North Central News

Northwestern accepts three science majors for radiation therapy program

Jul 05, 2016

Caitlyn Lee ’17, Dru Rozewicki ’17 and Kara Majich ’17 of North Central College represent three of the only six students accepted into the prestigious School of Radiation Therapy at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Starting in July, the students will spend 14 intense months conducting academic and clinical work at Northwestern Memorial and other local hospitals. They’ll then graduate from North Central with a bachelor of science degree in radiation therapy— one of the very few radiation therapy schools in Illinois with a 100 percent job placement rate.

The students have already completed a rigorous course of study in biology, chemistry, physics and math—along with general education courses—at North Central. Preprofessional health program coordinator Marguerite Degenhardt notes they’ve also “developed skills that make them successful in working with people, like good communication, teamwork and time management.” She adds that they all had the chance to shadow professionals and students in Northwestern’s radiation therapy program before applying, to ensure that the program would be a good fit for them.

Northwestern’s program is structured around three-week clinical rotations. Monday and Wednesday mornings are reserved for coursework, with the rest of the week dedicated to hands-on patient experience. The program is based at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, but the students may also complete rotations at Rush University and University of Chicago hospitals.

Lee finds this variation especially appealing. “You really need to be on your toes in radiation therapy,” she says, explaining that treatment plans are changed regularly depending on patients’ personalities and symptoms. “Plus, I really like providing individualized care. I like finding out what makes patients happy, then helping to make their day better than it was before they saw me.”

Although they expect the program to be demanding, the students know they’re up for the challenge. “North Central prepared me really well and gave me the confidence to know I can handle whatever is thrown at me,” says Majich. “I got so much support from my advisors and Marguerite Degenhardt that I practically lived in their offices. I couldn’t have picked a better college.”