ASBP: CTC Students Donate Blood, Go Behind the Scenes
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CTC Students Donate Blood, Go Behind the Scenes

By Dave Conrad, ASBP blood donor recruiter, Fort Hood, Texas
Several Central Texas College (CTC) students visited Fort Hood, Texas, on April 9 to learn more about what they should expect after graduation. These nine students are currently enrolled in CTC’s Medical Laboratory Technician (MLT) program.

Participants worked with the Armed Services Blood Program’s Robertson Blood Center (RBC) to see the practical applications of the courses they’re currently taking and gain insight into the kind of future work they might be doing.

Some of the students volunteered to donate blood, while the others observed the donation process. Observing the process, from donor interviews through preparing the collected blood for processing in the lab, helped students contextualize their studies.

“The most interesting thing we’ve learned here is how we do the blood banking process,” said Jennifer Gulledge, one of the students who volunteered to donate. “I didn’t understand it because I haven’t been able to donate blood before.”

The program is open to the public and students come from a range of backgrounds. While some were unfamiliar with lab operations, others had more experience. Daniel Holden, a former Soldier, was interested in becoming a lab technician since the time he was on active duty.

“I was a medic and I got out and thought ‘I wanna do something different’,” Holden said. “I used to prepare samples for the lab and bring them over, and I said ‘I want to see what you guys do with this,’ and I watched them for a day and asked if I could keep coming back during my lunch.”

“I took the phlebotomy program and was introduced to lab and thought that was more interesting,” said student Jaimie Jenn.

Classes are held on CTC’s main campus with internships at local labs. The program is one of many that CTC offers which can help transitioning service members and their spouses find new careers after the military.

“CTC and Darnall Army Medical Center have a memorandum of agreement for students to have their clinical training in different sections of the hospital laboratory,” said Noel Webb, CTC’s MLT program coordinator. “Some of our students are previous military personnel transitioning into civilian jobs. CTC gives them a great educational opportunity to use their military benefits and skills, to learn a new skill and to make their goals come true.”

According to the CTC website, MLT classes cover a variety of subjects from introduction to clinical laboratory science, clinical chemistry, clinical microbiology, hematology, urinalysis, immunology, molecular, parasitology, transfusion services as well as 760 clinical hours, which help students master the field of clinical laboratory science.

RBC staff welcomed the opportunity to mentor the students and recognize the value lab technicians bring to donor center operations.

“MLTs are versatile in that they can be utilized in all aspects of a donor center, from screening and phlebotomy, to separation and testing of FDA regulated blood products,” said Army Sgt. Matthew Daniels, RBC’s non-commissioned officer in charge .
“Lab techs are capable of high complexity laboratory testing for the Armed Services and fill roles in places like the Robertson Blood Center where the main mission is providing blood to overseas operations and saving the Armed Services from spending funds acquiring blood through other means.”

The ASBP’s RBC is proud to show future generations the great “behind the scenes” work that MLTs perform on a daily basis to help save lives.

If you would like to help save lives, medical lab technicians at RBC would love to process your donated unit as well. RBC is located in Building 2250, 761st Tank Battalion and 57th Street. Call 285-5808 for more information. Hours of operation are Monday–Friday 7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

About the Armed Services Blood Program
Since 1962, the Armed Services Blood Program has served as the sole provider of blood for the United States military. As a tri-service organization, the ASBP collects, processes, stores and distributes blood and blood products to Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and their families worldwide. As one of four national blood collection organizations trusted to ensure the nation has a safe, potent blood supply, the ASBP works closely with our civilian counterparts by sharing donors on military installations where there are no military blood collection centers and by sharing blood products in times of need to maximize availability of this national treasure. To find out more about the ASBP or to schedule an appointment to donate, please visit To interact directly with ASBP staff members, see more photos or get the latest news, follow @militaryblood on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and Pinterest. Find the drop. Donate.

The Armed Services Blood Program is a proud recipient of the Army Maj. Gen. Keith L. Ware Public Affairs award for journalism.