Kaley Jean ’21
Kaley Jean ’21 is a genetics major and Classics minor from Merrimack, NH who is working as a a clinical lab assistant in UNH's COVID testing lab. "While a pandemic isn’t the best way to end my undergraduate career," she says, "I think helping others is."
Kaley Jean: I work as a clinical lab assistant, so I uncap incoming samples, vortex and scan the samples into the computer system so we are able to keep track of whose results belong to whom, and then I also run the Integra machine that pipettes samples onto plates, which are given to the lab technicians for pooling.
Kaley: I wanted to be a part of the testing effort at UNH for the lab experience, as well as to see the process in full and to feel like I am doing something to help the community. As a student I am able to see the tests being taken and how my peers are responding to the new protocols, and as a member of the COVID lab I can see how the tests are run behind-the-scenes.
Kaley: It is definitely great lab experience, which will be nice for my resume, but it is also a great to be part of the community of people working in the lab, both students and full-time workers.
Kaley: Aside from practical skills, I’ve learned that even when the work you’re doing is serious, and things may seem scary and a bit bleak, it doesn’t have to be all encompassing. Even though we follow strict safety protocols in the lab, we also can joke around and have fun together.
Kaley: I have been looking into a career in public health since before the pandemic started, and I think that the pandemic may have brought about some changes regarding how we respond to health crises that could be beneficial. There are people in a few countries that were already in the habit of wearing masks when they were sick as courtesy towards others, and maybe people will wash their hands more often. I think I’ll probably continue washing my hands every time I return home for a while after the pandemic ends!
Kaley: I love the opportunity for hands-on lab experience, but I also love the opportunity to tell people about what I do and to educate them on what happens and why. I also enjoy knowing that I am working towards something that is helping not only myself, but others as well. While a pandemic isn’t the best way to end my undergraduate career, I think helping others is.
Kaley: I definitely believe we have made it this far because of this lab. While social distancing and mask use has also been a part of it, those things are very hard to enforce. Having the on-campus lab has helped us keep track of positives so people know when to isolate or quarantine. The lab is a reminder of how privileged we were to be able to be here, and that helped us stay motivated to follow the new protocols.