After sitting through all of her classes at Bethel University and graduating with a degree in Biology, Paige Ardizzone just knew that a desk job wasn’t for her. And it was that realization that led her to Dunwoody.
Now with an Associate of Applied Science in Radiologic Technology and jobs at Stellis Health and Mercy Hospital as an Xray Technologist, Ardizzone has the career she always wanted.
From Alaska to Minnesota
Originally from Eagle River, Alaska, Ardizzone moved to Minnesota to attend college after graduating from Eagle River High School in 2016.
She learned about Dunwoody from a family member and decided to attend because of the small class sizes along with the reputation and structure of the program.
“I liked that our clinical experience began our first semester, and it is a well-known program across the State,” she said.
It was those clinical experiences that also became her favorite part of the learning process.
“We get to attend well known trauma hospitals, which really prepares you for a job after school,” Ardizzone said. “My classmates and instructors also made the experiences so much fun.”
And just because she is graduating this May, that doesn’t mean she plans to stop learning.
“I hope to continue learning other modalities in the radiology world and continue to make a difference in patients’ lives,” she said. “But I am looking forward to no more school work and settling into my job.”
Besides her clinicals, Ardizzone said she also enjoyed researching radiology and learning all the different ways it impacts patients and healthcare.
“I’ve learned that it takes a team to make it far,” she said. “Especially in patient care, working together and helping each other learn, helps you too. I have also learned so much about patient care and study habits.”
Striving for excellence
That dedication to patient care didn’t go unnoticed by the faculty at Dunwoody either.
“We set a high bar,” said Radiologic Technology Program Director David Blake. “But Paige sets a higher bar for herself.”
Blake said that no matter which clinical setting Ardizzone was assigned to, the feedback was always glowing.
“Every clinical site Paige was at just loved her,” Blake said before sharing some of the comments he received about Ardizzone: “Paige is a very promising student who excels in every area she is assigned to. Paige does not wait for the exams she is required to do. She gets up and does all of them whether she needs them or not. She understands the importance of getting up and doing. She learns from her mistakes and makes a clear effort to get it right the first time.”
It was that dedication, hard work, and positive attitude that led Ardizzone to receive this year’s Academic Excellence Award for the Health Sciences & Technology Department at Dunwoody.
“I was very shocked and very excited,” she said about receiving the award. “I have worked very hard and with COVID hitting us right in the midst of school, learning hasn’t been the easiest the past few years. But through it all, you adapt, study a little harder, and never take for granted the time you have in person and at clinicals. After years of hard work and achieving my goal, it feels amazing to be awarded the Academic Excellence Award.”
Throughout her time at Dunwoody, Ardizzone said her parents have remained her biggest inspiration, and her strongest supporters.
“My parents have been my biggest inspiration,” she said. “They have never stopped encouraging me, even when I changed what I wanted to do. They work hard day-in and day-out and still have the time to call me or text me before every big exam or first day at a clinical site. I just look up to them in every aspect of life.”
When Ardizzone isn’t in class or at a clinic site she enjoys all things outdoors – especially spending time on the lake at the cabin, playing volleyball, traveling, enjoying games nights with friends, or just hanging out with her Goldendoodle.
As she finishes her studies and prepares to graduate, Ardizzone has had time to reflect on the past years and the legacy she is now part of as a Dunwoody alumna.
“Dunwoody has had a huge impact on my life,” she said. “Being a part of the legacy and being in the presence of some of the most amazing instructors – it has changed how I view the healthcare world because of the partnerships they have with local hospitals. It is fun to go into the community and tell people you went to Dunwoody because it is such a well-known school. Everyone has good things to say about it. Being a part of Dunwoody is being a part of a family bigger than the school itself.”