South Piedmont Community College sonography alumna Dani Burnham and Christy Caudle were both motivated by a desire to make a difference for women in their community.
Now, they’re doing exactly that, as the sonographers at the pregnancy resource centers serving Anson and Union counties.
“I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we feel so grateful for the sonography program here at SPCC. It’s provided us with job opportunities and the chance to serve the community we call home. It’s provided us with a great life,” Caudle said.
Burnham and Caudle’s stories represent the wide spectrum of students who attend SPCC.
Beginning with Burnham, she earned a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and had a successful career as a geologist. While pregnant with her second child, Burnham decided she needed to make a change.
“I was a staff geologist and did a lot of work with cleaning up groundwater. One day, I was hanging out over a pit of contaminated water and I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’” she said.
“I wanted to serve my community. I also always felt like I missed a calling to be in healthcare. After researching healthcare careers, I was drawn to sonography, and in our area, SPCC’s program is renowned. Everyone wants to hire SPCC sonography graduates.”
Burnham graduated with her Associate in Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography in 2018.
Caudle, meanwhile, decided to become a sonographer while in high school and was interested in attending SPCC.
“All my friends were going to a four-year university, so I ended up following them and becoming a pre-nursing major. It was a totally different experience. There, I was just a random student ID number. No one missed me if I missed a class. I didn’t even make it through the first year; it just wasn’t for me. I transferred to SPCC to do sonography. It was the best decision I could have made.”
Caudle graduated in 2008.
Since receiving their degrees, both Burnham and Caudle have had successful careers in a variety of settings. Both have worked in hospitals and OB/GYN practices. Today, Burnham works at HELP Pregnancy Center in Monroe as a medical administrator and sonographer. Caudle works at Hope Pregnancy Resource Center in Wadesboro as a client services manager and sonographer.
“I started in the workforce when I was young, and I’ve had a good job ever since,” Caudle said.
HELP and Hope offer a wide range of services to women during and after their pregnancy. Burnham and Caudle are working to expand their employers’ reach, both in terms of patient volume and services provided.
Burnham and Caudle agreed SPCC prepared them well for the work they’re doing today.
“Everyone in our area knows how rigorous this program is. What they may not know is how this program prepares you to quickly read your patients and adapt the care you provide to what it is that they need,” Burnham said.
“There are some women who want you to hold their hand. There are some who don’t. At SPCC, you learn how to quickly read your patients’ body language and assess their needs. That’s how I make my patients, when they’re with me, feel like they’re the only mother in the world and their baby is the only baby in the world.”
“At SPCC, they’re putting you in the workforce and they know you’re going to represent them. They want you to be successful. They prepare you to make a difference for your patients.”
South Piedmont Community College’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program has a nearly 100-percent job placement rate and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).