News | Published April 8, 2014

Volunteers honored at annual recognition dinner

Top row, from left: Susan Klein, volunteer of the year; Valentina Nieto, scholarship recipient; Dildeep Ghallon, scholarship recipientBottom row, from left: Kristen Rhodes, scholarship recipient; Sneha Yennawar, scholarship recipient

Mount Nittany Health hosted its annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner on Wednesday, April 2, honoring more than 800 individuals who provide close to 70,000 hours of service each year.

At this year’s event, Susan Klein was recognized as the 2014 Volunteer of the Year. Nominations are submitted at the departmental level throughout the Medical Center in order to determine the winner of this prestigious honor.

Klein, who is described as dedicated and reliable, has contributed nearly 4,000 hours to date as a volunteer in Mount Nittany Medical Center’s emergency department and gift shop.

Originally from Greensburg, Pa., Klein moved to State College more than 47 years ago, working in the catalog department at The Pennsylvania State University’s Pattee Library. She has also volunteered with the American Red Cross, State College Area Food Bank, Geri Reeve Open Golf Tournament and State College Walk MS.

“I believe that volunteering is an important part of life, and if an individual has an opportunity to give back they should do so,” she commented.

In addition to Klein’s award, the Volunteer Recognition Dinner also presented Teen Volunteer Scholarships to high school students who have volunteered at Mount Nittany Medical Center and exhibit a desire serve in a medical profession.

Dildeep Ghallon, who plans to study immunology and infectious disease and who has provided 250 hours to date, has volunteered in the emergency department, on patient floors, in the laboratory, education department and Nittany Grill.

Through her volunteerism, Ghallon has come to appreciate the role that everyone plays as a healthcare team, and that one smile can have a lasting impact on someone’s life. She is described as intelligent, an exceptional worker, and an outstanding person who works for win-win outcomes.

Valentina Nieto, who plans to study healthcare, has provided 200 hours of volunteerism to date in the emergency department, on patient floors and at the Nittany Grill.

Described as mature, responsible, intelligent, and with a glowing personality, Nieto said, “I have learned a great deal about healthcare and how a hospital works. Every single role is important and vital in maintaining a safe, effective, functioning environment for our patients… I love having an active role in helping patients get to where they have to be: a healthy state.”

Kristen Rhodes, a future nursing student who began volunteering in 2010, has dedicated 460 hours on patient floors and in the Nittany Grill.

Rhodes recalls that one of her most memorable experiences as a patient floor volunteer occurred on Thanksgiving, when she chose to give up time with family in order to take a shift in order to help out the nursing staff and fellow volunteers.

Colleagues and friends know Rhodes for her hard work, intelligence, preparedness, thoughtfulness and interest in nursing. “I want to be just like my mother, and make a positive difference in the lives of others, so nursing will be the best fit for me.”

Sneha Yennawar, a future biochemistry major who has provided 200 hours of service on patient floors and in the Nittany Grill, is described as an inquisitive person who loves science, has taken multiple advanced courses, and has a natural curiosity and passion for furthering her knowledge.

Of her experience as a volunteer, Sneha said, “I’ve always aspired to be a doctor and being in a hospital environment has made me realize it is the right environment for me. I’ve learned important factors in patient interaction and have heard wonderful stories from those who have wanted someone to talk to. They’ve made me realize that I, as a small part, make a difference to patients in a hospital and that has made the whole experience memorable for me.”

Mount Nittany Health commends the dedication of all our volunteers who are working together to make people healthier.