Six radiation therapists in training awarded educational scholarships
Through the ASRT Foundation, Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship helps budding RTTs finance their clinical studies
In June, Elekta chose six students to receive the company’s 2022–2023 Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship through the ASRT Foundation, a $5,000 grant to help them pursue a career as radiation therapists. The winners are William Balch, Surafel Kedebe, Macina Matsubara-Bass, Lilly Quinn, Emma Rauman and Lindsey Senger. Here are their stories.
William Balch—A late path to a healthcare career
Some people find out later in life that they would rather be doing something else in their professional life. Such was the case for William Balch. After 11 successful years teaching middle school orchestra, William says: “I decided to scratch the itch to work in healthcare, a desire that I had had all my life.”
He spent a summer researching careers in the field and ultimately became fascinated with the field of radiation therapy. Since then, William dove wholeheartedly to study in the radiotherapy arena and looks forward to finishing his degree in 2023.
“My hope is to become a spectacular radiation therapist at an institution that also teaches RTTs,” he says. “As a former educator, I would revel in the opportunity to pass on the things I’ve learned to future radiation therapy students. My goal is to become a clinician who also teaches.”
Switching tracks later in life came at a cost, however, as his family – a wife and young son – lost half of their income.
“The Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship will do much to defray the cost of the program, and my goal is to graduate without incurring personal or school debt,” William says. “This grant will also give me more time to devote to studies. I am fortunate to be able to study without having to work part-time. ASRT’s and Elekta’s generosity is not forgotten or taken for granted. I am thankful and honored to be chosen as a recipient.”
“The Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship will do much to defray the cost of the program, and my goal is to graduate without incurring personal or school debt.”
Surafel Kedebe—Converting a grant into time
For Surafel Kedebe, his selection as an Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship recipient means he will be able to devote more time to his studies versus working to afford them.
“I’ll make sure that the next time I’m in a position to help, I’ll carry on this kindness to others.”
“This financial support means hundreds of hours saved to focus more on my education and become more successful as a full-time junior student at Virginia Commonwealth University,” he says. “This will benefit not only me but also my family, which has been sacrificing tremendously to ensure that I receive a higher education and a better life.
“I will never forget this,” he adds. “And I’ll make sure that the next time I’m in a position to help, I’ll carry on this kindness to others.”
Macina Matsubara-Bass—Scholarship helping turn her dream into reality
Macina Matsubara-Bass has had a laser focus on becoming a radiation therapist for years and in her mind built up her future life in the field with great detail.
“My plans as an RTT truly span my entire professional aspirations until retirement,” she says. “I dream of becoming a traveling therapist after gaining some years of experience and possibly earning a position as an RT program professor once my clinical career comes to a close. But, of course, before I can even begin to do any of that, I have to overcome the challenge of funding my education.”
Funding her training has been a source of ongoing worry, particularly since she moved to another state which incurred additional costs for her and her parents.
“The college fund we had all been contributing to began to rapidly deplete from the expenses of rent, food, books, and most importantly, tuition,” Macina notes. “I realized that I had not nearly enough money to graduate without taking out loans, and I was awarded just one small scholarship after applying for several.”
Receiving the Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship was a windfall for Macina, giving her much-needed peace of mind and allowing her to focus on her studies worry-free for the next two semesters.
“The past few weeks, I have been exceptionally motivated to study and actively participate in class. The scholarship has greatly impacted me emotionally and academically.”
“The past few weeks, I have been exceptionally motivated to study and actively participate in class,” she says. “The scholarship has greatly impacted me emotionally and academically.”
Lilly Quinn—A helping hand during difficult times
The death of her father in the spring of 2022 put a damper on Lilly Quinn’s ability to work this summer to save for her radiation therapy program tuition—compounding her grief with concerns about how to pay for her education.
“I got depressed, as most do when they lose a close loved one, and it put me behind, so I have had to catch up by working a few different jobs this school year,” Lilly says. “With the Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship, however, I am not going to have to worry as much about paying for the rest of my schooling, which is a huge relief for me. I will have much more time to study and focus on my radiation therapy classes, which will make me a better therapist for my patients later on.”
“I will have much more time to study and focus on my classes, which will make me a better therapist for my patients later on.”
Lilly also notes that she will use the extra time the scholarship has afforded her to contribute to school organizations, such as Camp Kesem—a place for children whose parents have cancer—and Bellarmine University Dance Marathon, which fundraises for the North Children’s Intensive Cardiac Unit in Louisville, Kentucky.
“My education and organizations mean so much to me, and I am so glad to have some relief from my financial situation to concentrate more on the things I love the most,” she says.
Emma Rauman—A boost for the finish line
Emma Rauman is currently in her junior year at the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse, studying to become a radiation therapist. Although she was placed at La Crosse’s Gundersen Health System for her internship site for the 2022–2023 school year, this was not her first choice due to the added financial burden of having to move away from home.
“I wanted to go to Aspirus Wausau Hospital so I could live at home and save money,” Emma says. “When I learned that I was placed in La Crosse, I was very excited but also nervous about how I was going to afford rent, tuition and internship fees.”
When she was informed that she was awarded the Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship, she was elated.
“I knew I was placed in La Cross for a reason and being awarded this grant has solidified that,” she says. “Now I can focus on learning at my internship instead of worrying about how to afford it. I am so excited for what is to come in my radiation therapy program.”
“Now I can focus on learning at my internship instead of worrying about how to afford it.”
Lindsey Senger—Making the grade
Majoring in radiation therapy at the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse, Lindsey Senger is looking forward to spending the next year in a clinical internship at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin. Her main worry was how she would find the time to study to get good grades in this competitive program if she had to work to afford her education.
“Growing up I always struggled with classes and getting good grades,” Lindsey says. “To this day, I always find myself having to study and work a little bit harder than others to be as successful in class.” In addition to her tuition, the unpaid clinical internship comes with added fees which she would need to repay to the hospital. She was concerned she would need to spend most of her time outside of clinicals working instead of studying, something she knew would negatively impact her grades.
“Fortunately, now that I have been awarded the Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship, I will be able to focus my time outside of clinicals to study and become the most successful student I can be,” she says. “I will then be able to take this knowledge with me after I graduate and apply it to my future job as a radiation therapist. After a few years of experience, I would also love to look into the traveling therapist position.”
“Now that I have been awarded the Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship, I will be able to focus my time outside of clinicals to study and become the most successful student I can be.”
About the Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship
The Elekta Radiation Therapy Scholarship was established to help the best and brightest students afford their radiation therapy programs. Elekta cares deeply about the oncology profession and is a passionate supporter of radiation therapists.
In recognition of the importance of improving diversity, inclusion and representation in the health care industry, at least two of these six scholarships will be awarded to Black students each year.