Melissa Smith
Melissa Smith, program coordinator for the MRI program at Forsyth Tech
Allison Lee Isley photos

Melissa Smith is the embodiment of “passing it forward.”  The 2011 Bluefield State College Imaging Science graduate has been named the North Carolina Community College 2022 “Excellence in Teaching” award recipient.  Her achievement was featured in a recent story in the Winston-Salem Journal newspaper.

She is the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Program Coordinator at Forsyth Technical Community College.  “One of the biggest factors in my selection, according to the North Carolina State Board of Community Colleges, was my role in Forsyth Tech’s acquisition of a one-of-a-kind Magnetic Resonance Imaging simulator,” Smith said.  The MRI simulator was installed last March after a three-year quest to secure funding for the project.

“Now, in the safety of a simulation, our students can be engaged in realistic, virtual scenarios.  It’s a great way for students to practice and learn from their errors, without adversely impacting a patient’s health,” Smith explained.

Smith, who grew up in Logan, WV, and had several friends who were graduates from BSC’s radiography program.  “I took courses online, but I always had easy access to my professors,” she recalled.  “I was a working professional with small children and I needed a program that permitted me to handle my family, work, and education responsibilities.”

“The first time I stepped on the campus was at graduation,” she continued.  “The minute I graduated and saw my faculty, they were excited for me and celebrated my success.  I really felt we knew each other before we met in person.” 

The bachelor’s degree from BSC was essential for Smith’s career goal of becoming an imaging educator, and she accepted an offer to join the Forsyth Technical Community College imaging science faculty.  “Today, I take so much from what the Bluefield State faculty modeled for me and use it to teach our students,” she observed.

The BSC alumna will receive the “Excellence in Teaching Award” at a formal ceremony in May.  “I am honored and humbled to be able to shine a light on the entire amazing profession of medical imaging and therapy,” Smith said.  “It is a wonderful marriage of science and technology.”