Ryan Hickey | Histotechnology Class of 2013
“Before entering the School of Health Professions (SHP), I earned a bachelor of science in Integrative Biology from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi and was working as a research assistant at ApoCell, a molecular profiling and diagnostics company in Houston. It was here that I first began my work with tissues in the field of histology. Once I discovered the SHP and its baccalaureate program in Histotechnology, I applied for admission, and entered the program at the senior year level.”
The program is immersive, and rightly so: the art and science of Histotechnology requires skill in a variety of disciplines. Steady hands and a discerning eye for slight variations in colors and patterns are a must.
Knowledge of tissue types, staining patterns, and reagents are crucial for success and the SHP Histotechnology Program trains its students to excel in these areas. In addition, students gain significant hands-on experience in the laboratory performing special stains and cutting paraffin and frozen sections.
As a result, students develop all the skills they need to prepare high quality slides and preparations for microscopic evaluation by a pathologist. Very often, major decisions regarding therapy are made at the microscope. It is the histotechnologist’s role to ensure that what the pathologist sees on the slide is a true representation of patient tissue.
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is consistently ranked as one of the top cancer centers in the US, and is located in the largest medical center in the world; the quality of SHP student rotations and work experience parallels the quality of the institution.
“As an SHP Histotechnology student, one has the opportunity to explore career paths in surgical, autopsy, veterinary, and research histopathology. As a result, when I graduated from this program, I had seen enough variety that I was able to both share and learn nuances in technique with co-workers and professionals who had been working in the field for upwards of twenty years—that’s pretty rare.
“I currently work part time as a histotechnologist at both the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (Glen Burnie, MD) and MedStar Washington Hospital Center (Washington, DC). I am a full-time graduate student in the Pathologists’ Assistant Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, working toward a Master’s Degree in Medical Pathology.”