Denisonians in Health Professions: Clinical Research Assistant

Denisonians in health professions: clinical research assistant - lauren-jay-260x300.png image #0Lauren Jay ’14

Role: Clinical Research Assistant

Fun Fact: I’ve been to “Castaway” island in Fiji and met Wilson on the beach

Describe the process you went through to select your career path: what impacted your decision?
I wanted to get some experience in the field prior to applying to graduate school. I unfortunately did not get the opportunity to do research while I was at Denison, so I wanted to see if research was a potential career for me.

What are your favorite aspects of your profession?
I love meeting and consenting patients for our various research studies. I also enjoy learning new lab techniques and becoming more knowledgeable about current pharmaceutical trials. Engaging with doctors and other health care team members also has its perks. I’ve met a lot of great people while working for The Ohio State College of Medicine.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspect of my work is meeting all the dynamic needs of pharmaceutical trials. Our lab is involved in a few trials that require very detailed documents, logs, and reports. I did not realize the amount of work, organization, and communication that goes into being the main clinical lab. There are very high expectations and you cannot afford to make mistakes. Thus, being proactive and staying organized can help mitigate some of the stresses that come with this job.

Describe what a typical day looks like for you.
A typical day involves running a clinical enzyme assay, gathering and processing samples, and helping with daily operations of the lab. When I first started my job, I used to consent patients for our research studies. Since then, I have strengthened my lab skills and am now one of the lead technicians. 

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your field?
Reach out to alumni in the field. Do not be afraid that you’re “bothering them”, because most alumni are willing to help! If they can’t help get you a position, they may be able to point you in the right direction and/or even put you in contact with some of their colleagues. Networking is KEY. Use the power of the Denison alumni network to help you reach your next step in life.