Jefferson College student Robert Smith recently received the statewide Breaking Traditions Award for his success as a nontraditional student in the College’s Radiologic Technology program. The awards, sponsored by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), provide an opportunity for students, career-technical programs, educators, and schools to receive recognition and statewide acknowledgment for their achievements related to nontraditional careers.
Award recipients are those in nontraditional career/technical education occupations in which individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of those employed in that field. Since 1994, Breaking Traditions has honored outstanding students who have chosen technical programs based on their interests and abilities, and who have not let their gender influence career decisions.
“Coming from a low-income household and losing my father at 15, my family struggled tremendously,” said Robert. “My mother worked full time while in school, my sister worked full time, and I worked part-time while being a high school athlete. We collectively, as a team, made it work. Choosing this career path will help ensure my family or I will not be in this situation again. Not only will I benefit from choosing a career and technical program to support my family and myself, but it will allow me to bring my core values into the health care field. Upon graduation, I can pursue other avenues within radiography. My ultimate goal in Radiologic Technology is to become an instructor myself.”
His teacher and mentor, Janet Akers-Montgomery, added that Robert is the epitome of what she looks for in a student and as a professional. “He walks through life with an objective lens, seeing things for what they are and what they can become. He also lives his life based on core values of strength, positivity, hard work, and determination. These core values are the foundation of healthcare. He is a shining star, not only in the classroom, but in life, and deserves this award.”