As an undergraduate, Lauren Sheffer hadn’t planned to be a cytotechnologist until a presentation by the former head of the cytotechnology program at ACPHS changed her mind.
She discovered she liked learning about the body’s systems, diagnosing diseases, and working in a laboratory. “A doctor collects a specimen and the cytotechnologist puts it on slides and analyzes it. Together we come to a consensus about the state of the patient’s health,” she explains.
At ACPHS, the only college within the tri-state area that offers a master’s degree in cytotechnology, she settled into a program “where we encountered a lot of what we would see in professional life,” she recalls. “The instructors walked us through cases from workup to diagnosis. Our classes and labs were treated like a job.”
Lauren entered her first full-time position brimming with confidence “because the program simulated the schedule of a cytotechnologist so well.” After getting her degree, she was hired by St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany, where she had done a rotation as a student.
Lauren believes the size of ACPHS was a key factor in the quality of her experience. “I didn’t get lost in the crowd,” she says. “I got to know everyone well, and I received a lot of one-on-one attention from the professors.”
One of those professors was Jenna Benson, M.S., CT (ASCP), program director for the master’s in cytotechnology, whom Lauren describes as “our everything.”
Lauren may one day follow in Ms. Benson’s footsteps—her goal is to be a cytotechnology instructor at the college level. “After being a cytotechnologist for three years, I’ll be qualified to teach,” she says, eagerly looking toward her future.