Celebrating the Class of 2018

In our last newsletter, we asked you to shine a spotlight on your graduates. Highlighted below are some stories we received, as told by the graduates themselves. These students have overcome fear, gone back to school for the first time in a decade and dealt with personal health issues – all while rising to the top. Their journeys are inspirational, and we are proud to welcome them into the profession.

Our July/August newsletter will highlight more stories, and you can still share with us. Send stories and photos to the ARC/STSA Director of Education Services, Christy Baily-Byers, at christy.bailybyers@arcstsa.net. Don’t forget to visit the ARC/STSA Facebook page to see the album of graduate pictures sent in from across the country!

Rebecca Trice, pictured left, celebrates with her fellow graduates.

Rebecca Trice, CST, graduate of Alvernia University, Reading, Pennsylvania
I graduated Magna Cum Laude and first in my class in April 2018, with an Associate Degree in Applied Science from Alvernia University, and a diploma in Surgical Technology from The Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences.

My journey toward achieving my academic goals was anything but easy. I have a genetic, progressive and ultimately terminal lung disease called Cystic Fibrosis (CF). While the life expectancy for those who suffer from CF is now nearly 40 years old, when I was born, doctors told my parents not to expect me to live to adulthood.

Needless to say, I never dreamed of graduating from college. I was against all odds when I pursued my passion of becoming a Certified Surgical Technologist, but it was the best decision I ever made. My job gives me purpose and pushes me to stay in good health so I can do what I love. Scrubbing is my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Cathy Martinez on her graduation day at North-West College, Santa Ana, California.

Cathy Martinez, graduate of North-West College, Santa Ana, California
After graduation, my plan is to be hired at a facility where I can learn to become a traveling Certified Surgical Technologist and specialize in more than one specialty.

North-West College prepared me with knowledge, skills and endurance to succeed in the medical field as a surgical technologist. I was able to overcome my fear of not being able to complete the program, which led to building confidence and persistence. This helped me not only pass all my courses, but also become a surgical technologist. My advice for other students is to not surrender to obstacles or the thought of not succeeding. Where there is a will, there is a way!

Stephanie Nagy (back row, middle) celebrating graduation with her surgical technology classmates at Madisonville Community College.

Stephanie Nagy, graduate of Madisonville Community College, Madisonville, Kentucky
After graduation, I plan to work at Baptist Health in Madisonville, where I have been offered a full-time position as a surgical technologist. I plan to work to gain experience, then continue my education to become a Certified Surgical First Assistant. I also hope to be involved in the AST and maybe one day serve as a board member.

When I was accepted into the program, I had recently overcome many personal challenges. It had been 10 years since attending college and I was overwhelmed by starting over. However, I was excited to take the first step in my new career. The program gave me a new perspective – not only about being a CST, but being part of something much greater than I imagined. It is a privilege to be able to work in surgery.