4th-year student, Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
Deciding what to study at university was easy for her, says Renee Ash who is currently completing a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, specialising in clinical chemistry and histology.
“I chose med lab because I always wanted to pursue a career in the medical industry, however I didn’t want to be face to face with patients so this degree fit perfectly. I also liked the range of specialisations the degree covers, giving you an overall picture of the different departments in the laboratory and how patient samples actually get tested. I decided to come to AUT because it offered the best opportunities for placements and was closer to my family in Northland.”
She has had a number of highlights throughout her time at AUT.
“I’ve enjoyed being a class rep for a few of my classes, but my ultimate favourite has been teaching first-year students alongside my lecturer; nurturing students and helping them get the most out of the histology laboratories. Teaching has also helped me overcome any insecurities around public speaking, and feel comfortable presenting to others.
“Over my years at AUT, through COVID-19 and everything that has gone on, two lecturers in particular drew my attention in and made me want to do the best I possibly could. These were senior lecturer Sharita Meharry and Joe Chang, the head of the undergraduate programme.”
Applying her skills
In addition to her studies, Renee has already been applying her skills by working at both Middlemore Hospital as well as at Labtests in Mt Wellington.
“At Middlemore Hospital I’m a medical laboratory assistant and am responsible for the day-to-day duties, including organising plates in the microbiology department, organising COVID-19 pools and scanning COVID-19 samples for registration.
“At Labtests, I’m a medical laboratory pre-analytical technician and am involved in the scanning and labelling of COVID-19 and doctors’ samples. For any samples delivered to or taken at a Labtests collection centre, I would cross-examine the label and send them to the right departments for testing.”
She says this practical experience before she even graduates is invaluable.
“I love the experience that being in the laboratory provides and am learning valuable lessons that I can take on board for my placements and future laboratory work.”
Advice for other students
Renee’s advice for other students is simple: do what is right for you.
“Don’t just do what everyone else wants you to do. Do what makes you happy and if that means changing degrees multiple times to find the one that fits, then that’s what you do. Don’t let anyone else put you down for it; it’s your life.”
Her other piece of advice is to make the most of your time at university.
“Take advantage of all the opportunities given to you because you never know when situations like a lockdown may happen again.”