October 17, 2023

Lakes Region Community College’s Raelyn Cottrell, a seasoned educator with 25 years of experience in the field of EMS training, is making waves in the Lakes Region as both a Program Coordinator for the college and a dedicated ER technician. Over the years, Raelyn has seen more than a thousand aspiring emergency technicians through her rigorous program.

A groundbreaking initiative was set in motion when Ian Watt, one of Raelyn’s former students stationed overseas, reached out with a need for fellow Army medics. Ian’s aspiration was clear: establishing a program to empower those in his platoon to earn Advanced Emergency Medicine Technician (AEMT) certificates. Raelyn embraced this idea and set her sights on making this happen.

With vision and determination, Raelyn created an innovative hybrid learning experience. She combined Zoom lectures with hands-on training, forging partnerships with Physician Assistants overseas. Through her efforts, Raelyn received the green light, and this fall, 2023, Raelyn’s vision became a reality. Four exceptional AEMT students have now “enlisted” in her class, engaging in two evenings of education every week.

What sets these students apart is their unique deployment in distant lands such as Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Despite navigating the complexities of varying time zones, some of them tune in for Raelyn’s lectures as late as 10 p.m. Remarkably, each student not only carries their military EMT experience but also embodies the principles of AEMT, effectively living the course material.

“Empowering our military heroes with life-saving skills is a mission close to my heart. Working with these exceptional AEMT students, even from afar, has been truly inspiring. I eagerly anticipate their in-person completion of the AEMT program in March”, said Raelyn Cottrell, on this experience.

For Raelyn, her favorite course material is spreading the knowledge and know-how of emergency childbirth. She recognizes that no one wants to undertake such a task, but in moments of crisis, the ability to deliver a baby can be the difference between life and death. Raelyn’s dedication to nurturing these life-saving skills underscores her unwavering commitment to preparing her students for the unknown.

Her true passion, however, lies in witnessing her pupils evolve into successful professionals as they, in turn, embark on their journeys of impacting lives. Raelyn cherishes the moments when her past students, now thriving in the field, come full circle.

While the course will conclude for in-person participants in February, an inspiring twist awaits. Those four students serving our country will journey to Lakes Region Community College in March to complete their AEMT in person. The anticipation of this meeting is a topic of excitement among the entire class.

Raelyn and LRCC remain committed to broadening the horizons of this program and strive to extend its reach to military personnel worldwide. Their unwavering determination to adapt, evolve, and find innovative ways to provide higher education speaks to a brighter future.