By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
MOUNT LAUREL â€“ Pamela Joseph literally knows how it is to be a student in Rowan College at Burlington County’s Radiography Program, and not just because she has been the director on an interim and full-time basis since 2015.
Joseph was actually a member of the college’s first graduates from the program in 1989. After working in the health care field for 15 years as an X-ray and computed tomography technologist, she is now one of the highest-ranking African-American staff members at the college.
“As a radiography student, I never thought I would be back as the director of the radiography program that I graduated from in 1989,” Joseph told Front Runner New Jersey.com. “I had applied and got accepted to the radiation therapy program at Cooper University Hospital but rescinded my acceptance and branched out into computed tomography and mammography.”
Joseph is a Pemberton native where she and her father still lives while another brother and his family lives in San Antonio. She said her reason for staying here was simple â€“ she loves it.
“I stayed in Pemberton because of my parents and I love where I grew up,” said Joseph, who spends her free-time with her dog Miss Olivia. “My aunt and cousin also live nearby in Browns Mills, N.J., and Hainesport, N.J. respectively.”
RCBC’s radiography program prepares students as compassionate and competent radiographer in the ever-increasing high-tech world of health care today. It is accredited nationally by the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology along with the Radiologic Technology Board of Examiners.
Joseph said her interest in the health field and radiology came from television and a high school test.
“I have always enjoyed watching the medical shows of the 1970s, i.e. ‘Emergency,’ ‘Qunicy M.E..’ and ‘Trapper John M.D.,'” Joseph said. “Believe it or not that is where my true interest came from, those early television shows.
“Exactly how I got into the field a radiography is an interesting one. When I was in high school, the students were given a test to match a personality with a career. My personality profile matched with a radiologic technologist and therefore I selected radiography as my career. And here I am.”
She credited her parents as her major inspirations in her life and career.
“I got my love of math from my father, who would teach me how to do mathematical problems on a slide ruler at around the age of seven or eight,” Joseph said.
Joseph earned her associate degree in radiography from RCBC, her bachelor’s degree from Widener University and her master’s degree from Midwestern State University. She said she plans on earning her doctorate as well.
A chance to return to RCBC as an instructor came in 2003 when the previous radiography director Dr. Elizabeth Price gave her a chance to teach radiation physics, radiation protection and biology, and equipment, operation, and maintenance.
“Dr. Elizabeth Price gave me a chance 16 years ago,” Joseph said. “And I would not be in the position that I am in, without her believing in me.
“After two years, I taught in Pennsylvania and stayed there until 2014. It wasn’t until 2015, that I returned and accepted the interim program director position and wasn’t fully vested until January 2016,” she continued.
Joseph said today, here biggest reward is watching the students during their final semester and to see them progress from “the shy scared first semester student to the confident senior radiography student ready to take the national registry examination.”
“The position of radiography program director is challenging every day. I have many duties, some of which many people are not privy to: lectures, schedules, meetings, budgets, and most of all maintaining accreditation standards,” she added.
As an African-American administrator, Joseph said she hopes others reading her story will be inspired to believe that they can come full circle like she has and “can do what may seem impossible.”
“RCBC is a great springboard for students to begin their educational career,” Joseph said. “And it can open a lot of doors in the future.”
Joseph has proven herself to be the perfect example of that.