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Radiology student on the fast track to success in nuclear medical technology

Jan. 16, 2014

A senior nuclear medical technology student in the IU School of Medicine Department of Radiology was recently selected to serve as a student representative for a nonprofit scientific and professional organization that promotes the science, technology and practical application of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging.

Paige Nilles

Paige Nilles

Paige Nilles is one of only two students from across the Midwest selected to serve as a student representative for the Central Chapter of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. Applications from students in Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan were considered based on campus leadership, volunteer service and creative ideas regarding how to increase student involvement in the organization.

“I'm confident that Paige will do a fantastic job,” said Cybil Nielsen, MBA, a certified medical technologist and program director of the Nuclear Medicine Technology in the IUSM Department of Radiology. “She has shown enthusiasm and passion for the field of nuclear medicine technology. This, along with her leadership skills, makes her an excellent choice for student technologist representative."

A part of the IUSM Health Professions Program, the medical imaging technology program is an undergraduate degree housed in the IU School of Medicine. The program prepares students for future careers as educated registered radiographers, nuclear medicine or radiation therapy technologists.

“I had such a great experience at the fall meeting,” said Nilles, who participated in the most recent meeting of the Central Chapter of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging in Bloomington, Minn., in October. “I got placed on a committee and was involved in creating new ideas for increased membership. I worked closely with the other student representative on coming up with ways to get other students involved in our chapter and the spring meeting. I can’t wait to meet with everyone again in the spring."

It's no secret among the radiology and imaging department that Nilles is a "superstar" on campus, serving as the class representative for nuclear medicine technology program. She also serves as philanthropy chair for Zeta Tau Alpha, an undergraduate sorority at IUPUI, where she helps run events for breast cancer education and awareness for ZTA, including the “Think Pink” and “Pinking Out” NFL games.

Nilles also assists with the organization of ZTA’s largest philanthropic event, "Big Man on Campus," a fundraiser that supports programs such as the NFL Pink Ribbon Project, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the IU Simon Cancer Center. This was the first year that IUPUI hosted their own event. Last year, all proceeds from the ZTA chapter in IU Bloomington contributed to the research of Hari Nakshatri, Ph.D., Marian J. Morrison Professor of Breast Cancer Research and professor of surgery and biochemistry and molecular biology at the IU School of Medicine, who is testing FDA-approved drugs that have not been previously considered for the treatment of breast cancer.

As the student representative for the Central Chapter, Nilles will represent medical imaging technology students at the chapter's 2014 fall and spring conferences in Minneapolis, Minn., and Ann Arbor, Mich., as well as the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging annual meeting in St. Louis, Mo. Her responsibilities will include participating in governance meetings, facilitating student events and running the Quiz Bowl, a fun-filled battle of facts among students from nuclear medicine programs across the Midwest. She aims to coordinate with her fellow representative, an imaging technology student at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse, via email and video chat. Her ideas to increase student involvement in the Central Chapter include establishing a mentoring program and starting a social media group for students.

After what is certain to be a busy year as a student representative, Nilles' goals include working toward an even higher leadership position in the chapter, as well as using the connections from her experiences this year to find a nuclear medicine technologist position after graduation.

“I think it's going to take me a lot of places," she said. "Getting to introduce myself to members with such high importance in the Central Chapter was really exciting; everyone was so welcoming. They told me they that if I ever needed anything, they're here to help."

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