Oregon Tech Radiologic Science junior Ryan Jones has been selected to participate in the Student to Leadership Development Program (SLDP) by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT), an organization that enhances patient care and safety through education, research, and advocacy.

The SLDP is a three-year program designed to identify student leaders in medical imaging and train them to be future leaders in their profession.

Radiologic Science Professor Don McDonnell shared that fewer than 100 students are accepted into the program each year, and only two of the students selected are from Oregon.

“Ryan is a strong student who has immersed himself in the program serving as a Radiologic Science Club officer and working as a teaching assistant,” McDonnell said. “He has demonstrated a desire not only for himself to be successful in the program, but also his fellow junior and sophomore students by making himself available to answer questions, mentor, lead as an officer, and teach.”

Originally from Dallas, Jones is on track to graduate in 2024 with a bachelor's degree in Radiologic Science. He chose to attend Oregon Tech because he feels it has the most in-depth medical imaging program on the West Coast.

“Very few other schools offer a bachelor's degree in radiography, which would allow me to pursue a master's or doctorate much easier than an associate degree would,” Jones said. “The program also allows students to sit for a post-primary modality registry at the same time as the radiography registry, meaning that I could be qualified to work in computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) alongside X-ray right after graduation.”

Jones said that being part of the SLDP has helped him get ready for the future and grow his understanding of the field, preparing him to be a stronger, more confident radiographer and leader in his department.

“Through the program, I get to attend the ASRT Educational Symposium and Governance and House of Delegates Meeting, where I will learn about trends and emerging technologies in radiologic imaging, as well as be involved in ASRT actions that affect radiographers and educators throughout the country.”

The SLDP has given Jones the opportunity to be a part of the Oregon Society of Radiologic Technologists, providing insight into the climate for radiologic technologists currently in the field.

“The main issue facing radiologic technologists is that the Oregon Board of Medical Imaging would like to reduce the amount of education required to operate X-ray equipment,” Jones said. “This is troubling because uneducated X-ray operators belittle all of the education we have to go through to get certified as a radiographer, dilute our job market with less qualified applicants, and can cause harm to patients due to a lack of knowledge and extensive radiation safety training.”

One of the crucial training experiences at Oregon Tech is an 11-month, full-time externship at an affiliate healthcare facility under the supervision of a clinical instructor. Jones will begin his externship this July at an Oregon Tech-affiliated location in Alaska, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Montana, or Wyoming.

“We will draw our sites right before spring break, so very soon I will know where my externship will take place,” Jones said. “I am very excited to finally work with real patients and can't wait to see where I will go.”