Learn more about Kari Sefcik, BS, a Student Member of the ASC and our Member Spotlight of the month, from her conversation with Membership Committee member Erica Kaplan, CT(ASCP)CM.
Kari Sefcik, BS
Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology
Interviewed by: Erica Kaplan, CT(ASCP)CM
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
- How did you first find out about cytology?
Actually, I heard about it during my freshman year of college. One of the students from Cleveland Clinic School of Cytotechnology knew my advisor and came in to talk about the field. I thought it was interesting. Towards the end of my undergraduate career, I decided to look into it, which led to my application and acceptance into the program.
- What drew you to this profession/What personal qualities do you possess that will make you a strong cytotechnologist?
I have always been interested in biology, and growing up, I thought I wanted to be a pathologist. But I was unsure about medical school. Once I talked to the cytotechnology student and now being in the program, I know this is what I really like to do. As far as qualities that will make me a good cytotech, I am really good at keying into details. I actually learned that about myself through this program. I have learned that I can pick up things others may not recognize.
- When you were growing up, did you know someone in the field of pathology?
No, when I was younger, I used to watch a lot of crime shows, and I would see autopsies and thought that was something I really wanted to do.
- Tell us about an interesting case or situation you have encountered in your training.
Through EBUS, we get to see a lot of interesting cases. One of them that I participated in; I actually completed an interesting case presentation, which I presented at the Ohio Society of Cytology meeting this year. We saw a large gray mass, and it turned out the patient had a fungal infection instead of cancer. It wasn’t what they were expecting.
- What do you think you will enjoy most about being a cytotechnologist?
The variety of cases that we get to see and helping people. I think it is an underestimated field. We help out behind the scenes.
- What is the most rewarding thing that has happened to you in cytology?
At the beginning of my program, with my first mentor, I found one metaplastic cell that looked really weird, but I wasn’t sure if it was atypical or not. I marked the cell and decided it was atypical. My mentor agreed with me and told me that the imager did not pick up that cell. That was pretty rewarding.
- What do you value most about your membership in the ASC/ How do you see the ASC playing a role in your career?
I am still at the beginning of my career, and I have only been with the ASC for a few months, but I am looking forward to networking, attending the meetings, and making connections with others in the field.
- What advice would you give students entering the profession/What advice would you give yourself a year ago?
It’s a lot more than you expect. It’s not just sitting and screening all day. You are looking at each patient and helping people. It is important for students to remember that each slide is a patient; it’s someone worried about their specimen. And it is hard for them to hear non-diagnostic or atypical, when they think something may be wrong with them. It’s important to be as precise as possible when looking at a slide and making a diagnosis.