Medical Laboratory Scientist, IGENZ Limited
Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
The clinical placements as part of your undergraduate degree make a monumental difference in terms of getting your foot in the door of a potential job offering, says AUT science alumnus Lon Hua.
“The Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science is a multidisciplinary degree that offers not one, but two 15-week clinical placements, which helps you understand more about the work you’ll be doing in the foreseeable future. The experiences gained from these clinical placements have certainly provided me with a behind-the-scenes look of what the clinical world is all about.
“At the end of my second placement, I was offered to stay and work part-time in a research/diagnostic laboratory while finishing my final semester at AUT. The part-time position at the Liggins Institute transitioned into a full-time position post-graduation. To this day, after working in a clinical diagnostics laboratory for over two and a half years, I continue to remind myself of how fortunate I am to be in a position where I am able to help the people of New Zealand and beyond.”
Making a difference
Now working as a medical laboratory scientist specialising in diagnostic genomics for IGENZ Limited and, Lon loves using his skills to support cancer patients in and out of New Zealand.
“I’m responsible for the diagnostic analysis of cancer patient DNA to detect mutations with treatment possibilities. What I enjoy most about this work is examining a sample and hopefully finding a treatable mutation that will ultimately prolong an individual’s life, or at the very least improve the quality of life for a person suffering from cancer. When you have the ability to extend the life of an individual – a little goes a long way. ”
He constantly draws on what he learned throughout his AUT degree, says Lon who specialised in molecular diagnostics and clinical chemistry.
“I use the skills I’ve picked up from AUT’s Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science in my daily work. This includes having an attention to detail, which I apply to everything I come across. What I liked most about the degree was the diversity of papers, which is appealing in the sense of job prospects, and having the ability to move into different specialisations within the medical industry.”
Advice for other students
Understand your strengths and interests early on in order to make the right choice in terms of your degree to avoid wasted time and money, Lon advises other students.
“Study something you feel passionate learning more about and do the best that you can possibly do to get the best possible grades. I would also encourage students to embrace stress and adversity for what it is, as this is the only way to build your character and resilience once you face the real world.”
Don’t forget to have a lot of fun while you study hard during your time at university, he adds.
“One of the greatest highlights of my time at AUT was becoming a member of the Student Ambassador Programme, and the friends I’ve made along the way to improve my awareness and self-confidence.
“I have always wanted to work in the medical and healthcare sector. AUT’s Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science was exactly what I was looking for. A degree that allows you to make an impact working in the medical and healthcare sector, without the stresses of being a doctor or a surgeon. It was a privilege to study this degree and a decision that I certainly will not look back on and wonder, ‘What if?’”
“Lon had the appropriate degree, but more importantly he had shown himself to be conscientious and diligent while undertaking his placement with us. We were looking for someone with excellent practical laboratory skills, good knowledge of the biological processes involved, and the ability to communicate with colleagues and other health professionals. It’s increasingly difficult to get appropriately qualified individuals with the right mix of personal skills to fill vacant positions. Having completed a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, Lon knew exactly what the job entailed and that this was a career path that he wanted to pursue. AUT students undertake theoretical and practical training that prepares them for life after university with realistic expectations of what lies ahead.”
Dr Amanda Dixon-McIver, Senior Scientist, IGENZ Limited