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Shelby LivingstonShelby Livingston, a student in the USI Radiologic and Imaging Sciences Program, is the 2024 recipient of the prestigious Bill Sands Communication Scholarship, a University-wide award established by USI faculty members–the late William and Helen Sands–in memory of their son, Bill, who died in a car accident in 1998.

She is from Jasper, Indiana, and has competed on the Cross Country and Track and Field teams at USI for the past three years. 

She says her interest in medical imaging began in high school. "I was in the Health Occupations Students of America program at my school. This is where I began job shadowing different healthcare fields that I could see myself pursuing. Through observation hours, I felt radiology was the perfect mix of patient care and high-tech equipment," she says. "Additionally, as a student athlete, I have been through several injuries. Due to some of these injuries, I have had to get medical imaging done, such as X-rays and MRIs. I remember how anxious I felt during this process, and I knew that if I went into this healthcare field, then I could help ease the patient’s mind and make this process easier for them."

Q&A with Shelby

Tell us a little bit about your athletic career. In cross country, our races consist of both 5Ks and 6Ks, and in track, I primarily race the mile (1,500 meters) and 800 meters. In high school, I was a four-time semi-state qualifier for cross country and a two-time regional qualifier for track and field. Additionally, I was chosen for the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches (IATCCC) all-state first team for one year and was an all-state honorable mention for two years.

Here at USI, I have received an Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) all-academic award and have been recognized as being on the Dean’s List several times

What are some other activities you have been involved with on campus? I have been a part of interprofessional education (IPE) activities, where I have volunteered to work with other students from different healthcare majors to do interprofessional collaborative practice. I have enjoyed IPEs as they give me an opportunity to work together with students from other healthcare majors. It not only increases my communication skills, but also gives me insight on the type of work other healthcare professionals do.

Tell me about a class or faculty member that has made an impact on you. All of the professors I have had in the past have shaped me who I am today. The professors of the Radiologic and Imaging Science Program here at USI are nothing short of amazing. They come to class excited to teach the material, have multiple ways of educating that fits all students learning styles and do a great job of answering any questions we may have. They teach us both textbook information but also educate us on situations that we may see when in clinical, thus helping create more well-rounded students. I feel efficiently prepared for the “real world” due to the professors I have, and for that I am so thankful.

What are you plans after graduation? I plan on graduating in Spring of 2025. Upon graduation and completion of the radiography certification board exam, I plan on working at a facility here in Evansville. Potentially down the road, I may decide to move back home to Jasper and continue my career there. Although I am not sure which modality I will decide to purse, I know I will be doing something I love.

Did you have to submit an essay for the Sands scholarship? For the Sands scholarship, I did submit an essay about what it means to me to have good communication and what that means in my future profession. Below is an excerpt from my essay:

As a student in the Radiologic and Imaging Sciences program, I've enhanced my communication skills through interactions with individuals during clinical practicum. I have worked through many communication barriers in order to give proper patient care to all individuals. Some of these barriers that I have worked through include language barriers and age-related communication barriers. The majority of the population I take care of include elder individuals. Sometimes these patients have difficulty understanding what we are doing the exams for or they are unable to hear well. In these scenarios, I have learned the importance of taking my time with the patient and explain what I will have them do and why we are doing the exam. During conversations with patients, I ensure to establish eye contact, speak slowly and compassionately and actively listen to their needs. I make sure to make sure to answer any questions the patient may have.

Any comments on how it feels to receive a scholarship to help with your education? As a college student, funds can be difficult to come by. By receiving this scholarship, I do not have to work as many hours or worry about school payments. With that pressure off my chest, I can focus on my academics and athletics. By having more time to work on my studies, I will be able to better prepare myself for my future career. Additionally, by not having as much student debt when completing my time here at USI, will only set me up for a more successful start.