Employee Q&A: What It Takes To Get Results

Exact Sciences is recruiting heavily in an effort support the launch of Cologuard and development of our product pipeline. To support this effort, we'll be publishing Q&As with Exact team members in the areas we are hiring.

This interview features Emily Bowe, a new member of our growing laboratory team. As part of her role as a Laboratory Scientist, Emily helps test Cologuard samples to generate a positive or negative result.

If you're interested in learning more about becoming a Laboratory Scientist, please contact our recruiting team.

How did you land at Exact Sciences?

I realized pretty quickly after joining Exact Sciences in fall of 2014 that the company and the work I do here is quite special. 

As a young child I suffered from a serious kidney disorder called post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN), which made me quite sick and often hospital-bound. This sparked a fascination with science and a desire to learn more about fighting disease. After I graduated from college in 2009 with a biology degree, I held a series of jobs in other laboratories, as well as data mining, quality assurance and finance, but nothing seemed quite right to me. I had always dreamed of building a career around science and using it to make the world a better place.

My opportunity came when a staffing agency contacted me about a role in Exact Sciences’ technical lab. I had never heard of the company, but I decided to take the interview after learning more about both the opportunity and the company’s mission to eradicate colon cancer. I began working in the technical lab, and have since been hired full time as a clinical laboratory scientist.

How do you like the lab and facilities at Exact Sciences?

The laboratory and lab facilities at Exact are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Whereas many labs are dark, dingy and almost isolating, Exact’s lab is bright, clean, well-kept and open.

This is the only lab I have ever worked in that has windows. I think being able to look outside during the work day makes us all happier and more effective in our work.

I also like to think the windows represent the high level of transparency at the company. Managers communicate very well with employees and you never feel as though you’re in the dark. Employees also have the ability to sit in on administrative meetings. Nothing is a secret at Exact — everyone is accessible and willing to share their knowledge.

Describe a typical work day.

In the technical lab, we take the Cologuard test samples we receive from patients and test them to generate either a positive or negative result for cancerous or pre-cancerous polyps. We operate on a randomized schedule, meaning that members of the team are assigned to work in the DNA capture lab, the automation lab and the hemoglobin lab at different times.

In the DNA capture lab, we extract the stool DNA from samples before they head to the automation lab, where we run tests to detect DNA mutations associated with colon cancer. Lastly, the hemoglobin lab is where we test for blood within the stool.

I enjoy working with the technology itself, but it’s especially rewarding to know my work is providing potentially life-saving information to patients.

What was the training process like for your position?

The training program is very comprehensive and takes between two and three weeks. It’s very hands-on and employees in the technical lab are cross-trained on a variety of different laboratory procedures, which helps make employees well-rounded.

Trainers typically demonstrate a process before employees have an opportunity to complete the process while being observed. Before working on patient samples, employees also go through a competency program with a written component. This ensures all techs are 100% confident in their abilities before they work on real patient samples.

What are some of your career goals?

I like that Exact is such a young company and offers lots of room for advancement. Personally, I hope to work up to a supervisor position one day. I feel confident that I can get there since my supervisors proactively bring up my long-term goals and provide feedback so that I can continue to learn and grow.

Topics: Exact Sciences News

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