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From Radiologic Sciences Scholar to Trailblazing Leader: The Remarkable Journey of Jeleana Loa

Jeleana Loa in regalia in B plaza

Jeleana Loa, a senior student in the Diagnostic Radiology program within the Department of Radiologic Sciences, has made the most of her time at Boise State and has left a lasting impression on the faculty within the department.

Clinical Assistant Professor Travis Armstrong notes that “Jeleana is an outgoing, energetic, and thoughtful individual that is known for supporting and lifting up others. She is beloved and highly respected by both faculty and her fellow students and plays a positive role as a leader within the cohort based Diagnostic Radiology program.”

Remarkably, Loa was not only voted as Class Representative for her cohort she was also elected as president of the Student Association of Radiologic Technologists at Boise State. It is rare that a student is elected by their peers to serve in both key leadership positions within the program. In her role as president, the club has completed numerous community service activities to include a food drive to benefit the College of Western Idaho, a blood drive, and raising money for breast cancer research.

As a first generation college student, Loa is dedicated to her studies holding a 3.73 cumulative GPA and has demonstrated great interest in research. Last year, Loa partnered with Armstrong to conduct research in her role as a Higher Education Research Council (HERC) fellow through the Institute for Inclusive & Transformative Scholarship. The two collaborated to investigate the topic of the national shortage of radiologic technologists. Loa was invaluable to the process of conducting the research and then disseminating the findings.

Travis Armstrong and Jeleana Loa pose with their research poster at a conference

Loa presented the research at multiple conferences in 2023, including the Gabriel E. Gallardo Student Leadership & Advocacy Symposium held at the University of Washington. The symposium, which featured the work of outstanding students from across the region, highlighted the importance of undergraduate research and its impact on student success.

More recently, Loa and Armstrong participated in the faculty poster presentation at the annual Association of Collegiate Educators in Radiologic Technology (ACERT) conference in Las Vegas. Loa had the opportunity to discuss the findings of the research with radiologic technology leaders from around the country. As a product of their research project, Loa and Armstrong co-authored an article titled ‘Addressing the Nationwide Shortage of Radiologic Technologists’ which has been accepted for publication later this year by the journal Radiologic Technology.

In addition to her last semester of the Diagnostic Radiology program, Loa is currently enrolled in the computed tomography (CT) program. After graduation from Diagnostic Radiology in May, Loa will complete her CT clinicals during the summer; allowing her to graduate in August with a certificate in CT. Loa’s education in CT was sponsored by her place of employment Saint Alphonsus through their Upfront Tuition scholarship program.

Jeleana Loa at the B plaza with her graduation cap and stole

The future is bright for Loa who has aspirations to obtain further medical imaging training, conduct more research, and ultimately pursue a career as an educator. Loa has recently been accepted into the Master of Public Health program at Boise State within the School of Public and Population Health and will begin that program in the fall. Simultaneously, she will complete training as a nuclear medicine technologist and has secured coveted clinical placement within the St. Luke’s organization locally. Loa looks forward to pursuing a PhD after completion of her masters in hopes to continue researching in the field of radiologic sciences. Her ultimate goal is to become a faculty member of the radiologic science department where she states she “hopes to mentor, inspire, and facilitate the success of students, much like the current staff has done for me.”