HomeHealthMedicineMedical lab scientist got her start at SCC

Medical lab scientist got her start at SCC


			
				                                
			
				                                
			
				                                
			
				                                Britt Gilley, from Charlotte, works as a medical lab scientist for Atrium Health.  Gilley attended Surry Community College before transferring to Appalachian State University to study biological anthropology, then Carolina College of Health Sciences to earn a certificate in medical laboratory sciences.

Britt Gilley, from Charlotte, works as a medical lab scientist for Atrium Health. Gilley attended Surry Community College before transferring to Appalachian State University to study biological anthropology, then Carolina College of Health Sciences to earn a certificate in medical laboratory sciences.

Charlotte Gilley, a graduate of Surry Community College, now works in medical labs and is progressing to further her career.

Gilley graduated from East Surry High School in 2008 and then attended Surry Community College to begin her college education. She earned an associate degree in arts and took additional foundation courses that helped her get a head start in college.

“I had never enjoyed a biology course until I took Biology II with Karl Bretz at SCC. He’s the reason I studied science, grew to love science, and I’m a working scientist today,” Gilley said. “His biology course was taught with more passion and rigor than I have encountered in many courses at a four-year university. He provided many opportunities for dissection of different animal species, took us on nature walks to observe plants and animals in their natural environment, and delivered challenging research papers and practical exams that prepared me for further study in the sciences.

After graduating from SCC, Gilley transferred to Appalachian State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biological anthropology. There she was a member of Estep’s genetics lab, assisting in conservation genetics research of rare and endangered plants in Appalachia.

Gilley returned to SCC in 2019 to complete prerequisites for the Medical Laboratory Science Certificate Program at the Carolina College of Health Sciences. Back at SCC, she received support from Becky Critz, her microbiology instructor.

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“Mrs. Critz teaches a course similar to that offered at the college level. She constantly provides hands-on learning opportunities for her students, most of whom are preparing to enter the medical field,” said Gilley. “As a former medical laboratory scientist, she mentored me as I searched for programs she wrote and checked in multiple letters of recommendation for me to encourage me in my further studies, she was instrumental in my success every step of the transition into the medical field from academia.

Gilley is a certified medical laboratory scientist by the American Society for Clinical Pathology and works for Atrium Health. She plans to work as a traveling technician in the lab for a few more years and to pursue her master’s degree in health sciences within five years. She hopes to one day return to a community college as a science instructor.

Gilley looks back fondly on her time at Surry Community College. “Having professors who invest in your success and provide research opportunities in the first two years of college allows students to lead the way when they get to college. The small class sizes, passion for the subject and hands-on labs offered are unparalleled, especially for the affordable cost of attending Surry,” she said.

She adds: “I am very thankful that I spent the early years of my academic career at Surry instead of going straight to university after high school. The experiences I gained and the money I saved by choosing a community college continue to pay off, allowing me to invest in pursuing higher degrees.

Gilley lives with her partner Nick, recently retired from the Army National Guard, and their dog Charlie. She enjoys walking, reading, skating, botany, the beach and marine biology. She jokes that “every scientist secretly wants to be a marine biologist.”

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