From grads to homeowners

There are a few things in life considered large milestones. From high school and college graduations to finding that first job to…you guessed it…buying your first home.

It’s a milestone four sonography graduates recently experienced, thanks to the success they’ve been able to achieve since graduating from the highly regarded program barely a year ago.

“The first night in our new home was pretty surreal, in a good way,” said Laura Marler, who now works as a sonographer at UnityPoint Health Trinity.Laura and Jonathon Marler

“I couldn’t believe it was finally happening! It felt like the beginning of a new chapter in our lives,” she said. “We were more than ready for our son to have a fenced-in yard to play in and to finally add a puppy to our family as well.”

Kellie Preece, Emilee Avery and Rachel Erickson echoed those feelings. All three also landed jobs shortly after graduation and began their quest to find the perfect home.

Preece, who lives in East Peoria, Ill. and works for OSF HealthCare, said she and her then fiancé looked at twelve houses in one day before finding “the one.”

Kellie Preece and Cerise

“The second to last one we went to just kind of felt like home. The layout was similar to my mom’s old house and we ended up just sitting around the kitchen island talking when we were done touring the house.”

That sealed the deal, and the recently married couple has been enjoying their new place ever since.

“Now we are talking about getting another dog,” Preece laughed.

“It was exciting and overwhelming,” said Erickson, a sonographer at Hammond-Henry Hospital in Geneseo.

“Nothing really had to be done except painting, so we painted for four straight days…sleeping on a mattress in the living room!”

It’s memories like this, made in these new homes, that all four graduates agree are just as special as the roof and four walls itself. Put simply:

“We are so excited that this is a place we can call ours,” said Avery.Emilee and AJ Avery

The graduates partially attribute their new home ownership status to the Diagnostic Medical and Cardiac Sonography Program’s commitment to helping students not only learn about the field, but also find jobs afterward.

“The ultrasound instructors are absolutely amazing and prepare you for your career in the real world,” said Avery, who landed a job at OSF St. Mary Medical Center in Galesburg. “The skills and information learned throughout the program was and still is beneficial in helping my classmates and I succeed.”

The clinical based curriculum provides hands-on training and networking opportunities that often lead to employment, sometimes even before graduation.

“It helps so much to be able to get a good job without five or six years of schooling and one that sets you up to succeed. Staff at the hospital or other medical facilities see you in the clinical position and get to know you and then think ‘oh, let’s hire that person!’” said Preece.

“Being able to secure a solid, good paying job helped tremendously for us to be confident in buying our first home,” said Marler. “We knew we wouldn’t have to worry about if we’d be able to make our mortgage every month and we were able to work on saving up for our deposit pretty quickly.”

It’s also nice doing something you are passionate about and that makes a difference in the lives of others.

“I love being able to be part of that special moment for first time parents,” said Marler, referring to performing ultrasounds on expectant mothers. “It’s always so heartwarming to see the pure joy on someone’s face when they see that little flicker of a healthy heartbeat for the first time. That never gets old.”

From personal milestones to being there for their patients, the experiences and opportunities Scott Community College has provided are certainly moments these four will always remember.

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