By Elisabeth Costanzo Stewart

When Carly Weigold graduated from SUNY Cortland with her bachelor’s degree in 2020, she asked herself a two-word question posed by millions of fellow college graduates each year. “Now what?” After dabbling in a few industries and a one-semester stint in graduate school, Weigold embarked on a rising trend in higher education – a post-baccalaureate associate degree. As Carly enters her final semester of SUNY Broome’s Radiologic Technology: A.A.S. program, she can confidently provide an answer to “Now what?” Thanks to the practical, hands-on design of her degree program, Weigold will have the expertise and credentials to deliver quality patient care by producing images used to diagnose disease and injury.

Born in Greenwich, CT, Weigold spent her adolescence in Putnam County, NY. At three years old, Carly learned to ice skate and happily tagged along to her older brother’s hockey games. As a teen, her talent and athleticism on the ice caught the attention of the head women’s ice hockey coach at the Millbrook School, a private college preparatory boarding school. Carly thrived as a student-athlete at Millbrook and hoped to continue her ice hockey career at the collegiate level. She was recruited to play D3 women’s hockey for SUNY Cortland and ascended upstate with her skates in tow. 

A proficient multi-tasker, Weigold breezed through her years at SUNY Cortland. She easily balanced her classes, training sessions, and games and even managed to fit in a semester studying abroad in Germany. Thanks to a strategically scheduled course load, Weigold spent her weekends during her semester in Germany traveling to thirteen nearby European countries. Carly returned to SUNY Cortland to finish up the final year of her degree in fitness development, which included an internship as an strength and conditioning intern for the College’s athletic programs. But the year was 2020, and her internship, like everything else in the world, was brought to a screeching halt. 

“While the pandemic cut my internship short, it also allowed me to reflect on my degree and its related career paths,” Weigold explained. “I realized that while health and wellness were my passions and hobbies, I didn’t want to make them my career.”

Weigold graduated at the height of the pandemic and spent the following two years working in property management, customer service, and the specialty eatery industry. Looking to bolster her undergraduate degree, Carly assumed that the logical next step would be to attend graduate school. She enrolled in SUNY Cortland’s online sport management master’s degree program, but the final project of her first semester proved to be an eye-opening experience. 

Carly gains comfort in knowing that she is entering a highly in-demand industry. The number of medical imaging examinations performed in the United States increases every year. Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

“I had to record myself answering different questions about my life and then create a five to ten-year plan,” Weigold said. “In the middle of answering the questions, I had my ‘aha moment,’ where I realized that I didn’t want to use this sport management degree professionally.”

Carly returned to the drawing board and consulted her core support system, her family. That’s when her mother, an ultrasound technologist with decades of experience, suggested that Carly explore the field of medical imaging. Its unique combination of technology, artistry, and direct patient care might be the perfect fit. 

“At this point, my age and life experiences kicked in and helped me to appreciate the value of completing a degree that had a direct, clear path to a profession,” Weigold explained. “My exposure to radiological technology through my mom’s career and through personal experiences as a patient were always positive, so I started researching rad tech programs near Cortland.”

A quick search in SUNY’s database of 64 colleges and universities matched Carly to SUNY Broome. The program’s affordable tuition, proximity to Cortland, and prestige within the medical imaging community made her decision to apply a no-brainer. After completing the competitive admissions process, Weigold resolved to devote the next 21 months of her life to mastering her course material and honing her professional skills in her clinical rotations. 

Thanks to decades of early morning hockey practices, Carly doesn’t bat an eye departing her home at 6:30 a.m. to begin her hour-long commute to campus. She bounces between classes, labs, the library, and clinical rotations before heading home to regroup with a mind-clearing pre-dinner workout. Then, it’s back to her textbooks to review, prep, and repeat. Though her free time is limited, she manages to fit in a part-time job at Cayuga Medical Center as a radiology aide in an effort to immerse herself even deeper into her new field. 

“Now what?” is just months away, but for the first time since earning her bachelor’s degree, Carly is finding comfort and confidence in the future. 

“I love that this degree was designed to equally prepare me for immediate employment or for further study,” Weigold said. “It’s encouraging to know that I am already on the path to pursuing specialties in areas like sonography, CT, or MRI. Not only knowing what I want to do, but also that I have the qualifications to do it, is a great feeling.”

Did Carly’s story inspire you to explore the rewarding field of medical imaging? SUNY Broome’s Radiologic Technology A.A.S. program is JRCERT (Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology) accredited and is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2024 semester! To learn more about the Radiologic Technology A.A.S. program at SUNY Broome, please visit:

While completing her degree, Carly works part-time as a radiology aide at Cayuga Medical Center to gain even more industry experience. Photo Credit: Matt Ebbers

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