Kassie Pavlakos knows it can be hard for undergraduates to find work at a hospital. That’s why when the opportunity arose for the Medical Laboratory Science major to work hands-on as a lab intern in Weed Hall, she knew it was too good to pass up.
“Whether it was finding that a chemical had more than one name or seeing what happens if you run an electrophoresis chamber at a really high voltage, this internship has helped me really hone my lab skills,” says Pavlakos. “I know that what I learned working in this lab summer internship is going to have a big impact on my prospects after graduation.”
Pavlakos, along with her co-worker Kelcey Harper, were assigned the task of creating an electrophoresis protocol for using the lab’s new Gel Imager instrument, critical for working with DNA. The team researched and performed experiments to figure out what gel percentage and type of buffer gives the best resolution and separation of human serum proteins.
“My education here at UMass Lowell has been nothing but amazing,” says Pavlakos, “I surprise myself everyday with how much I have learned throughout these years.”
In her last two semesters of her senior year, Pavlakos will work in clinical rotations at local hospitals as part of her Medical Laboratory Science major. These rotations give students direct experience with the hospital environment as well as a chance to see if they prefer a small or large medical facility.
After graduating in May 2016, Pavlakos plans to find a job at a hospital as a medical laboratory scientist while pursuing a Master of Public Health degree. Her ultimate dream goal is to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
She says: “UMass Lowell has given me experiences that I will carry with me forever.”