Dr. Shaw shares how the BMLSc program provided a bridge from his time as a laboratory technologist into his PhD, and how the skills he learned have applied to a career outside of pathology.
What is your current career or educational program?
After many years in health care project management, much of my work these days supports clients with privacy and information security concerns.
Describe what you do.
After my academic studies, I became involved in information technology, supporting higher education and health care. Currently I am consulting through a company I founded in 2006 where much of my work is involved with IT project management, policy development, software development and privacy and security audits in health care, private business and the nonprofit sector.
What has been your journey, since graduating from the BMLSc Program?
The BMLSc program was a huge stepping stone for me, bridging years of experience in clinical laboratories as a BCIT-trained laboratory technologist, into the academic world, with a PhD through the Department of Pathology. My goal when I was doing research at the time was to become a clinical chemist. By the time I was writing up my thesis however, I had to make a practical choice, to either move back East to continue down that career path (there were few clinical chemistry positions at the time), or consider other options. As it happened, I was already running an IT company at the time I was writing my thesis, so with two young children and a new wife, this proved to be a practical career choice.
How did your BMLSc degree help you to get where you are now?
The BMLSc program enabled me to gain theoretical and analytical skills that were extremely valuable when I was doing basic science research in lipid metabolism. And I have used these skills ever since, by using similar cognitive approaches to research, analysis and design in the field of information technology.
What is the most valuable experience you gained from the BMLSc Program?
Understanding underlying principals of biochemistry and laboratory medicine that even now frequently come up at the dinner table with my wife, a medical biochemist, as well as more recent work that I’ve been doing with the International Academy of Pathology.
What did you enjoy most about the program or what is your favorite memory from your time in the Program?
Being taught parasitology by Dr. Donald McLean during a special summer session that he taught only for me. I could not attend the regular class in the spring as my mother was terminally ill and I was working full time to support my family. I remember Dr. McLean, wearing business suit and bow tie, standing at the lectern as if he were teaching a large class, but with me, the only student in front of him, taking notes. I am forever grateful for his kindness and compassion.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to BMLSc students and recent graduates?
The BMLSc program can be a stepping stone to many interesting career paths, not all of which may be immediately apparent. What you learned through your degree is more than the course content needed to pass exams. It is a discipline of thinking that will be beneficial in unexpected ways for years to come.
Name one thing on your bucket list.
Climbing Mount Ventoux on my road bike. Or kick the bucket trying 😉