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Graduate Success Spotlight on Melissa Mezin

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 proud of?

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 scanned/cared for.

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 WCUI?

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 you? 

I spent a lot of extra time after hours, so people always saw me in my scrubs and always working.  I was very focused.

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 ultrasound?

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!

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