As she moves forward, Illiana Barrientos Munoz has always known she wanted a career in the medical profession. During high school, she thought about nursing and imagined working in a neonatal intensive care unit. That was until a career exploration assignment her junior year of high school to job shadow a sonographer who was an SCTCC graduate. Barrientos Munoz discovered the direction for her academic future during that job shadow.
“I had never heard of it,” Barrientos Munoz explained. “I knew it was ultrasound, but learned it was much more. I found it very interesting.”
After graduating from high school in 2016, Barrientos Munoz set her life direction on becoming a sonographer. “I took a lot of college credits in high school,” Barrientos Munoz explained. At SCTCC as a pre-sonography student she learned to perform and analyze ultrasound images with high frequency sound waves in a variety of medical settings.
Barrientos Munoz quickly earned her AA Degree in the fall of 2017. With the degree completed, she was prepared to apply to the Sonography program. It is a very difficult program to get in. Each academic year, 12 students are admitted and the admissions process is very specific.
“I was chosen as an alternate,” she reported. “My life is a jumble right now,” she said. “But taking nursing classes is my back-up plan.” This summer, Barrientos Munoz plans to take two courses.
Barrientos Munoz knew she would need to work hard, save money, and apply for scholarships to achieve two goals: graduate and be debt free. “I decided to pay out of pocket,” she explained. She is now working two part-time jobs, as well as being a student.
To save money, she lives with her family in Monticello. “You save a lot of money that way and I’m saving up for the next step,” she explained.
To receive scholarships, Barrientos Munoz started applying early. She received two scholarships from SCTCC, the Kopp Family Scholarship and the Morgan Family Scholarship. “It probably takes an hour,” Barrientos Munoz said of the application process. “The process is really simple. It’s super short and sweet,” she said.
Her work at the Monticello Hospital also qualified Barrientos Munoz for some tuition reimbursement from CentraCare and she has applied for diversity scholarships from CentraCare as well. On her quest for a sonography career, Barrientos Munoz knows that her future includes more tuition bills, more classroom time, and more commuting time. Applying for more scholarships will also be part of that future.