Association of Surgical Technologists

Massachusetts State Assembly

Association of Surgical Technologists
Association of Surgical Technologists

Board of Directors

President Michele Dodge, CST, FAST

I’ve been a practicing CST at Bay state Medical Center in Springfield Mass. for the past 37 years. I’ve scrubbed in numerous specialties over the years but always enjoyed vascular surgery. In 2011 our hospital opened a new Hybrid endovascular /cardiac surgery center and I made the move to join them. We perform cutting edge endovascular procedures using the latest technology and advances in the vascular and cardiac specialties. I continue to learn new procedures with the interventional radiologists and radiology technologists. I love to teach and have often been called upon to hold classes on aseptic technique for new radiology employees in our department.

In 2009 I had an opportunity to join a Surgical Technology program as a lab assistant. I started out assisting in the lab a couple of days a week and never looked back. I am now working as a Lab instructor and clinical instructor. I enjoy sharing my profession and guiding my students into our noble profession. It is the most rewarding job I have had in my career. I continue to work per diem in the operating room and often times collaborate with my former students on cases. It’s so rewarding to see them out in the field working as successful CST’s.

I became involved in state assembly through some friends first as a board member. At the time we were just beginning to formulate our surgical technology bill. I worked tirelessly on this bill along with a group of dedicated CST’s. I focused on various fundraising events and pounded the pavement meeting legislators and educating the public about surgical technology. In 2012 our bill finally passed and I am so proud to have been a part of it. I’ve served on the board and Government and public affairs for 2 consecutive terms and been on various committees throughout my time on the State assembly. I was honored to take on the positon of President in 2015 and have been learning a lot about the running of state assemblies. I have a great board and officers who I work well with and am privileged to call my friends. We are all committed to enhancing our profession and educating the public as to who we are and what we do. Al ways remembering “The Patient First.”

We welcome all Mass Surgical technologists to our meetings and conferences and are open to suggestions and comments. Please check out our Facebook Page:


Vice President


Treasurer Kathleen Sawtelle, CST, FAST   

-Highly skilled career professional with 39 years of operating room experience. Currently focused in Orthopedics. 

-Fellow of the Association of Surgical Technologist since 2015.

-Certified First Assistant in Cataract Surgery since 1989.

-Certified Surgical Technologist for 25 years, since 1990.

-Certified in Wound Closure since 2008.

-Active member of the Massachusetts State Assembly of the Association of Surgical Technologist. I have served 2 consecutive terms on the Board of Directors ,Co-chair fund raising, GAPA member, 2 consecutive terms as President, and presently serving as Treasurer. I also sit on the Budget and Finance Committee as well as Policy and Procedure and By Laws Resolution, Parlimentary Procedures Committee and Education and Professional Standars Committee.

-Appointed to the Advisory Committee to over see the passing of our legislative bill with the department of Public Health.

-Started Adopt A Family for Christmas in Chestnut OR at Baystate Medical Center, coordinating the staff in fulfilling a family in need’s wishes, wrapped and delivered the gifts.

-Coordinate events to promote Surgical Technology Week with the students and staff 

-A menber of the Level 3-4 Ladder Committee.

-A member of the Points Committee, reviewing applicants for monies to attend National Conference.

-Chairperson of the 2015 Annual Surgical Technology Conference for Baystate Medical Center. Coordinating speakers, vendors, and surgeons for the event.

-Instrumental in the passing of our Surgical Technology bill for the state of Massachusettes. 

-Have served as a Delegate at National Conference in 2003,2005,2006,2012,2013,2014, and 2015.

-A board menber on the STCC Advisory Board since 2005.

-I am a Clinical Instructor as well as a Lab Instructor at STCC.

Secretary Sheri L. Erikson, CST

I have been a Surgical Technologist for a little over 5 years.  I made the huge decision to go back to school for Surgical Technology after working almost 20 years in the printing industry.  I wanted something that would allow me to work closer to home and that would provide a new challenge for me.  I attended Quincy College and passed the CST exam in 2011.  I worked at Boston Medical, South Shore and Tobey Hospitals until I was hired at Cape Cod Hospital 4 years ago. 

I love being a CST, I am always looking for new ways to learn and challenge myself.  I scrub almost all cases at CCH but mostly I scrub Ortho and Neuro, and I was recently trained to scrub MAKOplasty cases.  

I have served on the Massachusetts Assembly of Surgical Technologist Board as a Board of Director Member for 2 years and most recently I was elected to serve as Secretary.  I am passionate about helping others learn about Surgical Technology and educating people about what we do and who we are. 

I live in Sandwich, on Cape Cod with my husband.  I have 2 amazing adult children and a really awesome 11-year-old son as well a beautiful 2-year-old granddaughter.  My kids say I am a total dork because I love to read, take classes and I go crazy over new techie toys - computers, electronics & gadgets!  I also love to cook, and I am most relaxed when I am boating and traveling to warm weather locations.

Board Director Kristen Urbanek, CST

Originally from the Pittsburgh area, I moved here 20 years ago to attend Northeastern University.  After graduating, I worked as a Technical Research Coordinator.   Soon after, I received my Certificate in Surgical Technology from Bunker Hill Community College and began working at Massachusetts General Hospital.  I spent my first 8.5 years at MGH scrubbing orthopaedic cases, specializing in total shoulder surgery and orthopaedic oncology.  In January 2012, I transferred to the trauma team and am currently working nights.  Shortly after switching to nights I ran into my former professor at BHCC and she asked if I wanted to work with her at BHCC.  I have been working with BHCC for the last four years as a Lab Instructor and Clinical Instructor.

I become a Massachusetts Board Member in February 2016.  I attended my first National Conference in 2016, where I was a delegate and had the privilege of voting on National Elections.  This year I am looking forward to attending the conference once again as a delegate.

Board Director Diane Blankenship, CST

My name is Dian Blankenship. I have worked as a certified surgical technologist for 34 years. The majority of them spent at Baystate Medick Center in Springfield Massachusetts. My focus was Cardiac and Vascular surgery. I worked various shifts from full time days to 3-11 and eventually back to day shift. This enhanced my skills and allowed me to scrub in several specialties.

I was honored by a group of surgeons who offered me an opportunity to help start up an office-based surgical practice. We are currently thriving in our 11 th year. I still work on weekends as a per deim employee for Baystate where I scrub on a variety of cases keeping my skills fresh.

I am excited for the opportunity to serve on the board and will work hard to educate and enhance our profession.

Board Director Mindy Westermann, CST

My name is Mindy Westermann I’ve been a CST for 11 years. I currently specialize in ENT surgery. I am a level 4 technologist and am active on our Hospitals clinical ladder. I am committed to our student surgical technologists and enjoy precepting them. I was voted preceptor of the year and also received the clinical excellence award for my commitment and dedication to our profession. This is my first time serving on the board for the state assembly and I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Board Director Amy Ruelle Leigner, CST

I'm a level 4 CST at Baystate Medical center. I've been a CST for 20 years and have scrubbed in a variety of specialties including cardiac, vascular ,retina and cataracts. I currently work in Chestnut surgery center which is a day stay facility focusing on eyes!  I'm active in our hospitals clinical ladder committee and was a founding father of the committee. We are a group of dedicated technologists who promote our profession in a positive light. We collaborate with surgeons, nurses and technologists each year to host a conference.  We honor surgical technology week with a dinner gala and clinical excellence awards. Each year we contribute to a scholarship fund at STCC for a student surgical technology student. I was asked to join our state assembly this year by another member and am excited and happy to be a part of the team. I look forward to serving my State and working with this team