Upon first entering the room, it may not have been unusual for a person to briefly wonder if they were in fact in the right place. The event was advertised as an open house, but it skewed expectations of what an open house is traditionally understood to be. 

Rather than a drab setting in which visitors are ushered single-file through a room while quietly observing their surroundings, the atmosphere at the Texas Southmost College (TSC) Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program Open House event was much more festive. The event offered snacks, games, and helpful information for those curious as to whether a future in the medical field is the right choice for them. 

This skewing of expectations was very much by design, as Texas Southmost College Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) Program Director and Instructor Dr. Consuelo Villalon and her students wanted to create as welcoming an environment as possible for this event. 

“Both the American Society of Clinical Pathologies and American Medical Technologists celebrate an annual Laboratory Week, so we joined the celebration with our open house event,” said Dr. Villalon. It also provides our first—and second-year MLT students a chance to share their experience and answer questions younger students may have.” 

Valerie Lopez Huerta, a senior at Jubilee Academy Brownsville who was in attendance with several of her classmates, was captivated by the engaging atmosphere of the open house. “This style of event is so intriguing because it opens up a world of possibilities and opportunities,” said Huerta. “The themed games are a fantastic way to pique interest and help attendees envision the diverse roles in this field, potentially sparking their curiosity and interest.” 

MLTs, despite their limited patient interaction, play a pivotal role in the medical field. Their job duties are instrumental in diagnosing and treating various medical conditions. As their title suggests, a significant portion of their work is conducted in medical laboratories. This includes collecting samples, conducting lab tests, and analyzing results, all of which are vital in providing accurate medical diagnoses. 

This aspect was the determining factor in MLT student Lizbeth Alvarez’s decision to become part of the program. 

“I’ve always been drawn to the medical field, but since I’m somewhat reserved, I chose to become a laboratory technician,” said Alvarez. “This role lets me assist patients in a more indirect, behind-the-scenes capacity.”

Alvarez discovered a role in the field that matched her preferences and found the ideal program to develop the skills she needed at TSC. She continued that she initially chose TSC because of the MLT program, and the hands-on training she has obtained has significantly advanced her goal of working in the medical field.

“Students complete this twenty-one-month program with an associate degree in applied science and become eligible for ASCP and AMT national certification exams,” explained Dr. Villalon. “It’s a field in which demand only continues to grow, so the more people who are interested, the better it is for everyone.”