Siobhan Hopper at Rhode Island Hospital
- Hometown: Warwick, RI
- Major: Microbiology and Medical Laboratory Science
- Graduation Year: May 2013
- Internship: Rhode Island Hospital
“The internship was the major reason I added medical laboratory science (MLS) as my second major,” Siobhan Hopper said, as she reflects on her year-long intensive clinical internship at Rhode Island Hospital (RIH).
The clinical internship is a required part of the MLS major and accounts for 32 credits. Interested students must apply and be accepted to the program and can either work at RIH or Fatima Hospital. She said the first six weeks of the internship involve an intensive lecture series that includes three, two hour classes a day in a variety of topics all related to clinical science. Once the six-week rotations are over, students transition to different hospital laboratories for training rotations over the next 10 months.
“We learn how to test the specimen, obtain important information from the results, and all the scientific theory behind the testing,” Hopper said. “We are learning from people who actually work in the field and all of these people volunteer to teach us, so it’s a very different learning experience than anything I’ve had on the URI campus.”
Hopper is also the first winner of the Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) $5,000 scholarship that includes a part-time internship position there for medical laboratory science. She was chosen among other applicants based on GPA, interest in blood banking, and community involvement. Like her internship with RIH, she said she heard about the RIBC opportunity from her advisor, Dr. Paquette.
“The $5,000 from the scholarship will go directly to my tuition,” Hopper said.
We are learning from people who actually work in the field and all of these people volunteer to teach us, so it’s a very different learning experience than anything I’ve had on the URI campus.
At RIH, Hopper said she deals with patient specimens and learns about their health status from the test results, whereas at the RIBC she makes sure donor samples are safe and fully tested so that they can be provided to the patients who need them.
“For me the internship was well worth an additional year to my college career, especially because after this year I will be ready to take my boards and be nationally certified as a Medical Laboratory Scientist, which opens up so many job opportunities to me in hospitals and private labs all across the country,” Hopper said.
Hopper said if you are interested in the medical field, MLS is a great degree to have because taking classes and interning in a hospital is an amazing opportunity that can get you a job right out of college.