[Histonet] Histo Stories

Montina Van Meter Montina.VanMeter <@t> pbrc.edu
Thu Mar 11 12:34:36 CST 2010

My high school guidance counselor received a letter from Barbara
Hrapchak, co-author of "The Theory and Practice of Histotechnology and
director of the Ohio State University Hospital School of Histotechnology
in 1975.  I knew that I wanted to go into a scientific field that
involved dissection as I was interested in the physiological/biological
systems of different species.   Being so young (17), I didn't appreciate
how special and lucky that experience was with Barbara until years
later.  Our class (1976) consisted of four women from very different
walks of life and that was an education for me in itself, as I grew up
in a very rural community.  We each had our preference of activities in
the lab and mine was cutting.  I have always taken pride in being able
to produce a good section.  Barbara was a stickler for perfection and
cleanliness ("leaving the lab as if no one had been there").  I didn't
appreciate it then, but now find myself with the same expectations of
the people I train. Ironically, a few years later, Barbara became a
graduate student in the research department that I worked in at Ohio
State.  After graduating from histotechnology school, I spent the first
year in a clinical lab and realized I was better suited for the research
environment.  I spent the first ten years doing electron microscopy that
eventually was combined with immunohistochemistry involving spinal cord
injury research.  After twenty-six years, I moved to Louisiana and have
been involved with the entire process of experimental design, surgery,
perfusions, IHC and IF, confocal imaging and authorship.  My employers
continue to encourage me in that process and provide funds for me to
attend the state and national meetings every year.  It is truly a
win-win situation, as I  pick up so many worthwhile  pieces of
information that can make our histology remain on the cutting edge.  My
boss has often said, "he'll give me enough rope to hang myself".  In
translation that means I can do as much as I feel comfortable with in
doing the background research on procedures for the mechanism of
interest,  designing the protocols, writing the methods for publication
and troubleshooting if necessary.  Those of us in animal research have
learned that troubleshooting is a major part of your day when doing
immunohistochemistry.  After thirty-four years in Histology I continue
to learn new and exciting methods and it was all because of a letter
sent from Barbara, trying to incite interest in the field of
Histotechnology among high school students.  Inviting high school
students to our state and national meetings is a wonderful advertisement
for our field.  Hopefully, we can encourage a new generation to enter
into this wonderful vocation.  Sadly, we lost Barbara to cervical cancer
in 1991 at the young age of forty-six.  She was totally committed to the
field of Histotechnology and I owe my career to her insistence of
perfection in obtaining the optimal histological diagnosis for the



Montina J. Van Meter, HT (ASCP)
Lab Manager
Autonomic Neuroscience
Pennington Biomedical Research Center
6400 Perkins Rd.
Baton Rouge, LA  70791

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Breeden,
Sent: Thursday, March 11, 2010 7:09 AM
To: histonet
Subject: [Histonet] Histo Stories

Thanks to everyone that sent their Story of How I Ended Up Doing This
Histology Thing!  I have gotten 50 or more replies!  The one thing that
strikes me is how many of us went into this profession without a clue!
With all the opportunities to recruit future histologists, this
Histology Day idea is a good start. On the original subject, I'm
planning to make one document out of all the replies and - WITH
PERMISSION - attach your name to the answers.  If you do NOT want your
submission listed because you want to remain anonymous, you must let me
know ASAP.  Send to: nmhisto <@t> comcast.net.  Thanks for your stories!


Sally Breeden, HT(ASCP)

NM Dept. of Agriculture

Veterinary Diagnostic Services

PO Box 4700

Albuquerque, NM  87106



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