Kelly and Carissa Inspire Each Other to Go Back to School

Aug 10 2023

Kelly Hartzell and Carissa Gilgenbach have been long-time friends since first meeting as imaging technologists working at Mercy Health – Defiance Hospital.

So, when Kelly decided it was time pursue advancing her career, she encouraged her friend to take on a similar educational opportunity through our tuition assistance programs with Mercy College of Ohio.

“I tell everyone that with so many changes happening in health care, it is a great time to learn,” Kelly shares. “My Mercy education has opened up new doors for me. I have a much better understanding of the health care system and what patients have been through before they get to my table.”

A devoted mom, wife, skilled ultrasound technologist, hobby farmer and driven student, Kelly’s journey back to school began when she found a program that suited her needs: Mercy College’s fully online medical imaging program. The flexibility of the program allowed Kelly to pursue her career aspirations while keeping up with her busy schedule. Also, thanks to tuition assistance provided by our ministry, she saved not only her valuable time but money.

Because the medical imaging program recognized Kelly’s existing credentials by granting her college credits, she was able to take full advantage of the fast-track option, allowing her to take graduate courses that contributed to both her medical imaging bachelor’s degree and her Master of Health Administration.

“I really liked how organized and well the courses were designed,” Kelly says. “The content was relevant, and with the evolving nature of our health care system, I feel that this program has prepared me to tackle any challenge that comes my way.”

Because of Kelly’s amazing experience, Carissa started to consider an advanced education as well. In fact, Carissa had been thinking about completing her bachelor’s degree for more than a decade, but as a mom with young children and a full-time job, it never seemed like the right time to start.

“Mercy Health’s tuition assistance and Mercy College’s discount for our team members was what helped me to finally be able to start the program,” she shares. “Also, Kelly was my cheerleader and encouraged me through every step of my Mercy College journey. She finished the MHA program as I completed the medical imaging program. It was great to graduate with Kelly, in addition to the rad tech students who I have mentored during their clinicals.”

The online format provided the flexibility and convenience that Carissa needed, and she notes that the program allowed her to complete her assignments online throughout the week. That way, she was able to fit her coursework into her busy life.

Carissa graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Medical Imaging in April of this year and looks forward to continuing her education in Mercy College’s Master of Health Administration (MHA) program in August.

“I’m in the mindset and ready to keep going,” she adds.

Starting day one of employment with our ministry, team members can access education benefits program through our Guild Education Program. There are different options including full tuition assistance, standard tuition assistance and tuition reimbursement.

Learn more about our ministry’s employment opportunities as well as our Guild Education Program.

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