Father’s injury leads to Fenn discovering the ‘artistic side of medicine’
Hello! My name is Ashley Fenn and I will be graduating from the radiologic sciences program in May 2020. I currently work as a member of student concierge at the college and am also excited to serve as president of Lambda Nu this year. I have developed a great passion for women’s imaging, and in the future, I hope to travel as an advocate to improve women’s health and access to care. As a first-generation college student in my family, I am proud to represent Bellin College and am so grateful for the opportunities granted to me. I recently had the honor of speaking at the Scholarship Salute to thank the wonderful donors who invest in the success of students, as well as share my story and the impact attending Bellin has had on my life.
Growing up, medical-related issues always played a pivotal role in the shaping of my character. My dad was a CNA for over 20 years at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home and has served as one of my biggest role models. I used to always tag along with him for work events, and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with the patients, envisioning myself working as a nurse in the future. My career perspective changed when my dad had a debilitating back injury that prevented him from continuing working in the field. My family went through a very challenging time, but that was also the first time I was exposed to radiology. I have never had X-rays before (crazy I know!), so I was fascinated by the artistic side of medicine.
Looking back now, I realize that seeing his X-rays and MRI sparked a new passion and ultimately shifted my vision for my future career. Additionally, my family and I have provided in-home and end of life care to both of my grandmothers. Being able to participate in the trials and tribulations of around the clock patient care at home, as well as providing emotional support at the end of my loved one’s lives was so special, and really solidified my desire to be an advocate in the healthcare field.
Coming from a lower-income family, I was always worried about what college opportunities I may miss out on because I couldn’t afford it. My parents instilled in me that genuine work ethic and determination could get me anywhere in life. I worked endlessly to help support my family’s medical and life expenses, while also setting high educational standards for myself to receive as many scholarships as I could. Through many job shadows and late-night Googling sessions, I stumbled back upon radiologic technology. Providing care, helping patient’s pinpoint their medical issues, and diving deeper into the technology available was an inspiring revelation.
When discussing my future education, Bellin College came highly recommended by members of my community, but the high cost of tuition was a very nerve-wracking factor to consider. When I came to Bellin for my interview, I was told about the multitude of scholarships available by donors and I could not believe how much support students could receive outside of financial aid. Since I was accepted, I have been so grateful to be awarded outstanding scholarships that have allowed me to focus solely on my education, rather than the financial burden tuition carries.
Looking back on my educational journey with my class thus far, I am completely humbled by my experiences, with not only clinical and my classes, but also with the connections I have made with my peers and professors. My class instantly developed a close connection when we started the program, and we were all able to lean on each other during the challenges of the rigorous curriculum. We spent endless hours practicing our positioning, learning anatomy, and running through different patient-care scenarios. We were all so genuinely thrilled to practice the art of imaging and apply our passions to real-life situations. The professors also are very helpful in providing the most encouraging learning environment, fueling our passions and offering any and all support we need along the way.
Bellin College offers such a personal collegiate experience, carries its values into everyday learning and provides a critical foundation for students to carry with us into our careers. I am forever grateful for the opportunities granted to me to pursue my passions with the support of my family, friends, and staff. Providing care for others has always held a special place in my heart. After starting my final year at Bellin, I feel so prepared to start my professional healthcare journey and fulfill my lifelong dream.
Ashley Fenn is a senior in the radiologic sciences program at Bellin College.