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March 2017

A Summer Job Blossoms into a Career in Clinical Microbiology

A Summer Job Blossoms into a Career in Clinical Microbiology

Career Story by Fred C. Tenover, Ph.D. D(ABMM), Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Adjunct Professor Emory University, and Consulting Professor Stanford University School of Medicine.

“Would you like a summer job?”  That is how my career as a clinical microbiologist began. I was ending my sophomore year as an undergraduate at the University of Dayton (UD), having spent the prior summer studying theology and philosophy in Europe.  The job I was offered was at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Dayton in the microbiology laboratory, setting up cultures on patient specimens. I knew how to culture bacteria from my research project but there seemed to be much more to working in a hospital laboratory.  I was up for the challenge.  It did not take me long to realize that being a clinical microbiologist was a great career choice. As a laboratory director I would have the opportunity to be directly involved in patient care, to teach, and to perform applied research, all the while earning a hard salary from the hospital, as opposed to writing grants. I was hooked.