Educator Knows Firsthand Importance of Scholarships

Donna Thaler Long, M.S.M., R.T.(R)(M)(QM), FASRT
Aug. 10, 2016

Donna_ThalerLong_450As an educator, I believe that the scholarships donors make possible through the ASRT Foundation have a great impact on the medical imaging and radiation therapy community. There are many individuals who want to enter the profession or continue their education but do not have the financial means to do so.

Donors have a huge impact on the lives of those who receive the scholarships they support. Because of the generosity of the R.T. community, these students and professionals are able to accomplish something they might not have otherwise had the opportunity to do, such as completing a degree or another certification. Generous donors provide the framework for scholarship recipients to advance their careers, share their knowledge with others and become more well-rounded professionals.

When I think about how important Foundation scholarships are to the R.T. community, one student in particular stands out for me. She wanted to continue her education after becoming a radiographer. It was her dream to pursue a career in sonography, and I remember vividly the sadness in her eyes when she told me she didn’t think she was going to be able to continue her studies because she couldn’t afford it. It was heart wrenching for me to hear that because she was already very active in the profession through her state affiliate.

I had already begun donating to the Foundation regularly at this point and knew that scholarships for people just like her were available because of donors like me. The idea that this bright young lady might not achieve her goals because of financial issues just didn’t seem right. I told her about the scholarships the Foundation offered and encouraged her to apply.

She ended up receiving a $5,000 scholarship that allowed her to complete her baccalaureate degree and specialize in sonography. She couldn’t have been more grateful. She told me that without the financial support of the award she wouldn’t have been able to complete her degree and pursue her professional dreams.

Knowing that as a professional community we came together to help her become a better technologist and to pursue her dreams makes me proud to be a member of our community. Her story is one of hundreds that could be shared about how donors have changed the lives of their fellow R.T.s and students with their generosity. I’m sure educators across the country could share even more stories of how they have seen scholarships impact their students and how it has helped to strengthen our profession. I am one of those stories; I received a scholarship from the Foundation while completing my master’s degree.

Donating to the Foundation is one way I give back to the profession that has been very good to me and that has become one of my life’s passions. It is our professional responsibility to support the medical imaging and radiation therapy community through the opportunities the Foundation offers. I tell my students how important it is for them to get involved with their state and national societies, and how much any donation they make to the Foundation can help improve our profession.

As the radiologic sciences continue to advance, it is even more critical that we support the Foundation and its mission. We, as a community, must empower our fellow R.T.s and students to become highly educated professionals in order to keep up with the needs of our patients and to stay on the cutting edge of technology.

Every contribution made to the Foundation goes directly toward offering opportunities, like scholarships, to students and R.T.s and makes a difference in our community. I hope you’ll join me in keeping our profession strong by donating today.