The first students to graduate with a Master of Science degree in radiologic sciences from Weber State University will be attending commencement next Friday.
The program was launched in the fall of 2010, and according to department chair and professor of radiologic sciences Robert Walker, all 21 of the students that began the program that semester will graduate this spring. According to Robert Walker, several of the graduates live outside Utah.
“The interesting part of this first class (is) we have students from places like the Cleveland Clinic, and we have two students out of Oklahoma that work for Indian Health Service on the Cherokee Nation, and we have students from Florida (and) Colorado,” Walker said. “So we have a pretty wide base of applicants to get into the program from some pretty prestigious places.”
Graduate Casey Neville expressed appreciation about his fellow and diverse students and said the group became “tight knit really quick.”
“So you get (students) from all these other facilities, and it helps because in class with our conversations, we would talk about different things (like) how health care was going,” Neville said. “It was a good learning experience not only from the instructors, but also from each other. We were able to springboard off each other.”
All 21 students will be in attendance at the ceremonies, and Walker said they will be bringing along an estimated 140 guests.
“It’s good,” Walker said of the graduation milestone.
Walker was heavily involved in the program’s two-year approval process and mentioned the program is one of a kind.
“The program actually is one of eight masters of radiologic sciences in the country, but it is the only masters program that is clinical based,” Walker said. “The other master’s programs are either in education or in management. So we tired to create a degree that gave technologists who wanted to work clinically an opportunity to advance their education and advance research skills.”
Kacey Crandall, one of the graduates from Utah County, said that obtaining a master’s degree has been a long-time goal.
“To have a facility that has, you know, like Dr. Walker or Dr. Kawamura, all these professors that have been in the field for so long, and they actually care about and are proud of their students and if they succeed,” Crandall said. “They’re always emailing me asking me, ‘What are you doing now?’ (and) where you’re at, and it’s almost like you’re their children, and they actually like to see that success.”
Crandall started the radiology program in 2005 and received his associate’s and bachelor’s degrees from WSU as well.
“When I got my bachelor’s degree in ultrasound, I think there was only a break from January to August, so only about seven to eight months,” Crandall said. “So it was just a straight shot, but it’s been really good, so I’ve had a fun time doing it. There are some good students in our class, and the professors here are amazing.”
Walker said he would like to expand the program in the future by creating more elective courses in areas such as women and children’s health and sports medicine.