When Dana Edmonds ’24 had her first ultrasound while pregnant with her daughter, the technology fascinated her. It eventually sparked a deep interest in sonography, something that several years later would offer her a life-changing path to a new career.

“I just remember it being the most interesting thing I had ever seen,” she recalls of her first ultrasound. “At that point in my life, though, I wasn’t ready. I needed to do some growing up.”

After moving away from the area, Edmonds discovered that Northampton Community College offered a diagnostic medical sonography degree. A single mother, she returned to Bethlehem and enrolled in the program’s OB-GYN track, taking classes during the week and waitressing on weekends.

The two-year program combines classroom lectures with hands-on experience at hospitals and outpatient centers. When she first began her courses, Edmonds says that an ultrasound technician would perform patient scanning with students observing until they had a few minutes afterward for practice.

As she developed in her education, her technical skills expanded until she could do most exams on her own from start to finish, with an ultrasound technician on hand to check her work.

Meanwhile, absorbing the copious information from lectures and completing work outside class pushed her to work harder than ever before. Edmonds credits her teachers with enabling her to succeed.

“The instructors are all amazing,” she explains. “They’re so knowledgeable. They are absolutely fantastic. There were times when I questioned myself, whether this was the right choice for me, and I wanted so badly to give up. But I had them rooting for me, saying, ‘What can I do to help? How can I make this better for you?’”

“They weren’t just there to teach the material and go home. They were really there to advocate for us and make sure we had everything we needed to be successful.”

Edmonds graduated in August and was thrilled to start a full-time job in maternal fetal medicine at Lehigh Valley Health Network in September.

Pivotal to her success at NCC was receiving the Evelyn Darragh and Dr. Jack Eli Cole Scholarship and the Brian D. Perin Endowed Scholarship. “It was a game changer for me,” says Edmonds. “It meant working a few less hours each week.

“That had a huge impact, and I’m so grateful.”