Brooks Kennedy | Clinical Laboratory Science Class of 2014
Brooks passed up a sure thing for a maybe. He was days away from orientation at another university when he received a phone call offering an interview with The University of Texas MD Anderson School of Health Professions. Just the opportunity for an interview was all it took for him to walk away from a guaranteed spot and hang all hope on a chance at acceptance.
“It’s a world-renowned name,” says the 23-year-old of MD Anderson's reputation. “I knew it was going to help me go places and do really great things.”
Because of his science background—he already has a bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology and minor in chemistry from Stephen F. Austin State University—Brooks is in the program’s one-year track. A two-year track is also available in clinical laboratory science.
Most medical decisions are based on lab results, making the role of a medical laboratory scientist vital. Their ability to read results properly and interpret findings helps physicians better diagnose and treat patients. Graduates of the program can obtain certification from the American Society for Clinical Pathology and pursue careers in a variety of disciplines like immunohematology, molecular diagnostics, chemistry or microbiology.
“I believe that this program – compared to other programs – exposes us to a much broader range of disease states. It makes you a more well-rounded medical laboratory scientist,” says Brooks.
For his senior research project, Brooks assessed the sterility monitoring equipment of MD Anderson's Cord Blood Bank for compliance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards. He submitted his findings as a poster for the Texas Association for Clinical Laboratory Science annual meeting. His presentation won first place, and he earned a spot to present nationally at the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science conference in Chicago.
Brooks advises students interested in the clinical laboratory science program to prepare for an intense, hands-on learning experience focused on the technique, application and knowledge required for success.
“It’s very rewarding and fulfilling, but it’s not easy. We’re being trained to be on the front lines of disease diagnosis and treatment as future members of the medical lab team.”