Bellin School of Radiologic Technology alum Jennifer Popp didn’t originally set her sights on a career in radiology. She first attended UW-La Crosse for one semester, hoping to major in physical therapy. However, she decided she didn’t want to wait years to see if she would be accepted into the program.
“During this transitional period, I overheard a conversation about radiology and it piqued my interest,” said Popp. “I decided to look into a two-year radiologic technology certificate program offered near my hometown of Brillion, Wis. — at the Bellin School of Radiologic Technology.”
Popp began her studies in fall 1993 and remembers her time in the program fondly.
“The Bellin Hospital-based program was definitely the right choice for me,” said Popp. “It gave me and my classmates a lot of opportunities as students. When short-staffed, we could take advantage of many different opportunities. The radiologists were awesome and always wanted to teach us and explain why. It was a different time, of course. We took call over night, which molded a lot of us into great techs. We had to think independently early in the game and built a solid relationship as a team.”
Popp graduated in August 1995. While studying for her boards, she worked at the local grocery store. After passing her boards, she was hired part time in October 1995 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Green Bay, and then transitioned to a full-time position in X-ray at Bellin Hospital in December 1995. She passed her mammography boards in 1997. And the rest is history – a long history with Bellin.
She first started working a P.M. rotation and worked her way up to team facilitator in 2010. After eight years in that position, she was promoted to team leader in March 2018. In that role, Popp oversees radiology, mobile mammography, CAT scan, ultrasound and nuclear medicine.
When asked what her favorite part of her job is, her reply was simple. “The people I work with. It would be very difficult to leave. We have such a solid group of techs who get along really well. We are like family.”
Speaking of family, Popp has been married to her husband, Jason, for 24 years and has two daughters, Karissa, 20, and Brianna, 18. In keeping with the family tradition, Karissa transferred into the Bellin nursing program and Brianna plans to do the same after completing two years at St. Norbert College.
Popp applauds the work of fellow alum and former coworker Dr. Mark Bake, who is now dean of allied health sciences at Bellin College.
“Mark does a phenomenal job. He has put his heart and soul into the program and has accomplished so much,” said Popp. “The students get such great opportunities to see the different disciplines for longer periods of time and it really gives them the chance to work in a variety of capacities immediately following graduation.”
Her advice to radiologic technology students: “Remember that you’re on a three-year interview when you are in clinicals. The staff is watching, and they know what you can and cannot do. Get involved, step outside of your comfort zone and take all of the advice you can get. Each technologist does things differently, so remember that the goal is to get the best image possible.”
Great advice, Jennifer!
To support Bellin College students, Popp also joined the newly formed Just$10 Giving Club. As a member, she donates $10 per month toward the Bellin College Annual Fund.
“It’s easy and such a small donation that you don’t even notice it,” said Popp. “College is expensive, there are so many students who can benefit and it’s an opportunity to give back to a school who gave so much to me.”
For more information about the Just$10 Giving Club, visit https://www.bellincollege.edu/support/just10-giving-club/.