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OJC Press Release ID: 2700

Monday, October 16, 2017

Three OJC Medical Laboratory Technician students awarded scholarships


In a ceremony held on Monday, Oct. 9, three Otero Junior College students in the Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program were awarded $2,000 scholarships to help them pay for their education in a medical field many don’t think about.

Winners of the scholarships included Katie Soto, Kim Gonzales, and Hannah Price. Each student submitted an essay and letters of reference along with their college transcript to apply for the scholarship. A panel selected the winners from the applicants.

The scholarships were provided as part of a Telligen Community Initiative grant awarded to OJC’s MLT program to help market the program and recruit students. This program is a gateway to a field in high demand around Southeast Colorado. Students prepare to perform routine medical laboratory procedures and tests and to apply preset strategies to record and analyze data. Students complete coursework in general education along with Hematology, Clinical Chemistry, Clinical Microbiology, Immunology /Immunohematology, Urinalysis, and Parasitology/Mycology.

Angela Tarrant, program director and faculty for the MLT program at OJC, states that there is a growing need for trained professionals in this career field.

“There are definitely increasing opportunities for employment as a medical laboratory technician. The shortages are reaching a crisis level in many areas.”

According to current Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth outlook for Medical Laboratory Technologists is currently at 16 percent, with 52,100 expected to be added over the next seven years. The job outlook is based on increased medical needs and a wave of retiring baby boomers in the clinical laboratory field. The 2016 median pay for the MLT field was $50,930 per year or $24.48 per hour.

Tarrant describes her career field as fascinating. “I have been a Medical Lab Technician for 25 years and I’ve never been bored,” she said. “I like to say we have cool toys and there are constant technological advancements that help to keep you interested and learning new things.” Tarrant further explained that Medical Laboratory Technicians perform a critical service within the health care system.

“Our lab tests determine or confirm a diagnosis and best course of treatment. We are the ones who give answers to shape the course of treatment. We are the ones who, through lab tests, tell the doctor if something is cancer or an infection, a heart attack or heartburn, bacterial or viral infection, and what drug will be best for the treatment. We are the ones who cross match blood in a life or death situation. Our work makes a real difference the lives of our patients,” she said.

Anyone interested in learning more about OJC’s Medical Laboratory Technician program should contact Tarrant at (719) 384-6813 or at

About Telligen Community Initiative Telligen Community Initiative (TCI) is the charitable foundation of Telligen, Inc., a private, nonprofit health care intelligence company. TCI seeks to empower organizations and citizens to improve their individual and overall community health. TCI funding is designed to initiate and support innovative health-related projects designed to improve health, social well-being, and educational attainment. The foundation’s funding focuses on project support in Iowa, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado within the areas of health innovation, social determinants of health and healthcare workforce development. For more information about TCI, please visit

Press Release Photo
Three students were awarded scholarships as part of the Telligen Community Initiative Grant awarded to the Otero Junior College Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program to help market and recruit students to the program. Front row: (L to R) Katie Soto, recipient; Kim Gonzales, recipient; Hannah Price, recipient; Angela Tarrant, MLT program director and faculty; and Jim Rizzuto, OJC president. Back row: (L to R) Sherry Freese, advisory board president; Diane McElroy, director of nursing and health programs; Kim Grimsley, vice president for instruction; and Cathy Bollacker, MLT faculty.