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Southern Wins National Super ‘Cell’ Bowl

Southern WV Community College has much to celebrate this holiday season!

They just won the 2021 National Super Cell Bowl Championship. It is a team competition sponsored by Medical Lab Lady Gill and the American Society for Clinical Pathology. The competition aims to test Medical Laboratory students’ knowledge of blood cell morphology using the CellaVision app and CellQuiz game.

Morphology experts from around the world developed this extensive blood cell image library for students and laboratory professionals. The competition provided the students with a fun way to test their knowledge in cell morphology and compete against other laboratory students across the nation.

Two of the main goals for this competition are to celebrate the educational programs that shape the laboratory profession and to demonstrate ASCP’s support of students and future laboratorians as they pursue national certification.

The seven-week competition, which began on October 4, 2021, saw teams from 72 Colleges and Universities across the United States vying for the title of 2021 National Super Cell Bowl Champions. Teams were made up of students from both AAS MLT and BS MLS programs. The country was divided into the Western, Midwest, and Eastern regions.

Weeks 1-4 had teams competing within their regions. The top 2 teams in each region to advance to the Week 5 Playoffs. The teams that made it to the playoffs competed for one of the 3 semifinal spots in Week 6. The top two teams competed in Week 7 to be the 2021 National Super Cell Bowl champions.

Each week a Touchdown was awarded to the team that had the best score in the competition. Southern was the recipient of the Touchdown 3 of the 7 weeks.

Southern finished first in the East to advance to the Week 5 playoffs. They finished third in the nation in Week 5. Southern picked up the pace in Week 6, receiving the Touchdown Award for the week and moving on to the Week 7 finals of the competition battling against Weber State Universities’ MLS program. Southern took the title by identifying 30 cells in an amazing time of 20.9 seconds. Weber St. had a score of 30 cells in 22.28. Finishing in third place was Northeast Wisconsin Technical College with a score of 24.09.

Southern MLT student, Erin Garretson, was named as MVP with the best individual score of the competition – identifying 30 cells in 20.9 seconds. She received a specially designed Hematology Hero backpack for her efforts.

Other Southern students who achieved perfect scores and identified 30 cells in less than 60 seconds were: Megan Cochran, Summer Collins, Stacy Conley, Kayla Lowe, and Tiffany Copley.

Southern team members also included: Kaitlyn Coleman, Rebecca Collins, Elexus Havis, Kayla Lowe, Kristy Newsome, Joseph Sigmon, Jill Sparks, Shania Topping, Garrett White, Jaidyn Adkins, Brandon Arthur, Tanya Ball, Summer Butcher, Haylie Ellis, Krystal Hensley, Alexis Lusk, Callista Ransier, Kelsey Slone, and Margaret White.

Shirley Dardi, Professor and Coordinator of Medical Laboratory Technology at Southern said she learned about the Cell Bowl competition from the ASCP BOC Program Director’s support group that I joined at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Directors shared resources and ideas for teaching in the difficult circumstances surrounding the pandemic.

Ms. Gill, who guided the competition, is Program Director and known for her videos that simulate actual laboratory procedures. These videos provided virtual experiences for the students in 2020 that helped them gain the entry-level skills needed for graduation.

“I almost didn’t enter the competition out of concern for time management as we transitioned back to the classroom this semester from virtual learning,” Dadi said. “I actually submitted our application on the last day of registration.”

Dardi along with MLT Instructor Christy Spry say they couldn’t be more proud of the students. “Throughout the competition, they continued to amaze us each week with improved scores,” Dardi said. “This competition motivated the students to practice and improve their abnormal cell identification skills in a fun, interactive way. This win shows that with hard work and dedication there isn’t anything they can’t achieve.”

Southern President, Dr. Pamela Alderman said, “These students have brought pride to our MLT program, Southern WV Community and Technical College, and the state of West Virginia. We are so proud of them.”

Southern will receive a trophy, ASCP BOC study guides, and Interactive Practice Exam Bundles for each team member. Southern will be featured in ASCP’s Critical Values and have live interviews on the Medical Lab Lady Gill YouTube channel and the eLABorate Topics podcast to showcase the program and reach out to prospective students.

Scores, episodes, and program participation can be found on the Medical Lab Lady Gill YouTube channel