Jillian Grella and Jamie Aesif have the kind of friendship where the two can finish each other’s sentences. And that’s no surprise: the two Watertown residents have been friends for 12 years. They met working in the service industry—both women bartending—after completing bachelor’s programs that didn’t exactly lead to dream careers. It was during their time in the service industry that they met people in the medical field and Grella became interested in going back to school. She looked into the Radiologic Technology program at NVCC and began to take prerequisites for it. She convinced Aesif to join her. Today, the second-year students have put in countless hours of studying, coaching each other through the tough times, and doing clinical rotations and will both be graduating with an associate degree in radiologic technology in May. They have a bright future in allied health ahead of them and the chance to be embark upon a rewarding, in-demand career in a field that offers competitive salaries, flexibility, and growth.
Grella describes being a student in the rigorous program as, “the worst and best two years of your life, because of how difficult it is, but you make friends, and you learn.”
Like Grella, Aesif, is full of gratitude for the support of the instructors, program coordinators, and caliber of training she received. “The program does everything in its power to help you prepare and provides helpful hands-on learning and state-of-the-art equipment.”
Aesif, a mother of three, was expecting her third child while enrolled in the program and says that because of the support of Program Coordinator Mark Martone and Clinical Coordinator Antonio Santos, Jr., she was able to successfully balance her family life and studies.
Like the other students in the program, the two are currently training outside of the classroom three days a week with Grella doing a clinical at Bristol Hospital, which she describes as having a, “small, familial atmosphere.” Aesif is at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, but both have had experience in other area hospitals, various departments within each, and even in outpatient facilities such as Naugatuck Valley Radiology Associates. Practicing in so many different kinds of facilities has empowered Aesif and Grella to determine where they’d like to start their careers. Both plan to stay in Connecticut and both want to continue working in hospital settings.
When asked what advice they would give to incoming Rad Tech students, Aesif is quick to answer, “Prepare, know your anatomy, get as much knowledge as you can ahead of time. It’s overwhelming but take the program one day at a time.”
“There are so many possibilities for us,” said Grella thinking about her future prospects.
Aesif agrees, “Every day, we are so grateful to be a part of this program.”
NVCC’s program prepares students to enter the workplace as Radiologic Technologists, allied health professionals who are qualified to use x-rays to produce diagnostic images of the human body. Students in the program learn to perform: diagnostic x-ray procedures such as chest, skeletal survey, abdomen Computerized Axial Tomography (CT or CAT scan) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). In addition, students learn to: administer contrast media to visualize the gastrointestinal tract, genitourinary system and vascular system, and assist the radiologist during specialized procedures such as myelography, angiography and other interventional exams.
Among the hallmarks of the program are its measures of student success. These include:
• A 24-year 100% first-time pass rate for graduates completing the A.R.R.T. exam
• A 92.6% five-year average job placement rate within twelve months of graduation
• An 84% program completion rate for the past five years.
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) recently awarded NVCC’s program with reaccreditation for eight years, the maximum duration that may be awarded. For more info on NVCC’s Radiologic Technology program visit: nv.edu/radtech