South Piedmont Sonography Student Will Graduate Debt Free and With First Job Offer

One day this summer, Miranda Goodwin is going to be floating on a lake, alongside her friends, free of any worries about money or finding a job.

“That’s what I’ve been working for ever since I enrolled at South Piedmont, and now, it’s almost here,” said Goodwin, who will graduate on May 13 with her Associate of Science in Medical Sonography.

While in the eighth grade at Sun Valley Middle School, Goodwin applied for and received the New Century Scholarship, which is awarded to students who plan to attend South Piedmont. From that point on, she never wavered from her intention to go to South Piedmont, even as her classmates committed to four-year universities.

“My parents always instilled in me that it’s important to be smart with your money, and that you need to make your money work for you,” Goodwin said.

“I never felt like I was going to be missing out on something by coming to a community college. I felt like I was making a smart financial choice.”

Goodwin graduated from Central Academy of Technology & Arts in 2018.

Since enrolling at South Piedmont in 2019, she’s earned her Associate in Arts degree, as a member of the first cohort of South Piedmont’s Associate in a Year program, served as Student Government Association president, and enjoyed memorable social experiences such as Spring Fling.

“Since starting at South Piedmont, I’ve had so many leadership experiences. I’ve learned how to interact with so many people. People tell me I’ve come out of my shell,” she said.

She was also able to explore the College’s health sciences career paths.

“I want to work to live, not live to work. I knew that there would always be jobs in healthcare, and that those careers would let me make a good living. So I started researching, and sonography seemed like the best fit. It would provide me a stable job, a stable income, and the work-life balance I wanted,” Goodwin.

Earlier this semester, Goodwin successfully completed certification with the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. She is in salary negotiations for her first job in the field.

Thanks to the affordability of South Piedmont’s tuition and fees, as well as financial aid and money she earned working part time, Goodwin is graduating free of student debt. Now that she has a job offer on the table, and her degree is almost in hand, she is confident in her ability to provide for herself. So much so that she recently bought a new car, and she’s planning many summertime adventures.

“I love to travel, so I’m going to be doing a lot more of that. My family lives in Texas. I can’t wait to go see them. I’m going to buy a nice outfit for graduation. I want to rent a boat with my friends this summer and spend my money having experiences, making memories,” Goodwin said.

“The end goal has always been the lifestyle. I want to work to live, not live to work. I want to be in my 20s and just live, and now that I’ve reached my goal, that’s what I get to do.”

As a soon-to-be two-time community college graduate, Goodwin is quick to tell others about the benefits of attending a community college.

“You can have all the experiences of a four-year university, you can take the same classes, but you’re keeping more of your money in your pocket, and one day you can put that money toward a house or a car. Community colleges are just a smart choice.”

South Piedmont’s Medical Sonography program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and has a nearly 100-perecent job placement rate.  

South Piedmont’s Associate in a Year program is now enrolling for the fall semester. Learn more here.

Pair of SPCC Sonography Alumna Now Serve Pregnancy Centers in Anson and Union Counties

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.”

Added Caudle:

“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).

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