“The [ASCP National Student Honor] Award lets potential employers know that I worked hard to keep my grades up and be involved in extra-curricular activities. What I love about pathology is that there are so many different roles in the laboratory that you can find your niche.”
—Catherine Cory McLeod, PA(ASCP)CM
Catherine Cory McLeod, PA(ASCP)CM, exhibited such strong
leadership skills in the Pathologists’ Assistant Program at Quinnipiac
University, Hamden, Conn., that her professor selected her to be a student
teacher in her second year.
“She was excellent,” says Leo Kelly, PA(ASCP)CM, Master of
Health Science Clinical Coordinator of the Pathology Assistant Program. “She
helped out in two classes of first-year students and answered their
questions after class, all while working eight-hour days, five days a week,
for her clinical rotation.”
Mrs. McLeod, who graduated in May and has passed the ASCP
Board of Certification exam, is one of 402 individuals who received the 2013
ASCP National Student Honor Award. The
award is given to individuals who demonstrate an outstanding academic
record, leadership skills, and a commitment to community service.
“The award lets potential employers know that I worked hard to keep my
grades up and be involved in extra-curricular activities,” says Mrs. McLeod,
now a pathologists’ assistant at Strata Pathology Services, in Lexington,
Mass. “What I love about pathology is that there are so many different roles
in the laboratory that you can find your niche.”
Award recipient Juan Cabrera-Abarca,
MLS(ASCP)CM, says the
recognition validates that the work he has done is paying off, and that he
is on the right track with his career. A native of Peru, he earned a
bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, in May
and has passed the ASCP BOC certification as a medical laboratory scientist.
During his school training, he completed a six-month internship at St.
Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point, rotating through various departments.
“Training is intense,” he says. “During the rotation, everything that you
have learned comes together.”
In Peru, Mr. Cabrera-Abarca grew up with nine physicians in his extended
family. It was his grandmother, a renowned local gynecologist and neonatal
physician, who inspired him to go into health care as a profession. She
taught him that health care is an important way to help others.
He eventually plans to go to medical school but, for now, he is eager to
put his skills to work in a medical laboratory.
A nontraditional student, Joreen Frost was downsized a few years ago
from the job she held for 15 years in medical transcription. A friend
recommended she check out the medical laboratory science program at Loma
Linda University, Loma Linda, Calif. She loved it and immediately enrolled,
while also becoming involved in activities, such as serving as a class
officer and volunteering at community health events.
Ms. Frost is currently studying for her board exam and is delighted that
Loma Linda University staff has indicated they would like her to apply for a
“I like being part of the healthcare team,” she says. “I recommend this
field to others who are interested in the sciences. Having a gone through a
layoff before, candidly, I like that the profession has job security, and
you can continue to develop your skills.”