Matthew Germain ’23 has spent his entire adult life working in what are objectively high-pressure situations. Put simply, Germain is accustomed to using his training and experience to make the best possible decisions for the people he has committed himself to serving. He did so early in his career, first as a member of the U.S. Air Force and later as a member of Texas Army National Guard who was deployed to the Middle East during Operation Iraqi Freedom. More recently, he has brought that ethos to his work as a firefighter, emergency medical technician, paramedic and sheriff’s deputy. Each of these roles is centered on the idea of caring for others – as is the next one Germain plans to undertake.
The Oswego, N.Y., native is in his final semester in master’s degree program in occupational therapy at Le Moyne, where he served as co-president of the Student Occupational Therapy Association in 2022. As a veteran who has worked in medicine and emergency services, he clearly brings a wealth of real-world experience to the classroom. However, he has never taken that experience for granted or allowed it to diminish his enthusiasm for learning. Quite the opposite. Since first setting foot on campus two years ago, Germain says he has opened himself to new ways of looking at the world and to exploring new challenges. In fact, this spring he is going to be part of a team of students who will travel to the Crete to spend seven days working with orphans and refugees.
An ability to adapt and grow will undoubtedly be critical to Germain’s future success. The medical model that we once knew has undergone huge changes over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Those changes include more and more telehealth options available to patients, a greater focus on mental health care, and an expansion of medical consortiums that aim to make care more accessible and affordable. Germain is excited to be a part of this evolution. He credits the support he has received at Le Moyne, particularly from his faculty members and the staff at the College’s Veterans Service Office, with preparing him to serve his future patients. That may include current and former members of the military like himself, should he one day work in a facility run by the Department of Veterans Affairs, or it may include the residents of skilled-nursing facilities. Germain has not ruled anything in or out. What he knows for sure is that he is eager to go where he is most needed, just as he always has.
“It’s all about the patients,” he says.
This is part of a series of stories about Le Moyne’s master’s degree program in occupational therapy. Since its founding, the program has earned a reputation for providing students with exceptional academic preparation, as evidenced by consistently high program outcomes. Those outcomes include the current 100 percent pass rate on the National Board Certification Exam and a 95 percent graduation rate. Students learn from faculty members with diverse expertise and graduate well prepared to become general occupational therapy practitioners. They possess a deep understanding of the human body and how it moves and deep respect for human life that is reflected in the care they provide for their patients.