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BTC Names 2020-2021 Alumni of the Year

June 28, 2021

Brittany Kelly was in one of the first cohorts of students who completed the Medical Lab Tech program when it first launched at Blackhawk. She took that knowledge and has now worked in the blood bank for Mercyhealth’s Janesville location since her graduation in 2013. As this year’s Alumni of the Year, she demonstrates her continued appreciation for the program by regularly returning to share her knowledge.

Brittany enjoys the fact that the blood bank is the only lab department certified to put things into patients and take them out. This can include blood and platelets, but also organs and bones waiting for a transplant. As she explains, “It’s so much more than just what your blood type is. You have different sugars that are in your blood cells that some people develop antibodies for. So it’s almost like a giant Sudoku puzzle trying to figure it out when people have problems with blood transfusions.”

Kathi Winker, Medical Lab Technician Instructor, remembers Brittany fondly as a student and as an alumna. “Every single day that Brittany came to class, she was this bubbly, excited person who was so looking forward to her laboratory career. A week after she graduated, I received an email saying, ‘look at the cool pictures I took on the microscope. These are urine crystals.’ And that began our post-graduation relationship.” This continued relationship is only part of the reason why Kathi nominated Brittany for Alumni of the Year.

Each year Brittany returns to the MLT program in Monroe to help students prepare for their clinical training. This is her opportunity to ensure she has quality coworkers in the future. “I think it’s essential to support the student base,” she says. “We hear in the news so much about how there’s a nursing shortage. There’s just as much of a lab tech shortage. We have probably 10s of 1000s of people retiring.”

Currently, in a BA program to continue her learning and move into a supervisory position at some point, Brittany enjoys returning to Blackhawk because she hopes to come back and teach in the program someday. But for now, she enjoys returning to see how far the program has come since her graduation. “When I first started, we were using regular centrifuges and not having the blood-specific centrifuges. They’ve gotten a lot more instrumentation. We’re seeing graduates of the program that are coming in much more prepared.”

Congratulations, Brittany, and thank you for your continued service to Blackhawk Technical College.

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