HAZLETON, Pa. — The 2022-23 academic year was a fulfilling one for Penn State Hazleton rising senior Matt Janson.
The health policy and administration major from Bloomsburg took advantage of academic and engagement opportunities, earning numerous accolades and enriching his Penn State experience through co-curricular activities — all while making a difference as an EMT and certified flight communicator for Geisinger.
“It is always uplifting for us to see a student like Matt capitalize on the opportunities at Penn State Hazleton to learn, engage and have some fun on their path to student success,” Chancellor Elizabeth J. Wright said. “Through his involvement, he has made an impact on campus and developed leadership skills that will benefit him well into his future.”
As president of the campus Lion Ambassadors (LAMBS), Janson acts as a liaison between Penn State Hazleton and prospective students by leading tours and sharing his own experiences as a student — an opportunity he finds most rewarding.
"I just love being able to share my Penn State story with prospective students and to show them all the great things Penn State Hazleton has to offer,” Janson said.
Leading with the LAMBS
Janson’s Penn State story includes roles with the LAMBS, as a statistics tutor, as a member of the Health Policy and Administration Club, and as a frequent participant in campus events. He said he likes getting involved to make friends, work alongside fellow students, get to know faculty and staff, and get the most out of his college experience.
“The one thing I hear from people who’ve graduated college is ‘I regret not doing more,’” he said. “You never hear people say they regret getting involved.”
Through his involvement with LAMBS, Janson helped organize two successful events that each brought hundreds of community members to Penn State Hazleton.
During the first, a trunk-or-treat event held in October, student clubs and organizations, student-athletes, faculty and staff, and other members of the campus community dressed up in costumes and decorated the trunks of their vehicles as costumed children and their families collected Halloween candy. LAMBS helped families register and directed them throughout the event.
At another community-themed event in March, dozens of eager children scampered across the floor of the gym in the Physical Education Building on their hunt for eggs filled with candy while parents snapped pictures and cheered them on. The LAMBS also engaged children with other activities like ring toss and an egg-carrying race, and helped hand out games, prizes and giveaways. The family-friendly event also included pictures with the Nittany Lion and Easter Bunny.
To spread cheer during the holiday season, the LAMBS created greeting cards and presented them to residents at area nursing homes. They also volunteered as greeters during a holiday-themed community event that transformed the Hazleton LaunchBox supported by Pasco L. Schiavo Esq. into a winter wonderland.
For their outreach and efforts in being the faces of the campus as tour guides, Janson and the LAMBS were named Students of the Month in September 2022. Janson earned Student of the Month honors individually in January.
A poised public speaker, Janson represented the student body during a welcome luncheon for Chancellor Elizabeth J. Wright in November 2022 by delivering remarks to dozens of invited guests gathered at the Mary M. and Bertil E. Lofstrom Library.
At the end of the spring 2023 semester, he was named the winner of the prestigious Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award. Presented to one Penn State Hazleton student annually, the award recognizes students whose outstanding qualities of character, scholarship, leadership and citizenship have been directed into programs and services that have positively influenced fellow students and have contributed to the prestige and well-being of their campus and reputation of the University.
Janson was also a winner of the President Sparks Award, which recognizes students who earned a 4.0 grade-point average based on at least 36 credits, and an Academic Achievement Award, which is presented to students who had a grade-point average of at least 3.7 or higher by the end of the fall 2022 semester. He was also named to the dean’s list each semester during the 2021-22 and 2022-23 academic years.
In April, he was chosen to represent students throughout Penn State’s campuses when he was elected as a student senator for the University Faculty Senate (UFS) for the 2023-24 academic year. As a full-voting member of the UFS, Janson will advocate for fellow students on issues affecting the University’s educational objectives. He’ll also participate in full UFS meetings and serve on one of 13 standing committees.
Janson credited the individualized attention from faculty and staff for helping him succeed so far.
“I knew I wanted to stay at Hazleton because it is a small-knit community,” he said. “Being able to walk into a building and talk to your adviser, or Career Services, or even the chancellor, and they all know your name and what your plans are.”
At home in HPA
Janson has also found a home in the HPA program.
“I always liked health care but knew I didn’t want to do clinical work all my life, and I always liked the business side of things, so HPA is a great combination of both,” he said.
Janson said being able to complete the degree at Penn State Hazleton was a deciding factor.
Matt’s experience in the health care field and his enthusiasm for learning, coupled with his strong leadership and communication skills, have really enhanced student learning experiences in HPA.
—Beth Greenberg , lecturer and coordinator of the health policy and administration program, Penn State Hazleton
“Flexibility was big for me,” he said. “Since we share classes with other Penn State campuses, there’s just so many choices of classes you can take to support your major.”
He credited the faculty, including lecturer and program coordinator Beth Greenberg, for the industry experience and perspective they bring to the classroom.
Greenberg said one of the goals in the HPA program is to provide students with opportunities for career development and exploration and to encourage them to interact with professionals in the health care field as a way of increasing their comfort level with professional interactions and developing their professional network.
“Matt’s experience in the health care field and his enthusiasm for learning, coupled with his strong leadership and communication skills, have really enhanced student learning experiences in HPA,” Greenberg said. “He enthusiastically creates opportunities to gain experience in the health care field by seeking internships, interviews and shadow day experiences, and generously shares these experiences while encouraging classmates to do the same.”
Janson's own industry experience as an EMT and certified flight communicator also has given him key insight into careers in health care, he said. He works in the communications center at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where he relays information to those in the field. He has responded to calls in ambulances and flown in Geisinger’s Life Flight helicopter, key experiences that have helped him prepare for a future career helping others.
“It’s all helped me build an understanding of what my career might be like after graduation,” he said.
In addition to his bachelor of science degree in health policy and administration, Janson is pursuing a minor in business administration and plans to attend graduate school to earn his master of business administration.