Physician Assistant Institute Students Dig In to Help Neighbors Dig Out

PAI Students Dig In to Help Neighbors Dig Out


After the flurry of snow came a flurry of good will – thanks to Professor Carolyn McCann and her students at the Physician Assistant Institute (PAI). Her invitation to earn extra credit by helping neighbors in need dig out from under the Blizzard of 2015 was so well received, her inbox – and her heart – were full.

“Not only did we help our community, but the students enjoyed it too,” says McCann. “One of our students is here from Cameroon and has never seen snow before, but that didn’t stop him from shoveling!”

In all, more than 20 PAI students from the University of Bridgeport earned extra credit – and lots of extra gratitude from strangers, neighbors, and family members. Sara Cox ’17 thanked Professor McCann not only for the opportunity for extra credit, but for the opportunity to help others. Cox, who has just moved to Connecticut from Florida, never had to deal with snow before but appreciated the experience of helping an elderly woman in her apartment building “unbury her beautiful Mercedes.” Yannick Nkeng helped a stranger whose car was stuck in snow on Atlantic Street, while Alexander Hayden dropped by his grandmother’s house in Stratford and eagerly took over her efforts to clear off her car and walkway.

McCann, Assistant Director of Clinical Medicine, thinks the idea of tying community service opportunities with extra credit is a win-win for all involved. She came up with the idea of snow-shoveling specifically last year, when much of the state was snowed in for three days.

“Since the students were home and could not make it to school, I decided to recruit my able-bodied students to let the people of Bridgeport know that a UB student on their block means a caring person,” says McCann. “I want to do everything I can to let everyone know how proud I am of our school because we have a lot of unsung heroes.”