Radiologic sciences association names QU professor president-elect

Jacklyn Pellegrino, Associate Arts & Life Editor

Kori Stewart, associate professor of diagnostic imaging at Quinnipiac University, is poised to become the president-elect of the Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences in July.

Stewart said AEIRS seeks to help members develop their skills as educators. It offers its members strategies and networking to help new and seasoned educators continue to work through best practices in educating in the radiologic and imaging sciences.

“I was immediately just astounded at how encouraging and welcoming everyone is (in the AEIRS) community,” Stewart said. “A lot of times, radiography programs compete for students, and this had a very different feel. It didn’t feel like anybody was competing. But rather, everybody was coming together to really focus in on how do we best educate the future of our profession.”

Stewart said she joined AEIRS as a member in 2015 and began volunteering for the organization during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. She served as the secretary and treasurer for the last two years before becoming the president-elect. Her position as president-elect is part of a three-year term, during which she will serve as the president-elect, president and then, finally, chair of the organization.

“It feels a little nerve-wracking,” Stewart said. “I’m really excited about it to be really honest, but nerve-wracking because I just don’t want to let anybody down.”

Stewart said she hopes to increase membership, provide newer educators with guidance and mentorship and help seasoned educators embrace the digital realm and find the “best practices for today’s students.”

“I would love to see what I call the ‘digital transformation,’” Stewart said. “Helping educators that still feel comfortable with that hard copy piece of paper to transition to an engaging digital classroom because that’s what our students want, that’s what our students do.”

The Association of Educators in Imaging and Radiologic Sciences named Kori Stewart, associate professor of diagnostic imaging at Quinnipiac University, its next president- elect. Stewart has served as the association’s secretary and treasurer since 2021. (Peyton McKenzie)

Bernadette Mele, clinical professor and chair of diagnostic imaging and director of the radiologist assistant program, said she was glad Stewart will be in a national leadership position.

“Seeing her putting forward all of her efforts, the 120% that she puts in at the university … it’ll show them that if you’re passionate about your field that you should continue to get out there and become part of the community,” Mele said.

Alicia Giaimo, a clinical professor of diagnostic imaging, program director of radiologic sciences and Stewart’s former professor and colleague, said she is now a member of AEIRS and is speaking at its conference in July because of Stewart.

“She has a way to inspire those around her,” Giaimo said. “It’s almost sneaky — her persona challenges you to be better because she’s so awesome.”

Giaimo said that she and Stewart have always kept in touch and discussed different tools and ways to navigate teaching methods.

“Just like, ‘I’m struggling with students for this,’ ‘what are you doing,’ ‘I need ideas,’” Giaimo said. ”She’s always been a resource actually for our jobs but also personally and she’s just honestly a phenomenal human.”

Janelle Chiasera, dean of the school of health sciences, said she is “incredibly proud” of Stewart.

“She’s a relatively new faculty member and to have one of our own faculty members taking on the role of president-elect for their professional organization is huge for people who have even been here for awhile,” Chiasera said. “I am also really happy for the society as well, to have someone like Kori leading their profession, makes me very happy about their future.”

Stewart teaches a variety of courses and labs in the diagnostic imaging department at Quinnipiac. She uses a “flipped-classroom model” where students are asked to read the textbook and receive a recorded lecture before class to encourage an “active-learning environment” in the classroom.

“I love that I can go into my classroom and tell my students that they are the eyes of medicine because, without a medical image, we don’t necessarily know what’s really going on inside of a patient’s body,” Stewart said.

Stewart said that diagnostic imaging requires patience and a love for working with patients.

“You can’t be afraid to touch a patient, to help move them, to help them walk down the hallway to your imaging room,” Stewart said. “You have to be empathetic and really have a passion for helping others.”

Sophomore radiologic sciences major Elizabeth Velez is taking Stewart’s patient care course.

“She’s the perfect one to teach patient care because she loves infection control and she thinks that the sterile environment of the hospital is of the utmost importance and so she just cares about the patient quality of care and really amplifies it to us as students,” Velez said.

Jordan Tupay, a senior in the radiologic sciences program who is taking her capstone course with Stewart, said Stewart is helping her research the effects of ionizing radiation on plants.

“Initially, it was intimidating because she knew so much, and she was so knowledgeable, but honestly she’s so dedicated, and she takes the time to go over everything with her students,” Tupay said. “She’s very selfless in that way.”