Biology

Jessica Petitt

2005

My liberal arts education has allowed me to effectively communicate with my patients and my fellow coworkers, as well as provide me with the skillset to think critically and to modify methods of care for each individual.

Jessica Petitt uses her USAO Biology degree in numerous ways. She is a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, which takes her to work at both Grady County Memorial Hospital and Norman Regional Health System. In this profession, she uses ultrasound waves to generate diagnostic medical images that aid in a patient's diagnosis. Petitt works very closely with radiologists and other medical staff to provide the best patient care possible.

Jessica not only works as a sonographer at two major area hospitals, she also manages to find the time to teach as a fulltime clinical instructor for the Sonography career program at Moore Norman Technology Center.

“My job at MNTC is very fulfilling,” Jessica said. “I provide a hands-on teaching approach to future sonographers. Most people immediately think of baby scans when they hear the word ultrasound, however, sonography is much more than babies. I have the ability to look inside the human body from head-to-toe scanning arteries, veins, organs, soft tissue and yes, also babies.”

Jessica says her greatest career accomplishment is being able to spend each day doing what she loves.

“Performing ultrasounds has allowed me to work closely with a variety of physicians, nurses, radiologic technicians and fellow sonographers. The sonographic studies I perform have a direct impact on patient care.”

The most profound accomplishment, she adds, comes from her patients and the positive effect that they have on her. “I enjoy getting to meet new people and in the process, helping with their healthcare.”

Jessica credits USAO for provided her with a solid foundation in science and psychology as well as in communication.

“Each day with each patient I have to incorporate critical thinking skills to decide which ultrasound images will be most beneficial to the radiologist. I have to listen and to observe my patients in order to provide the best medical care for them as well as to provide the comfort and reassurance they need for their peace of mind. USAO’s science curriculum allowed me the opportunity to work with others and to develop the confidence to work independently.”

Jessica graduated from Chickasha High School in 1988 and she said attending USAO was the obvious choice for her because of it being local, low cost, and having the major she was interested in. She said she fell in love with USAO as soon as she enrolled. However, certain life circumstances caused her to not be able to attend for several years.

“But, my favorite anecdote as to why I returned to USAO involves my friend and mentor, Dr. Mike Mather. I ran into him in a local store after having been away from my studies for many years. I had no idea that he would know who I was. He came up to my husband and me, shook both of our hands and said to my husband, ‘When are we going to get Jessica back in class? She’s got potential.’ I was dumbfounded. He not only remembered me, but he was genuinely interested in my education.

“I knew that if the staff at USAO was that passionate about teaching, then I could be equally passionate about learning. I truly believe that I would not be the person, biologist and sonographer that I am today if that encounter with Dr. Mather had not occurred.”

Cost is also one of Jessica’s top reasons for attending USAO.

“Basically a top rate education does not have to come with an outrageous price. The class sizes are ideal: excellent professor/student ratio. Instructors are readily available and willing to communicate. Plus, the campus is growing and evolving. USAO is just a great place to be!”

As a clinical instructor, Jessica claims she regularly draws on her experiences at USAO to provide her sonography students with the same personalized learning environment in which she thrived.

“I am and will continue to be grateful and appreciative of my time at USAO and, if given the chance, I would do it all again.”