Michener grad stays ahead of technology trends in her Med Lab career

Stephanie SmallerStephanie Fenech is a lifelong learner. In many ways, graduating from Michener’s Medical Laboratory Science program in 2005 was just the beginning of her journey.

After her time at Michener, Stephanie completed a Bachelor of Technology degree and eventually a Master’s degree in Health Informatics. This education kept Stephanie ahead of health care technology trends and led to her current role as a Medical Technical Specialist of Routine Haematology at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“My education looks like a tree instead of a linear path,” she says. “If a program looks interesting to me, why not do it?”

In her job, Stephanie helps her team identify and solve issues with haematology tests, instruments and stains. Because she understands the technology and instrument data for the blood tests, Stephanie can guide her team through an atypical result and advise if the sample should be released, reviewed by a hematopathologist or if a new sample is needed altogether.

With Stephanie’s diverse mix of medical and technology education, she has a different perspective on the equipment that her team uses in the lab, and she sees herself as a bridge between the science and technology in her job. “I have a different view when I’m giving feedback to a technologist. I’ll give my medical perspective and the technical background on why a result is coming up in our system” she says.

Stephanie credits this unique expertise to her love of teaching and learning. Even in her spare time, Stephanie creates videos for her YouTube channel called Heme Ed where she gives short haematology lessons on topics like cell basics and microscopic slide interpretation. She values this transfer of knowledge and sees all kinds of opportunities to share and learn online:

“I like being a mentor and communicating the knowledge I have with others – even if they’re from outside my field.”

Being a lifelong learner has its challenges, but the learning environment can make all the difference. For Stephanie, this was clearly her experience at Michener. “As a Black woman, having faculty and fellow students who were also Black was huge for my education. I realized that I belonged at Michener. It was a place that enhanced my love of learning.”

Stephanie says that being in an environment that encouraged risk-taking and being true to yourself so early in her education solidified her place in the medical laboratory profession. “Michener showed me that it was what I brought to the conversation that mattered the most,” says Stephanie. “I wouldn’t be where I am or have gone so far in my learning without that.”