Anita L. Merrill, BS/MT (ASCP) (Retired)
Chief Medical Technologist
The University of Georgia
Tifton, GA, USA
Field: Laboratory Diagnostics
Anita Merrill has 48 years of professional experience, spending more than three decades as Chief Medical Technologist of the University of Georgia. Over the course of her career, she has established herself as an expert in chemistry and laboratory diagnostics. On a daily basis, she is responsible for serving as a technician for clinical pathology, chemistry, hematology, parasitology, endocrinology, urinalysis and cytology for veterinary patients.
Ms. Merrill stands out among her peers due to her strong upbringing. She completed an internship at Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, where she met many influential mentors along the way. She takes it as a point of pride that she commits 100 percent of herself into everything that she undertakes. As such, Ms. Merrill considers her greatest career achievement to be her development of the veterinary clinical pathology department for the Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory, when she was hired in 1979. She had to start her work manually, beginning with hematology and urinalysis, before adding chemistry and several endocrinology programs.
Looking back, Ms. Merrill attributes her success to dedication and a strong work ethic. She became involved in her profession because she has always been interested in science. When a friend suggested that she go into the medical technology field, she knew that she had found her calling.
Ms. Merrill received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology from Barry University in 1966, and she became a registered medical technologist and an MTASCP within the following year. She is a member of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, and the American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology. In honor of her achievements, she was presented with a Staff Appreciation Award in 2007, and an Outstanding Research Award from the Tifton Sigma Xi Club in 1997.
Office of Regulatory Science
Senior Policy Analyst
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
College Park, MD, USA
Field: Food Science
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “an estimated 76 million cases of foodborne disease occur each year in the United States.” This alarming statistic is what Reginald W. Bennett is trying to decrease as senior policy analyst for the Office of Regulatory Science of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for protecting the public health. Within this government organization, he conducts research on and analyzes food involved in bacterial food poisoning. When asked to describe his duties, Mr. Bennett couldn’t help but to laugh when replying, “I can’t afford to run out of energy. Too many people are counting on me.” It is this light-heartedness in the face of grave responsibility that has kept his work refreshing and interesting after half a century.
More than 50 years ago, Reginald Bennett was sitting in class at the University of Pittsburgh, where he first gained knowledge of pathogens, and realized that he wanted a career in microbiology. Over the years, he has contributed his knowledge on food microbiology to each and every job. Starting as a medical bacteriologist for the Presbyterian Hospital of Pittsburgh, Mr. Bennett also served as a medical technologist and bacteriologist for Braddock General Hospital, a bacteriologist for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and an assistant professor of microbiology for Benedict University before becoming a microbiologist for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1960. His career vision statement, which reads “A good method renders more service to science than the elaboration of highly theoretical speculations,” reflects the philosophy that sound action and practice are the most effective tools in reaching a desirable outcome. In the future, he hopes to contribute to government regulations of food.
A member of the Institute of Food Technologists and the International Association for Food Protection, Mr. Bennett began his conquest of the field of microbiology in 1955 when he received a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh. Three years later, he earned a Master of Science in Microbiology, also from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Fellow of The American Society for Microbiology, the American Academy of Microbiology and the Association of Official Analytical Chemists International. Continue reading