As a freshman, Christine Reina remembers thinking, “I know what I don’t want as a career.” But all it took was one conversation with Larry Hough, director of Radiological and Health Professions at Manhattan College, to turn her don’t into a do.
Fast-forward four years, and Reina was doing exactly what she wanted. Hired full-time by Manhattan’s Lenox Hill Hospital before graduating, Reina worked as a nuclear medical technician for two years before being promoted to her current position.
At just 24-years-old, she now oversees the department of nuclear medicine — from scheduling patients to making sure all radiological tests are run properly and in compliance with law.
Reina, a Syracuse area-native, says she was drawn to the small class sizes and personalized mentorship she received in Manhattan College’s nuclear medicine technology major.
The close-knit academic program prepared her for the real-world nuclear medicine field, which is just as intimate — with less than 22,000 technicians working in the U.S. earning average annual salaries of $69,050, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“By the time I was a senior, there were maybe five of us left,” Reina says. “I had my own group of people to rely on and that really helped. In some other fields you can shy away from attention, but here you can’t.”
During her junior and senior years at the College, Reina interned at Lenox Hill with Dr. Stephen Scharf, New York City’s premiere radiological and nuclear medicine specialist.
“Being 18 and working with people who are really old and possibly dying is a life-changing experience, and helped me transition into the mindset that I’m a professional here because of Manhattan College,” Reina says.
Today, Reina says she sees herself in the interns she supervises, the majority of which are fellow Jaspers.
“The reason I am where I am today is because of my professors at Manhattan College, and I want to have the same effect on these students. I realize how important it is in a small field to have people to reach out to,” she said. “I hope to inspire them.”