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Attended College Directly from High School, Now Performs Detailed Obstetrical Ultrasounds

Alexis Carpenter
2016, Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography
Argosy University, Twin Cities
Perinatal Sonographer at Minnesota Perinatal Physicians

“I found it incredibly helpful that each of my instructors had experience in the ultrasound setting.”

Attended College Directly from High School, Now Performs Detailed Obstetrical Ultrasounds

How did Alexis Carpenter manage the transition from a large high school to a small college environment? “It was easier than I expected,” she said. Carpenter prepared herself for the new stage in her life by visiting Argosy University, Twin Cities for an orientation session that answered the questions she had about college life. “Not only did I tour the campus and the ultrasound lab, but I received useful information regarding program costs, required courses, and what to expect. I found the list of required courses most beneficial as it gave me the opportunity to review program requirements and outline how I wanted to take general courses before I enrolled.”

During her time at Argosy University, Carpenter received support from the student services department to ensure that she was on track—with her studies and her finances. “I met with a financial advisor at the school on multiple occasions just to be sure that loans were taken care of and payments were set in place. It was helpful to have offices on campus where we could drop in if we had questions or concerns,” she said. Carpenter also used the shared computers and library on a daily basis to complete her assignments.

Carpenter added that students must prepare themselves for the responsibility and work load of college. “There is a noticeable difference between high school and college classes,” she said. “In high school, my grades were determined by a combination of homework, projects and tests. In college, my grades were almost entirely dependent on proficiencies. I had to fine-tune my studying habits to succeed.”

She also relied on her instructors for support and guidance. “I found it incredibly helpful that each of my instructors had experience in the ultrasound setting,” she stated. “They included personal experiences that helped us to learn during our lectures and they always made a point to have open office hours throughout the week. Students could utilize this time to address any questions and concerns outside of class. This was also a great way to further develop our relationship with each instructor.”

Carpenter described her career as “incredibly rewarding. It gives you the opportunity to care for patients and make a difference in their lives,” she added. “In my opinion, the field is rapidly growing and changing and keeps you on your toes. In other words, you will never stop learning and progressing your skills throughout your career.”

She recommended that students interested in pursuing an Associate of Applied Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography volunteer or work in a health care setting while still in high school. “As a senior in high school, I had the opportunity to volunteer in a radiology department,” she said. “Volunteering gave me a new understanding and appreciation for all of the hard work that goes on, in both a clinic and hospital setting.”

During her college studies, Carpenter discovered a passion for obstetrical ultrasound. She relied on the advice of her instructor to take advantage of the small ultrasound community to network and build relationships. “When I met sonographers from Minnesota Perinatal Physicians during my internship, I expressed my enthusiasm about obstetrical ultrasound,” she said. “Near the end of my internship, I sent a detailed email to the ultrasound supervisor at Minnesota Perinatal Physicians thanking the sonographers for all of their help and mentorship. I also went as far as telling them that I will be keeping an eye out for future positions as I considered high risk obstetrics my dream job.’

She understood that the field she was entering was competitive. “My six-month clinical internship was a great opportunity to work hard, learn and land a first job,” she said.

When a position opened at Minnesota Perinatal Physicians, Carpenter applied, interviewed and was hired. “I am still amazed and blessed by the opportunity and I wouldn’t change a thing,” she stated. “I have learned so much while working with such a great team of sonographers.” She performs detailed obstetrical ultrasounds on high risk patients, testing ultrasounds, amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling. “Minnesota Perinatal Physicians also has a fetal care center that provides surgical intervention inside the womb,” she added. “I’ve have had the chance to observe and train during these invasive procedures. Outside of work, I am hoping to volunteer on a medical mission and provide free ultrasounds for women who desperately need obstetrical care around the world.”

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