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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI grad student awarded national scholarship from clinical pathology association

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – May 5, 2009 – Jacky Trought, a graduate student in the University of Rhode Island’s Cytotechnology Program, has been awarded a prestigious scholarship from the American Society of Clinical Pathology.

Trought, a resident of Centerville, Mass., is one of 49 students from across the country to receive the $1,000 scholarships the association awards to the nation’s top Clinical Laboratory Science students on the basis of academic achievement, professional goals, and leadership abilities.

“I feel honored to have been awarded this scholarship, since it comes from the governing body of pathologists, which decides who is worthy and who they think will progress to become successful in this field,” said Trought. “It makes me excited about what the future will bring to my new career choice.”

Cytotechnology is the microscopic study of cells for the evidence of diseases like cancer and viral and bacterial infections. Physicians use the information supplied by cytotechnologists to make a medical diagnosis.

“The beauty of cytotechnology is that, once I’ve learned the structure and formation of the cell, I can make the decision of normal and abnormal by analyzing the cellular patterns and subtle changes in both the nucleus and cytoplasm of the cell while correlating the patient's clinical history,” said Trought. “I know and understand the pathology of cellular change, and this knowledge has opened the door of answers.”

In recommending Trought for the scholarship, Barbara Klitz, coordinator of the URI Graduate Cytopathology Program, wrote: “Since being admitted to the program, Jacky has taken a leadership role in the class and volunteers for any task required. She has consistently demonstrated her desire to understand the material and concepts fully by asking very challenging questions. She is an intelligent woman who hopes to expand her knowledge and contribute to society in the medical arena.”

Trought chose to pursue a degree in cytotechnology after having worked as an accountant for nonprofit organizations and developed several entrepreneurial businesses.

“When I went to the doctors, they never told me the whole story,” Trought said. “I’ve always been curious about why they didn’t explain exactly what was going on. They always just provided a diagnosis and a pill. I wanted to know more. So I set out to look for it, and I found the answers at the cellular level.”

In applying for the ASCP scholarship, Trought spent time thinking about her role in the future direction of the cytotechnology field.

“I want to be part of the changes I see coming,” she said. “I know that in order to move into the future, we’re going to have to embrace change and allow technological advancement to work for us. I want to be one of those who create that change, not just flow with it. I believe I can take these three concepts – science, biotechnology and cytotechnology – and grow with them.”

The URI student said that her pursuit of a cytotechnology career fits in perfectly with her philosophy of life.

“If you’re going to do life, do it right,” she said. “I have one chance to do everything right, and for me, health was a field that was elusive; it had more questions than answers. This career change isn’t entirely a shift away from my finance career, but it is an effort to combine both fields and make them work in my favor.”