University Recreation

UREC Alumni Spotlight: Monica Eaton

JMU alum and former UREC EMT provides hope for current students


Written by Natalie Lavery ('19)

It was a specific moment that made Monica Eaton, a JMU Physician Assistant program alum and former UREC EMT, want to go into the medical field. She and her friend were in a public place and saw an individual in distress. Her friend knew exactly how to respond and it inspired Eaton to take the initiative and get the training to become an EMT.

“Ever since that moment it has always been about helping people,” Matt Lovesky, the Assistant Director for Aquatics and Safety, at James Madison University Recreation, said. “From getting her EMT certification to being a manager here, it has always been about building those friendships and that rapport with other staff members and genuinely caring about other people.”

Eaton came to JMU for undergrad (’17) and studied Health Sciences and just started PA school last fall (’22).  During her time at JMU, she volunteered with the Free Health Clinic.

Eaton was an EMT for two years and a manager for one. She was responsible for responding to any medical emergencies that happened to people at UREC or UPARK.

Eaton also helped pilot manager training for the other UREC staff and first responders. This program was designed so that the EMTs could go to area staff meetings once a month and do a 15-minute lesson on a first response topic.

Eaton knew that she wanted to go to PA school before she got the job at UREC. However, to get into JMU’s PA school she needed to have a minimum of 1,000 patient-contact hours and UREC helped significantly with that. 

“My EMT position definitely helped with that process and just working with people and getting that professional connection,” Eaton said.

The biggest thing she learned at UREC was creating those relationships with people around her. She uses those people skills everyday in both PA school and her personal life.

She advises current JMU students to take advantage of what is offered at JMU and UREC, especially in regards to leadership skills.

In March 2019, Eaton came to UREC to talk to the current EMTs and tell them about applying to PA school and her current experiences in the graduate program. She spoke about how UREC helped her prepare for post-grad with time management, inter-professional, and problem-solving skills.

Alongside the inspirational talk, Eaton reiterated the importance of time management and giving yourself time to decompress. Physical health and mental health are extremely interconnected and they both must be considered to be successful in any endeavor.

“Wellness is definitely about physical, mental, and emotional health,” Eaton said. “This semester, I made a point to take a cycling class every Monday, and it definitely has improved my emotional, physical and mental health.”


Published: Thursday, September 5, 2019

Last Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2019

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