Andrea Odom thought she was on the fast track to becoming a nurse, until she discovered her interest in scientific investigation. Odom decided the clinical laboratory sciences program at Missouri State was the right fit for her and selected an emphasis in molecular diagnostics.
“I felt lucky to receive such attention and focus from professors that actually had worked as medical scientists before teaching at Missouri State,” said Odom.
Just one week after graduation, Odom landed a job with the Midwest Transplant Network (MTN) as a medical laboratory scientist. MTN is a non-profit organization that offers organ and tissue donation/transplantation services in Kansas and western Missouri.
Odom tests transplant candidates and potential organ and tissue donors looking for possible matches. She credits the extensive laboratory training in genetic testing she gained in upper division biomedical sciences courses with helping her land the career she loves. “MSU allowed experience I just couldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” she added.
Matching an organ donor to an organ recipient using genetic analysis is a unique and wonderful experience for Odom “Every time we find there is a possibility to provide someone with a dialysis-free future or the chance to run and play with their grandchildren is a blessing and a reminder that I can make a positive impact on someone I may never have met.”
“Missouri State professors provided an excellent opportunity for me to gain a quality education of molecular science before attending North Kansas City Hospital for Clinical Laboratory Science,” said Odom.
Odom chose North Kansas City Hospital of Clinical Laboratory Science (NKCH) after completing her science coursework at Missouri State to complete the clinical practice hours required for graduation.
Odom would like to manage her own laboratory someday and is grateful for the experiences she received at Missouri State. “Knowing that I am part of a family of medical professionals that is so small, but has a huge effect makes me feel like I have found my place in the world,” said Odom. “I love my job, so I’m one of the lucky people who will never work a day of their lives.”