Leader in Education and Service Supports Radiographers Through a Scholarship

Nov. 17, 2016

Eileen MaloneyWhen Eileen Maloney, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(M), FASRT served as ASRT president, she advocated for radiographers as the often forgotten majority in the radiologic sciences. As a radiographer turned educator — and recent retiree — she continues to support R.T.s and the discipline of radiography by endowing a scholarship through the ASRT Foundation.

In 2003, Eileen’s platform as ASRT president called for recognizing and shoring up radiography as the bedrock of the imaging and therapeutic sciences. She understands how important it is to have a strong educational foundation, as her career path veered due to unforeseen circumstances from a four-year pre-med program to earning a hospital-based x-ray certification.

Eileen describes talking to a neighbor about radiography. “I honestly don’t know what made me tell my neighbor I wanted to go into radiography,” she says. “I used to play sports, so I had x-rays and always thought they were fascinating, but I never really thought about radiography as a career choice.”

A Phone Call, Interview and Career Start

Her neighbor knew the program director at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey, and called him. When Eileen followed up and went in for an interview, she found that the certificate program was full and her chance at starting the program depended on a student dropping out.

“I got the call in August,” recalls Eileen. “I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but I really liked it, obviously.”

Her commitment to the profession and her colleagues grew as she worked as a radiographer at St. Joseph’s, transferred her skills to Columbia Presbyterian for about a year and then got a call from the administrator at St. Joseph’s, asking her to come back. St. Joseph’s was in the process of affiliating with the community college that had just opened and was closing its radiology program, Eileen says.

“She asked me to come back and teach the last class because the program director had died suddenly of a heart attack,” she says. “I had never taught before, other than a couple of positioning classes.” But her accepting the opportunity to teach that last class of students at the hospital transformed into an opportunity for her to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Right Place and Time

It was the right place and a good time to learn, with Eileen receiving encouragement from the administrator at St. Joseph’s to pursue the degree.

“She said, “You know, you should really get your college degree,’” recalls Eileen. “At the time, the State University of New York at Buffalo offered a program funded by the Kellogg Foundation that taught allied health professionals to be teachers,” Eileen says.

Because SUNY accepted credits from her St. Joseph’s diploma, it only took Eileen a year to earn her bachelor’s degree in health science and evaluation. That was in 1973, and in 1974 she joined the teaching staff at Passaic County Community College as a faculty member. A year after that, she was promoted to program director and worked there until retiring in December of 2015. She went on to earn her master’s degree in education from Rutgers in 1987.

An Advocate for Students

Her 42 years in an inner city community college impressed on her the “great need for scholarship money for students to be able to fulfill their dreams,” she says.

While at PCCC, she grew in her role as an advocate for her students, colleagues and discipline, and calls her students the ultimate motivation for her decision to endow a scholarship for entry-level radiographers.

“My heart is still with the diagnostic radiographer. When I was president of the ASRT, one of my initiatives was to recognize the staff radiographer more, and I still believe that.”

Community Ties

Eileen credits Mary DiStefano for getting her involved in the ASRT and at the state level, saying that “she showed me how to get more involved in the profession, starting with lecturing at a New Jersey Society of Radiologic Technologists meeting.” Eileen took Mary’s advice to heart, serving on both the ASRT and the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists boards over a period of 13 years. She was part of the ARRT board that voted to require an associate degree or higher to sit for the Registry certifications. Over the years, Eileen paid forward Mary’s sound advice, always encouraging her colleagues to get involved in the ASRT and their local affiliate.

After being honored with ASRT life membership last year, Eileen retired following her 40-plus year career as an educator in the radiologic sciences. She will head south to Florida for the winters now, but said she will never leave her love for the profession behind. “My heart will always be with diagnostic radiography,” she says.