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Winter 2019 Newsletter
President's Message
Jenica Harrison, PhD, MT(ASCP)
President, ASCLS-VA

In the United States, we observe numerous holidays and events in the month of February.  A partial list of February observances include National Freedom Day, National Wear Red Day, Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Presidents’ Day, Black History Month, and how could I forget Valentine’s Day. Aah, Valentine’s Day!   
Historically Valentine’s Day was established to celebrate romantic love.  However, if you are like me, you also take the time to remind your family and friends how much you love and appreciate them on Valentine’s Day as well.  Love for our fellow man and passion for contributing to society in a positive way are ideals that we collectively embrace as medical laboratory professionals.  Many of us joined our “hidden profession” because of the lives we positively impact every day.  As we help to “save lives in disguise” we play an integral role in helping children, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and friends to continue to embrace life and celebrate their love.  My dear colleagues, I encourage you to please continue to be proud and conscientious of your daily contributions to humanity.  Moreover, continue to keep the passion, shine our light, be the change, and participate so that we can continue to grow as a profession and promote our importance in healthcare.
ASCLS Supports Education and Research in Clinical Laboratory Science

The ASCLS Education and Research Fund, Inc. is a part of the ASCLS organization dedicated to furthering the educational and research goals of ASCLS members.

Two ASCLS-VA members have been recipients of E&R Funds and share their stories below.

The deadline to apply for E&R funding is April 1.

Have you ever had an idea for a research project that would either satisfy your scientific curiosity or help inform your lab’s operations, policies, or procedures? The ASCLS Education & Research Fund Member Grant can provide funding for such projects up to $5,000. Applications for this grant program are open to all ASCLS members.
A few years ago, I wanted to study serum fructosamine levels in healthy individuals, to determine the biological variability of this marker of average blood glucose concentration. I needed financial support for this project to cover the cost of reagents, calibrators, QC materials, consumables for the chemistry analyzer, and blood collection and storage supplies. The E&R Fund Member Grant was the best fit for my idea. Most grant funding agencies have very specific priorities for awards, or will not bother with requests for <$5,000. The E&R Fund Member Grant can be awarded to any member who can write a short proposal that demonstrates how their research will advance the practice of clinical laboratory science, and their ability to execute the study. The support I received from the E&R Fund enabled me to conduct the research I was interested in doing, and present my findings at the Annual Meeting of ASCLS, both of which were essential for the advancement of my career.

Bill Korzun, PhD, DABCC, MT(ASCP)
Department of Clinical Laboratory Science
Virginia Commonwealth University

Two years ago, I was fortunate to be the recipient of a one-time-only graduate student travel grant to attend the Legislative Symposium in Washington DC. Living in Indiana at the time, and as a full-time graduate student, attending this event would have been otherwise impossible. This collaborative event introduced me to other laboratory organizations, including the Association of Genetic Technologists, who are standing side-by-side with ASCLS in advocating for legislation that is in the best interests of our labs and our patients.

Being in DC, with other lab professionals, educated me on the issues facing our labs from a national level (PAMA anyone?). The level of education about these issues is found nowhere else except the Legislative Symposium. They also trained us on how to effectively advocate with our legislators and their aides, tools that can be utilized in any kind of environment, not just during the Legislative Symposium.

Support from the E&R Fund helped me grow, professionally and personally, and made me a better scientist. Without their support, this growth wouldn't have happened.

As a current trustee on the E&R Fund, I encourage everyone to apply for funding - scholarships and research grants. We are excited to support the betterment of our members and the patients our members serve. We want to give you money - all you need to do is apply! The deadline for research grants and scholarships is April 1. Please, apply for this money to further your own professional and personal development!
Secretary, ASCLS-VA

The ASCLS-VA Annual Meeting is coming
April 19, 
2019 to Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA

Registration information is available here. 

A block of rooms has been reserved at the SpringHill Suites Norfolk Old Dominion University. The block is limited and only available until March 18 or all of the rooms are reserved. Don't wait!

Our speakers include:

More to be announced in the coming weeks!

Ascending Professional Representative's Message

Bill Veilleux, MLS(ASCP)CM

We have a new name!  The New Professional and New Member Forum is now the Ascending Professionals Forum, which also corresponds to the membership category Ascending Professional.  The forum provides new
professionals a voice to express their ideas, opinions, and concerns, and is an excellent resource to help you after graduation.  If you are interested in attending the ASCLS annual meeting, the forum sponsors travel grants that will be available in the next couple of months.  Check the Ascending Professional Forum page on the ASCLS website for the latest news.
Developing Professional Representative's Message

Rachel-Jordan McDowall, VCU

Hello, my name is Rachel-Jordan McDowall and I am the current Student Forum Representative for ASCLS-VA. I am currently finishing up my last semester in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Clinical Laboratory Science Program and preparing for graduation. With the anticipation of graduation also comes the anticipation of taking the ASCP Board of Certification Exam which I intend to complete shortly after graduation festivities end.

As ASCLS-VA’s Student Forum Representative, I want to stress to students the importance of becoming members of professional societies such as ASCLS and ASCLS-VA.  The medical laboratory profession is a much smaller and closer group of individuals than I realized before entering into the program. With that being said, who you know as well as what you know and what you have done goes a long way! Most scientists, myself included, can categorize ourselves as introverts.  Well, being an introvert traditionally does not align very well when it comes to networking and “getting yourself out there”, but it is incredibly easy when surrounded by those with similar interests. That is one of the biggest perks of becoming a member of a professional society! The ease to network and make connections with others in your field and with similar interests.  Becoming a member of professional societies, such as ASCLS-VA, is something we all should take pride in because it demonstrates our dedication to our profession. In addition, participation in professional societies increases the camaraderie among medical laboratory science professionals and helps to keep us involved, updated, and aware of current issues and trends within our profession.

Joining ASCLS, ASCLS-VA and other professional societies has opened many doors for me as a student and as a professional. In conclusion, I highly recommend joining professional societies for many of the reasons above.

ASCLS-VA Board Member Spotlight

Jenica L. Harrison, PhD, MT(ASCP) - President, ASCLS-VA

Jenica is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).   At VCU, Jenica teaches Hematology, Urinalysis, and Body Fluid Analysis.  Jenica joined The American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS) in order to fellowship and learn from other laboratory professionals and to help in the effort of making the medical laboratory profession more visible. Outside of Jenica’s professional life, she enjoys being a mom to a toddler, going to local festivals, roller skating, and running.
Do you have an artistic talent? Do you have an interesting case study or new research that you're working on? Do you have something you'd like to share with the ASCLS-VA community? Let us know, we'd love to highlight your accomplishments in our next newsletter! Email us at to share!
Recipe: Reddit Banana Brownies

Reddit Banana Brownies

Serves: 9
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium bananas)
4 tablespoons coconut sugar (or any other sugar)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper so the paper hangs over two opposite sides like handles. Lightly coat with non-stick cooking spray.
Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl, ensuring that you have 1 cup (adjust accordingly). Stir in the sugar, butter, milk, egg, and vanilla until well blended.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir to combine, stopping as soon as the flour disappears. Fold in 4 tablespoons of chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely on a wire rack, then lift the brownies from the pan using the parchment handles. Cut and enjoy!
Calories: 159
Total Fat: 3.8g
Total Carbohydrates: 28g
Protein: 3.3g

Recipe courtesy of Julie Bayer-Vile

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