Lauren Castleberry selected as Oklahoma's student leadership delegate
When Lauren Castleberry – Metro Tech Radiologic Technologist student – was selected as the Oklahoma delegate for the American Society of Radiologic Technologists 2014 Student Leadership Development, she was thrilled. One of only 75 students chosen from around the country, Lauren received an all-expenses-paid trip to the ASRT Educational Symposium and Annual Governance and House of Delegates meeting in Florida this summer. This news, along with her other accomplishments, propelled Lauren forward after her entire career plan crumbled last year.
After watching both parents battle cancer, Lauren knew very young she wanted to work in radiation therapy. After graduating from Deer Creek High School in Edmond, she attended the University of Central Oklahoma, taking general courses to prepare for admission into the Radiation Therapy Program. But after making a “C” in chemistry last year, she couldn’t get acceptance.
“This had been my plan for 10 years so when it didn’t happen, I was devastated,” she said.
It was on a retreat with her sorority sisters that she learned about Metro Tech from another young woman who graduated from the Radiologic Technician Program, which increased her score for admission to the Radiation Therapy Program at UCO.
Lauren’s mother, an occupational therapist, didn’t know much about Metro Tech and asked around the hospitals for advice.
“She learned that Metro Tech’s programs have a reputation of being as good, or exceeding, those at the University of Oklahoma,” Lauren said.
Lauren applied to the Radiologic Technologist Program, a point-based, competitive program that only accepted 15 students, and ranked 16th, putting her on the wait list as an alternate. She was accepted into the program after another applicant dropped out, and according to Lauren, it’s where she was meant to be all along.
“My plan was to complete this program as a stepping stone into radiation, but I never knew I could do so much in radiology. It’s more than just x-rays. I will still be helping cancer patients, by diagnosing rather than treating. I enjoy comforting patients and families because I have been where they are, and I feel this was my calling all along.”
With her rigorous, full-time program at Metro Tech, and two full-time jobs as a nanny and tutor, Lauren credits her teacher, Nancy Laws, for keeping her focused on studies.
“I adore her, and her teaching style. She explains things in a way that makes sense, and uses her job experience to explain real-life expectations,” Lauren said.
Lauren will graduate from Metro Tech in 2015, then return to UCO to finish her bachelor’s degree, and apply to the Radiology Practitioner Program. After that?
“I want to be the CEO of a hospital. There is lots of room for improvement, so I want to do it,” she smiled.
Radiologic Technologist is a two-year, full-time program for adult students. On average, 60-70 students apply each year, and 15 applicants are selected twice each year. Upon graduating, Radiologic Technologists make from $16-23/hour.
By Billie S. Smith
Community Relations | Social Media Specialist Metro Technology Centers