Meet Mary Ellen Newton, MSM, RT (R), Program Director of Saint Francis School of Radiography.
What excites you most about merging with Oak Point University? The many career opportunities that now become available to our graduates as the educational requirements advance. It is so exciting for me to be part of this trend and we are really a front runner. The program continues to evolve and change with the demands of the market and we are constantly striving to stay abreast of the trends. Earning a bachelor’s degree definitely gives our students a leg up.
What is your favorite memory from x-ray school as a student? My favorite memory is walking down the corridors of the hospital with my parents showing them the Radiology department. We met a surgery resident who stopped to be friendly to me and my family and said “oh hey Mary Ellen that’s what you look like with your clothes on.” I thought I was going to die. My parents were like “pack up your bags, you are going home.” He of course was referring to the fact that I was in civilian clothes, not scrubs.
What is your favorite activity outside of work? Spending time with family and friends, reading, exercising, involving myself in charity work and I am REALLY looking forward to being a grandma in December.
What is your favorite meal? Mushroom pizza from Lou Malnati’s followed up by anything sweet.
How has x-ray changed since you entered the profession? I was a scared junior student here at Saint Francis in the surgery department. We had archaic equipment. This equipment was not used any other place in the hospital and we had to hand develop our images in the dark room which was beyond small (mind you, I am claustrophobic). The only place we had developed was in surgery, in the most intense environment possible. I am very thankful for that change to modern technology throughout the hospitals.
What are you most excited about for our students? Joining Oak Point offers our students multiple resources to help them succeed to their fullest ability. Students will earn a bachelor’s degree which is one step up from other graduates. We have always believed that we are the best of the best and the addition of the bachelor’s degree makes us even better.
What is the last concert you saw? I feel like I saw almost every concert at Ravinia this summer. I think I saw more concerts this summer than in my entire life. I saw Lenny Kravitz and he came right up to me in the audience. It was really fantastic. His energy is contagious.
Where is the last place you traveled? New York! I was on a site visit and then spent a couple of days walking around the city and loving the beautiful Fall weather. I loved bike riding around Central Park, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and walking the distance of High-Line. I got a lot of steps on my fit bit that weekend.
What other exciting programs can we expect to see in the future from the School of Radiography? Well, we are really excited about the tremendous growth of our CT program. Additionally, we have been working hard on the roll-out of the bachelor’s completion program. We are offering this advanced bachelor’s degree to all graduates who have an RT and would like to continue their education. We know that many graduates will be looking to achieve this degree for career advancement and we know that we can offer these students an excellent education.
What is your favorite holiday? I love Mardi Gras. I love the celebration, the customs, the traditions, and the city of New Orleans. I get such joy from the reactions of people when I visit.
What is the best advice you can give our students? This is such an important career but it takes an enormous amount of work to understand what radiology is and how you can impact each and every one of your patients’ lives. It is worth all of the hard work. Now with Oak Point we have even more support for our students and as a result the future is very bright. You can do it!!!
Meet Jacquelyn Cvikota, AAS, RT (R), Academic Faculty Member at the Saint Francis School of Radiography.
Do you think it’s a coincidence that your birthday is on the same day that Roentgen discovered the x-ray? I have always felt that I am where I belong and that it is my destiny. I love taking care of patients and their families and couldn’t imagine myself in another profession.
What excites you most about merging with Oak Point University? I believe I am giving the students the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Imaging Technology. We are one of the few universities in Northern Illinois that offers their students this opportunity. Attending classes and clinicals are beneficial, but the eCollege component also gives the students the opportunity for critical thinking beyond the classroom.
What is your favorite memory from x-ray school as a student? I was in a restaurant one time on a Sunday morning and a man came up to me and said “where do I know you from?” I recognized him as one of my patients during the week. After conversing with him for a couple of minutes, I told him that at first I didn’t recognize him with his clothes on. Then I turned beet red and he told me that I did a good job and that I would be a great technologist one day. We both laughed.
What is your favorite activity outside of work? Spending time with my grandchildren and family, traveling, and participating in many church activities.
What is your favorite meal? The hotdogs from Gene and Judes. If I was ever on death row, my law meal would be a Gene and Judes hotdog with the works.
How has x-ray changed since you entered the profession? Oh Lord Have Mercy. Back in the 70’s the equipment, specifically the x-ray table, didn’t move which meant you had to move your patients where you wanted them to be. You had to “cock the bucky” before making an exposure and dark room chemicals were still being used to process your images. The C-Arm and CT scan were state of the art. Need I say more?
What are you most excited about for our graduates? Because our graduates have the opportunity to rotate through five different clinical sites, upon graduation they are more marketable to find employment. The internships we offer post-graduation gives the graduate the opportunity to add another modality to their resume, further improving their chances of employment.
