Oct. is Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month, and Student-Parent Victoria Sanders Shines!

October 30, 2023

Victoria Sanders had always wanted to be in the medical field but didn’t know if she’d ever attain that goal. After the birth of her child, she worked tirelessly to provide for her family and continued her education at NOVA.


Victoria is currently enrolled in the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program at NOVA’s Medical Education Campus (MEC). She looks forward to a bright future in the field she’s always aspired to be in. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. 
I’m 24 years old. I’ve always had a passion for the medical field, but I grew up in an underprivileged, low-income household. I knew I wasn’t going to receive any help from my parents. After graduating from high school, I thought I would just work my way up in a working-class field.

Right out of high school, I ended up getting pregnant with my daughter. I didn’t know how I was going to support myself, my education and this baby. I had a “freak-out” moment at the time. However, my fiancé was such a big support, and I can’t thank him enough.

In 2018, after I gave birth to my daughter, everything became about her and doing better for her. I received a lot of support from my uncles and mother-in-law; I even got a place to stay with her. My parents did not want me to stay with them at the time.

Both before and after the birth of my daughter, I worked in so many fields — I was a receptionist, I sold insurance and then I worked as a photographer. I knew that life without a degree was hard. I was working so hard for so little.

What brought you to NOVA?
When the COVID lockdown happened in 2020, I took a long, hard look at my life. I wanted to work hard to make a life for my daughter and her father. At the time, my partner was a full-time student at George Mason University, so I needed to buckle down and figure out what to do. I knew I just had to get to NOVA. When I started online during the pandemic, I fell in love with school. The professors were great.

When I was at Gar-Field High School, we had an assignment in the computer lab to apply to NOVA, whether we planned on going or not. That’s how I heard about it. 

What are you studying at NOVA?
I took 61 credits in Health Sciences before applying to NOVA’s Diagnostic Medical Sonography program, and I got in.

It’s been a long, tough journey, but I’m in such a better place now. I’m so close to making a better life for myself and my little family.

In high school — and because I had a tough childhood — I didn’t participate in a lot because my family didn’t have the money for it. NOVA’s MEC is such a small community that’s so welcoming and friendly. I was encouraged to achieve and even became secretary of the DMS Club.

Tell us about your experience at NOVA (i.e., professors you’ve liked and friends you’ve met).
I love talking to Ms. Pat at the MEC; she tells me about great volunteer opportunities since I’m a Potomac Health Foundation Fellow. My instructors encouraged me to apply for the fellowship, and I got it! These two things — being a fellow and joining the DMS Club — have pushed me to do so much more. I thought I was just going to go to school and that was it. Now I have so much more to work for. Being so involved relieves a lot of stress. It’s been a really fun experience.

I want to give a shoutout to Professor Green. When I didn’t have the greatest experience at my clinical site, I told her about it. She handled the situation perfectly and advocated for me, since I felt like I couldn’t advocate for myself. I told my professor about it, and she went through the appropriate channels and handled the situation so well.

Professor Green has been so supportive in other ways, too, like with the DMS Club; she’s given me ideas to get people to participate.

What would you tell a student coming to NOVA?
I would tell a student, don’t think about it — do it. Go to NOVA!

I’d tell a fellow student-parent to be open about your situation with your instructor. The instructor may not know what you need unless you tell them. One day I came late to class because my fiancé couldn’t pick up my daughter on time, so I had to wait with her until he could take her home.

I’d never been late to class before, and I thought it would be the end of the world — so I notified my instructor. She then pushed our quiz to later in class to give me time to take it.

Where do you see yourself after NOVA or what career pursuits are you exploring?
I see myself working in a hospital. I want to get certified in other forms of sonography. Right now, I’m working on my vascular certification. I also want to get into breast sonography and echocardiography. After that, I eventually see myself in a management position.

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