000 National Institutes of Health grant.

He is a member of the Phi Lambda Upsilon national chemistry honor society and recipient of Lafayette’s Dr. and Mrs. David Schwimmer ’35 Prize in Honor of Theodore A. Distler.

He served as secretary of the student chapter of the American Chemical Society, a board member of the Arts Society, and a tutor in chemistry and physics. He sang tenor with the Concert Choir and Madrigal Choir, joining 33 other choral students who traveled to Finland, Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria in 2003 for a singing tour and learning experience during the January interim session. He also competed for the ski club and played intramural soccer. He is a graduate of Coughlin High School.

As a national leader in undergraduate research, Lafayette sends one of the largest contingents to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research each year. Thirty-nine students were accepted to present their work at this year’s annual conference.

Categorized in: Academic News