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BLD Alumni Board of Directors

It's a pleasure to have an active Alumni Board of Directors. They are hard at work keeping you connected to your Alma Mater! 

Leah Ames PhotoLeah Ames, MLS(ASCP) CM SCYMCM (MS-CLS '12)
Board Term (2017-2020)

Leah Ames received her Masters of Science in Clinical Laboratory Science from MSU in 2012, and is currently the R&D Coordinator for the Molecular Department at PCL Alverno Clinical Laboratories where she has been employed for the last twelve years. Her work at Alverno is heavily focused on cell immunophenotyping using flow cytometry, which encouraged her to obtain the specialist in cytometry certification through ASCP in 2016. She has written laboratory continuing education modules for MediaLab and also serves as adjunct faculty for the MLS program at Northern Illinois University, the Franciscan St. Margaret Health Hospital School of Medical Laboratory Science and the MLT program at the University of Saint. Francis. She is an active member of the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) and is a current member of their Leadership Academy. Leah presented at the Clinical Laboratory Educator's Conference (CLEC) and will be presenting at the ASCLS National Meeting later in 2018. In recognizing her love for education and teaching in the laboratory sciences, she is currently pursuing her PhD in Health Sciences through Northern Illinois University.

Barbara Atkinson PhotoBarbara Atkinson DO, MT(ASCP), SM(ASCP) 
Board Term (2017-2020)                  

A native of Michigan she received her BS in Medical Technology in ’64 from the College of Veterinary Medicine at MSU and then completed an internship at St Luke’s Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan. She headed the Microbiology Department at St. Luke’s Hospital for 9 years before moving to NYC as a Research Associate at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital. Her interest in Microbiology began at MSU where she worked streaking agar plates for Micro courses in Giltner Hall. Her work with great instructors, including BLD’s first Director, Esther Smith Brown, and others at MSU led her to her cutting edge work in clinical microbiology at St. Luke’s Hospital. It was here that she was involved with many new antibiotics and identification of Gram-negatives, making agar plates for chlamydia, culturing for anaerobes and standardizing susceptibility testing. She also taught 10 medical laboratory science students per year. Teaching and giving back was a priority and students were introduced to local, state and national professional organizations. While teaching pathology residents, Barbara decided to go to medical school which brought her back to MSU in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. After receiving her medical degree, she worked for 21 years at the University Of North Texas Health Science Center as a Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Infectious Disease. Barbara received multiple awards for teaching, clinical excellence and being TOP DOC. She retired in 2015. She’s married to her husband Dick and loves to travel. She spends winters in Buda, TX and summers in Michigan.             

Joseph Charles, Jr., M.D. (BS '89) (MD '97) Joseph Charles
Board Term (2019-2022)


After graduating from Michigan State University with a bachelor of science in medical technology (‘89), Joseph obtained a job at the American Red Cross in Lansing Michigan. He worked as a medical technologist in the blood processing lab until entering medical school in 1994. Once he completed medical school, Joseph did his residency training at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan. He then opened a solo practice in Lake City, Florida in 2001. Five years ago, Joseph closed his practice and moved to New Mexico where he is now an employed physician at Cibola General Hospital In Grants, New Mexico.

As would be expected, Joseph bleeds green. He has wanted to give back to the University on some level, but has never been able to because he lives far away. Being a part of this board may be a chance for him to give back to the University; especially the department from which he graduated.

Medical technology has always been near and dear to Joseph's heart, and was the springboard to all of his life’s accomplishments to date.

Han Le-Nguyen, MLS(ASCP) (CLS '07)Han Le-Nguyen
Board Term (2019-2022)


After completing the CLS program at Henry Ford Hospital in the winter of 2007, Han continued on as a Generalist in the Core/Stat Lab. She rotated between Chemistry, Hematology, Urinalysis and Coagulation.  Six months later, a position opened up in the Pathology Informatics department. Han had always had an interest in Computers, and so it seemed like a great fit. She started as a Laboratory Systems Analyst in June 2008 and has been continuing to grow there ever since.  In May of 2016, Han was promoted to Senior Laboratory Systems Analyst.  Working in Pathology Informatics, she has gotten a chance to know the ins and outs of Sunquest Lab LIS, and now starting to learn how it interacts with Epic HIS. Han receives projects that range from New Test builds and new instrument interfaces to set up of new laboratory locations within Sunquest. She attends meetings to hear of new facilities coming to Henry Ford so these do not get missed getting defined in their lab system. They have to maintain detailed documentation within the I.T. driven software of Service Now and Han helps maintain their policies and procedures as a Sr Analyst in MasterControl.  MasterControl facilitates Henry Ford Pathology keeping their ISO certification because it allows the documents to be controlled.

Petra Grivins (BS '97)
Board Term (2019-2022)Petra Grivins

Petra has more than 20 years of progressively more responsible experience in the areas of radiation, chemical-, fire-, and laser-safety management. She has managed the MSU environmental health and safety programs at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) with responsibilities for safe day-to-day operations, coordination with regulators and campus stakeholders, and communication with and training of nearly 800 laboratory employees. Petra is also the Radiation Safety Officer for FRIB's U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) license.

Petra led the development and implementation of NSCL's ISO 14001 environmental management system, which resulted in a Clean Corporate Citizen designation from the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for NSCL and MSU, the first such designation earned by a university in Michigan. She also contributed to the development and implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) 18001 occupational health and safety management system and the ISO 9001 quality management system.

