For a full-time employee, mother and student, Jade Pendry is determined to reach her goal even during a pandemic.

Winston-Salem, NC --- Taking one step at a time is part of the routine for Jade Pendry. As a mom to a two-year old, a full-time radiography technologist at the University of North Carolina Hospital at Rockingham, and a full-time student at Forsyth Technical Community College, she’s learned to balance. As her name, Jade suggests, perhaps a little luck, harmony and balance are part of her DNA. When COVID-19 turned up in our world, Pendry did what she usually does, she adjusted and adapted, but even this was beyond her normal. She’s managing all of this and will graduate in July.

PHOTO ABOVE - Jade Pendry in her PPE at work at UNC Hospital at Rockingham.

“COVID-19 was unusual and beyond anything we had seen before,” said Pendry. “We kept our testing area completely taped off and when anyone came into the hospital with symptoms, we completely suited up in our personal protective equipment (PPE). At one point, I had to be in isolation for two weeks away from my son and family.”

She missed seeing him every day and said it was very difficult to Facetime with a two-year-old.

Pendry received her associate in applied science in radiologic technology in Virginia. She explained that her mother wanted to go to school for radiology before she passed away from cancer. To fulfill her mom’s dream, Pendry became a radiologic technologist. While it’s been an intriguing job that she loves, she felt like her dreams were not completely fulfilled. She began pursuing her associate in applied science in radiation therapy at Forsyth Tech in August, 2019.

“Radiation therapy has been my ultimate goal,” said Pendry. “While my mom was having her treatments, I was only 11 years old but the impact those therapists had on my journey, made me realize I want to be there for patients in that same way.”

To say Pendry’s schedule is demanding is an understatement. Pendry works full-time on third shift on the weekends while attending college. With her schedule, it means she’s awake for 24 hours on Mondays and Fridays. She was commuting from her home in Reidsville to Winston-Salem for school Monday through Friday. On Fridays, she would drive to Rockingham for work and then home to Reidsville on Saturday morning. She would go to work Sunday night and start all over on Monday.

The online classes may have given her more time but she still had to adapt.

“I hadn’t taken online classes before so it was a challenge to keep up,” said Pendry. “With face-to-face classes, I get more immediate feedback and clarification on topics. But, it’s a good lesson to help me self-pace and stay organized.”

“We’ve all had to cope with limitations at this time,” said Pendry, “I just want to do my best for my patients, for my family and for myself to get my degree. Just three more classes to go and I’m determined to finish!” Pendry will finish her classes this summer and graduate this summer.

Program Coordinator and Professor, Forsyth Tech Radiation Therapy Program, Christina Gibson described Jade. “She is a motivated student who puts her patients’ needs ahead of her own and does whatever it takes to persevere!”

“While many of our imaging departments saw significant decreases in procedure numbers during COVID-19 containment efforts, radiation therapy departments continued to provide services to their immune compromised patients undergoing radiation therapy treatments for their cancer,” said Tamara Beck, associate dean, imaging, Forsyth Tech.

“These professionals had to revise their protocols and take extra steps to ensure these vulnerable patients were safe while continuing to fulfill their radiation therapy regiments. Radiation Therapy departments are anticipating an increase in radiation cancer treatments in the near future due to the delay of cancer diagnosis during the stay-at-home COVID-19 period. I am so very thankful to Radiation Therapists and Imaging professionals who continued to provide compassionate and necessary care during COVID-19!”

Radiation Therapy is one of eight imaging programs at Forsyth Tech. The college also offers programs in Cardiovascular Sonography, Medical Sonography, MRI, CT, Nuclear Medicine Technology, Interventional Cardiovascular Technology, and Radiography. Radiation Therapy is an intense and very rewarding program with great career options.

“We are extremely proud of our graduates and soon-to-be graduates from this program!” said Janet Spriggs, president of Forsyth Tech. “Especially during COVID19, our frontline health technology students have had more than the usual amount of stress. Yet, through it all, they demonstrated how caring for patients is more than a career to them and they will always remember why they chose to serve.”  

About Forsyth Tech

Forsyth Technical Community College is a catalyst for equitable economic mobility, empowering lives and transforming communities. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in over 200 programs of study, including programs that promote personal and professional development through non-credit courses and seminars, as well as customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech serves more than 35,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff. For additional information, visit forsythtech.edu and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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