Although the 2012 ASE Scientific sessions are still 8 months away, planning is well under way, and this month there are some important deadlines to add to your calendars. One of the main goals of the ASE is to be the source for cardiovascular ultrasound education. All practicing sonographers need to stay current with technology and techniques, and we hope that you turn to the many resources the ASE has to offer as your main source of continuing education. The ASE has several opportunities for sonographer students to receive financial assistance for their education and/or provide some assistance to attend the annual ASE Scientific Sessions. The deadline to apply for these awards/scholarships is November 30, 2011. I encourage you to encourage and assist the student sonographers in your programs and labs to apply for these grants.
Alan D Waggoner Sonographer Student Scholarship—5 recipients
The UltraEcho, Ltd. Cardiovascular Sonographer Student Travel Grant—1 recipient
Feigenbaum Cardiovascular Sonographer Student Travel Grant—1 recipient
The specifics of each grant and the requirements for application can be found on the ASE Website at www.asecho.org . These $1,000 grants demonstrate ASE’s commitment to students in our field. Students who attend the ASE Scientific Sessions are exposed to the pioneers of cardiovascular ultrasound and the leaders in the field. This exposure is often the first step in a student’s becoming more involved in our Society.
A perfect example is Chris Kramer, BA, RDCS. Chris received the Alan D. Waggoner Student Travel Grant in 2006, and since then has become a valuable asset to the ASE and an invited speaker at the ASE Scientific Sessions and many of the local courses sponsored or co-sponsored by the ASE. I asked Chris to share his experience with ASE from the time he got started with echocardiography and received his grant to his current involvement. The following are his words:
Just a few years ago, I was a student in an echocardiography program, searching for a meaningful career that would allow personal satisfaction. Echocardiography fulfilled my dreams and needs personally and professionally. Imaging allows me to be a patient advocate through listening, communicating, imaging, and sharing that information with the echo team. As the echo technician I have the opportunity to be a critical piece in the patient’s care. I see myself as performing an imaging consult that details the morphology and physiology of the cardiovascular system. I am an essential piece to accurate diagnoses leading to appropriate therapies.
The journey I have experienced has exceeded all my expectations. I have evolved as a critical imaging thinker under the guidance of many expert teachers and mentors. I have learned that in echo, the pieces of imaging data must compute into a crystallized picture. I have learned what to expect when confronted with various symptoms and diseases. I have learned how to identify methods and approaches that allow for the most accurate information in the echo consult. This learning process has allowed me to become the teacher and leader for students under my tutelage.
During my education I have been surrounded by passionate instructors. I am fortunate today to be immersed in that same passion, and I try to emulate it in my day-to-day practice of ultrasound. When searching for a profession, my interests always brought me back to the heart. I did a lot of research about echocardiography and was given the opportunity to shadow sonographers at a local heart hospital. From the first parasternal image, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in echocardiography.
I was fortunate to receive the Alan D Waggoner Scholarship as a student in 2006. As a student scholarship recipient, I was able to experience the ASE Scientific Sessions. At this meeting I began to experience and understand ASE’s commitment to education. If you have not experienced the Scientific Sessions in person, I encourage you to sign up for this year’s conference just outside Washington DC.
A couple years later I was later honored to be an invited speaker at the Scientific Sessions. This progressed to having the opportunity to speak all over the country and the world at different ASE sponsored and co-sponsored conferences. ASE helped me start my journey and has fueled my passion to be a leader in the developments of echocardiography. I encourage sonography students to get involved in your local echo chapters and communities. This initial challenge may lead to many varied and interesting experiences, as it has for me. I encourage you to accept the challenge. The rewards you reap may exceed your expectations.
As a new academic year has started, I would like to share some of my experiences, wisdom and encouragement. First, if you have noticed, I have mentioned passion many times in this article. As students you will experience sonographers who are passionate about their field. Passion is a driving force behind any worthwhile endeavor – experience it! This passion results in a great attitude because you love what you are doing. It will spill over to the patients, families, co-workers, and physicians you work with daily. Your passion and attitude will become contagious and it will result in your goal: to be a difference maker.
I encourage all echocardiography sonography students to apply for the ASE scholarships and grants. The scholarship that I received opened doors and opportunities for me. Those doors and opportunities are available for you.