Small Town, Big Dreams

Radiologic Sciences Graduate Jackie Rodriquez in Her Own Words

Growing up in a small town in Texas not even listed on a map, I was labeled the dreamer of the town when I announced I wanted to be a doctor at the age of five. My father was a single parent who juggled two full-time jobs to make ends meet and give me the best education he could. When I was thirteen, I made the difficult decision of leaving home to move in with my mom and step-father. I hated moving but I felt like I would burden my father with college and my step-dad offered his G.I. benefits if I moved in with them. Before me, no one in my family had successfully completed college, and the ones who did attend, quickly dropped out.

While I was in high school, I shadowed many healthcare professionals to see what entry-level position I wanted to venture into while working my way through medical school. During my shadowing journey, I encountered a lot of students from ECPI in various programs. The radiologic sciences interested me the most but at the time, I was unaware there was a program for it. Towards the end of my senior year, feeling lost and like I was settling on the local community college, I saw a commercial for ECPI University’s College of Health Sciences and it mentioned their associates of Radiology program. I applied and attended right after high school.

Unfortunately, two weeks prior to graduation, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was able to graduate but had to postpone my board certification exam. Once I was in better health, I felt unprepared for my boards and the staff went above and beyond to make sure I was prepared. I passed my boards with flying colors after one year of being out of classes. Until this point in my life, I was working at my local grocery store, concerned with how I would find a job, but my career services advisor helped relieve my worries and helped me find the perfect job.

When I began looking at programs to further my education, my first stop was, once again, ECPI University since I had already had such an amazing experience. To my surprise, they had added many programs, the bachelor’s program in Radiologic Sciences being one of them. At first, I was just looking for information, but ended up signing up for classes. Initially, I had reservations about doing this because of my busy schedule, but my student advisor reassured me that the online environment was flexible and could easily be worked into my hectic life.

The flexibility of online classes worked perfectly, especially since I had more health issues at the end of my program. Sadly, they led to me failing one of my classes but once I was better, I joined the next cohort and passed the rest of my courses. My teachers were very understanding and were able to work with me during my illness when I didn’t feel my best, using Zoom sessions and were available when I needed extra tutoring.

As I grow older, my dream of becoming a doctor has changed, but my love of medicine has not dissipated. Currently, I am working towards becoming a physician assistant. My time at ECPI University has been irreplaceable and I do not think I would be as successful in my career and this close to my goals if it weren’t for my time here. I am so honored to be an ECPI University graduate!

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