What’s the last concert you saw? Disney on Ice, Frozen, with my granddaughter Jovie. My favorite concert was Pink Floyd at Soldier Field because I am a huge fan.
Where is the last place you traveled? Houston, Texas to visit my grandson Brian. We enjoyed feeding the giraffes at the Houston Zoo.
What is the best advice you can give our students? Now is the time to learn and make your mistakes as a student. Never be afraid to accept the challenge of difficult cases because they will seem less challenging as a technologist. Don’t over think when positioning. Look at the body part you want to image and make the exposure.
Meet Jodi Faulk, AAS, RT (R), Clinical Instructor at Saint Francis School of Radiography.
What excites you most about merging with Oak Point University? I have been with the School of Radiography for 7 years now and merging with Oak Point University opens up so many opportunities for our students. The SFSOR has such an amazing program and the faculty and staff understands the value in our students obtaining a bachelor’s degree. I have been given the opportunity to design the online component of clinical education for our students. It’s a wonderful tool that adds another dimension to the student’s clinical education. The students are able to share their experiences and learn from their challenges and also their classmates.
What is your favorite memory from X-ray school as a student? I remember explaining to someone what I was learning in x-ray school and they were looking at me as though I had a third eye. I was talking about the physics behind how an x-ray tube produces radiation. I felt like a nerd and I absolutely loved that feeling!
What is your favorite activity outside of work? I love hanging out with my family and friends. I enjoy reading and baking. I also love being the cheerleader for my kids who play hockey, volleyball, baseball, basketball, gymnastics and perform in plays.
What is your favorite meal? I make a mean lasagna, I’m addicted to Janick’s southwestern salad and I could eat sushi all day.
How has x-ray changed since you entered the profession? When I graduated in 2000, we were on the brink of switching from using x-ray film to changing to what is known as CR (computed radiography), so I really got exposure to older and newer technology simultaneously. Now, technology is so advanced that when we take an image, we can see the images instantaneously. The best part of this is that we are able to conduct our jobs so much more efficiently and we can place more focus on patient care and providing an excellent experience for that patient.
What are you most excited about for our graduates? They are graduating at a time when healthcare is moving toward a different format. More services are being offered in a clinic or doctor’s office rather than a hospital. This will open up the job market for those graduating. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics radiologic technologists are projected to increase by 21% between the years 2012-2022, which is phenomenal.
What’s the last concert you saw? U2 and it was amazing! You felt like you were on a journey through their childhood. One of the best concerts I have ever seen.
Where is the last place you travelled? Last big vacation was Colorado for a family reunion. The Rocky Mountains were breathtaking.
What is the best advice you can give our students? You will get out of your education what you put into it. I believe that hard work pays off and we see it in our graduates year after year. Also, challenge yourself by mastering the most difficult projections while in the program. This is the best time to be vulnerable and utilize the resources around you to become competent. The end result is that you will be a better prepared technologist.
Meet Eric Fugate, MSHA, RT (R), Associate Director of Saint Francis School of Radiography. He’s back and we couldn’t be more excited!
What excites you most about your return? To work with this group of people and be in this environment, it’s thriving, it’s growing. It was hard to leave the school, so it’s great to be back. I am really excited about the terrific growth and transition to our bachelor’s program. I’m also really happy about our CT internship. To date, we have the most students enrolled in the internship and the opportunities for career advancement in CT are endless.
What is your favorite memory as a student in x-ray school? Being totally overwhelmed by my first semester midterm exams. Being successful and overcoming how tough that was. Proving to myself that I could do it. I loved x-ray school for that reason. It taught me to overcome obstacles and succeed. That’s a great feeling.
What is your favorite activity outside of work? Sports with my kids. Baseball, basketball, football…we do everything. I am really lucky to be at all their sporting events because they are mostly on the weekends. I don’t take that for granted.
What is your favorite meal? I have two: my mom’s chicken and dumplings and my wife Gilda’s lasagna. Oh, and I can’t forget my mother-in-law’s meatballs. They are the best.
How has x-ray changed since you entered the profession? The best thing is that technologists are just so much more efficient with radiation dosage protection and practicing the ALARA principles. Technologists are also more efficient in their department as a result of being certified in multiple-imaging modalities. The field is also more respected because of the knowledge that is required to be a great Radiologic technologist. Teamwork has gotten a lot better within the department which makes it more desirable profession.
What are you most excited about for our graduates? Because so many baby boomers are retiring there are lots of opportunities for our graduates. On average, 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every day. That’s a large number and just means great potential and opportunity for our students.
What’s the last concert you saw? ACDC at Wrigley Field. Who doesn’t love ACDC?
Where is the last place you travelled? Mackinaw Island, Michigan. It was a great family trip!
What is the best advice you can give our students? This is the best allied health profession with the most upside. When it becomes difficult, you have to persevere. X-ray school isn’t easy, but push through the difficult times. It is hard work but if it was easy, everyone would do it.