: Kira R. Hindel
: Nashport, Ohio
: Medical Laboratory Science (MLS), Certification Track
Class of 2021
: I worked in the James STAT Lab and I got the opportunity to help in the COVID Lab at the Biomedical Research Tower because of this position.
: Medical School after a few years of working in a lab
Why did you choose your major?
Since I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a doctor. My path to becoming a doctor was unclear to me at the time. I treated my major as a means to an end, and I did not put much thought into what I would do. However, I spoke to the Medical Laboratory Technology program director at Zane State where I was working on two associate degrees, and that changed. She made me think about security in my future. What would happen if I didn’t get in to medical school? What would happen if I changed my mind and didn’t even want to go to medical school? A job as a lab technician would ease my fears. To obtain this position I required a bachelor’s degree in Medical Laboratory Science. This is where I changed from a very general major, such as biology, to this major. I believe without a doubt this is the best choice for pre-med students looking at a general degree, much like myself. A medical laboratory science, regardless of the track chosen, gives a basic overview of the tests run on a patient and why they would be ordered. Courses in the major discuss causes of diseases, disease states and their diagnosis and treatment of diseases. This is a great foundation for medical school. The classes are rigorous, which forces students to adopt good study habits early. The certification track of the Medical Laboratory Science major offers great clinical experience too. Students are required to complete a six-week rotation in a lab. This provides an opportunity to see what is being learned in the classroom applied in a career. During this rotation and the two years of classes, countless important connections are built with potential employers, professors and others, who can help get you to where you want to be. Regardless of your career path, I believe the MLS program offers great troubleshooting skills that will translate well into any pathway.
What advice would you give future students planning to pursue this major?
Before applying to the MLS program, I would highly advise reaching out to a clinical lab manager and shadowing, if possible. It is imperative to understand what an MLS does every day as it varies from the course and lab work that is completed in the student lab. I work in the James STAT Lab at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center as a student technician, trained to process samples. I believe this has helped me build connections that will help me later in life. Working in a lab, typically gives you an advantage on an application as you are already more experienced than others applying straight out of school. It also gives me an opportunity to explore how well I like working in a particular lab. I am not going in blind and not enjoying my job in the end. While I completely applied for this job on my own, I found out about the opportunity through the professors in my program. The staff in the MLS program work closely with the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center to give students opportunities they may not receive elsewhere. For example, my class has had the opportunity to tour the Critical Care Laboratory as well as the cytogenetics laboratory.
What has been the most helpful resource(s) to you at Ohio State?
Ohio State offers many resources to help students exceed. Faculty in the MLS program were the most helpful to me. I was given opportunities to work in a lab through the faculty. They also gave me various people to email about research opportunities. A strong connection with professors does not only mean help on concepts that are not making sense, the connection may also lead to a well-written reference letter for an opportunity in the future. I also received help from advisors regarding the steps I could take in my education. They helped me figure out how to accomplish my goals in a timely manner while also giving me resources to help my future beyond an undergraduate degree. The Undergraduate Research Office also helped me with various steps to obtain a research position: writing a CV, emailing these faculty members and showcasing the skills I possess. I have not had the opportunity to work with many departments at Ohio State, but I am aware of their presence. I have seen how they have helped some of my classmates, and I am grateful to know I can go to them if I need that help as well.
What are you doing as a student at Ohio State that you never imagined you’d be doing?
As a high school student, I never imagined I would be studying medicine in such detail right now. I am absolutely thrilled to be doing this. I feel as if I have an edge going into medical school. The subject matter learned in the courses also never fails to bring me excitement. I also never imagined I would be nearly trained as a full MLS in the James Lab as a student. My goal is to be trained on all three benches before I graduate in the spring.
Do you feel prepared for the future of your profession?
I do feel prepared for the future of the laboratory. In our courses we are always taught the most up to date methods, and we are given the knowledge to understand how the various methods work. Along with the intense troubleshooting knowledge we are taught, I believe I am properly equipped to adapt to any method that is thrown into the clinical laboratory. Communication is also a skill that is important in the field. We are given group work in the lab and in the classroom to help sharpen our communication skills with our classmates that I believe will translate well into the team that a lab is required to create to operate safely and efficiently.
What does “The future of health care begins here” mean to you?
“The future of health care begins here” implies that we, as students, will be responsible for advancing health care in a safer and more efficient direction. While health care has improved over many years, there are always small things that can be changed for the better. Perhaps a method to treat a patient will be changed to be less expensive, less invasive or to give a better prognosis. We are given the modern-day knowledge to find these tiny changes that could potentially be made and progress towards that change. Every student has different experiences and a different thought process which allows for endless opportunities when it comes to creating new ideas. I believe it’s amazing that there is this wealth of knowledge and potential in just one school at our large university. We are here to better health care for patients and providers alike. We are the future that allows health care to continuously improve.