Samantha Lueck admits she was never a star student. No matter how hard she studied, she “just squealed.”
Now, as an X-ray student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, she has nearly a 4.0 GPA.
“Learning isn’t easy, but I’m really good at it,” she laughs. “I wish it was something they made you take in high school – don’t stop looking until you find something you’re good at.” It just makes it more fun.
“I love learning about the body and the bones and how it all works together.”
Lueck, 31, of Eau Claire, is so passionate about radiography that she stepped out of her comfort zone and applied to be part of a national radiography student leadership program.
In February, Lueck was one of 80 radiological science students from across the country named to the American Society of Radiologic Technologist’s 2022 Student Leadership Development Program. Students selected for the initiative receive an insider’s look at the world’s largest association of medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals, said Lueck instructor Deb Kjelstad.
Getting accepted to the three-year program is no small feat. Kjelstad, who has worked in the radiography profession for 42 years and coordinator of Wisconsin’s annual student symposium for 12 years, said she had asked students before, but no one from CVTC was selected before Lueck.
“When you look at a student, you just know,” Kjelstad said. “I always encourage students in my courses to apply.”
Lueck remembers that day. A first-semester student, Lueck hadn’t heard of the leadership development program until Kjelstad brought it up. Lueck let the idea roll around in his mind for a while, but two weeks before the deadline, Kjelstad once again pushed his students to apply.
“She’s so enthusiastic,” Kjelstad said. “She is very motivated to excel in this profession. You can see that. I felt it during the first two months.
Lueck said the experience has been thrilling and surreal so far. She never participated in extracurricular activities in high school, so it’s a bit out of her comfort zone, she said. But she knows she will learn a lot and be able to network in the program over the next three years.
“I decided I was going to say yes to every opportunity,” Lueck said. “I will only be a student for two years. Why not? It’s worth it.”