When Mallory Hillard transferred from Rivier College to UMass Lowell, she was unsure how she would make her mark in the world. But it didn’t take her long to engross herself in academics, internships and college life – all helping her find her true calling.
She says: “Once I was in the community health program, I knew that I had found my place and that was one of the most fulfilling and defining moments in my life. This program provided me with a sense of confidence and strength to complete my education and go after my goals, something that I had never experienced before.”
Shortly after graduating in 2011 with her community health degree, she secured a job at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) where she worked during her senior internship.
“Perhaps the single most important opportunity my education provided was ‘real-world’ interactions,” she says. “I gained hands-on experience with real people and real problems, allowing me to apply classroom knowledge to a community practice.”
As a clinical research coordinator at MGH, she works on multiple studies related to diabetes treatment and technology. She is responsible for recruiting research participants and takes part in screening visits that ensure patient eligibility and safety.
“I am able to thrive and advance in my position because of the skills I gained at UMass Lowell,” she says. “Community health prepared me for my job at MGH because I have the necessary science and lab experience to work in research. Also, I bring a unique perspective to my team through my community health experience.”
She wears many hats and always needs to anticipate the unexpected. She takes vital signs including blood pressure, respiratory rate and pulse along with height and weight. She performs phlebotomy blood draws and EKGs. During studies, she is responsible for assisting in setup, and procedures such as maintaining the lab equipment, processing samples in the lab and transporting specimens.
“My job is very rewarding. I come to work each day with the knowledge that my contributions are helping with research that may enhance diabetes care and improve patients’ quality of life,” she says.
She credits the skills that she learned during her internships for paving the way to her current success.
She says: “As an intern, I was given the opportunity to shadow individuals at MGH in their various job positions, which was crucial in selecting a career path after graduation. I learned that I could use both my science and health education experience in a field that is scientific, yet aims to address a disease that greatly affects community health.”
“Thanks to UMass Lowell, I have found true satisfaction and happiness in my career and in myself,” said Hillard.