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Read about some of our students and their interests, career goals, and experiences in the our Programs.


Student Spotlight

Crystal Hartman

Crystal Hartman came to us reluctantly when her previous college shut its doors – but she has not looked back since and can say that although the DMS program at Casa Loma is very rigorous  and the bar set very high – she knows that it will only make her a better sonographer. Crystal will admit this program has been a challenge, but she does not run away from challenges and only faces them head-on – she has completed the most difficult task of the program and is now off to externship where she now puts all she learned into real-world practice.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your interests?
I grew up in Fresno, CA (Clovis, if you know the area…it’s different)! I love spending time with my husband and two kiddos as well as close friends and family; we love to go camping, hiking, biking, going to the beach, Magic Mountain, etc.

How did your path unfold and who were the faculty and staff who have helped you along that path? What have you learned or are learning that’s made a difference to you?
I continue to learn perseverance over and over again. I was a former Brightwood student in their DMS program when it suddenly shut down December of 2018. I was faced with the decision of whether or not to continue pursuing ultrasound or switch gears and pursue something else altogether, but I knew ultrasound was where I wanted to be and giving up was not an option. As a result of the school closing ¾ of the way through a semester, I had to retake all of Vascular (we were literally weeks away from taking our final for that course when the school closed). Then, there was Physics, every day I left class I literally felt like my brain was about to explode…but I went home, studied until I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and went back for more the next day.

Now, faced with only a few weeks left in the program, things are more intense than ever but it makes me even more focused on striving to do well, to be ready for externship, and to be the best I can at helping others once in the field.

Running away from the challenges in life will only land you head on with another challenge further down the road; trials are inevitable. So, rather than running away, I am continually learning to just better prepare myself to face those challenges, embrace them, learn from them, be humbled, and be better because of them.

Mr. C (former teacher at Brightwood and Casa Loma) played a huge part in my DMS education. As a teacher he truly had a way of painting tangible word pictures. He explained complicated concepts in such a simple and understandable way that was practical and applicable to every day life. It was because of his teaching that many of us followed him to Casa Loma! Casa Loma has a very rigorous program, the bar is set very high but I know that it will only make each and every one of us that much better in the field. I am so thankful for Mr. Arnak and Mr. Dhillon who are extremely patient with all of us day in and day out; putting up with our 1,000 questions, our struggles, our failures, and even our tears! You have challenged us, humbled us, and have run beside us on this journey, and I am so thankful for all of your time and dedication to us!

What have you learned from other students?
I have learned what a blessing it is to walk through such a rigorous program with friends who have your back, don’t let you quit even when things seem impossibly hard, friends to laugh with, struggle with, complain to, and to encourage you along the way! Everyone learns/retains information differently and it’s those very differences that help you sharpen each other and come out better on the other side! Learning from each other, only helps all of us become better and better. There will always be someone smarter than me, someone who scans better than me, someone who knows the machines better, or is better with patients…but I am thankful for all of these people because I have much to learn from each one of them and that will only help me become a better sonographer!

What has been your greatest challenge?
Physics. Enough said!

What has been your favorite class so far and why?
I can’t say I have had a favorite class. In all honesty, there is SO much to learn, and I haven’t always enjoyed the process…but now, I truly enjoy it all! The more I learn, the more I love scanning! My favorite part is being at the tail end of the program and feeling like it is finally all coming together

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I wanted to be an FBI agent!

What would people be surprised to know about you?
I secretly want to be a racecar driver and I keep Christmas cards, received from friends and family, hung up all year long!

What is your plan for after graduation? What type of facility would you like to work in and why?
I really like the idea of being in a hospital where I can do it all! I don’t want to limit myself to one area. I would rather try everything, learn as much as I can, and see where I excel most before limiting the scope of where I land.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
Know everything! Each time a quiz/exam comes up; it is really pointless to ask what will actually be covered on the quiz/exam…you just have to know it all! Know your anatomy and definitions. Don’t procrastinate, study every day! Run hard for two years so you can excel in the field for years to come!

What makes Casa Loma College special?
Though the program is very rigorous, and the expectations often seem too high, I know it will pay dividends once we are in the field!


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