Jacen and Kara Bridges are an Oregon Tech alumni couple who bring passion for their crafts and adventure to their lives. Their respective skills and love for their alma mater shows in all they do.
Jacen was born in Reno, Nevada, and migrated to Brookings, Oregon, at age five, where he was raised—spending most of his outdoor time with the scouting program and his indoor time on stage. After graduating from Brookings Harbor High School, Jacen had the opportunity to attend many of the other software development schools across the nation but chose OIT because of the post-graduation job placement rate and the highly affordable cost. Jacen explains, "Oregon Tech really seemed the right choice after visiting the campus and meeting the instructors."
Kara was born in Germany and after living on many different military bases, her family settled in North Bend, Oregon. Kara spent most of her spare time traveling the nation as a competitive clogger with her sister under the guise of Sugar and Spice, or hitting the mats for dance team. Kara knew from an early age exactly what career path she longed to pursue. She wanted to be an Ultrasound Technologist, and OIT was her number one choice. As she confidently says, "The study of Ultrasound really only has one clear choice. That is Oregon Tech." Once she got accepted into the program at Oregon Tech, the professors quickly recognized that they wanted her to be a teacher's assistant, which she did throughout her time at school. Her gentle ability to explain a case has been admired ever since. Outside of graduating Magna Cum Laude, her love for dance continued as she performed with Oregon Tech's dance team and on the OTB stage.
While on campus working as a Program Advisor, Jacen became a founding member of Oregon Technical Broadcasting (OTB). He received the OTB Lifetime Achievement award and the Most Dedicated Student award. He found his niche on campus, working on the technical expansion of the library's international communication capabilities, which led to many worldwide relationships for the university. Working in that capacity fueled Jacen's senior project, creating the Puget Sound Access Center in Washington, a public broadcasting center for King County.
Jacen and Kara met through friends at the Pelican Cinemas in Klamath Falls during a student movie night. Jacen ended up sitting next to Kara, who was crinkling candy wrappers through the entire movie. That was just the beginning of their great love story! They ended up joining choir together, producing for OTB together, and ultimately planning Kara's externship together. Jacen graduated from Oregon Tech in 2004 with a degree in Communication Studies while Kara prepared for her final year working at an externship site. The Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California was an incredible hospital for Kara to expand her studies, and Southern California was an excellent choice for both since Jacen was into film technology.
The couple quickly became immersed in all that Los Angeles had to offer. Kara learned all she could, graduated from Oregon Tech in 2005 and worked at many local hospitals. Meanwhile, Jacen was evolving in the film industry, working with many different film studios on projects of all sizes. After enjoying the LA scene, the Bridges decided to travel. Instead of touring Europe or other foreign locations, they yearned to travel and learn more about the United States. Kara obtained traveling ultrasound contracts while Jacen was able to get film work in the many different cities they explored with his newly formed company, Eagle Eye Films. After bouncing around the nation for several years, Kara had the opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious hospitals in America, Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU).
Picking up successful practices and credentials around the country, Kara brought them back to OHSU and has earned the title of Ultrasound Technologist of the Year three times. After being back in Portland for a contract or two, they decided to stay and plant roots. Now with two wonderful children enrolled in dual immersion programs, the Bridges reside in Tigard, Oregon. Kara is about to celebrate 14 years at OHSU, and Jacen is still running Eagle Eye Films even after almost 20 years together.
Jacen's advice to current and prospective students is this: "If you have an idea or passion for something you want to do, awesome! Keep that spark close to your heart, go to school and learn how to excel to the best of your ability, providing you with the highest chance of success." Kara adds, "Ultrasound is an amazing field to be in since you are continually learning and technology is continuously evolving. This isn't a field you will get bored with! Keep having an open student's mind and you will succeed in the best possible ways. Remember, at the end of the day, we are in this for the patients and we want to be the best for them."
Owl You Need is Love! Go Owls!
~Becky Burkeen, Alumni Relations Manager