Scholarships Then and Now

Charles Drago, D.H.Ed., R.T.(R)(CT)
Feb. 16, 2016

Charles DragoI strongly believe in giving back, especially to a society that believed in me and helped me achieve my dreams of becoming a leader in the R.T. community.

After receiving a certificate in radiologic technology, I worked in a level 1 trauma center for 10 years. I learned a lot while I was there, seeing 30-40 cases every evening in the emergency department. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to learn more about the profession I loved and to pursue a college degree.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in radiologic technology while working full time in the trauma center and went on to earn my master’s degree in education.

My years in the trauma center helped me realize that I wanted to instruct others in how to be successful in the medical imaging and radiation therapy profession and wanted to be a leader in our professional community. While my master’s degree helped me move closer to this goal, it soon became clear that the leadership roles I wanted to move into would require a doctorate.

At the same time I was working and attending school I met and married my amazing wife, and we had my wonderful daughter. My family supported my desire to pursue a doctorate, which left only one major obstacle: finding the finances to start the program.

I didn’t want to wait any longer to pursue a higher degree, but my daughter was in college at the time, and I knew paying for both of us would be challenging. Then I learned about the scholarships the Foundation offered. I thought it was a long shot, but I figured why not apply? I seized the opportunity.

Receiving a scholarship from the Foundation meant that somebody believed in me and was willing to help me achieve my dreams of becoming a leader in the profession. Being selected as a recipient enabled me to enroll in the first few classes of my doctoral program.

I was grateful for the financial support I received from the Foundation and its donors then, but now, years later, that gratitude has grown. Their support opened up more opportunities for me to be a leader in the profession.

Because of their support, I was able to finish my doctorate and become a full professor. My program also gave me the tools and knowledge to become the chair of Allied Health Sciences at Hostos Community College in Bronx, New York.

Donors helped me become the leader I wanted to be on both a state and national level. It was with their assistance that I worked my way up from adjunct instructor to assistant professor and then to full professor to where I am now, a program director and chair of Allied Health Sciences. The support I received from the Foundation and its donors made it possible for me to reach this point in my career.

That is why I think it’s so important to support Foundation programs: because future leaders need to be created and research in the profession is ongoing. The programs we are helping fund are creating the leaders of tomorrow and providing the necessary research to keep the profession moving forward. Whether it is education, research or societal leadership, the profession was built by people who have a vision, much like the vision the Foundation has for the radiologic sciences.

We are the architects of the future. As supporters of the Foundation, we are ensuring that the profession we love has a solid base to stand on. So please keep giving. Every dollar donated goes toward building a bright and strong future for R.T.s and students.