Staff Spotlight: Chelsea Pennington-Krygier
Job Title: Research Tech II, CLIA/Clinical Lab Manager
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
What motivated you to get into the medical field, specifically research?
I’ve known cancer research was my field of interest since 9th grade biology. I never doubted that this is what I wanted to do with my life, and even when I ended up working as a teacher for a few years after college, I was always working toward the goal of getting back into science and eventually, the lab.
What does it mean to you to work for the Ivy Center?
It means conducting research in a place with the largest brain tumor patient population. Because we’re part of Barrow Neurological Institute, which has a great reputation for neurosurgery, we have the advantage of being able to serve a lot of patients over any given year, because people want to come to a place with a reputation like ours.
What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part of the job, on top of the sheer magnitude of the job itself, would have to be my coworkers. I get to interact with some great, like-minded people on a daily basis and they really make the job better. It’s easier to get through the struggles of a really long and difficult day, or to celebrate when things work exactly like you hoped they would, when you have the right people beside you.
What is it like to know that you’re playing an integral role in identifying new therapies that will contribute to a cure for brain cancer?
The magnitude of my job hits me at random times and I have to be so grateful for the patients and families who really put their lives in all our hands on a regular basis. I will never meet these people because I work up in research, but my entire workplace environment in the CAP/CLIA lab is focused on providing the most reliable and accurate data possible for each patient that comes through our trials. It’s a big weight on your shoulders to know that you are handling patient samples, and that decisions will be made for a patient partially based on the data you are generating. That weight really helps keep me grounded, focused, and determined.