HHF Scholarship Recipient
"People don’t always think about how HHF supports local professionals, who in turn are helping care for others in the community. It’s a cycle that feeds into itself and continues to snowball years down the line. With scholarships, HHF helps the community and creates a big impact."
Sean always knew he wanted to work in the medical field, which initially led him to pursue schooling to become a radiology technician. Part of this training included rotations through the various modalities of the field, including nuclear medicine, MRI, and X-ray. Sean’s favorite, though, was radiation therapy, where a technician administers radiation to a patient to treat their cancer.
Beyond the fascinating science, this role appealed to Sean because of cancer’s prevalence and impact in every community. “One of the people I was closest to, my grandfather, passed away from cancer,” Sean shares.
After a few years as a radiology technician, Sean took the plunge and returned to school for radiation therapy. He subsequently worked at the Hillman Cancer Center in Erie from 2013 to 2021 before learning about UPMC’s dosimetry training program. Dosimetry is the field of medicine that takes an oncologist’s treatment plan and turns it into reality by using an understanding complex anatomy, machine capabilities and limitations, and advanced software to determine precisely how the clinical team will target a tumor while keeping healthy tissue safe.
Sean wanted to enroll, but there were complexities to consider. He and his wife, an OR nurse at UPMC Hamot, lived in Northeast, PA and this training program would require travelling to Pittsburgh multiple times each week. In addition to the tuition costs, there would be significant travel costs.
At his wife’s suggestion, Sean contacted HHF and applied for a scholarship. With the scholarship from HHF, Sean was able to attend the program. After graduating and passing his boards, he secured a position at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Farrell, PA. However, he dreams of working at the Erie-based Hillman Cancer Center closer to home. When a position opens, he is likely to be the first applicant.
HHF played a role in his journey, and Sean reflects on HHF’s quiet impact and its ripples through the community. “People don’t always think about how HHF supports local professionals, who in turn are helping care for others in the community. It’s a cycle that feeds into itself and continues to snowball years down the line. With scholarships, HHF helps the community and creates a big impact.”