Tracy Rogers, Director of Yavapai College’s Radiologic Technology Program, is the right person, in the right place, at the right time. “I have always wanted to be in education,” she says, still a little amazed. “I just didn’t think it would happen this fast.”

Those who have watched her rapid rise – from a member of YC’s 2016 Rad Tech class, to Clinical Coordinator in 2022, then Program Director by 2023 – are more delighted than surprised. They see a person who found herself in leadership; innovative and hard-working. With a deep knowledge of the field and an ingrained sense of fairness, she is an obvious choice for YC’s 2024 Prescott Campus Alumni of the Year.


Discovering Radiology

“A lot of people don’t understand what Radiologic Technologists do,” Tracy says. “Doctors rely on imaging to make their diagnoses so nurses can activate the proper treatment plan. We are an integral part of the Healthcare chain.” She’s been working to spread that word: doing outreach with local schools; hosting field trips; making Rad Tech a presence on-campus and off. Tracy wants to raise awareness of the field and the program – something she didn’t have when she arrived from New Jersey in 2012.

“I totally didn’t know. Being an EMT, I knew I liked medicine. It felt good to take care of people. But after that, I was kind of lost.” Her former mother-in-law, a retired nurse, knew Tracy had to make ends meet. “She suggested the Rad Tech program and said, ‘we have a college right in our backyard that offers it.’” Her initial response was lukewarm.

“But then I remembered my aunt, who was being treated for stage IV lung cancer. She told me, ‘The ‘techs’ that take care of me keep me going. They are so sweet.’ And I thought, ‘Wow. What an amazing gift to give someone who’s sick – the desire to keep fighting.”


Hard Lessons

She entered Yavapai College as a Radiologic Technology student in 2014, part of a ten-student cohort in a program known for its rigor.

“The program asks a lot,” she explained. State licensing requires a minimum of 1,800 clinical hours from Radiologic technologists, significantly more than other disciplines. Study, plus homework, makes keeping a day job challenging. Rad Tech students must pay tuition through scholarships, savings, or loans for a 22-month program that demands their full focus. “Programs like this test relationships and foster growth.”  Tracy says. “Spouses and children have to remain supportive, and two years is a long time.”

Within all that rigor, she made wonderful discoveries, too. “I became fascinated with Radiology. It is an art and a science. For creative people, it really is satisfying to nail that perfect image. You look at that and think, wow, it’s beautiful.”

And she made significant bonds within her cohort – “There’s a lot of passion for what we do. I call it the ‘Rad Family.’”  Over the years she has made meaningful connections with patients. “What I like about Radiology is we usually have about ten minutes to change a person’s day. It can be something as little as tucking them into a warm blanket before they head back to the ER, or taking an extra five minutes to really listen. If you take those little steps, it can change their whole experience at the hospital.”

After graduating in the Summer of 2016, Tracy pursued a post-primary certification in mammography and performed roles within the hospital. In 2021, she began managing multiple imaging centers for Northern Arizona Healthcare before returning to Prescott Valley. Then YC’s Radiology Program came calling. “From the day I graduated, I knew I wanted to be Clinical Coordinator.” She took the position in 2022. Then, with the departure of Shellie Son, Tracy was promoted to interim Director of the program she had joined in 2014.


Family Ties

For Tracy, growing the Rad Tech program meant sifting through her student experience, and separating the good pressure from the ‘bad pressure.’

“It has to be hard to some degree.” She says. “Because we all have things we need to work on. Treating people on presumably the worst day of their lives requires a level of professionalism, dependability and compassion In the beginning of the program, everyone is amazing. But as time goes on, you’re too tired to keep up that front, and issues start to appear. Maybe you don’t have team-player qualities, or good communication skills or you’re not reliable. As those things come to light, this program has to make you look in the mirror and grow from that.”

If her students are willing to face the challenges ahead of them, Tracy is ready to support them. With the help of the YC Foundation, she established an Emergency Fund to assist with unexpected housing, transportation, or food insecurities that threaten their studies. She’s working to expand childcare assistance for students who are working parents. She created scholarships to help Rad Tech alumni return to school and earn additional certifications. And she encourages Rad Tech alumni to support and mentor current students. “I’m trying to make the most out of everything I do.”

Supported by her husband, Allan, and three-year-old son Lincoln, Tracy Rogers advocates every day, for her Rad Tech family.

“When I was a senior, Rad Tech juniors became part of my cohort. You felt this sense of … ‘you’re part of my Rad family, too.’  Now I feel like they’re all part of my cohort. And I’m going to be here for them.”