Prior to her current position, Petra was MSU's first laser-safety officer and directed the safe handling and transport of campus's chemical wastes and emergency response to spills and dangerous legacy materials. She also managed the radioactive waste program at MSU with responsibility for final disposal of campus radioactive wastes.

Petra earned a BS degree in Medical Technology from MSU in 1997 and an MS degree in safety, security and emergency management from Eastern Kentucky University in 2016.

Petra is interested in serving on the board because of her unwavering belief that a medical technology degree offers someone a broad base of knowledge to work in a variety of fields beyond the clinical setting.  Medical Technology provides a wide range of skills including critical thinking, scientific math, laboratory analysis techniques and biological knowledge that she uses on a regular basis as Radiation Safety Officer.

Personally, Petra has recently come out as a transgender woman.  She's acutely interested in assuring that LGBTQ individuals have a voice, and that their obstacles are eliminated when heading into the scientific workforce.  

Lisa McFarlane, MT(ASCP), SM(ASCP) (BS '82)
Board Term (2018-2021)Lisa McFarlane

Lisa McFarlane is the Director of Corporate Accounts and Channel for North America, in the Microbiology Division at Thermo Fisher Scientific. After graduating from MSU with a degree in Medical Technology ('82), Lisa worked at McLaren General Hospital in Flint, Harper Hospital at the Detroit Medical Center, and St. John Hospital in Detroit, and during that time she was certified as a Specialist in Microbiology – SM(ASCP). After 10 years in the lab, she decided to move into sales, and has spent her career since in the diagnostic industry, both at bioMerieux and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Her experience includes local sales, regional business management, national sales leadership, and corporate account sales and leadership, in the clinical, pharma and food protection space for microbiology. She received her Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Central Michigan University.


Heather McLaughlin, PhD, FACMG (BS '07)
Board Term (2018-2021)
President (2019-2020)

Heather McLaughlinHeather received a BS in Diagnostic Molecular Science from MSU in 2007. She obtained her MS and PhD in Human Genetics from The University of Michigan where she studied the role of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases in patients with inherited peripheral neuropathy. Heather completed a Clinical Molecular Genetics fellowship at the Harvard Medical School Genetics Training Program and is a board-certified Clinical Molecular Geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Heather served as an Assistant Laboratory Director at the Laboratory for Molecular Medicine and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School and has taught genetic counseling courses at Boston University. She is the author of over 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts and a textbook chapter. Currently, Heather lives in Michigan and works remotely as an Associate Laboratory Director of Clinical Genomics and Cardiogenetics at GeneDx where she focuses on genetic testing for inherited cardiomyopathies and exome sequencing for complex genetic disorders. Heather enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog and loves to travel near and far.

Elizabeth Means Ziemianski PhotElizabeth Means Ziemianski, MBA, MLS(ASCP), SBB(ASCP) (BS ’10)  Board Term (2017-2020)

Elizabeth received her BS in Clinical Lab Science from MSU in 2010. After graduation she worked at Beaumont in Troy as a generalist for a year before moving out to the Seattle area with her now husband, fellow alumni Mark Ziemianski. Since moving to Washington, Elizabeth has taught for the two local MLT programs, worked in the trauma center blood bank and managed the quality program for a rural hospital laboratory. During this time she earned her MBA in Healthcare Management from Western Governor's University and completed a Specialist in Blood Bank program through the Indiana Blood Center, earning her specialist certification in December 2016. Currently she is a Senior Laboratory Manager at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.                                                     

Shawn Murphy MT(ASCP)
(CLS '03)
Board Term (2018-2021)Shawn Murphy

Shawn graduated from the MSU Clinical Laboratory Science Program in 2003. She went on to do her internship at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City, MI working in Blood Bank, Chemistry, and Hematology. A career shift in 2006 brought her to Detroit to work at Henry Ford Hospital (HFH) as a Laboratory Systems Analyst. It was here her emphasis became Laboratory Information Technology, focusing primarily on Microbiology. In 2009, she left HFH and moved to San Francisco, CA where she began her 9 year career with Sutter Health as a Clinical Application Analyst at both their reference laboratory and California Pacific Medical Center. Her most rewarding project to date is interfacing the WASP Lab in the Microbiology department.

Nancy Widener PhotoNancy Widener (MS ’89)
Board Term (2017-2020)                                       
Past President (2019-2020)                                                                                                             

Nancy received her B.S. at MSU in Microbiology and Public Health and joined MSU as a full time employee in the Dept. of Microbiology. She enrolled in the Clinical Laboratory Sciences graduate program and graduated in 1989. She continued her work at MSU in the College of Veterinary Medicine and in the Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases where she was involved in conducting clinical trials. She left MSU and joined The Upjohn Company in 1994 to lead a global HIV study. She stayed in Kalamazoo for 10 years and then moved to the east coast to take a job with Bristol-Myers Squibb where she managed the clinical operations group responsible for running all of their early development global studies.  Nancy retired from BMS in 2016 and moved with her husband and sons to FL. She came out of retirement a few months later and joined Nektar Therapeutics in San Francisco to run their oncology program studying NKTR 214 in solid tumors.  Nancy enjoys fishing, jet skiing and golf.   

Board Liaisons with BLD:
John Gerlach
Ellen Rzepka