After his team won the Michigan Sputum Bowl in April and he graduated from Macomb’s Respiratory Therapy Program in May, Spencer Hanson treated himself to a grand tour of Europe and Canada before starting his new job with the University of Michigan Health System.
“I went through a tour company and visited England, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France,” says Hanson, shown here in Venice, Italy, of his ten-day trip in June. “I spent a week before the trip exploring Toronto, Montreal and Quebec, and a few days after in Paris by myself. It’s all been amazing.”
Also “amazing” was winning the state sputum bowl, a Jeopardy-like quiz competition in which teams of respiratory therapy students from community colleges across the state vie for the top spot and silver trophy, with the winning team adding an accomplishment to their resumes while advancing to the nationals.
“This was an especially big win because it marked 10 years of Macomb’s respiratory therapy team winning on the state level,” says Hanson. “No pressure, right? Thankfully, we pulled it off.”
Respiratory therapy wasn’t Hanson’s first choice when he enrolled at Macomb. He knew he wanted to work in health care, but was leaning toward two other areas. An anatomy and physiology class changed his mind. “I found the cardiovascular system to be super interesting,” says Hanson, “and with that, I decided to go for respiratory.”
Hanson begins working as a respiratory therapist with U of M at the end of July and intends to start classes toward his bachelor’s degree in the fall. He will also be meeting up with teammates Renee Sassin, Steve Morrow and Crystal Tralka, and faculty advisor Richard Zahodnic, Ph.D., (also a Macomb’s Respiratory Therapy Program alum) this summer to cram with Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care in preparation for the national competition in October. It’s a homecoming he’s looking forward to almost as much as he did that trip to Europe.
“One thing I loved about the program is that you really get close to both your classmates and your professors. Because it is a smaller program, you have the same ones every semester” says Hanson. “And the professors aren’t just your professors, they become lifelong friends and mentors.”