Featured Colleague: Heather Wylam Trades Backboards for Blackboards to Train a New Generation of EMTsShare
Monday, March 14, 2022
By Jennifer Keefe
After spending more than five years triaging accident and crime victims as an emergency department paramedic for Orlando Regional Medical Center, it might surprise you to know that Heather Wylam has a little bit of an obsession with true crime documentaries.
Heather serves the College now as a professor and lab coordinator, emergency medical technician, at West Campus.
She’s also graduating from the Bachelor of Applied Science in Business and Organizational Leadership (BASBOL) program in May, a program she’s completing entirely online.
Heather’s proud to say that all of the electives she has taken in the BASBOL program have been about criminology and crime scene investigation.
She explains, “For some reason, I just love criminal justice, criminal law, and I’m fascinated with the criminal mind.”
Heather graduated from the College’s Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program in 2009, earned her associate degree from Valencia in 2010, and completed the College’s paramedic technical certificate in 2011.
A true Valencia success story herself, for Heather, the College signifies opportunity for members of the community to accomplish their goals.
“Valencia is a place where anyone can be educated and actually go out to the workforce” she says.
“We offer realistic educational programs that allow students to go out and give back to the community,” she adds.
Heather also really appreciates the diversity of our student population.
After diagnosing issues with student access to technology, Marie Vasquez-Brooks, dean, School of Allied Health, asked Heather to become part of the College’s AppleEd Project.
Heather is now working with a team from across the College to make it so that one day every student will have an iPad to use in class and for homework.
The project is still in the planning phase, but Heather already uses an iPad to airdrop feedback to her students in her classes.
She explains, “the paramedic-EMT program will most likely be the pilot group for the project before it expands to other parts of the College.”
Heather says that the iPads make sense in the allied health fields because instructors can watch scenarios students are working on and give them immediate feedback.
Marie appreciates Heather’s dedication to her students.
“She is bringing innovation to the classroom with educational technology as a leader in a collaborative effort,” she explains.
Marie also calls Heather “an important part of our stable and consistent student experiences during the pandemic.”
Heather has also given the Allied Health student experience a little resuscitation.
She’s implemented changes in testing procedures for students in the labs and has worked to make the EMT program more inclusive.
This includes updating student welcome activities and giving instructors more of a chance to introduce themselves and to talk about their skillsets.
Speaking of skillsets, Heather’s inspiration comes from when her students are able to showcase what they have learned on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exams.
“I love when my students text or email me and let me know they passed NREMT exam. It inspires me to know they got a good education from us,” she explains.
In her free time, Heather likes to spend time with her family and friends, in which they go to Disney and travel.
She also loves to drink coffee and find ways to support small businesses.
Something else you might not know about Heather is that she is “terrible at anything athletic,” but she loves trying new things.
That said, she says she’s a lot less adventurous after having worked in an emergency room.
A Miami-native, Heather enjoys time out on the water. In fact, she and her husband were married on a boat in Savannah, Georgia.
Savannah is also their six-year-old daughter’s name.
Heather enjoys volunteering at her daughter’s elementary school.
When she was in elementary school herself, she lived in Spain because her father was stationed there for the U.S. military.
Living in Spain created a love of Spanish culture and food for Heather. She says she used to be fluent in the language but has lost a lot of her Spanish over time.
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for at least one year? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.