Spotlight: Patrick Tracy
"You cannot go to a medical lab from the Cascades to Spokane or from the Oregon border to the Canadian border and not meet a graduate from the WVC MLT program."
- Patrick Tracy, WVC Medical Laboratory Technology Program Director
Interviewing Patrick Tracy is a bit like sitting down to a smorgasbord of diverse culinary dishes – you just never know what is going to be served next. Patrick’s rich history of professional experiences and varied personal interests reflect a person of many talents. Not only is he employed at WVC as the MLT program director, he also is a cycling advocate, a father of two, an owner of a rabbit named Buttercup, and in his words, “I take bread making very seriously” as he should, since building his own brick pizza oven in his backyard a couple of years ago.
When describing his role with WVC faculty, Patrick acknowledges that his education and professional experience paved the way for his current role. His post graduate experiences range geographically from North Dakota to Seattle and on to Poland for 8 years and 5 years in Saudi Arabia. In 2012, he decided, “It was time to settle down and get his kids back to normal life. I was looking for jobs and a friend recommended this job at WVC, so I applied, was invited for an interview and was then offered this role as the MLT program director in 2012. I am a full time faculty member and I deal with the laboratory aspect as well as share the clinicals portion of the program.”
The MLT program is not a new component to the college, as Patrick reflects, “The program has been around since 1963 and it is the only MLT program in the eastern half of the state. In addition to the Wenatchee-based program, we also have distance-learning hubs in Omak, Moses Lake, Walla Walla, Pendleton, OR, and we just opened one up in Lewiston, ID.” When considering the far reaching impact of the program, Patrick said, “It gives me a lot of satisfaction knowing that I can help people stay in their communities and improve their lives, and I know that I can help the health care facilities in the eastern half of the state by providing trained and equipped personnel. We have a 100% job placement rate.”
According to Patrick, the success of the MLT program doesn’t happen by accident, “…partly it is because it is a long-standing program and set up very well. We have two faculty members and myself as program director who all care a lot about it. We put a lot of work into it. Most of our graduates stay in their communities by securing employment with the medical facilities in their region. You cannot go to a medical lab from the Cascades to Spokane or from the Oregon border to the Canadian border and not meet a graduate from the WVC MLT program.”
Patrick’s dedication to the success of the MLT program extends beyond educating college students. In his words, “I do a lot of recruitment and meet with students, with lab managers and people from health care facilities, and it gives me a great deal of satisfaction knowing that my work serves students as well as their communities. Because of funding from the WVC Foundation, we have been able to purchase a new microscope camera and a second portable microscope for our traveling laboratory. When recruiting, I take the traveling laboratory out into the community where I can show people the hidden world of medical laboratory science. They love it! Through the foundation, the program and the students have really benefited.”
Although Patrick has traveled the world, he is happy to call this region his home. “The Wenatchee Valley is just a wonderful area to live in – living overseas was a great experience and it gave me a great appreciation for working and living in this community.”