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Mary Mac Collie, is a North Carolina native who spends her time interacting with research participants at the UNC Kidney Center. She often explores trails throughout the state and enjoys listening to podcast. Some day she hopes to see the Northern Lights. 

What’s your role and how long have you been a part of our Department?

I am a patient-facing clinical research assistant in the UNC Kidney Center and have been here for 2 years now.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC and never left Chapel Hill after graduating.

What originally attracted you to work at UNC Department of Medicine?

The true translational aspect of my role allows me to use my mathematical background in basic research while interacting directly with patients to help improve their care and experience.

What is the most interesting project you’ve been a part of so far?

I’ve always been very interested in patient experiences shared as a clinical coordinator and the limited understanding of autoimmune disease, specifically ANCA vasculitis. This interest piqued my own project focused on patient-reported exposures associated with disease relapse. I’ve really enjoyed challenging myself with qualitative research and look forward to presenting a poster at the American Society of Nephrology conference this fall.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

The connections and relationships built with individuals daily from all skill sets, backgrounds, and experience. Every member of the community is willing to help you succeed and achieve your career and life goals.

How has your role evolved over time since you’ve been here?

I started at the Kidney Center developing basic laboratory skills and assisting with data collection and analysis for various projects. As I grew in my position, I started to gain interest in the patient-facing side of research, where I found my passion for building relationships with patients and research participants. This discovery navigated my personal research project focused on patient-reported events associated with ANCA-vasculitis relapse.

What is one thing that you wish people knew about your job?

Clinical research coordinators play a large behind-the-scenes role in communicating with patients, providers, teammates, clinical staff, schedulers, and sponsors. We spend a lot of time screening in and out-patient potential subjects for study recruitment.

What are you most proud of, personal or professional?

I am most proud of my degree in mathematics, a male-dominant field, from UNC. It taught me how to advocate for myself and make a place at the table.

What’s one thing on your bucket list?

One day, I want to go see the Northern Lights.

Do you have hobbies outside of work that you enjoy?

I really enjoy long walks on different trails across North Carolina and listening to podcasts. I also love trying new local restaurants in the Triangle area.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

You must first trust in your ability to succeed and then confide in mentors who can help navigate you toward your goals.

What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?

I worked abroad in London summer of 2019 for the British government in cryptocurrency and cyberterrorism while helping build ultrasound robots with the NHS.