Small Town Dream, Big League Career

Jodi Payne Takes Her Dream Job to the Next Level

After graduating from Standish-Sterling Central High School in 2002, Jodi Payne began her college education at Saginaw Valley State University without a clear direction. She wanted to make a difference and care for others, but she felt lost among the many career paths she could choose.

“I struggled for a few years, eventually losing interest in my chosen course of study, secondary education, before I re-evaluated my life goals,” shared Jodi. “I had a longtime interest in the health care field, and I had a really good friend in the nursing program at Mid who loved the College’s supportive atmosphere and helpful instructors. Though I didn’t feel like nursing was the best fit for me, I decided to enroll at Mid for a fresh start.”

Jodi discovered the College’s radiography program after meeting with one of Mid’s academic advisors. Intrigued by a career in health care with high employment rates, Jodi began a new journey.

“It’s a challenging program with high standards, but my instructors were so involved in my learning that I felt supported every step of the way. They connected what we were learning to their own field experiences and took the time to check in with me about how I was handling my course and clinical work. It was their personal support that made me successful and reinforced why achieving the highest standards is so important.”

Before she graduated, she was offered a position at MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland, the site where she completed her clinical training.

After working locally for five years, Jodi stepped out of her comfort zone and moved across the country. “I’ve always respected university medical centers for their dedication to education and their progressive atmosphere. Plus, I’ve never been a fan of snow,” Jodi explained. “So, I was ecstatic when the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Medical Center offered me a position.”

Jodi Payne

"When I graduated with Honors from Mid, I didn’t feel like I just had a degree with my name on it. I felt like I was prepared for the next step in my life."

Jodi Payne

“I try to emulate the teaching style of my Mid instructors during my Imaging Lab,” said Jodi. “If I strive to be as good at teaching as they were, I know my students will gain valuable knowledge.”

In her role as a staff technologist at UCSD, Jodi interacts with modern technologies like fluoroscopy, which allows her to view real time movements of a body part on a video screen, and orthopedic radiography, through which she can create images of injuries. She also teaches a monthly lab as part of UCSD’s ongoing efforts to maintain the highest levels of staff competency.

Recently, UCSD was contracted by the San Diego Padres, a major league baseball team, as their official healthcare provider. Shortly thereafter, Jodi began working as part of the team’s medical staff, assisting trainers and doctors during the team’s home games.

“I’m one of three technologists who work with the team,” Jodi described. “We arrive before the game and stay throughout the game in order to x-ray players who are injured. But during the games, we get to cheer on the team. I’m really a Michigan girl at heart, so I sometimes wear my Detroit Tigers jersey under my uniform when the Padres play Detroit.”

Jodi’s journey exemplifies Mid’s mission to connect students’ aspirations with real-life achievements and to equip them to positively impact the communities they join.

Back to the top