Alumni Spotlight - February 2021
Jennifer '98 & Jason '96 Card
Jennifer Card grew up in Alturas, California and attended Modoc High School. When she was 11 years old, Jennifer broke her leg. The healing process was difficult and doctors eventually discovered she had a bone tumor in that leg. After a bone graph and a metal rod placed in her leg at age 13, she finally began to heal. The intense exposure to the medical environment because of this experience sparked her curiosity in what would be her future career path. This was also when Jennifer took an interest in running track, after the need to learn how to walk again. She went from being “the slowest distance runner ever,” as she explains, to winning a lot of her events in high school. Jennifer’s father worked in the healthcare industry, which also helped put her on the path to Oregon Tech’s medical imaging programs. Oregon Tech was the closest four-year college to Jennifer and with a childhood dependent of x-rays, the imaging program sounded like a good fit.
Jennifer lived on the Oregon Tech campus during her first year of college, which she really advocates for. To this day, the friends that she met during that first year are the ones with whom she reunites every summer. During that first year, Jennifer also joined the inaugural cheerleading squad at Oregon Tech. Her sophomore year was when the school began its Cross Country and Track programs and she eagerly participated in those sports for the next two years. Jennifer appreciated not getting “lost in the crowd” and the helpful community that made her comfortable and welcome at school.
The Card love story began when Jennifer was working at her externship in the Seattle area and met her future husband, Jason Card. Jason had graduated two years before Jennifer and had just hired another vascular graduate who happened to be Jennifer’s former neighbor in the dorms. The two officially met at a continuing education medical conference in Seattle although their paths may have crossed as students on the Klamath Falls campus. Both of them studied Vascular Technology, their families lived in the same area, and they discovered some of their relatives actually knew each other. The two hit it off and an owl love story took flight!
Jason Card is a native of Klamath Falls and attended Henley High School. The vascular imaging program was the promising technological field to go into at the time, something that appealed to Jason, especially with the possibility of abundant job opportunities. Jason graduated in the third class of the program, which was a new and unique modality at the time. He completed his externship in Sarasota, Florida but came back to the Pacific Northwest to initiate his career. There was a job opening in Seattle that brought him back to the West Coast and closer to his family.
Jennifer and Jason walked down the aisle in 1999 and remained working in the Seattle area for several years. When it was time to have children, they wanted to be closer to their families, so they relocated back to Klamath Falls. The couple started the first Medicare certified Independent Diagnostic Testing Facility in the state of Oregon, Basin Vascular Laboratory. Several years later, the Cards had their first child and merged their lab with the local hospital, Sky Lakes. Jason has since cross-trained from vascular into echocardiography and continues to work at the hospital.
Jennifer is a two-time cancer survivor. She had cancer for the first time after she graduated high school in 1994, when she was 18 years old. Shortly after she recuperated, in 1995, Jennifer’s sister saw an advertisement from the United Way about sponsorships for torch bearers for the 1996 Olympics. Her parents, brother and sister nominated Jennifer for one of the 10 spots to be a torch bearer, an honor which she was chosen for. Jennifer was proud to carry the flame through Klamath Falls, wearing her Oregon Tech warm-up suit.
Unfortunately, the cancer returned seven years ago. She endured eight months of rigorous chemotherapy during the second bout with the disease and had a moment of clarity that she didn’t want to miss any time with her kids. The vascular surgeon she had been working with decided to retire, which led Jennifer to follow that decision and also retire, focused on being present for her family. The Cards have two sons, ages 14 and 16.
The Cards believe in staying connected with their alma mater. Jason stays very involved with Oregon Tech by serving as a proctor for current students in the echocardiography program as well as serving on the Vascular Advisory Board and Jennifer has just started the process of joining the Alumni Advisory Board. Jennifer’s advice to current and prospective students is to think ahead before committing to your path. She suggests students should ask themselves, “Where do I want to live, what do I want to do, and will that kind of job be in that area?” For instance, students studying Vascular Technology need to understand that there are limited opportunities for these positions in small towns so they may need to live in a large city to get the job. She adds, “Take advantage of the many extracurricular programs the campus has to offer.”
Jennifer and Jason’s Oregon Tech love story is one of shared passion for healthcare, resilience and a devotion to family.
Learn more about Vascular Technology at www.oit.edu/academics/degrees/vascular-technology.
~Becky Burkeen, Alumni Relations Manager