The Hub Jenna MacLaine: A story of success
Transforming Lives: Learners at AU

Jenna MacLaine: A story of success

By: Jenna Maclaine

Transforming Lives: Learners at AU is a testimonial series written by AU students and alumni who want to acknowledge how AU has helped shape their lives.

It’s a space for those who want to thank the people who have helped to support and transform their lives through Athabasca University; all while looking forward to their future educational and personal potential.

Their stories are worth shouting from the rooftops! Have an inspiring story of your own to share? Email us! We’d love to hear it.

I chose Athabasca University (AU) to complete my undergraduate degree because of the flexibility it offers.

Working full-time shift work as a frontline medical radiation technologist does not allow for regular in-person class time. I needed a post-secondary experience that worked around my schedule, had flexible deadlines and assessment dates so that I could continue working and caring for patients. AU’s six-month timelines and extension options allowed me to catch up after a busy work or life week! Additionally, their rolling course admissions allowed for me to start courses on my own time. As a busy professional this is exactly what I needed! 

AU has not only allowed for flexibility around my career but also has allowed me to continue to pursue other passions while attempting to balance life demands. With a school schedule that I can create, I had been able to travel, continue with recreational sports, and spend time with family and friends. It has also meant that I could continue to volunteer in my city and professional communities. While completing my studies I volunteered with both my provincial and national professional associations, including a four-year term as the president of the Manitoba Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. Through this experience, I was able to network and become friends with medical radiation technologists from across Canada, which has led to additional opportunities I have been able to pursue.

Taking radiological services on the road

In January 2020, I travelled with RAD-AID International to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in Africa. RAD-AID International is a not-for-profit organization based in the United States. Their mission is to improve access to radiological services in underserved regions of the world.

During this trip, I collaborated with computerized tomography (CT) technologists at the country’s largest hospital to improve protocols, to achieve more optimal CT scans, and improve pathology and disease detection. From this experience, I was able to gain connections with international medical radiation technologists to improve patient care. 

After this experience, another opportunity came. 

I was asked to lead the development of CT webinars which would be available to several other networks within the RAD-AID community to improve technologist education. Again, this experience and opportunity would not have been possible if post-secondary courses were held in a classroom, or a rigid schedule was in place for the courses I was enrolled in at the time of this outreach trip.

Collaborations paid off

My most recent collaboration with colleagues led me to becoming a published author on my first paper! In September 2019, I was invited to participate in an integrated review to assess if virtual reality could be used to elicit empathy in carers. In April 2021, our team was notified that our research would be published in the Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences (JMIRS), peer-reviewed journal.


“In May 2021, news releases of our research spread globally, including an interview by the lead author with BBC World Service Radio.  Participating and being a part of this exhilarating project was partly made possible because of Athabasca University’s flexibility. This opportunity expanded and enhanced my studying and research skill set, which has been an asset as I complete my final undergraduate courses.   ”

Since enrolling as a student with AU, I have not had to sacrifice opportunities, goals, or dreams. Their structure has fit into my life (and my structure into their life!) with ways that allowed me to continue to pursue any opportunity that came my way. I am grateful for the structure AU provides.

Thank you, Athabasca University, thank you! 

Jenna is a medical radiation technologist in northern Manitoba and is working towards achieving a Bachelor of Science degree with AU. She is also an avid volunteer with her professional associations and community, and recently became a published co-author. The flexible schedule AU offers has allowed Jenna to enrol in courses around her availability without sacrificing other opportunities.

  • July 16, 2021
Guest Blog from:
Jenna Maclaine