Medical Laboratory Science student Ana Villa Abarca has found her niche within a science career and a sense of belonging within the school and cultural communities alike.
With the encouragement of her general chemistry professor as well as attending an Open House presentation as a tour guide, Abarca changed her major to Medical Laboratory Science, realizing that this was her true calling.
In summer 2018, Abarca accepted one of four open student positions held specifically for MLS majors at Sinai Hospital—a paid position in the Microbiology Lab that she will hold until she graduates. Her responsibilities include specimen processing, testing and set-ups.
“My favorite part of my major and internship is that it’s very hands-on learning,” Abarca says. “For instance, in my Clinical Microbiology class, we learned about clinical pathogens and how they are present in a patient and also how to conduct the series of tests to identify the organism. Our lab classes reinforce what we learn in lecture and give us a glimpse of working in an actual laboratory, which is why I feel so comfortable at Sinai.”
In addition to being deeply involved in her Lab Science coursework, Abarca is also involved in the National Residence Hall Honorary, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and the Scholar’s Society, Alpha Chi. Additionally, she is a recipient of the American Society for Clinical Pathology Foundation Laboratory Student Scholarship, and she is a member of the Color Guard in the SU Marching Band.
Abarca is excited to finish her bachelor’s degree and, following graduation, Abarca plans to pursue a position in the hospital lab science field. “I’m not a very outgoing, extroverted person but at SU I was able to find my niche, a place where I feel like I belong and people know who I am. The small community has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and try new things, and I am better every day for it.”