PENDLETON --- Medical Laboratory Technology (MLT) student Tyler Schell said his goal was to make it through the first round of questions as a competitor in the S.C. Society of Clinical Laboratory Science (SCSCLS) State Student Bowl held April 14 at Midlands Technical College in Columbia.

The Tri-County Technical College senior felt more confident as he progressed to the second round.  "I thought maybe I can do this," he said.  The third round left him tied for first place and following a series of five tiebreaker questions, he walked away with the first-place award. As the overall winner in the competition, Schnell received $100.

          Schnell, 25, of Anderson, and three other Tri-County MLT majors competed against 32 students representing seven technical colleges in the state that have MLT programs.  It was the second time in one week when his academic skills were rewarded.  Just three days before, he received the outstanding student award for the MLT program at the College's annual student awards ceremony. 

"The ultimate goal of the state student bowl is to allow students a group experience to review in preparation for the National Board of Certification (BOC) exam of the American Society of Clinical Pathology (ASCP)," said Deborah Brock, MLT program director.  The MLT ASCP BOC is an important credential required by most clinical facilities for employment in their laboratories.  Last year's MLT graduates received a 100 percent passing score on the certification exam. 

Schnell entered Tri-County in 2015, two years after earning a Microbiology degree from Clemson University.  After receiving his bachelor's degree, he applied for jobs, sending out about 50 resumes and applications -but received no offers.  "Non-hospital labs wanted master's-degreed persons and hospital labs wanted the MLT degree," he said. He searched for area colleges that offer MLT degrees and found Tri-County.  "After speaking with the department head, I quickly learned that a two-year MLT degree would specialize me and certify me to work in a hospital lab.  It would quickly open doors for employment." 

As the semester is ending and graduation is drawing near, Schnell, who maintains a 4.0 GPA, says the job search is different this time.  "I am interviewing and area hospitals see my multiple degrees as a plus.  Because I have a four-year degree, I can become a medical lab scientist after two years of work experience." 

Ms. Brock commented, "I do not give out comments lightly. Tyler will be remembered as one of the most positive, polite and respectful students I have had the pleasure of teaching."