Senior and first-generation college student Norma Villegas excelled in math and science as a child, and she found her way to the Division of Clinical Laboratory Science thanks to mentors who wanted to see her pursue a career that made her happy.
“I knew that was the program for me,” she said. “I love microbiology and looking under the microscope. It’s just so interesting to look into the microscope and to be able to see what’s going on with the patient without having the patient in front of us.”
After graduating from high school, Villegas worked full time to pay for continuing her education at a community college. Eventually, Villegas transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill.
“I get to study a variety of fields, such as transfusion medicine, chemistry, and microbiology in a diverse academic community,” Villegas said. “These programs do more than prepare us to be competent in our fields,” she said. “It inspires excellence and emphasizes empathy and attention for each patient in everything we do.”
Villegas said she knows the field of laboratory science can make life better for patients and their families.
She hopes to be able to mentor future students so they can be successful in their academic pursuits.
“I hope that my journey inspires other people to not only pursue the sciences but pursue anything that […] allows them to go far,” she said.
Villegas is a UNC Hospitals Volunteer Association’s Allied Health Sciences scholar.
“This support allows us to continue promoting this excellence as students in our coursework and as graduates, as we go out into our communities to make them healthier and better places for North Carolinians.” The division is housed in the Department of Allied Health Sciences.