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Forest Park Student Wins Radiologic Science Essay Contest

April 11, 2011

Ekaterina “Kate” Leshkova did not speak any English when she arrived here from Bulgaria nine years ago. Today, she is an award winner for a written essay, and will participate in the American Society of Radiologic Technologists 2011 Student Initiative Program.

She was one of 62 chosen from more than 180 entries submitted by radiologic science students from around the country. Leshkova is a second-year radiologic science student at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park. She will graduate July 15, which is her 33rd birthday.

“It was the greatest decision I ever made in my life, to become a radiologic tech,” she said. “This is a great program here. I recommend it.”

This is the first time a Forest Park student has entered this contest, let alone won it, noted Vincent Featherson, department chair of health technologies, and the program director and a professor in radiologic tech.

As a participant, Leshkova will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to the ASRT Educational Symposium and Annual Governance and House of Delegates Meeting June 16-19, in Albuquerque, N. M.

Additionally, Leshkova will attend an educational program at the symposium specifically designed for students and be assigned a professional mentor during the House of Delegates meeting.

Students who entered the “Welcome to Your Future” essay competition were required to write a 500- to 700-word essay on one of the following topics: 1) Why I chose the radiologic science profession; 2) What being a professional means to me; or 3) What I hope to gain from attending the annual governance meeting. The essays were evaluated on several factors, including the author’s commitment to pursuing a career in the radiologic sciences.

“I wrote about my own experiences with radiology,” she said. As a young girl, she had X-rays taken during several illnesses, for tests and procedures, and to diagnose fractured bones. Her mother was a nurse, and she wanted to go into health care, but in a different area.

“I want to be part of the helping source for patients, to make a difference in people’s lives,” Leshkova said. “I saw the caring, compassion and kindness they had for patients.”

ASRT represents more than 139,000 members who perform medical imaging procedures or plan and deliver radiation therapy treatments. The society is the largest radiologic science association in the world. Its mission is to advance the medical imaging and radiation therapy profession and to enhance the quality of patient care.

“The Student Initiative Program is a great way to get radiologic science students involved in the ASRT early in their careers,” said ASRT President James Temme. “While in Albuquerque, students will have the opportunity to meet with veteran radiologic science professionals, participate in education activities and get an in-depth look at how the governance process works for the world’s largest radiologic science organization.”

Leshkova has been doing clinical work at Missouri Baptist Hospital to fulfill requirements for graduation. “It’s a wonderful place to be, as a patient and a worker,” she said.

Nine years ago she came to America with her husband and son "because of the opportunity we could have here,” she said. St. Louis was the destination because a cousin lived here. She is grateful to receive a community college education, although it hasn’t been easy to juggle school and family.

“My husband and son (now 13) have really been supportive of me being in school,” she said.

Leshkova and her family live in Maryland Heights. She credits instructors at STLCC-Meramec for help with English as Second Language classes that made such a difference, as well as the radiologic science faculty at STLCC-Forest Park. “They have been so supportive and encouraging.”

Radiologic Tech faculty and student essay contest winner

      Rebecca Northern, Dean Brake, Ekaterina Leshkova, Vincent Featherson and Jon