Sydney McCrea,’23, is looking forward to getting her degree and certification in Medical Laboratory Science and working here in New York after “discovering” the right college in her backyard.

About a year ago, while attending an out-of-state college, McCrea realized that her career path was in jeopardy. A med lab science degree from another state would prevent her from taking New York’s medical lab science certification exam. Returning to New York was necessary, so the Huntington resident made her move in Spring 2021.

“I chose Farmingdale State College because a lot of schools don’t have the program. I liked that it was close to home and the classes are small and more personal," McCrea said. “I never thought about going to FSC before because it was right here. But I definitely would recommend it.”

The admiration goes both ways. “Sydney has brought a tremendous amount of positive energy to the Medical Laboratory Science program,” said Dr. Susan L. Conforti, Chairperson of the Medical Laboratory Science Department.

While in high school, McCrea knew she was strong in science and wanted to pursue a career related to health care, but wanted her work to be more behind the scenes. She was inspired by her mother who is a medical lab technician at Huntington Hospital. “I like that you are using your brain (in a lab) without direct (patient) contact,” McCrea said.

She is enjoying pursuing her studies in a smaller department than the one at her previous college and is pleased at how much easier it is to get to know classmates and professors.

The enthusiasm and commitment of the department’s faculty are very inspiring, added McCrea. “From the very beginning, it was immediately obvious to me that these professors really strive to make sure their students succeed. The professors knew who I was and I was able to build a connection just from being in class.” 

During the past two years, McCrea has developed a close bond with faculty and staff and is well-liked and respected among her peers, according to Conforti. McCrea works in the department as an assistant in the student laboratories where she sets up equipment, analytical reagents, and supplies for multiple laboratory class sections, she added.

The benefits of labs tying in with classwork are also made very clear, McCrea noted. “I love being able to have experience in a lab, which heavily mirrors what my career will involve.” 

McCrea is at the top of her class in both theory and mastery of technical skills, Conforti said. “She excels in both the lecture and laboratory courses; many students tend to be stronger in one or the other,” she added. 

FSC’s program also keeps current with the industry and provides more in-person experiences than she had before, McCrea said. “I’m learning a lot.” Besides working as a student assistant in the lab, McCrea is upping her skills by participating in the Medical Laboratory Science Club.

Because many of the faculty work in the field, they are able to keep tabs on changes in the industry, so McCrea knows she will graduate prepared with the most current skills and practices. “Professors are constantly updating their curriculum due to the fact that science is always evolving, which affects the procedures and testing of clinical laboratories,” she said. “By the time I graduate, I know I will feel more than prepared with all I have learned in this program to sit for my certification exam.”

According to McCrea, working in a laboratory is definitely in her future; she’s not sure yet what type of lab or whether she will continue her studies or work while going to school. 

Whichever path she chooses, McCrea has a solid future ahead of her, said Conforti. “In her senior year at Farmingdale, Sydney already demonstrates many of the professional and personal character traits that best exemplify the profession of Medical Laboratory Science,” she continued. “The laboratory workplace is fast-paced, requires multitasking ability, and great attention to detail, and Sydney is well prepared for the challenge.”