“I witnessed my first ultrasound in 2013 when my nephew Javon was about six months in utero. He was being a little sneaky, so it took a minute to see whether he was a boy or girl. He also had the hiccups and you could see that on the scan. It was that exact moment I knew that I wanted to do this for a living.” — Vernicia “Nici” Crenshaw

After that introduction to her nephew, Nici Crenshaw asked the technologist who performed the scan what was needed to train for this career. She learned that it is a one- to two-year program, depending on the school. So began her research into the right school, the perfect program, and a career path that she loved. She was a junior in high school at that time. The next year, for her senior project, she chose ultra-sonography as her subject. As part of the program, she was invited to do diagnostic shadowing, choosing obstetrics — where she first met little Javon.

“The technologist I shadowed asked me if I wanted to try it,” recalls Nici. “Of course I said ‘YES!’ As I was moving the instrument on the patient’s abdomen, I could see something peculiar. We are trained to be quiet during the scan, so I didn’t say anything. After the scan was complete, I pulled the technologist aside and asked if she saw the same thing I did. She said she did. Then she let me tell the parents that we saw not only one head, but two! They were having twins, and I got to tell them. It was amazing and I was hooked!”

Nici enrolled in an online course at University of Miami. It didn’t take her long to realize that the field of radiology was not what she loved, rather, it was ultra-sonography that was her true passion. As a result, she completed her core courses at University of Miami, and eventually transferred locally to Meridian College, where she could focus specifically in ultra-sonography in their 10-month program.

Those of us who are well-acquainted with the cost of a college education can imagine how helpful the Foundation scholarships have been to Nici. In 2015, she received a General Education Scholarship, and in 2016, the Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship. She also received a variety of other scholarships, and paid the balance out of her own pocket, as she has continued as a well-respected and appreciated member of our dining staff throughout.

You might wish to know whether Nici has been successful in her educational path….you be the judge. To date, she has completed all of her coursework. She is currently studying to take two board exams, and has plans to complete a 240-hour internship in order to graduate. The internship has not been easy to find, but she is hopeful — reaching out to her network to help identify doctor’s offices, hospitals, or clinics where she could intern. She has achieved a 3.8 GPA throughout her program and has zeroed in on OB/GYN as her field of choice. She hopes to complete all of her training, boards, and internship in 2018, when she will be officially a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer!

When asked if she would recommend this field to others, Nici answers, “You must follow your heart. College will help you figure it out. Have faith and you will be successful.” Javon will be six years old in August, and Nici has accomplished so much since she first was introduced to her nephew on that screen during a scan. “He changed my life,” says Nici. “I always remind him of that!”