Christina Coleman considers herself truly blessed to be Making Cancer History® at MD Anderson.
In 2001, she was the first of 13 School of Health Professions students to receive baccalaureate degrees. Until then, graduates of the eight current allied health training programs earned certificates.
Approval from the Texas Legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board allowed MD Anderson to begin awarding bachelor’s degrees 10 years ago.
“That will always be a memorable day,” recalls Coleman, now a senior cytogenetic technologist in the Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, which last year performed more than 10.7 million procedures.
Coleman earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Prairie View A&M University before coming to MD Anderson for cytogenetic technology training. Her interest in science stems from watching family members face several types of cancer.
More great moments
The past decade has been marked with three other milestones for her. She completed a master’s degree in business administration from Florida Metropolitan University and, in 2008, married Joe Coleman Jr. Recently, she had the couple’s first child, Katelyn Janae.
“I love being part of MD Anderson,” says Coleman, who after family medical leave will return to her laboratory. There, she uses advanced DNA probe technology, computer imaging and other tools to analyze patients’ blood, bone marrow and tissue samples for chromosomal changes.
Her behind-the-scenes expertise helps clinicians provide optimal diagnoses and treatments.
Coleman, whose mother is a long-time ovarian cancer survivor, says seeing patients and their loved ones in the halls reminds her “why I was meant to work here.”