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2019 Scholarship Winner Kendall Clark

Ultrasound Schools Info’s first semi-annual scholarship was awarded to Kendall Clark from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in the Fall of 2019. Kendall and the rest of our applicants were asked the question “Why have you chosen to pursue a degree in medical sonography?”  We wanted to share her winning essay in the hopes that it will inspire others to consider this rewarding field!

Kendall Clark - Fall 2019 Sonography Student Scholarship Winner

The Ultrasound Schools Info student scholarship is a semi-annual, non-renewable $1,000 scholarship awarded to an aspiring sonographer currently enrolled or accepted in a CAAHEP accredited diagnostic medical sonography program.

The Winning Essay from Kendall Clark

Every pregnant mom waits in anticipation for the day she gets to meet her son or daughter for the first time, but unfortunately not every mother gets to hold her baby.  Currently, despite the considerable amount of money the country puts into medical care, the United States remains the number one country in the developed world for maternal mortality.

According to the CDC, approximately 3 in 5 pregnancy-related deaths are preventable, yet our maternal mortality rate continues to climb even as other leading world countries’ rates have fallen.  Upon learning this information years ago, I knew I had to choose a career path I felt could change the direction of these statistics.  After research and hours of job shadowing, I discovered sonography.

A sonographer is likely one of the first medical professionals a mother sees on her pregnancy journey.  Ultrasound in itself can prevent pregnancy-related deaths as OB/GYN scans are performed to detect any abnormalities in both mother and baby.  Unfortunately, not every mother has access to ultrasound technology during the duration of her pregnancy.

Socioeconomic status keeps women from receiving the proper health care far more often than it should in a country as advanced as the United States, and it is likely one of the main reasons our maternal mortality rate has shown an increasing pattern rather than decreasing.

Additionally, the CDC has proven women of minority ethnic status (African American, etc.) are three times more likely to die of pregnancy related issues than caucasian women.  Again, I believe this may be due in part to lack of availability of proper screening for these women.  One day through research and trial, I want to find a way to make ultrasound accessible to women from low income backgrounds because I believe this will play a substantial role in decreasing the country’s maternal mortality rate.

There are things that we can and should be doing differently in healthcare and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to enter such a diverse and rapidly progressing field.  Technology and medicine are advancing each day, and we as sonographers have the opportunity to utilize the best of both to change the way generations before us saw healthcare.

I have chosen a degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography because I believe that I, along with all sonographers, can make a difference in our country’s maternal mortality rate.

Coming into college, I struggled with choosing a major that would lead to such a diverse array of career paths and opportunities, but choosing ultrasound has opened up more possibilities than I thought possible with just one degree.

Upon graduation, I plan to seek employment in a high-risk facility located in one of the less privileged areas of my hometown, St. Louis.  I want to provide quality care to women in my city from low income backgrounds so I can encourage them to continue scheduling regular visits for the safety of themselves and their child.

I want women of minority ethnic backgrounds to feel safe and ensured that they are receiving the best care possible.

I am extremely driven to continue my education beyond graduation to help develop new ways to use sonographic technology, both as an imaging tool and as a possible preventative measure for maternal mortality.

More than anything, I am inspired to one day be a part of a team that is dedicated to not only seeing but preventing pregnancy-related issues from start to finish.

Sonographers are often the first health professionals pregnant women see when they receive both the happiest and darkest news;  knowing that one day I will have the tools to support women in both circumstances is inspiring.

Professionals have already proven that roughly sixty percent of maternal deaths can be prevented with more attentive and personalized healthcare;  We just have to find the best ways and the best people to implement change.  I may not be certain which tactics will bring the most success, but I know I am ready to do my part by testing if starting from the first scan of pregnancy can play a part in decreasing preventable maternal deaths.

Regardless of the outcome, I have the privilege to belong to a career field dedicated to keeping women and a future generation healthy.

I look forward to my opportunity to create a change through sonography starting in my hometown, and hopefully with some success move on to non-developed countries with even less access to ultrasound technology and/or higher maternal mortality rates in the future.  Ultrasound is such an innovative technology with ample possibilities; I cannot wait to see which direction it takes me.


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