Health Professions

More than a degree: MLS graduate found support and encouragement

Damilola Daniels, MS in MLS

By Kate Hunger

When Damilola Daniels decided to chart a fresh course in her career, she did her research.

A former industrial scientist in the oil and gas industry, Daniels wanted to find a specialty within health care. She shadowed health professionals in a hospital to learn more about the possibilities. She decided medical laboratory sciences was a good fit and applied to UT Health San Antonio.

“I moved to San Antonio not knowing anybody,” said Daniels, who graduated in May with her master’s in medical laboratory sciences. “At that time my daughter just turned 16 months old, and my husband had to stay back home in West Texas so I could go to school.”

One of Daniels’ top concerns about making a major move to graduate school was that it would be harder for her to excel as the sole caretaker of her daughter in a new city. She was particularly concerned that her toddler would become sick and she would miss class and perhaps even fall behind. When her daughter did indeed fall ill on the same day Daniels was to take her first major exam, she contacted her professors to let them know why she would be staying home.

“I was amazed by the response I got,” she said. “Everyone let me know that taking care of my daughter should be my priority.

“Any time she was sick or had any problems, my professors never hesitated to help me by ensuring I not only finished the program but I thrived in the program,” she said. “They always gave me good feedback, and when I acted on that feedback, they also did not hesitate to provide support if I needed help.”

Assistant Professor Cordelia Kudika, MA, CHS (ABHI), director of clinical education for the Division of Medical Laboratory Sciences, praised Daniels for her dedication.

“She graduated with high honors and she is part of the Alpha Eta Society,” Kudika said. “She is on an amazing path.”

Daniels said the program “prepared me for the job market. All the places I have done rotations have offered me positions.”

Now that she has graduated and is considering multiple job offers, Daniels is once again planning for her future. This time, she is thinking about how she can help promote the MLS profession by taking a seat at the table where discussions are being held and decisions are being made that impact the profession.

“I feel like the pandemic has shed light on the importance of roles such as MLS and respiratory care and the important role we play in health care,” she said.

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