Ironically, it was serendipitous that the COVID-19 pandemic hit just when Gilmar Danila began his studies to become a clinical laboratory scientist (CLS) in our Clinical Laboratory Scientist Preparatory Program. Why? As he says, “It was a case of real life meeting academics. It's nice knowing that what I'm learning is actually happening.”
He’d always been interested in biology and majored in biological studies at UC Irvine (Zot! Zot! Zot!). As Gilmar’s family is close-knit, choosing an undergraduate institution near to his family was a top priority. “I have always been motivated to continue my education beyond my bachelor’s,” he asserts, “for my future and my future family.
I have my parents and brothers to thank for the motivation to improve myself.”
It’s with this family support that Gilmar is able to pursue his dreams.
Easy to Enroll, Yet Academically Challenging Program
Why us? Well, Gilmar simply typed “clinical laboratory scientist program” into a search engine and our program was the first to pop up. Google did not steer him wrong, as Gilmar immediately found that “signing up for classes and the administrations, logistics and payments were a breeze. I appreciate that because nobody has time to stress about signing up for classes.”
The actual experience of going through the program was not as free of stress, though. The courses were “stressful and challenging,” Gilmar says with a laugh.
Instructors Demand You Give Your Best
In fact, the person who turned out to be his favorite instructor was one who challenged him the most. Fatemeh Fazely quickly became his favorite, Gilmar identifies with an exclamation point in his voice. She didn’t always hold that role.
“She kept me on track.”
“When I look back, she was hard so that I could learn better. She kept me on track.”
It was Dr. Fazely’s Medical Microbiology course that remains his favorite of the program. He’d always been interested in the subject of microbial pathogens, and had studied them in undergrad. Most importantly, though, Gilmar enjoyed the way the course was taught.
“The way it was formatted,” he shares, “it made sense. You learn about the basics of microbiology and then you learn about the specific species that are important in the medical field. It just flowed very well for me.”
Education Aiming at a Career
One of the main benefits for the program is that it combines rigorous academic quality with practicality toward a future professional career. A case in point is Quantitative Analysis: Applications in Clinical Chemistry. Chemistry was not a “forte in my undergraduate studies,” Gilmar admits. The pedagogical style and content of this course was different for him.
“I was surprisingly happy that the teaching style and topics covered in this class were nothing like the g-chem and o-chem series you would take in an undergraduate setting,” Gilmar states. “It was geared towards clinical chemistry testing and real-world applications in the clinical laboratory, which made chemistry hurt a little less, and made it a little more relatable.”
Racing Toward the Final Educational Hurdle
Perhaps most importantly, the program successfully prepared Gilmar to be a competitive applicant into an academically rigorous degree program. And he’s proud to share that he has been accepted into a wonderful school, which is the final step in his goal to become a CLS. Though he’s keeping the school name close to his vest, he’s excited about staying in California.
“I just applied everywhere,” he says, “but I've always wanted to stay in California. My family and parents wanted something closer by than the program I got accepted into, but I told them I wanted to expand a little bit.”
Paying It Back
Given his strong familial support system, Gilmar is clearly looking to pay that back. Of the various places where people can apply their CLS status, Gilmar knows what his goal will be.
“A hospital for sure,” he insists. “I want to work in a hospital. Hospitals hit more to the heart. You know you're helping patients and get reminded of it when you go to work.”
It’s also one of his goals to encourage others to pursue their dreams in becoming a clinical laboratory scientist.
“For me to get this far—to get accepted into a program—it really humbled me,” Gilmar says, though we know better of his academic abilities! “I did online searches where you see how competitive it is to get into a CLS program. The fact that I got in, it humbled me. I wouldn't have gotten this far without the people who helped me. So I just want to help other people and pay that forward.”
Find your own path forward to a dynamic health care career with the Clinical Laboratory Scientist Preparatory Program.