Interviewing a Medical Laboratory Scientist: Build Your Skills While You Gain Knowledge
An Interview with Ms. Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith is a Medical Laboratory Scientist at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from the Clinical Laboratory Science program in 2015 from Michigan State University and was awarded the Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Award that same year. While at Michigan State University she was on the Executive board for Alpha Phi Omega, as well as the Council of Students with Disabilities. She has been a volunteer raiser and trainer for Leader Dogs for the Blind for over 17 years and is currently focusing on training her pet dog who is a Social Media Influencer. In her spare time, Maggie enjoys event planning and all that Colorado has to offer in the form of outdoor adventures.
"Take all of the advice from your professors when you're writing discussion posts, and you're interpreting different scientific articles, that type of stuff is very applicable to what you're going to do later because you are going to have to interpret data in a real-life scenario. Understanding how to write a professional email, or set up your resume to get another job, or apply for a lead position, or, just talking to your chief of medicine; it's a big deal to be able to have those skills."
"When you're in class, you don't think, oh, I'm going to use this every day, or I'm going to look so much better than the next employee. But when I was doing clinicals, those particular skills, like knowing how to use a pipette, just little things that seem so easy when you're in class. They make you look phenomenal and like you know what you're doing, and you got appropriate training. That was really helpful because then people start to take you seriously, and they want to help you more. They’re very engaged with you because they see that you really want to learn, and you enjoy what you're doing. Those labs are phenomenal, long term."
"In Kedzie (in study groups), everyone's helping each other get through labs, or writing a paper, or just doing calculations on something. And you're like, okay, it’s not going to apply, but when you get into a real-life scenario, where you're working in your career and in your field, everybody does the same thing. But now, it's not priority of getting good grades, it's helping the patient."
About the Profession
"We're in the field where we don't have the choice to not go to work. We have to be there, and we have to do what's best for our patient population and our society as a whole. Right now, we have the most important job. Clinicians can't really treat these patients, or keep them in hospital, or send them home without us doing our job. And that's why we're all still showing up."
"I'm getting to go to work and actually have a purpose. Actually having an impact on somebody's life. It is very motivating. And that's why we're all still showing up."