Medical Technology students win national scholarships

Editor’s note: This is the first of two posts about a pair of Upstate’s Medical Technology students, Matthew Jackson and Angela Aponte, who have been awarded prestigious scholarships. Here is Matthew’s story; Angela’s story will follow.

SUNY Upstate Health Professions Medical Technology

Matthew Jackson, Medical Technology student, was awarded a national scholarship. Photo by William Mueller.

Upstate Medical Technology student Matthew Jackson has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the American Society for Clinical Pathology/Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.

The national scholarship is awarded based on four criteria – knowledge; commitment to community; leadership, and career advancement.

Matthew and Angela Aponte, who will graduate in May with bachelor’s degrees, are the latest Clinical Laboratory Sciences students at Upstate to receive an ASCP/Siemens award.

Susan Graham, MS, chair of the Medical Technology program, said both were excellent candidates for the award because they excel academically as well as in the areas of leadership and service.

Beyond his academic excellence, Matthew contributes to the campus community in a number of ways, said Graham.

“He is very involved in student government, and his commitment to community service is nothing less than stellar,” she said. “Matthew worked as a Global Impact Fellow to bring medical assistance to impoverished communities in rural and urban south India. He is a wonderful ambassador for our profession.”

Global Impact Fellows assist doctors with eye care programs in urban slums, villages, schools, orphanages and old-age homes. Matthew took patient histories, tested visual acuity, observed surgeries and learned about common eye diseases.

“Before I left for India, I raised around $2,500 to fund cataract surgeries,” Matthew said. “Cataract surgery in India costs about $50 (US), so I was able to fund around 50 surgeries. At the end of my time there I was able to perform phacoemulsification cataract surgery on a goat eye.”

Matthew also pursued an independent research project, “Patient Barriers to Cataract Care in Rural South India,” which he later presented at a research symposium at the University at Buffalo.

“I was also an emergency room medical scribe as an undergraduate at SUNY Buffalo for ScribeAmerica,” Matthew said. “Working as a scribe was the single most reassuring experience I had prior to starting a career in medicine. The physicians with whom I worked were all eager mentors who encouraged my pursuit of medicine and were open to answering my questions and concerns about the profession.”

Emergency room scribes record physical exam and history findings on patient charts that serve as the permanent medical record, and assist physicians in documenting test results, medications, ongoing care and treatment plans.

After graduation, Matthew plans to work as a Medical Laboratory Scientist and apply to medical school. He is a Buffalo native.

“The ASCP scholarship is an extremely valuable resource for today’s laboratory professionals,” Matthew said. “The final year of the program is challenging both intellectually and economically. Driving to clinical rotations can be expensive, especially if you have to drive out of town. The award not only serves as a financial buffer, but also acts as an opportunity to advance my career.”

Each year the ASCP and Siemens award scholarships to successful students to help balance their full-time studies and expenses at accredited Clinical Laboratory Sciences programs such as Upstate’s.  Last year, ASCP/Siemens awarded $182,000 in scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate medical laboratory students.


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