Mackenzie Collins ’17 graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015 with a degree in biology. After realizing she wanted to work in a laboratory environment, she discovered an interest in microbiology and decided to complete a degree in clinical laboratory science. Collins hopes to earn her PhD to become a clinical laboratory director.

Mackenzie Collins '17
Mackenzie Collins ’17

Hometown:

Greensboro, North Carolina

Division:

Clinical Laboratory Science

Current Employer and Job Title:

McLendon Clinical Laboratories; molecular microbiology laboratory technologist

Tell us about your job:

Collins has had the opportunity to conduct her own research and travel to conferences to present data. Her research focuses on method comparison—particularly in the realm of new molecular techniques.

“Instead of growing bacteria on a plate, we’re getting DNA straight from the sample,” Collins said. “That’s better for the patient overall.”

Collins said even though laboratory technologists don’t see patients day to day, she still feels like she’s making a difference.

“Health care is not just nurses and doctors, there are other ways you can be a part of the team for patient care,” Collins said. “This program will not only teach you class work, but it will give you that real-world experience, talking to doctors, talking to people in the lab who are part of your team.”

How did your education with the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science benefit you?

“As an undergrad, I didn’t have any lab experience,” Collins said. “Through my classes here, I gained a focus and interest in microbiology. I credit my professors with helping me learn how to be professional and confident.”