Merritt Alumni A.R.:
“I am an Associate Histotech at Exact Sciences in Redwood City and I wouldn’t be in the position I am today that I love without Merritt Community College. I started out at Contra Costa Community right after high school. I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field to help people and make a difference in the world, but I didn’t know exactly where I would end up. I took a year off of school after getting my Associates Degree in Science. I then went to California State University East Bay and received my Bachelors in Health Science. During that time I had to complete an internship. I was placed at Monument Crisis Center, a family resource center and was blessed to be hired. Monument Crisis Center is a food distribution center that includes a senior program, a youth program, and helps the homeless.
While working there, my mom told me about the Histotech program at Merritt. She works at Kaiser and a coworker told her about the program. After looking into the program, I decided I would give it a try. I didn’t have any lab experience and wasn’t too excited to be going back to school again. I thought my Bachelor’s degree would have gotten me a job that could support living in the Bay Area. However, the reality of the world today is this is just not true.
Merritt opened my eyes to the beauty of inside our bodies and the millions of tiny cells that make us, us. I enjoyed staining the different tissue types, seeing the results and learning all the functions of our organs that keep us going every day.
Merritt provided me with hands on experience, lab experience, resume and interview preparations that helped me get a job helping patients make some of the hardest decisions of their lives regarding cancer. I may be behind the scenes, but our work is very important. I am very diligent when it comes to our patients’ lives because my mom was once in their position and my hope is everyone beats cancer like she did.”
Merritt Alumni J.L.:
“I wanted to thank every single one of you who has made an impact in my life and career choice. It has been a great privilege to learn from you all and my time here at Merritt has been great with memories and the encouragement I received when job hunting lifted me up during my time of trials and tribulations.
I want to thank you all for being patient with me and always looking out for me. Feather, thank you for the job interview training and for honing me to be ready for job interviews. Yohannes, thank you for your kindness and patience in teaching me the ways of the Histotech. And lastly, thank you Derek for being able to encourage me and most of all allow me the ability to think outside the box and be encouraged to ask questions to find answers. All of you have made a great impact in my life and I couldn’t be happier. I do not believe this is the end of our journey with one another and I couldn’t be happier knowing that I have amazing mentors and professors who are personable and passionate. ”
Merritt Alumni S.T.M.:
“When I first arrived at Merritt College I didn’t know what to expect. I heard about the Histotechnician program from a junior college in West Covina called Mt. San Antonio College. The director told me I would have to wait a semester to start with the next cohort there or I could see if their sister program at Merritt College could start me immediately. I attended the orientation at Merritt where I met the instructors and a former student named Feather Ives who went into a thorough explanation of what histotechnician does, a forecast of the job market and the curriculum I would face during the program. I excelled in my courses because of the excellent teaching but also my work ethic. The program is very detailed and organized in a way where you learn in two phases, comprehension of the different types of microscopes (imaging) and application of the histo prep techniques. If I could give anyone some advice when starting this program, do not take it lightly, be engaged and ready to push yourself. This is college level work and the instructors are always there to help but you must be willing to actually do the work.
I started applying for jobs during my last semester of the program which was spring of 2020 and landed a histotech position at UCSF by March of that year. I wanted to say thank you to Merritt for giving me the tools, knowledge and confidence to make a better future for myself ”
“My time in the Histotechnology program at Merritt College was short although beneficial. I learned about a totally new field and had the opportunity to obtain some hands-on experience in which I honestly think contributed to me obtaining my current job. I’m thankful for the program giving me hands-on experience which was impossible to find elsewhere. The program taught me basic skill sets which helped me obtain a job which allowed me to gain further knowledge about the field and polish my histotechnology skills. As of today, I am an assistant histotech and currently studying to be a ASCP certified histotechnologist through route 2. As a student before, I knew how challenging it was to get into the histotechnology workforce. Therefore, I want to reach back and help students to achieve and further their career goals as well. I hope that as I continue my career and help students hopefully one day they can reach back to help other students as well. ”
Read about Kevin Hin’s and Alexandra Allen’s Biotech Careers Alumni profiles on InnovATE Bio: