Isabelle Banker '19

Part of the Solution
UNH alumna Isabelle Banker '19

Isabelle Banker graduated in 2019 with a degree in biomedical science: medical microbiology, with a Spanish minor. She is from Lee, NH.

COLSA: What is your role in UNH's COVID-19 diagnostic lab, and what are your responsibilities?

Isabelle Banker: As a medical laboratory technician, I work alongside fellow technicians and clinical laboratory assistants to ensure timely and organized processing of nasal swab samples, which are dropped off every two hours each day. Samples are pooled into a single plate for inactivation and RNA extraction, then assessed using RT-PCR to identify the presence of viral particles.

COLSA: Why do you want to be a part of UNH's testing effort?

Isabelle: As soon as I heard about this opportunity, I knew it was important for me to step up to protect my family and friends. I went to both high school and college in Durham, and I will forever call this area home. I have two family members who are employed at the university as well as many former classmates and professors on campus.

COLSA: How has this experience been valuable for you?

Isabelle: I have further improved my ability to work productively with a diverse group of people. I am thankful for the chance to be home during this tumultuous time to serve the public health needs of my community.

"The on-campus lab can quickly identify positive cases and initiate the almost immediate quarantine and treatment of infected and associated individuals."

COLSA: What is the most important thing you've learned?

Isabelle: I have enjoyed the challenge of troubleshooting technology and machines to find timely and effective solutions.  When working with complex equipment, there is always potential for different problems to arise at any time, but I've learned there is always a solution and as a team we can accomplish anything.

COLSA: Has living though a pandemic changed your perspective regarding the future of human health?

Isabelle: I believe this pandemic has reminded us all that personal decisions about our health can have long-lasting effects which impact others as well. I’m optimistic about the future of human health as our society continues to learn and grow from situations such as this.  I am looking forward to continuing to promote health in my community and around the world.

COLSA: What does it mean to you to have this opportunity to be on the frontlines of helping to manage the spread of COVID-19?

Isabelle: Reflecting upon my education and career experience, I am grateful that I may apply my knowledge and skills to work on the frontlines to help manage the spread of SARS-CoV-2. I hope to remain a part of this dedicated team of administrators and laboratory professionals as we continue to understand and control the effects of this virus.

COLSA: What role do you think having an on-campus lab has played in UNH's ability to manage the spread of COVID-19 and keep the campus open?

Isabelle: The on-campus lab can quickly identify positive cases and initiate the almost immediate quarantine and treatment of infected and associated individuals, which has definitely been instrumental in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and keeping campus safe and open.

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