Happy Histotechnology Professionals Day! This year, to celebrate histologists, we wanted to hear about how you found histology. We posted the story of how Aquaro Histology got started, and asked you to post your story on our Facebook page. We noticed that the overarching theme of the stories is that histologists really care about their profession, and many people found their career out of genuine curiosity and being proactive about learning. Read the stories below. Enjoy!
Joelle Weaver – Histotechnologist, KentuckyOne Health, Louisville, KY
“I entered the world of histology by circumstance. I had been working as a pharmacy technician while putting myself through college. I entered a physician’s assistant (PA) program and as part of the clinical rotations you had to observe in different hospital departments and write a paper on your experiences. I decided on pharmacy, radiology and pathology. The pathology lab was right down the hall from the pharmacy, and I had never even known it was there after working at this hospital for 8 years! The two histologists there were very kind, informative, and excited about what they did. The pathologists took an interest in my learning and let me participate in gross pathology and autopsies. I was hooked! I finished PA school but decided to relocate to Columbus, Ohio where the nearest histology school was located. I attended histology school, graduated with a 4.0, and landed my first “real” histology job at Riverside Methodist Hospital. I ended up teaching chemistry, chemistry of stains, tissue identification and other courses at the histology program where I had graduated. Eventually I became the education coordinator and director of the program until it closed in 2011. I have done a lot of hospital clinical, research, neuromuscular and vet path. My specialty and love in the field has been immunohistochemistry for the past 12 years of my career. Along the way I have learned A LOT, met amazing people and grown immensely as a person and histology professional. It has been a great journey for me so far, with hopefully many more years yet to come.”
Clare Israel Thornton – Lead Immunohistochemistry Technologist – Dahl Chase Diagnostic Services, Bangor, ME
“I have already shared my story with you, but for those who haven’t seen it, I also got into histology by chance. I had my BS in biology and interviewed for a cytoprep position at my current lab. They ended up hiring me in histology and I had no idea what it was! I began as a histology aide, and within a year I had trained on every aspect of general histology and began learning IHC! I obtained my HTL in 2007 and my QIHC in 2010 and have never looked back. Since then I have gotten involved with my state society, have planned meetings, and for the past few years have served on the board of directors with NSH. I love my career and am so thankful to Dahl Chase Diagnostic Services for giving me my start!”
Jeffrey Justason – Clinical Specialist, Horizon Health Network, Fredericton, NB Canada
“During high school, I thought I wanted to be a truck driver but my mom had a different plan. Knowing I loved Biology and other sciences and having a friend who was a lab tech, my mom suggested I apply to lab technology school, so I did, just for her. I received my general RT (CSMLS) in 1982 and was offered a 10 week job in the Histology Lab. 35 years later I am still there and have loved, and still love my career. Even though I have had the opportunity to become competent in most aspects of Histology, including Autopsies, IHC, EM, Grossing, the art of Microtomy is by far the most rewarding.”
Elida M. Vega – Specimen Processing Specialist, LabCorp, Converse, TX
“My best friend is actually why I completed the histology program at St. Philips College (ACCD) in San Antonio, Tx. I’ve enjoyed every moment of this experience. A lot to learn and more coming, I’m so excited to help save lives one slide at a time. It is now my passion.”
Sharon Wade Campbell – Histologist, Celligent Diagnostics, Charlotte, NC
“I have been a histologist for over 20 years. I can’t believe it. I originally was going to be a Medical Technologist. I worked part-time in the lab at a local hospital while going to college for Medical Technology. I became fascinated with what was going on “behind the door.” I found out it was the histology room. It was staffed with only two histologists. As I learned more about what they were doing, the more interested I became. I shifted my education to Histology. And here I am today!”
Thank you to everyone that shared their story! Read more stories of how histologists found their field and the different aspects of being a histologist in our Histology Thought Leader Interview series.