Erin Fitzgerald ’15 and Martyna Lach ’15 will spend their senior year preparing for a career they’ve only dreamed about—becoming radiation therapists who will help treat cancer patients. Both were selected for a highly competitive one-year program offered by Northwestern Memorial Hospital School of Radiation Therapy in Chicago. They entered North Central College’s 3 + 1 Radiation Therapy program as first-year students. After spending three years on campus, the pair will complete their North Central degrees after one year in an accredited radiation therapy clinical school.
“When my aunt had breast cancer, I got involved in Relay For Life and with donating my hair,” says Fitzgerald. “As I was looking at colleges I knew I wanted a career in a medical field working with cancer patients.”
Lach discovered radiation therapy while investigating career interests as a high school student. “The more I learned about radiation therapy the more passionate I became about the career,” she says.
Both have completed a rigorous science curriculum at North Central and gained valuable support and assistance from their professors and Marguerite Degenhardt, pre-professional health program coordinator. “At North Central, everyone does their best to help you find internships and volunteer opportunities,” says Lach. “Dr. John Zenchak (professor of biology) helped me with my application and prepared me for my interviews.”
Fitzgerald has volunteered at a cancer center and added that the process for applying to Northwestern begins almost from day one at North Central. “I’ve worked with Marguerite and my advisor since my freshman year,” she says. “And I used the Career Development office to prepare for my interview.”
After their year at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the two will graduate with radiation therapy degrees at North Central in June 2015.