WINTERVILLE, N.C. — Pitt Community College student Erin Brzoskowski has been awarded a $5,000-scholarship by the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) Foundation. 

Brzoskowski, an ASRT member, was one of nine students from across the country selected to receive a Varian Radiation Therapy Advancement Scholarship for the upcoming academic year. The awards, which vary between $2,500 and $5,000, are made possible through a grant from Varian Medical Systems (VMS), a California-based company that creates technology for treating cancer with radiation therapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy and brachytherapy. 

“Erin is an exceptional student; her dedication and hard work make her a well-deserving recipient of this scholarship,” said Elaine Spencer, director of PCC’s Radiation Therapy and Medical Dosimetry programs. “We are proud she chose PCC to further her education.” 

Brzoskowski, a Wisconsin native who enrolled at PCC in the fall of 2021, says she was “surprised and excited” to learn of her scholarship win. She said the money would go toward paying debts she’s incurred in pursuit of higher education. 

“I think ASRT has an amazing scholarship program available for members,” Brzoskowski says. “… It’s a great opportunity for anyone in a radiologic program.” 

Brzoskowski says she chose PCC for medical dosimetry for two key reasons: to train at clinical sites that would give her “the best advantage” in the dosimetry field and because its four-semester diploma can be completed in less than two years. Coursework is offered entirely online, with the exception of four campus visits per year and clinical practice rotations. 

“I am doing my clinical work at Duke University Hospital in Durham and feel as if I will have accomplished all my learning competencies and more,” she said. “The online portion has been very organized with helpful material for our board exam.” 

On track to complete her studies in December, Brzoskowski is planning to pursue a full-time dosimetry position next spring. She says she will take the Medical Dosimetrist Certification Board’s national exam when she is eligible to do so in September 2023. 

The ASRT Foundation – the world’s leading source of charitable funding for medical imaging technologists and radiation therapists – awarded $265,600 in scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year, including professional and entry-level awards. Recipients were selected based on commitment, leadership, achievement and financial need. 

The Varian Radiation Therapy Advancement Scholarship Brzoskowski received was created in honor of pioneering radiation therapy educator Eileen McCullough. VMS established the awards to ensure radiation therapists and medical dosimetrists can afford education that enhances their clinical practice skills and helps them provide excellent patient care. 

PCC-PCS Technical Academy Wraps Up Successful Academic Year 

PCC-Pitt County Schools Technical Academy faculty and staff closed out spring semester with an awards ceremony to celebrate their students’ accomplishments during the 2021-22 academic year. 

Of the 60 students who participated in the academy, 11 received Student Excellence Awards during the program, after being nominated by their peers and selected by faculty and staff. The ceremony was also an opportunity to applaud 16 participants for making straight A’s in their PCC coursework and to recognize 14 students for passing exams to earn third-party credentials coveted by area employers. 

“These students have worked hard — they took at least two college classes, along with two core high school classes each semester,” said PCC-PCS Technical Academy Director Lynn Griffin. “Many of them also had jobs, participated on sports teams at their high schools, and volunteered in the community.” 

Griffin said all of the students have bright futures ahead, having acquired skills that can quickly lead to employment in stable careers with above-average starting wages. Some, including 14 who graduate high school this month, are only two or three semesters from earning associate degrees. Others, like Dean’s List student Luke Vandiford, have already begun working part-time in their field of study. 

As a senior at Farmville Central High School, Vandiford used the skills he developed through PCC’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration program to land a part-time job with Mechanical Systems Solutions. “I have good teachers that make a connection with me to make sure I understand the material,” he said. “I learn something new every day.” 

In addition to HVAC, the academy features five other hands-on programs not offered by the students’ high schools: Architectural Technology, Biotechnology, Electrical Systems, Computer Integrated Machining and Industrial Systems. 

Along with skills for a trade, students learn how to work with others through their academy participation. PCC Biotechnology instructor Kristen Andrews cited Evelyn Correa, a Student Excellence Award recipient from North Pitt High School, as a good example, saying she is “a wonderful addition” to the biotechnology program who will be successful for years to come. 

“Evelyn comes to class prepared and answers questions whenever she is given the opportunity,” Andrews said. “She takes her courses very seriously and studies hard. She also demonstrates good lab skills and works wonderfully, both within a group and independently.” 

Dr. Thomas Gould, PCC Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs & Student Services, stressed the importance of PCC’s partnership with Pitt County Schools and said the academy would positively impact the local workforce. 

“The success of these technical academy students is a testament to the productive partnership between Pitt Community College and Pitt County Schools,” Gould said. “Our collaborative goal is to educate and train a talented local workforce that will spur economic development in Pitt County and throughout the region.” 

After starting as a pilot program with 20 students from two Pitt County high schools during the 2018-19 academic year, the academy expanded the following year to 43 juniors and seniors from all six Pitt County public high schools. The 2020-21 academic year saw participation from 42 students. 

Students selected for the academy are bused to and from class on the PCC campus at no charge. The cost of their tuition, fees and books is also covered. 

Space is still available for rising juniors to participate in the academy this fall. To apply, students should contact Griffin at (252) 493-7653 or lgriffin@email.pittcc.edu.

Additional information is on the PCC Technical Academy Facebook page, and campus tours will be available throughout the summer.