Like so many other students in this
country, Melissa was taking a mixture of classes at a local community college
without a clear direction. On the other hand, she had a clear passion for
photography and a lingering interest in the medical field. Taking
direction from her gut, she decided that the best course of action would be to
find a way to combine the two. Her search led her to consider medical imaging
as a new career direction, and after hearing some encouragement from a family
friend, she decided to look into West Coast Ultrasound Institute as a means to accomplishing her goals. Melissa would eventually enroll in the Diagnostic Medical
Sonography AOS Degree program at the Ontario campus, and go on to discover a
new passion for ultrasound, including the specialized field of Musculoskeletal
Ultrasound (MSK), all while maintaining a 3.8 GPA and using her signature upbeat
and take-charge attitude to inspire and set an example for others around her.
After deciding that MSK was her calling within the field of ultrasound, she
took note of her instructor’s words about being open to moving across the
country for a strong opportunity, and took a position with Flexogenix in North
Carolina. Today, she is one three technicians with the growing company, and is
excited about helping the company open new location across the country.
WCUI continues to foster the growth
of future leaders and pioneers in the field of medical imaging and nursing, and
is proud of Melissa for embodying this trailblazing spirit. We are confident
that she will continue to excel and make waves in the ultrasound field, and are
thankful that she carries WCUI's name with pride on her new journey. See below for full interview.
What got you interested in ultrasound? Was there a
moment when something “clicked” and you knew you wanted to be a sonographer?
I was at Palomar
CC, without direction, but interested in the medical field. I
was always interested in healthcare but also had a passion for photography. A photography teacher encouraged me to find something where I could combine
what I love to do with what I'm good at. I decided that I wanted to get
into some type of medical imaging, so a family friend who went to WCUI
encouraged me to look into the school.
What have you accomplished in ultrasound that you are most
I did really well in school and held a 3.8 GPA throughout the program. I wanted to take the extra MSK workshop
once per week. After I started, I ended up excelling at that type of scanning.
What obstacles did you have to overcome to get to where you
are today in a position of success?
Doing MSK was easy for me and I
enjoyed it, so I did the workshop series twice (12 weeks of meetings!). I recommend if anything extra is offered, just
do it. Even if you're not sure you'll like it, just try it. If you only
say you'll do one thing in ultrasound, you won't get as far as if you choose to broaden
your skills. You'll be asked to do many different things in this field so be prepared to do them.
Who are the role models in your life and how have they
inspired you and helped you become successful?
I adore Sangeeta. She is amazing! I had her as my teacher for Physics, Vascular,
and OB. I also loved Amy Barker who taught my labs. Bob Myers was
the MSK workshop teacher whom I asked the question “What are the chances
of me getting paid to do this?” He suggested I could find a job
sooner if I were willing to move across the country for MSK, and I took those words to heart.
Tell me about some memorable patients that you have
I work in
an orthopedic group which is a specialty office where we do knee
injections called Hyaluronic acid treatments. It's mostly for elderly
patients but we have treated some elite athletes here.
What advice would you give a student who is just starting
out in ultrasound school?
I would tell students to keep
going and don't give up! Some people doubted me, but I had teachers who
had faith in me. If anyone doubts you, ignore it and focus on being the best you can be. Get
all your boards and climb the ladder - the sky is the limit!
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
I am still doing photography
here and there, but I've been getting used to the new city, exploring and
making friends in North Carolina.
What is one of your favorite memories from your time here at
All of my instructors were amazing -
I had the best time with my lab instructors. I was able to see so many
styles of scanning in lab with them.
How would your past instructors or coworkers describe
I spent a lot of extra time after
hours, so people always saw me in my scrubs and always working. I was
What makes you unique?
Although school was fantastic
and teaches you so many things, I was able to use my brain and think for myself.
What is one of the hardest things about your job/externship?
I was at a small internal
medicine group in San Diego where I knew it wasn't a situation where they would
end up hiring me, but it led me to search for my current job. I had my
job lined up by graduation.
What goals do you have for yourself in the field of
I want to see this company get
bigger. I am only the third tech with the company, and we plan to open
other locations nationwide in the near future. I am excited to see where this
journey takes me!