Fascinated early on with the minutia of the medical work that goes on following a doctor’s visit, such as what happens to your blood after a blood draw, Abigail A. Harris, was encouraged by her parents to pursue a medical education and found additional inspiration from the Mayo Clinic Medical Guide and Dictionary. Joining Madonna University, she began her career as a chemistry lab assistant from 1996 to 1997 and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry in 1998. She continued her studies at Oakland University, where she conducted microbiology research for her master’s thesis and had the opportunity to work alongside the research program’s principal investigator. She completed her Master of Science in biology at Oakland in 2003 followed by a clinical internship at St. Joseph Mercy Medical Center from 2003 to 2006.
Briefly spending time as a microbiology lab assistant at Johnson Controls, Inc. in 2004, Ms. Harris served as a medical technologist with the Henry Ford Macomb Hospital from 2006 to 2008. Subsequently, she joined the University of Chicago Medical Center in that same role in 2008, a position she still holds to this day. She considers achieving her position at the medical center to be her greatest professional achievement to date. Today, her duties include the oversight of a number of different work stations that vary based on where she is most needed on a given day, including stations for releasing patient results to doctors and nurses, viewing lab results, performing chemistry work and maintaining their instruments. Other duties of Ms. Harris’ include work in their outpatient satellite areas and the clinical laboratories of their level 1 trauma center.
Ms. Harris is additionally part of a specialized department for protein electrophoresis chemistry, which is involved in assessing the prognosis and treatment course of patients that have multiple myeloma. Looking toward the future, she hopes to remain active with this department as protein electrophoresis and immunofixation are some of her favorite specialties to work in. Attributing much of her success to her dedication to doing the best she can every single day, she has made a name for herself for her attention to detail and her ability to organize her workflow to manage her lifelong vision impairment. In particular, Ms. Harris notes the importance of slowing down and taking your time when working under stressful conditions.
Throughout her career, Ms. Harris has been continually motivated by her interest in continuing to learn new techniques and tasks. Presently, she is working to learn more about hemoglobin evaluation along with her ongoing work with protein electrophoresis. She notes that her work in protein electrophoresis chemistry has been incredibly gratifying and ranks among the highlights of her career. Furthermore, Ms. Harris is proud of the growth she has experienced over the years, coming from working as a generalist in a variety of departments, such as hematology, blood banking, coagulation and urinalysis, to specializing almost exclusively in clinical chemistry today.
In order to keep abreast of new developments in her field, Ms. Harris maintains professional affiliation with the American Society for Clinical Pathology, where she has been a member since 2006. She has also been a member of Kapp Gamma Pi since 1999. Recognized for being a conscientious worker in regard to small details that others might consider to be insignificant, she has received several commendations from the University of Chicago Medical Center and had earlier received a letter of commendation from the head of her department at Oakland University for her master’s thesis. When she is not working, Ms. Harris enjoys reading, playing computer games, visiting restaurants and museums, and traveling with her friends.