Saraya-Grace Hogan

Saraya-Grace Hogan

4th-year student, Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science
Certificate in Applied Science

Ngāti Hako

Scientists play a huge role in medical diagnosis, says Saraya-Grace Hogan who is currently in the fourth year of her Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, specialising in immunology and molecular diagnostics.

“I remember sitting in a lecture with my pathology lecturer, Dr Miomir Vidicki, and he explained that without scientists in the medical field every diagnosis would be a guess. Us scientists running one test could turn a guess into a certainty.”

Saraya has already applied her understanding of science to help Auckland Hospital where she was offered a full-time summer job as a trainee COVID-19 scientist.

“I’ve been working as a technologist at Auckland Hospital throughout the lockdowns but due to the skills and knowledge AUT has provided me, I was able to land a job as a trainee COVID-19 scientist. Eventually I could also see myself working for an organisation like Doctors without Borders, or working in the Outback in Australia and helping with laboratory diagnoses in areas of need.”

First though, she is planning to do a master’s degree in genetic counselling after she finishes her Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science.

Opportunities to thrive
She has had plenty of opportunities throughout her time at AUT, Saraya says.

“I’ve been given the chance to attend a special interest group on molecular diagnostics, toured one of the top genetics labs in New Zealand, and attended a presentation from a senior staff member from Roche Diagnostics as well as a lecture by a Nobel prize winner. I also had the opportunity to represent all year levels of my degree as the student representative for medical laboratory science, which has given me the experience of attending committee meetings and voicing the opinions of my peers.”

She would highly recommend studying science at AUT to other students.

“The variety of courses is amazing and the lecturers who deliver them are even better. The class sizes are small, so you can receive help and ask questions, and be more than a number.”

The journey towards becoming a scientist
Saraya’s journey at AUT started with a Certificate in Applied Science, followed by the Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science she is currently completing.

“I didn’t do too well in my last year at high school but needed a way to get into tertiary education. I knew I wanted to pursue science but wasn’t sure which area. That made the Certificate in Applied Science the perfect option as I got to experience many different areas of possible studies.

“What I enjoyed most about the Certificate in Applied Science was the variety of topics it covered. There was a paper for nearly every area of science, which meant that we as students got an idea of what to expect when we went on to further study.”

Her advice for other students is simple: go at your own pace.

“It’s okay to stumble and it’s okay to feel like you’re stuck. You’re moving at your own pace, whether it be an inch or a mile, and that’s okay.”

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