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March 2019

Alumni Q&A: Jaclyn Cappel

3/7/2019

CappelAbout Jaclyn

Currently: Staff pathologist based out of Williamsport Regional Medical Center, Williamsport, PA

Specialty: Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, and Hematopathology

Medical School: Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston, SC)

Time at URMC: She was a Pathology resident from 2009-2013, then did a one-year hematopathology fellowship from 2013-2014

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Canton, OH, but grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC.

How did you become interested in pathology?

I became interested in pathology during my second year of medical school. At that time, we still had a dedicated Pathology course and the pathology faculty were by far some of the most enthusiastic professors I had. I decided to take a forensics elective early on during my third year, but ended up spending a lot of time in surgical pathology. This lead to additional pathology electives which confirmed that this was the career for me!

In 1 or 2 sentences, describe what you do every day.

Eighty percent of my time is spent reading surgical cases with bone marrows and lymph nodes mixed in there. Cytology and a mix of clinical responsibilities (mostly SPEPs, reading fluids, and phone calls) round out the rest of time.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the medium-sized community setting. I know almost all of the clinicians, which is helpful. We are also the main medical center for much of central PA, so we see a lot of interesting cases.

Tell us about your family.

I have a fantastic husband named Nick and four delightful children; Ben (12), Teddy (9), Charlotte (7) and Julian (5). We have 2 dogs, a hamster, and a fish. We enjoy hiking the myriad trails here in the mountains of PA and trying out new board games when it’s too cold to be outside.

When you look back on your time as a resident/fellow in Rochester, what’s something you remember most or miss about UR?

I miss the camaraderie of my fellow residents and the faculty. I found the atmosphere at U of R while I was there to be very positive. There is something to be said about the way the different pathology specialties and even the different departments throughout the hospital work together to not only provide a very beneficial educational experience but also great patient care. I still often draw upon my experiences at U of R to try and improve protocols or other situations at my job.

How do you like to spend your free time?

Most of my free time is spent doing activities with my family (scouts, soccer, band, chorus, etc.). I’m also a singer, musician and Sunday school teacher at my church.

In your opinion, what is one way to help promote pathology to medical students?

Half the battle is just making the students aware that we exist. Being involved in any way in medical student education helps. It’s up to us to show interest in medical students and provide contact information etc. for anyone who may be interested in learning more. Enthusiasm helps.

What career advice can you give students or trainees interested in your chosen field?

My advice would be to see as much as you possibly can in those few precious years of training! There’s always room to learn/see more – particularly in the gross room, but really in any area of pathology. Unless you end up at a big academic center, you will never have so many knowledgeable PA’s, attendings, fellows, and other staff at your disposal to ask questions and learn from. 

One day it will be you that the staff are coming to with all the questions and you need to be able to draw on as much experience as you can (at least that’s the case in my practice). Obviously there are continuing medical education opportunities, but nothing compares to those residency and fellowship years. Cherish them!

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