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Not Once, but Twice

Janelle Gardiner, PhD, RRT, has received not one, but two William F. Miller Postgraduate Education Recognition Awards – the first a few years ago when she was pursuing her master’s degree, and the second last year while she was working on her doctorate.

She’s certainly come a long way from her beginnings in the profession, which she credits to an early desire to work in the health care field. “When I was a senior in high school, I got a job at the local hospital in the medical library.  From my work there, I discovered my love of medicine,” says the professor at Weber State University in Ogden, UT.  “That began my search for the right medical field.”

As she went through the options, though, nothing seemed exactly right – until she took an introductory course in respiratory care. “I felt like I found my home,” she says now. She was accepted into the RT program at Weber State and says she never really left. “After graduation, I stayed involved with the Advisory Board, and as clinical faculty.  I'm now fortunate to teach full-time in the respiratory therapy program there.”

Given her interest in respiratory care education, she knew she’d have to further her own as well, and after earning her master’s degree debated whether she should go back for a doctorate. “When I obtained my master's, I wrote a paper that include my three, five, and ten year plan,” she explains. “At the time, I felt like I had to include getting a doctoral degree in my plan, although I was not completely convinced it was for me.”

She eventually decided it was, and after looking around for a program that would best suit her needs, found the Doctor of Health Sciences degree at A.T. Still University. “I pursued that degree because it encouraged completion of an individual research project, and allowed me to develop a greater knowledge of health sciences and improve my abilities and theoretical understanding of education.”

Dr. Gardiner graduated this past June and says receiving the Miller Award eased the financial burden that comes with any college degree. It also helped validate all the hard work and effort she has put into her own education over the years.

“I certainly felt as if I was committed to doing my best, and had dedicated so much to my educational pursuits,” she says. “It was a wonderful feeling to have the ARCF also recognize my efforts, and acknowledge my accomplishments by giving me this honor.”

She can’t say enough about the value she believes the Foundation brings to everyone like her who is trying to move the profession forward through scholarship and research. “Advancing the field through research and scholarship is how we grow.  It's how we become better respiratory therapists.”    

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