’burg and Beyond
In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknell’s students and staff make a positive and palpable difference.
Ava Warfel ’22 (left) volunteers for the Lewisburg engine company.
Photo: Emily Paine
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Ava Warfel ’22 (left) volunteers for the Lewisburg engine company.

" "Lewisburg, Pa.
Just days after her 18th birthday, Ava Warfel ’22 passed the exam that took her from emergency medical technician to the youngest paramedic in Pennsylvania.

What She Does:
As a practicing paramedic, Warfel has seen her fair share of medical emergencies. “EMS puts you in a strange position — you get to meet people on their worst days,” she says. “That being said, the patient and their family will almost always remember how you treated them and how you made them feel.”

Warfel, who plans to major in biology, balances a busy schedule — a full course load, a Presidential Fellows project, a spot on the track & field and cross-country teams and involvement in many campus activities. Regardless, she makes time for her job as a paramedic at Evangelical Community Hospital and as a volunteer for the William Cameron Engine Co. in Lewisburg.

What She Learned:
Countless hours of grueling training resulted in a wealth of medical knowledge and Warfel’s paramedic certification, but that wasn’t all she needed to be successful. In a field typically populated by older men, the young paramedic had to prove that she was worth her salt.

“When I was on critical calls in the beginning, it was a bit difficult to get people to look to me as the person in charge,” Warfel explains. “I had to work to gain respect, but now, it’s just about being confident on the scene and trusting that I know what to do. As I trust myself, others have learned to trust me too.”
— Julia Stevens ’20

" "LaLouere, Haiti
This mountain community is so remote, it’s never had electricity. But it had one big thing going for it: It was adopted by Steve Durfee’s Lewisburg church as a sister parish. And Steve Durfee was about to have an epiphany.

As campus energy manager, Durfee oversees 3 million square feet of complex campus buildings. He’s also a part-time student majoring in managing for sustainability major. After a 2017 visit to LaLouere, he began designing a solar array to electrify a new rectory and community center giving this parish community’s 500 Haitians their first access to electric lights and refrigeration.

Steve Durfee meeting children in Haiti
Photo: Steve Durfee
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Steve Durfee enjoys meeting children who live in the parish where he volunteers in Haiti.

How It Happened:
Originally, Durfee didn’t think he had much to offer LaLouere’s parish. “Electrifying a site where there’s no electricity, and doing it with renewable energy systems … that’s not my gig at all,” Durfee says. But a team project to develop a nonprofit business plan for Durfee’s sustainable management and technology class so impressed Professor Neil Boyd that it became the blueprint to electrify LaLouere’s parish property. Boyd suggested it could become a model for other dioceses hoping to electrify rural Haiti one parish at a time.

What He Learned:
Durfee canceled his planned spring trip to Haiti after civil unrest swelled, but he still hopes to electrify LaLouere’s rectory, church and classrooms within a year.

“My classes gave me the confidence and knowledge to help people,” Durfee says. “And once you meet the people in LaLouere, it’s really hard not to care.”
— Susan Lindt