Introducing a New Generation to Laboratory and Pathology Careers

On June 11, eight representatives from the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology (DLMP) introduced middle school students from Rochester and the surrounding communities to potential careers in laboratory medicine and pathology as part of a summer camp sponsored by the Health Science Career Center. The DLMP employees joined representatives from various Mayo Clinic departments to get young students excited about science and expose them to potential career opportunities in healthcare. Other healthcare careers highlighted by Mayo Clinic representatives included nursing, respiratory therapy, certified registered nursing assistants and pharmacy.

A volunteer from the department shows two students how to operate a pipette.

The laboratory-related activities were covered over the course of three hours, with students rotating through a variety of stations, spending approximately 10 minutes at each. (See the list of activities below.)

“It is wonderful that we have such great staff willing to share their time and talents with young, future scientists,” says Karen Fields, DLMP placement coordinator. ” Their energy and excitement can be felt by the students.”

DLMP Summer Camp Volunteers

No Picture Available
 Karen Fields  Roeun Im  Matt Merfeld  Shannon Newberg
 DLMP Placement Coordinator  Hematopathology – Morphology  Biochemical Genetics Laboratory  Phlebotomy Education Team
 Len Rollins  Amy Seegmiller Renner  Kristen Stenzel  Elizabeth Wright
 Infectious Diseases Serology Laboratory  Anatomic Pathology  Cytogenetics Laboratory  Cytogenetics Laboratory

DLMP Stations

  • Personal protective equipment — Students applied lab coats, gloves and eye protection and had a digital photo taken with “Mr. Bones” the school’s skeleton as a souvenir.
  • Chromosomes/karyotyping — Photos were used to explain chromosomes and different genetic results
  • Centrifugation — Food samples were centrifuged to explain how this process is used in clinical work. Photos of centrifuged blood were used to further explain the value of this tool
  • Cereal-iron extraction — Total cereal was used to explain how iron is incorporated into food, and the function of iron is our bodies
  • Parasitology — Jarred specimens and laminated photos of common parasites such as tapeworms, round worms, dog heart worms, deer and wood ticks, bed bugs, lice, among others.
  • Histology — Students created slides using strips of celery, stained them with food coloring and observed the cells using a microscope.
  • M & M Chromatography — M & M’s were used to demonstrate the various colors within a brown or green candy. It was explained that this process is used to evaluate fetal lung maturity
  • Phlebotomy — The steps involved in the blood drawing process were explained.  They tied a tourniquet on the “fake arm” and palpated the veins.
  • Microscope — Microscope slides of different blood smears and photos were used to explain the types of leukemia
  • Pipette relay — Students were given an opportunity to use pipettes and the importance of accuracy was emphasized

Student comments from previous camps included:

  • “Thank you for putting on such a great event! This definitely helped me and I hope that it continues to help others. Great work Mayo!”
  • “My favorite part was realizing that these professionals were real people.”
  • “I really enjoyed the hands-on equipment; it really helped explain things better.”
  • “Awesome! The upbeat staff provided great information.”
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Mayo Clinic Laboratories

This post was authored by the Marketing Team at Mayo Clinic Laboratories.