Julie Gutana credits early educators for guiding her towards a career as a medical laboratory scientist. Now she’s working to help other students realize their potential in the field.
A 2005 graduate of the College of Allied Health Sciences’ Clinical Laboratory Science program, Gutana is one of several UC alumni selected as an American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) Ambassador in recent years.
The 21 ambassadors were selected from applicants across the country. In their role, they are tasked with talking to local students about the opportunities in laboratory science.
"There’s a lack of visibility for medical laboratory scientists,” says Gutana. "Because we’re behind the scenes in hospitals, patients don’t know who we are. They don’t know there’s a whole team of people involved when they get blood drawn.”
To apply for the ambassador position, Gutana created a short video explaining her passion for laboratory science. "Of Machines and Microscopes” details her journey from a hospital volunteer to her first job as a medical technologist at UC Health University Hospital, "where every shift was an adventure.”
Gutana now works at Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Ky. But after realizing few outside the lab understood the depth of commitment and training it required, she said she felt "a sense of urgency” to apply for the ASCP ambassador program.
"I felt like I wanted to give back to this profession,” says Gutana. "For the younger students, they associate labs with research. They don’t realize there’s an entire clinical side to it—we go through a lot of training to provide patients the best quality results so they can receive the best possible care.”
"Ours is an unsung profession, if you will,” says Linda Graeter, PhD, director of the college’s Clinical Laboratory Science Program. "There are national shortages around the country for laboratory professionals and there’s been a concerted effort by our national organizations to promote awareness and get more people excited about clinical laboratory careers.”
Others in the ASCP Program…
UC’s program has had several other students selected for the ASCP program, including Shareen Lee, ’07, in the 2010-2011 class and Melanie LeBlanc, 2007, in the 2009-2010 class.
"It’s a competitive process and we’ve had students from both our on-campus and distance learning programs selected,” says Graeter. "We try to spread the word about these opportunities—it’s part of our goal to instill life-long learning and professional dedication in our students.”