Shana Ruman has always brought compassion to the workplace—it was a trait she used every day when she worked in a restaurant. But when the pandemic hit and Shana lost her job, she wanted to find a new avenue to take care of people.

Shana used her downtime to create a game plan for her life, making a list of all the things she’d like to do for work. The careers at the top of her list—firefighter and paramedic—would allow her to continue to help people.

First, Shana learned she would need to become an EMT before becoming a paramedic. Then, she found just the place that could help her fulfill both career goals: Malcolm X College.

“Malcolm X made me the EMT I am today and is helping me grow into the paramedic I want to be,” Shana said.

As part of the program’s hands-on curriculum, all Malcolm X EMT students ride with the Chicago Fire Department and private ambulances. During Shana’s 16 weeks as an EMT student, she rode with Medex Ambulance and was hired as an EMT soon after.

“What I learned in those 16 weeks enabled me to get a job immediately,” Shana said.

Now, Shana is almost done with her paramedic program, and she’s grateful for the instructors who have helped her prepare for a variety of scenarios. She feels their diverse backgrounds as retired members of the Chicago Fire Department and as current and former medics have prepared her for success.

Shana also appreciates the real-world value of the partnerships Malcolm X has with area hospitals, the Chicago Fire Department, and private ambulance companies, as well as the college’s on-campus training facilities.

“Malcolm X’s partnerships with local hospitals help you create relationships with the people you’ll later meet on the job,” she said. “It makes you feel like ‘Yeah, I can do this.’”

Shana is already saving lives and, soon, she’ll be helping even more patients. Now that she’s passed the Chicago Fire Department test, she’s preparing for a summer internship shadowing CFD paramedics.

Not only has Shana invested her time and energy into her studies at Malcolm X, but she feels the faculty, staff, and other students at Malcolm X have invested in her, too. Her positive experiences have her thinking about continuing her education.

“Going back to school and earning these credentials is opening more doors for me,” she said. “I didn’t have the opportunity to do that when I was younger.”

After completing the Paramedic program, Shana wants to become a paramedic for the Chicago Fire Department or another local department. She also already has plans to return to Malcolm X and enroll in the Fire Service Operations program.