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URMC / Education / Graduate Education / URBest Blog / August 2016 / You Have More Choices Than You Think

You Have More Choices Than You Think

Career Story Blog Post By Athena Petrides, PhD, Instructor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and Medical Director of Lab Control, Point-of-Care Testing, and Chemistry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Five years ago I was a grad student at University of Rochester Medical Center and was at a point with my project where I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.  After four years of hard work, finally, things were working out and I had an actual story to write about as a thesis.  That was a fleeting moment of excitement because then I asked myself – now what? So, naturally, I talked to many members of the faculty who pretty much said that I had two options: academia or industry. I was not thrilled. I was not at all excited by basic research anymore, and I no longer wanted to pipette, perform ELISAs, or pour gels. I did not want the bench; I wanted an office! After some soul searching I realized that I actually really did still like research, but I wanted to make some kind of contribution to science in real time. I wanted to help people – perhaps get involved in health care. Did that mean that I needed to do an MD? I didn’t want to go back to school: not at all

One day, as I was expressing my frustrations to one of the most talented and fabulous postdocs in our lab, she told me that she had a friend who had a career in clinical chemistry, but she really didn’t know what it was all about. I got her contact information and got on the phone with her the next day. I was blown away! It sounded like the ideal job/career, almost too good to be true. Helping clinicians with diagnosis, improving patient care, teaching residents, getting paid like a human being should be paid. It was perfect! The requirements? A Ph.D., a number of credit hours in chemistry, and a two-year post-doc with a COMACC (Commission on Accreditation in Clinical Chemistry) accredited program.

In the past five years, I received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, did a two-year fellowship at Johns Hopkins University and have completed my second year as Instructor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School and as a Medical Director in the Clinical Labs of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Bottom line is, I love my job and I almost missed out on a wonderful career because no one knew to tell me about it.

So please join me in the K-307 auditorium (3-6408) in the Medical Center on Monday 8/8, at 11am so I can tell you about it!

Global Administrator | 8/2/2016

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