Scholarship Reveals True Depth of Profession

Mikayla McCormack
Mar. 31, 2016

MikaylaIt was my high school chemistry teacher who helped me decide that radiation therapy was the career I wanted to pursue.

As a current senior at the University of Vermont who’s earning a bachelor’s degree in radiation therapy, I’m glad I took my teacher’s advice.

I always knew I wanted a job in the health profession because it would enable me to make a difference in people’s lives, build relationships, and provide care and support. But I didn’t know the exact path I wanted to take. My teacher encouraged me to research radiation therapy. I did, and after shadowing and speaking with the therapists at the local hospital, I knew that radiation therapy could give me what I needed.

Shortly after beginning my radiation therapy program, I learned about ASRT Foundation scholarships for medical imaging and radiation therapy students. I filled out an application, hoping to ease some of the financial burden of earning my degree. When I was selected to receive a Marie L.A. Racine Scholarship, I was thrilled.

The scholarship did so much more than make school more affordable. It inspired me to become more involved in the ASRT, to dig into what it truly meant to be an ASRT member and to research the many other opportunities available to me through my association membership.

That search led me to other resources, including the Student Leadership Development Program and the ASRT Communities. Both of these member benefits have enabled me to meet and network with professionals and students in the field, learn more about the different options available to me in my chosen field and start setting goals for my future. It was through my participation in the SLDP that I was able to meet Marie, the donor who created my scholarship.

Not only was I able to thank her personally for creating the scholarship that had meant so much to me, I also was able to meet a professional in my future career. Words cannot express what it meant to know she saw potential in me, a young woman from a small town in the little state of Vermont who had a dream of making a difference in the lives of as many people as possible.

Listening to her talk about her journey in the profession showed me how her choice to become a radiation therapist impacted her entire life and made me even more excited to continue my path and to become the best professional I could be. It also filled me with excitement to see how a career can evolve over time.

I have stayed in contact with Marie and have met with her in person a few times. Every time we talk I learn something new, and she continues to inspire me. I hope I can affect someone’s education and life in the same way she has affected mine.

There are not enough ways to thank Marie and all of the Foundation's donors for their support, financially and emotionally. Scholarships provide the financial assistance, encouragement and support that students need to be able to follow their career paths and dreams for the future. Investing in the Foundation is an investment in the future of the profession, in the ASRT, in all of us and in the level of care we are able to provide our patients.

I can’t thank my personal donor enough for her financial support and for opening my eyes to the available opportunities within my career. Her encouragement in reaching for my dreams has been invaluable to me. I hope that all Foundation donors understand the impact they have on the lives of others in our professional community and that they will continue to support these important programs.