STC fulfills a lifelong dream
Student of the Week: Melissa Rios
“At the end of the day, we want to graduate for a reason. I\'m doing this for my son. I want him to have a better future and to see that there’s a future out there for him and to follow in my footsteps. It’s ok to try something new. That’s what matters.”
South Texas College Diagnostic Medical Sonography student Melissa Rios of Alton has wanted to become a sonographer since she was 12 years old.
“My interest started when I went to an appointment with my aunt,” Rios said. “When I saw what the sonographer was doing with the imaging I knew I wanted to be able to do that. They’re the ones who are able to see the fetuses and let the patients know the gender. The way the patients respond is an amazing feeling, and I wanted to be able to make somebody’s day like that.”
STC offers both an Associate of Applied Science and an Advanced Technical Certificate in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. The programs provide educational and clinical experience that result in extensive knowledge in ultrasound physics and instrumentation, use of doppler imaging, cross-sectional anatomy and pathophysiology in the abdomen, pelvis, obstetrics, gynecology and superficial structures.
STC students also train in various medical facilities with experienced sonographers through the clinical and practicum aspects of the program.
“The experience of being in the hospital setting and seeing a little bit of everything has been great,” Rios said. “I’m also surrounded by amazing colleagues in this cohort. We all get along so well and that's what I appreciate the most about this program. I know you don't always get that experience.”
Rios’ education at STC began when she earned an associate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies as a dual credit student at Jimmy Carter Early College High School. That experience brought her back to STC to earn her health care degree.
“The environment and activities at STC have been an amazing experience for me,” Rios said. “There’s a lot of socializing and events on campus, which is great.”
Rios said her days as a Diagnostic Medical Sonography student are quite busy. She usually spends three days a week going to clinicals along with fulfilling her academic course load. She is also balancing higher education with navigating motherhood to her 4-year-old son. But, the STC community keeps her moving forward.
“We grow with each other,” Rios said. “We help each other out because at the end of the day, we're all trying to get to the same goal. We're trying to graduate, and I feel like we have built bonds with each other through this.”
Rios said her fellow students at the Nursing and Allied Health campus are passionate about helping others. A trait that she considers essential to the health care field.
“In any medical field you have to be passionate,” Rios said. “To be a sonographer you have to keep your head up high because it's going be challenging. We all might have moments where we feel like giving up, but we just have to keep moving forward and trying our best.”
Rios said she is anticipating earning her associate degree next May and beginning her career.
“I'm looking forward to getting a job and hopefully moving to a better house and helping out my parents financially,” Rios said. “I know they deserve a lot for everything that they've done for me.”
With graduation nearing, Rios said she looks back fondly on the beginning of her program – from the feeling of excitement she felt in her first anatomy class to how far her knowledge has developed since.
“For me, the first semester of clinicals class would be my best memory,” Rios said. “We were all getting to know the different organs that we have in our body, and I feel like it was the funniest experience. And to see where we are now makes me realize how much we’ve grown.”
And, most importantly to Rios, she is proud of the example she is setting for her child.
“At the end of the day, we want to graduate for a reason,” Rios said. “I'm doing this for my son. I want him to have a better future and to see that there’s a future out there for him and to follow in my footsteps. It’s ok to try something new. That’s what matters.”