Jack Najarian and his team were in the hall, taking photos of a staged crime scene, when he heard a thump from a nearby classroom. He didn’t think anything of it until a fellow classmate came to the door and peered out into the hall, his eyes searching.
“I’ve seen that look before in the field,” said the Homeland Security major, a volunteer with the Greene Emergency Squad. “One of my classmates was face-down on the floor passed out.”
He quickly sprung into action, rolling his classmate on his back and checking vital signs as fellow students called 911. He aided the student in regaining consciousness, putting a soft backpack under his head. The student, who remained disoriented, was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Instructor Eric Kelley described Jack as a “big help” as the incident unfolded in his Criminal Investigations class.
“Jack responded without hesitation and took control of the situation until the EMTs arrived,” he said. “Jack’s EMT training and professional demeanor not only helped the student medically but make a difficult situation a lot easier for the student, the students in the class and me.”
It’s all in a day’s work for sophomore Jack Najarian, who has EMT basic certification and serves as a second lieutenant on the emergency squad.
He actually became certified as an EMT last summer after taking a course at SUNY Broome. He had tried taking the course previously through the Chenango County, but didn’t finish.
“I loved it down here, as opposed to the county class. It was a lot more structured,” he said. “The people taking the class here want to pursue something medical.”
Finding his path
While he plans to graduate with a Homeland Security degree this spring, Jack Najarian’s path led him to experiment with a number of different majors.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do,” he admitted.
He came to SUNY Broome in 2016 after graduating high school, first opting for Business Administration and then switching to the Early Childhood program. Then, he tried Liberal Arts, switched again to Criminal Justice – Police, and finally did an independent study in the health sciences when he considered following his father’s line of work as a chiropractor.
During his educational journey, he continued volunteering with the Greene Fire Department and emergency squad. He began volunteering in high school, after he ran into a friend at a car wash the fire department hosted in 2014.
“He said, ‘When are you going to sign up?’ I said, ‘Right now.’ There would never be a better time,” he remembered.
His volunteer experience finally led him to Homeland Security, a field that addressed his interests in emergency services.
While he no longer volunteers with the fire department due to time constraints – he hopes to re-join in the future – he has continued with the emergency squad. His time in the fire department also led him to his current job at Lights & Sirens Ltd. In Chenango Bridge, where he installs equipment on emergency vehicles.
He met the business owner, a retired police officer, at a fire scene and the two began talking. The business owner invited him to check out the shop. A month later, Jack had landed a full-time job that he truly enjoys and plans to continue.
It can be tough to juggle his job, volunteer work with the emergency squad and his classroom obligations, but Jack tries to “deal with things as they come.”
What makes SUNY Broome stand out? “Definitely the professors,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to meet professors in Liberal Arts, Biology and Criminology.”
Some of his favorite professors include Eric Kelley, who is teaching his current criminal investigations class, and Professor Diane Kelly in Biology.
Although Jack Najarian took the scenic route when it came to finding his ideal major, the journey has proven worthwhile. “I think you settle in and get to a point in your schooling where you feel you’re where you should be,” he said.