Becca Overton: Coordinating SOMAC


You may see them in their tactical pants and P-95 masks on calls in your residential area. They’ll have two bags, a stretcher, a stair chair, a clipboard and at least three providers responding to a call. In times of sickness, overindulgence and medical emergencies, Southern Madison County Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SOMAC) is a reliable resource for the Colgate and Hamilton Community. The team of paid staff hired from the community and volunteers from the Colgate campus is prepared for any emergency and always ready to help people in need. The 40 student volunteers in the program are led by a team of three training coordinators and three student coordinators, including Becca Overton. 

Becca Overton, a junior concentrating in neuroscience and minoring in biology, is in her third year of volunteering at SOMAC. As a first-year on the pre-med track, Overton joined the SOMAC student program for the opportunity to give medical care to people in need. In her first year of volunteering, Overton was a student observer with SOMAC while enrolled in an emergency medical technician class. Now, in her third year, Overton has taken on the role of student coordinator. 

“My role as student coordinator includes managing the student program which consists of around 40 students.  I manage disciplinary issues and act as a liaison between the student program and the community volunteers,” Overton said. 

In her role, Overton also attends monthly board meetings with other representatives where she reports on the activities and performance of the student program.  

“We interact with the Hamilton community on a daily basis… We often see people in what they would call the worst day of their lives, to be able to save someone in this situation is an incredible feeling,” Overton said. 

Outside of calls, Overton volunteers on “stand-bys” for Colgate sporting events and the Farmer’s Market in town. In the past, SOMAC has also volunteered with Hamilton Elementary providing first aid tips and fun activities.

On campus 911 calls, Overton explained, Campus Safety is almost always in attendance. 

“We interact with them on many calls and they have been an extremely helpful resource for us,” she said. Campus safety assists with unlocking gates, doors and providing demographic information. Oftentimes they are the first on scene, so SOMAC volunteers and Campus Safety have worked on stream-lining communication to provide the most efficient, effective care. 

The SOMAC student program has gone through many changes since the spread of COVID-19. The program has increased its health protocols in an attempt to keep providers safe on potential COVID-19 calls, according to Overton. 

“We have had to implement rules relating to cleaning the ambulance, wearing N95’s and other sanitation rules,” she said. Sanitation equipment that has been added to the SOMAC protocols include UV light treatment and ozone treatment for all ambulances. Other rules limit the number of people allowed in the station at a time and require all student employees to wear masks while on shift.

Overton has found solace in the SOMAC workplace throughout the pandemic, as the day-to-day work has stayed relatively similar. 

“This has been a place where I can return to my typical duties and feel like things are almost normal.  This is something that I treasure greatly,” Overton said. 

Outside of SOMAC, Overton enjoys spending time outside, hiking and running. She holds a research assistant position studying circadian rhythms in undergraduate students in relation to mood disorders in Professor Krista Ingram’s Biology lab. Overton is also the wellness chair in her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. She is also excited to be starting a new position as a vaccine distributor for Colgate this spring semester.

After graduation, Overton plans to combine her passion for both research and her drive for patient care. 

“My long-term goal is to eventually attend graduate school and either specialize in emergency medicine or neurosurgery,” Overton said. “I love going to SOMAC everyday and interacting with students and community members.  It is a time where I can be among people who enjoy doing what I do: medicine and giving back to the community.  Over time it has become a part of who I am and integral to my character,” Overton said.