Stephanie Waltermire, a sonography student at Newman, did what many people can’t claim: She graduated high school at the age of 16.
Doing so was no small feat, but she’s proud of the dividends it’s paying today.
“A pro was that I could work more and save more money for college, which I did, and let me tell you, that money has helped me a lot today living in Denver, a very pricey place to live,” said Waltermire, who is completing her clinicals in Denver.
Another advantage was starting college sooner, although she had to work extra hard in high school and wasn’t able to walk across the stage at commencement with her friends. The experience also forced her to grow up fast.
“Paying bills and being an adult is not fun all of the time, and when I was 16, I just didn’t realize that I guess,” Waltermire said.
A calling for sonography
After graduating in March 2018 from Maize High School, Waltermire enrolled at Wichita State University’s Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology, where she took general education courses. She then transferred to Newman University.
“I’ve known for quite some time that I wanted to be an ultrasound tech, so that’s what brought me to Newman,” Waltermire explained. “Only three schools in Kansas offer the ultrasound program as far as I know, and Newman was local and close to my parents so that’s why I chose this school.”
Waltermire feels she’s already learned so much from her clinicals experience. She appreciates Newman’s sonography program in general because it’s enabled her to meet and gain knowledge from new people.
Waltermire is excited about her career since she’ll get to play a major role in peoples’ health. Besides the more familiar role of working with pregnant women, an ultrasound tech also performs diagnostics for other areas, like arteries, gallbladders, kidneys, thyroid glands and more.
“It’s also rewarding to know you are one of the few people in the world to understand ultrasound and truly see a picture in a grayscale image when others would only see blobs of nothing,” she said. “Our eyes are trained … to see the unseeable, to find pathology that is hiding in plain sight, and I think that’s pretty cool.”
Going with the flow
In addition to her schooling, Waltermire also ran an online store selling jewelry — mostly hoop earrings, her personal favorite. She even sold her goods to customers around the world.
“It was really fun building a store online, but to maintain customers and support via social media was pretty time consuming, so I shut the store down for the time being,” she explained. “I want to focus on school and clinicals and maybe pick that back up in the future, but I haven’t decided yet. You just never know what the future brings. I just tell myself to go with the flow, and if it’s meant to be then it will be.”
Guided by that motto, Waltermire plans to take her future career step by step. After graduating from Newman, she plans to take her registry exams, which will enable her to work on ultrasounds for vascular, abdomen and obsetrics/gynecology. She also hopes to become registered in echo and administer ultrasounds on the heart.
But like she said, she’ll just go with the flow.
Earn a Sonography Degree
While earning a sonography degree, students are trained to be highly skilled medical professionals who perform diagnostic ultrasound testing under the supervision of a physician.