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San Fernando Valley : Tour of Medical Center Lab Helps Students Sort Out Career Opportunities

April 17, 1996

Ever wonder what happens to that tube of blood after the doctor draws it from your body?

Students from Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley found the answer to that question while touring Kaiser Permanente Regional Laboratory in North Hollywood on Tuesday.

With the blood, the students learned the cells are separated from the serum in centrifuges before testing.

Fifteen teenagers from the math and science magnet school visited the facility, one of the nation's largest medical laboratories that performs 10 million procedures a year.

"This [tour] helps to wake up the students and get them motivated," said biology teacher Hector Colon. "That's important, since not all these kids will go to college."

Although rubber gloves and white lab coats dominated the scene, students learned about career options in the lab that don't require a medical degree. The laboratory instrumentation department, for example, functions as the facility's repair shop and requires a more mechanically inclined mind. That sounded appealing to Francisco Loza, 16.

Fellow 10th-graders Alan Rodriguez and Lisbeth Sandoval found the tour a bit overwhelming.

"It looks interesting and they did a good job explaining," said Alan, 17, who is undecided on a career.

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