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Every Second Counts

Radiography Student Wins Intense Competition

By Myra Saturen ,

Every second counted as radiography major Peter Kelchner stood ready at the microphone.  He and 150 other contestants at the Student Technical Bowl Virginia Society ofPeter Kelchner Radiologic Technologists Conference in Virginia Beach had just fifteen seconds to correctly answer open-ended, true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions posted on a screen.   

"The pressure was intense," Kelchner said. "There were judges listening and the audience cheering us on."     

How did he match the speedy pace?  Kelchner credits his experience tutoring other radiography students with keeping him intellectually nimble.  Time passed, and contestants fell out of the running, until only two remained.  "For hours, another gentleman and I went back and forth: he'd get one right; I'd get one right."  The jockeying continued apace, until Kelchner held sway, the winner.   

Like many students at NCC, Kelchner is making a career change.  A restaurant/hotel graduate of East Stroudsburg University and a former assistant manager at a Bob Evans restaurant, Kelchner decided he wanted to do something different.  A friend and NCC radiography instructor, Patrick Henninger, encouraged Kelchner to consider radiography.   

Although Kelchner's career change may seem quite a jump, it is not the leap one might think, Kelchner explains.  In a fundamental way, the satisfactions of hospitality and radiography are the same.  "I enjoy working with people," he says.  "As I did with my customers, I want my patients to be happy and comfortable.  I want to cheer people up, to help them feel better."   

Kelchner is delighted with his new field.  While preparing to graduate in May and take his licensing exam, he works as a radiological transporter at Pocono Medical Center.  He looks forward to a career in general diagnostic radiography.  "I very much enjoy radiography," he says.   "When you're doing what you're meant to do, it's a great feeling."