Student Spotlight: Mark Puknaitis
Major: Respiratory Care
Mark Puknaitis grew up around firefighting, so it made sense that he would enter an emergency services field.
While studying to become an EMT at the Technology Center of DuPage, he had an instructor who worked as respiratory care therapist on the side.
"The more I looked into it, the more interested I became," Puknaitis said. "I really liked the speciality aspect of it."
After doing more research, he selected College of DuPage and entered the Respiratory Care program. His goal at the time was to work as a firefighter/paramedic and then as a respiratory therapist during his two days off.
Puknaitis earned his degree in 2011 but changed his goal: he now works as a certified respiratory therapist full-time at Edward Hospital. In addition, he wants to expand his skills and plans to become an anesthesiologist.
Thanks to College of DuPage, Puknaitis is able to follow a career path that has put him where he wants to be.
"I didn't want to just work in acute care," he said. "I wanted the full-patient experience, and I like being in a hospital setting.
"COD helped me greatly by preparing me for real life-situations in respiratory care. The hands-on training was important. Year after year, the program keeps adding more equipment that provides even more hands-on training."