3 Questions with Laura Severs, MHA, MLS(ASCP)CM

By Team Critical Values - June 06, 2024

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At a young age, Laura Severs, MHA, MLS(ASCP)CM, Director of Clinical Operations at Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Pathology and Immunology, knew that no matter the career path she chose, it would be centered around what she could do for others. She wanted a meaningful career, and after taking a high school aptitude test, a guidance counselor encouraged her to look into medical laboratory science. After her first university visit, she knew she had found a path she could really dive into and thrive.  

Here, she shares her answers to three questions (and a bonus!) about her path to becoming a medical laboratory scientist, what has surprised her about working in the laboratory, and more.  

Tell us about a moment that solidified your decision to choose a career in the laboratory.

As a professional, I have a few “core memories” or stand-out patients that made me feel justified in my decision to pursue a career in laboratory medicine. While those are important, I think what is most important is all of the little moments. Every day for almost fifteen years I have shown up for my community members and never questioned or doubted my commitment to them. Countless laboratory professionals and pathologists show up and give themselves to ensure that those around us are cared for and treated appropriately. For everyone this looks different; for me right now, it looks like developing the next generation of leaders and creating systems that drive equity in healthcare and provide cutting edge technologies to clinicians. 

Have you had any mentors or role models who have influenced your career choice? If so, how have they impacted your journey?  

I have had too many influences to name—success takes a village. Specifically, early on in my career I was fortunate to work in a lab where Dr. Dana Altenburger was (and still is) the Medical Director. She is intelligent, thoughtful, and transparent. We both started at that institution around the same time and were able to grow in our careers along side one another. I learned a lot from her early on, and she really pushed me to be the best version of myself. It was because of her belief in my ability to lead so early on in my career that I went full steam ahead and pursued developing myself in ways I hadn’t imagined. 

What are some of the lessons you've learned through the different volunteer roles you’ve taken on, in or out of ASCP?  

Diversity is the heart of advancement. I have been fortunate to work with a wide variety of people with different ethnic, educational, and experiential backgrounds who all view situations, scenarios, and problems differently. It is through these multiple lenses that we can create, together, a stronger medical community. ASCP’s mantra is StrongerTogether, and I cannot think of a more perfect sentiment to describe how diversity shapes decision making. 

What is something that has surprised you about working in the lab? 

One of the reasons I chose to work in the laboratory was that I had a fear of being too connected to patients if I were to be an oncologist, nurse, etc. The longer I work in this field the more connected to patients I become. While I’ll never meet the majority of these folks, I feel truly connected in a way I never imagined. I have cried for patients, I have kept them in my thoughts throughout their journeys, and their stories have shaped who I am as a person.    



Team Critical Values

Team Critical Values