Call it a case of like mother; like son. That’s the best way to describe the career paths chosen by Cyndi and Matthew Dobbs.
Cyndi Dobbs, a 1997 graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, has spent much of the past 13 years as a traveling medical technologist. Matthew Dobbs is set to graduate from Southern Miss in August with a degree in Medical Technology.
And because he elected to pursue a degree already obtained by his mother Matthew Dobbs has been awarded the Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics Legacy Student Scholarship worth $2,000. Each year Siemens presents these scholarships to 10 students who are the children, grandchildren, or siblings of clinical laboratory professionals who continue their family legacy by pursuing associate or bachelor’s degrees in accredited programs.
“I always wanted to choose a career in the healthcare field but wasn’t sure which route to take until I visited my mother at work a few times,” said Matthew, who grew up in Sumrall, Miss. “She showed me a variety of things which interested me.”
Consequently, the decision to choose a career in medical technology came without hesitation. “I am very excited to be following in my mother’s footsteps because she has shown much dedication and ambition,” said Matthew. “I am very proud of her success and hope to become a great individual like her some day.”
Cyndi Dobbs currently serves as the chemistry supervisor at Carolinas Medical Center-Lincoln in Lincolnton, N.C. However, she spent many years prior to that assignment on the road as a traveling medical technologist. While she beams with pride at Matthew’s accomplishments, Cyndi knows all too well the hardships that often accompany this particular profession.
“I have to say I had mixed feelings after working as a med-tech myself due to the fact that we get such poor recognition for the life-saving work that we do,” she said. “But Matthew always seemed very interested in the laboratory tests that I would talk about and loved visiting me at work. I could tell he was hooked the first time I let him look under the microscope.”
Medical technologists, also referred to as medical laboratory scientists, serve as vital healthcare detectives who uncover and provide laboratory information from analyses that assists physicians in patient diagnosis and treatment. In fact, 70-80 percent of the medical decisions made by physicians depend on laboratory data, thus a major factor in diagnosis and treatment of patients. A few of the duties of a medical laboratory scientist include analysis of body fluids and cells to identify diseases such as cancer, leukemias, anemias and diabetes; test for blood compatibility; identify bacteria, parasites, fungi and viruses; test for susceptibility of microorganisms to antibiotics; test coagulation ability and test for immunological disorders.
The Medical Technology program at Southern Miss is celebrating its 40th anniversary and department chair Dr. Jane Hudson relishes the legacy established by students like Cyndi and Matthew Dobbs.
“Both Matthew and his mom were excellent students and a delight to teach,” said Hudson. “I am very proud of his mom’s contributions to healthcare helping to address the severe manpower shortages throughout the United States. There is no way to count the number of patients her talents have impacted.
“I have already had one of Matthew’s patients tell me how much she appreciated his professionalism and service while she was a patient in the hospital where he is presently completing his practicum. I know that he will be an asset to his patients in the future just as his mom has been.”
For more information about the Medical Technology program at Southern Miss, call 601-266-4908 or visit www.usm.edu/medtech/
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.