GNTC's Stacy Hedges Receives Alan D. Waggoner Student Scholarship
GNTC’s Stacy Hedges Receives Alan D. Waggoner Student Scholarship

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) has chosen Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Echocardiography student Stacy Hedges as one of ten echocardiography students across the United States and Canada to receive the 2013 Alan D. Waggoner Scholarship.

The Alan D. Waggoner Student Scholarship program was established in 2001 in recognition of Waggoner’s professional achievements and service, according to the ASE website. Funding from the ASE Foundation provides a limited number of $1,000 scholarships for students enrolled in a cardiovascular ultrasound program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in the U.S., or by an equivalent Canadian or International ultrasound program. Also included with each scholarship award is a complimentary one year membership in ASE, complimentary registration for the recipient to attend the annual scientific sessions, and limited travel support. Recipients are chosen based on their letters of nomination, personal accomplishments, and academic record.

Hedges began the Echocardiography program at Georgia Northwestern shortly after the birth of her daughter. “When I was 20 weeks pregnant, I received the news that my daughter was to be born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect that would require her to have open heart surgery at 14 weeks of age,” said Hedges. “I was devastated. However, through my daughter’s strength and the support of her doctors, my friends, family and my faith, we both made it through surgery and recovery. From there, I knew that I needed to get into the cardiology field so that I could help other families as they deal with the same fears that I had. I began my search for schools, talking to every echocardiographer and cardiologist I had met along the way to find where to start; they all sent me to GNTC. So, after being a stay at home mom for two years to take care of my daughter, I started the echocardiography program. I signed up for the Alan Waggoner Scholarship with no expectations at all, just a hope that somehow I could find some kind of means to get myself through the program.”

“Receiving this award means so much to me,” Hedges continued. “I hope to be able to use the connections and information that I receive through this scholarship to not only learn more and help my fellow classmates, but to make a difference in the world of congenital heart defects, a world that many don’t even know exists. One out of every 100 babies is born with a heart defect, and many go unnoticed. If nothing else, I want to make sure that these babies get the fighting chance at life that they deserve, and I hope that with this opportunity I can do that.”

“This is a huge honor not only for Stacy but for our college as well,” said Dawn Irwin, Georgia Northwestern Technical College Echocardiography instructor. “Because of our credentialing status, CAAHEP, she was able to apply for the scholarship. She definitely deserves this recognition.”

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) is a professional organization of physicians, cardiac sonographers, nurses and scientists involved in echocardiography, the use of ultrasound to image the heart and cardiovascular system. The organization was founded in 1975 and is the largest international organization for cardiac imaging.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. Approximately 22,000 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fourth largest
technical college in Georgia.