New Scholarship a “Game-Changer” for Medical Imaging Students

A group of people presents a student with a certificate for her scholarship
Rhode Island College Impact

This first-of-its-kind scholarship is an investment from RIMI in the future of RIC students and its emerging workforce.

When Rhode Island College students would ask Professor of Biology Eric Hall about scholarship opportunities within the medical imaging field, he'd often resort to directing them to national resources.

That's no longer the case with the inception of the Rhode Island Medical Imaging (RIMI) Endowed Scholarship, a $25,000 gift that will be used to award $2,000 each fall to a deserving medical imaging major at RIC. The inaugural recipient, Emily Vargas (above, center), a graduating senior, was presented with a certificate congratulating her on the scholarship by Rhode Island College President Frank D. Sánchez and Dr. John A. Pezzullo, president of Rhode Island Medical Imaging (third from left).

Hall calls the scholarship funded by RIMI, the state's largest private provider of medical diagnostic imaging, a game-changer.

"It's a great opportunity and a tribute to RIMI's commitment to the education of future medical imagers in the state," says Hall, the director of health-related programs in the biology department. "For students who struggle to make payments while in college and need to seek aid, this is a way to apply for a substantial scholarship to make ends meet and persist in the program. Instead of having to work, a student who receives this scholarship can focus on their studies, and that type of impact is immeasurable."

To qualify for the merit-based scholarship, full-time students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average, show examples of community service and submit an essay essay explaining why they wish to pursue a career in the medical imaging profession.

Established in 1943, RIMI operates a network of 12 private state-of-the-art medical imaging facilities that are staffed by over 80 board certified radiologists. RIMI is accredited by the American College of Radiology and is the first and only diagnostic imaging center of excellence in Rhode Island. Its radiologists perform imaging at Hasbro Children's Hospital, Miriam Hospital, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, Roger Williams Medical Center, Women and Infants Hospital and Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Massachusetts.  

"RIMI is devoted to supporting students aspiring to be in the diagnostic imaging career field and their goal of a four-year college degree," reads an agreement letter about the scholarship, which is administered through the RIC Foundation.

The Lifespan School of Medical Imaging, which runs a joint program with RIC that allows students to receive clinical experience in the field, has been affiliated with Rhode Island Medical Imaging (RIMI) sites since 2005. After performing clinical work within the company's sites, many RIC students have gone on to work for RIMI, says Ellen Alexandre, director of the Lifespan School.

"I think students are very excited about this first-of-its-kind scholarship," Alexandre says. "There is nothing like this in the state. It's a wonderful investment from RIMI in the future of our students and emerging workforce."

Typically, about 50 RIC students annually enter the Lifespan School of Medical Imaging program, where they earn four-year degrees in specialized fields such as Diagnostic Medical Sonography (DMS), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), RT Computed Tomography and/or Radiologic Technology. 

Hall and Alexandre say careers in the medical imaging field are in high demand across the state and nation.

"If you look at our job placement rates across the state, we're at 100 percent," Alexandre says. "Our students have been placed in jobs here and across the country, and there are many openings. It's a growing field."

The leadership of RI Medical Imaging presents President Sanchez with a check for a scholarship fund in front of the Rhode Island College sign at the Forman Center
Dr. John A. Pezzullo, president of Rhode Island Medical Imaging (far right) presents RIC President Frank D. Sánchez with a check for $25,000 to establish the Rhode Island Medical Imaging Endowed Scholarship.

"RIMI has long been a supporter of the local Rhode Island health care community, its innovative care, and its growing workforce," says Dr. John A. Pezzullo, president of Rhode Island Medical Imaging. "We are proud to partner with Rhode Island College on this scholarship fund and to continue to champion its talented students, our next generation of technologists."

"This scholarship fund and the partnership it represents demonstrate the value of collaboration between higher education and the business community," says Rhode Island College President Frank D. Sánchez. "Rhode Island Medical Imaging is a valued partner that recognizes the potential of Rhode Island College students. When we work together we can make a real impact that benefits the whole state by serving the workforce development needs of our healthcare economy and providing more pathways to opportunity for our students."