A Whole New Life

Elke Ebhodaghe and Gary Green

Elke Ebhodaghe, AAS, Radiography

 

A New Country, A New Career

When Elke Ebhodaghe moved to Winston-Salem from Germany with her husband and daughter in 2006, she was hoping to continue her career as an optician, but unfortunately North Carolina’s licensing board did not recognize the undergraduate degree she obtained in Germany. She was told she could be re-trained, but the only college in North Carolina where she could get the training she needed was in Durham, and traveling back and forth from Winston to Durham for two-plus years just wasn’t practical. “So I started looking into other careers,” she remembers, “and I wanted something health related.”

That led her to Forsyth Tech. “My husband was at Forsyth Medical Center at the time,” she says, “and we lived very close to Forsyth Tech. Having a daughter, I needed something close by so I could go to school while she was in school. And many people that I knew went to Forsyth Tech, so I really never looked at any other school.”

 

A Singular Honor

Elke started at the college in 2008, beginning with a few prerequisites while her daughter was at school. “I met some awesome teachers along the way,” she says. “English not being my first language, I needed their help in overcoming my obstacles. It got challenging when I became pregnant during this busy period, but I wanted to show my daughters that education is to be taken seriously and prove that anything is possible with the right mindset and work ethic, so I forged ahead.” Her determination paid off – Elke made the President’s Honors list several times. “Those letters still hang on our refrigerator for encouragement when I get overwhelmed,” she says.

She was accepted into the Radiography program in 2014 and found it to be all she had hoped. “The instructors are all wonderful. They’re all so knowledgeable. You can ask them any question because they really know their stuff. And they’re always ready to help. If you need tutoring, they’re always available. It’s like a family. I loved it,” she says. Once again her hard work was rewarded, as she was chosen Forsyth Tech’s nominee to receive the 2016 Dallas Herring Achievement Award, which was established by the North Carolina Community College System to honor the late Dr. Dallas Herring, one of the men responsible for creating the state’s community colleges. Each of the 58 North Carolina community colleges nominates just one student to receive the award, making it one of the highest honors the college has to offer.

 

An Amazing 10 Years

Elke received her AAS degree in Radiography in 2016, but before she even graduated she had a job as a radiologic technologist at Spine and Scoliosis Specialists. It’s the career she wanted. “It’s awesome! I love it,” she says. And she credits Forsyth Tech with making it easy for her to step right in. “I’ve been prepared very well. There’s equipment that I’ve seen before in courses at Forsyth Tech, so I know how to use it and I know how to apply my knowledge.” Her new employers took notice of her skills right away. “They were really impressed,” she says. So impressed, in fact, that she has been made the Radiation Safety Officer for the firm. “They were looking for one of their employees to do it and they came to me first.”

As for the future, she says she may pursue more education at some point, but wants to get some practical experience first. And there’s another big factor: “My husband and I just opened a pharmacy of our own about 10 months ago, so we need to make some money first if we’re going to spend some more on my education,” she says laughing.

It’s been an amazing 10 years since Elke and her family came to Winston-Salem. She’s had another daughter, she and her husband have opened a business, and, thanks to Forsyth Tech, she’s found a whole new career. “There could not have been a better way to make my dreams come true,” she says now. “I thank everyone who has contributed to bringing my dream to fruition.”