Wow! My first letter to the ASET membership as President! Trying to put my thoughts into words at this time is extremely difficult. Usually, the first address includes some background of the incoming President; and with that, I will stick with tradition. I believe life is a book with many chapters. It is the journey through those chapters which makes us who we are. Here is a preview of my own book’s rough draft.
My professional career has been beset with negativity from the beginning. At five years old, I suffered a head injury, followed by seizures a few years later. As a patient, I recall EEGs with bentonite paste, lots of machine noise, especially when I moved. I was, admittedly, not a great patient. There was recurrent hair washing and tugging, and much sleep deprivation throughout the many studies over several years. There was concern about my memory and my learning.
I started in the medical field at age 19, working in non-invasive cardiology (the other “E” and “G” word) and I became very good at the many EKG-based diagnostics. Soon I asked to be taught Echo, still a new technology back then, and was met again with adversity. My Supervisor told me I wasn’t “bright enough” to progress in the field. However, the Director asked me, “What about EEG?”
And so, I started training on the job, taught by a neurologist everything but the technical component. It ultimately didn’t work out, as he wanted me to train another person after just two months as a sort of trade-off.
This is when Jennifer Deremo, R. EEG T., and a Nihon Kohden representative for the Central Florida area came into my life during a simple install. Jennifer educated me on ASET, ABRET and three schools in Florida at the time, and off I went. I interviewed for the program at St. Joseph’s School of Electroencephalography in Tampa, Florida where they told me I’d need to quit my job to go to school at age 32. So, I didn’t do that. Instead, I went to school there full time, worked full time, had two children under seven years old, and drove 90 miles one way five days a week. You bet it was tough! But, it was just a short time and well worth it. Things were going extremely well, and then I suffered a T-Bone car accident, rolling my van 7 ½ times, just four months before graduating.
Thanks to support from my director, Dr. Vivian Porter; fellow students Celia Barretto, Kip Anthony and Michael Johnson; staff Dee Scibeck, Don Rose and Shirley (sorry, don’t recall her last name) I persevered and graduated at the top of my class. Dr. Porter was a great mentor and leader, letting me and others know we could accomplish anything we set our minds to.
Since those early years, I’ve experienced many career challenges along the way, from ABRET Boards and job changes to new bosses and staff members. All of it has been a great learning tool. I also worked with several Societies to keep myself current in the field, to network and to give back. Through my current position as a Travel EEG Tech, I continue to learn new things—even after 38 years in the field—and continue networking and mentoring my fellow techs.
I’ve had many “bucket list” items I could check off, such as ABRET Boards, MSET Officer, ASET Trustee and ASET Fellow. Now, in 2019, I am proud to check off ASET President!
As ASET recently celebrated its 60th Anniversary, it was a pleasure to watch experienced techs work alongside the newest generation and explain how things have changed. Thanks to Maxine Young (GRASS Model 6 guru), Michael Young, Dr. Vivian Porter, Past and Current ASET Staff and Board members: Carol Bonar, Lucy Sullivan, Olivia Cottingham, Jennifer Montgomery, Brian Sullivan, Dillan Conn, Sarah Dolezilek, Mandy Gist, Arlen Reimnitz as well as Brian Adkins, Cynthia Swick, Teguo Daniel Djoyum, Trei King, Chris Slaymaker, Christopher Moses, Jason Mayer and especially my “MacGyver” and “Mr. Wizard” Barney Martin for making the Historical Museum such a huge success. To all of you who donated items and knowledge, I thank you for assisting us in making the Museum a huge, huge treat! The smiles and memories were well worth the work involved. I am looking forward to the Virtual Museum going live on the web site soon as well as continued work with the Smithsonian Museum.
As I start this new chapter in my Book of Life, I want to thank you, the Membership, for this opportunity. I will work tirelessly to maintain ASET as the leading organization for Neurodiagnostic Technologists, collaborating with other organizations to always keep our Membership at the forefront. You are why I do this! We’ve come a long way in 60 years, and still have much work ahead of us. I am available to each of you. My contact information is in this newsletter and on the website. If we are ever in the same location, share your name and your story. I’m excited to have the opportunity to serve!