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Rocio Martinez

Clinical lab technician at Ambry Genetics
Biological Science, B.S. '12

Q: What do you do as a lab technician?

I work in the Molecular Genetics lab here at Ambry. I run tests for HNPCC (Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer). I pull patient DNA in the morning and set up PCR reactions for multiple exons of the gene that causes the disease. After the reactions are done I run the products on a gel to verify amplification. I love having a perfect gel: clear band after clear band with a clean negative and a passing positive looks so beautiful!

Q: What was your most significant experience studying biology at Biola?

During our last semester, my lab partner and I conducted an independent research project on sea squirts for Developmental Biology. The time put into this project was easily one of the most interesting, challenging, and faith building moments of my time there. While my entire experience at Biola certainly contributed to building a more cohesive appreciation and understanding of the experiment, it was the opportunities to learn first hand with your own attention to detail, the hands on training, and the experience of working closely with others, that became directly applicable in the work force. Carefully applying myself to every task and allowing God to show me the beauty and creativity of his handiwork inevitably led to worship and adoration.

Q: How did Biola prepare you for your job?

Biola did a great job preparing me for a job in Molecular Genetics. As a clinical lab technician many of the instruments used in the classroom are the exact same instruments we use in the laboratory. Additionally, the professors at Biola emphasized the significance of exposing their students to current theories, techniques, and most importantly, building a foundational knowledge in the sciences that allowed me to effectively communicate with my employers and demonstrate my knowledge of the biological sciences.

Q: What is the Lord teaching you now that you have left college?

After Biola, the Lord has made it increasingly evident to me that he is my father in heaven, and my life is entirely in his hands. There were a million directions my life could have gone after college, but where I am now is exactly where I’m supposed to be. He is faithful and true, and I have learned to take confidence in the fact that God genuinely desires to bless his children.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to students who want to enter your field?

Seize every opportunity to learn: in the classroom, and in the work place. In other words, ask questions. Most people are content to teach you what you need to know just to get the job done. But if you want to grow as an individual, and become an integral part of your company, work hard, be interested, and ask “why”. Employers appreciate an eager attitude, and will trust you with increasingly complex tests if you make yourself aware and knowledgeable.