At a Glance

Year: ‘17, '19
Major(s): Radiological Sciences and Protection 
Activities: Radiation Safety Office, Health Physics Society
Why UML? “I don’t know of any other institution where you can get that much hands-on experience.”

Radiological Sciences and Protection MS

Prepare for rewarding careers in and make significant research contributions to the radiation protection field and the use of radiation physics in medicine. 

Alexis Day ’17, ’19 always wanted to work in the medical field, but being a doctor was out of the question.

“I pass out when I see blood,” she says.

Still determined to pursue a career in health care, Day decided to follow in the footsteps of her grandmother Terry LaFrance ’90. At the age of 47, LaFrance got her master’s degree in radiological sciences and protection from UMass Lowell. She went on to become a radiation safety officer at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“My grandmother is the reason that I got interested in the field of radiological health physics,” says Day, a senior health physicist at Boston Children’s Hospital – the highest-ranked pediatric hospital in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Day, who grew up in Agawam, Massachusetts, pursued bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UMass Lowell after learning about the university’s radiological sciences program from LaFrance.

As an undergraduate student, Day got involved with UML’s Radiation Safety Office. She received extensive radiation safety training, surveyed radiation levels in the on-campus nuclear reactor and labs, observed inspections and familiarized herself with state regulations.

“I don’t know of any other institution where you can get that much hands-on experience,” she says.

Day also joined the Health Physics Society and attended its annual meetings in North Carolina and Florida.

“I got to meet a ton of people that work in different areas of health physics, from hospitals to nuclear reactors,” she says. “It’s a good community to be a part of.”

Day landed a radiation safety technician job at the UMass Chan Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts, while a UML master’s student.

“UMass Lowell makes it possible for people who are working full time to still get a master’s degree,” says Day, who took her graduate classes at night.

In June 2018, Day achieved her dream of working for Boston Children’s Hospital when she got hired as an associate radiation safety officer. She had visited the hospital as a child when her younger sister, who was born with a mouth deformity, was a patient there.

“Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to work at Boston Children’s Hospital,” she says. “So, when I got the job there, I was pumped.”

Day has since been promoted to senior health physicist at the hospital, where she helps ensure the safety of patients receiving radiation, whether it's for treatment or diagnostics. She monitors the radiation levels of patients and staff and goes over the necessary precautions.

Day also trains research staff on radiation safety and surveys rooms for radioactive material. She makes sure the hospital complies with state regulations and takes part in inspections.

“A lot of what I’m doing is similar to what I did at UMass Lowell,” she says, “just on a much larger scale.”

How did UML prepare you for your career?

Alexis Day headshot
“A lot of what I’m doing is similar to what I did at UMass Lowell, just on a much larger scale.”