Wendy Williams, a 2005 graduate from Southwestern Community College’s Medical Laboratory Technology program, is now facing the COVID-19 pandemic head-on as the director of Laboratory and Pathology Services for the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System in Boone.

According to Williams, her organization has started its emergency operations/incident command protocol, assisting with the setup of off-site collection centers in Avery and Watauga counties, to serve outpatients for testing. They have also begun aiding local physicians offices, emergency departments and urgent care facilities with sample collection and processing.

Through the pandemic, Williams credits her education at SCC with providing her many of the skills she is using in her position today.

“I use my technical skills from the MLT program at SCC in all of my daily work, and they are the basis for the development and growth I’ve had in my career as a medical technologist, operations manager and now a director,” Williams said. “The program gave me the skills to do all kinds of testing, and it also gave me a foundation for thinking about how laboratories help in the bigger picture of healthcare, like the COVID-19 pandemic happening right now.

“The MLT program coordinator, Andrea Kennedy, was instrumental in helping me learn all the skills I needed,” Williams said. “She always made sure I was successful in my education. We’ve stayed in touch since I graduated, and have successfully worked to train multiple people from phlebotomists to MLTs using SCC’s online program and in-person labs within the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System.”

For more information on SCC’s Medical Laboratory Technology program, contact Kennedy at andrea@southwesterncc.edu or 339-4312.