Kathryn Silva standing in a hallway.

At Suffolk

  • Radiation Science Major

Since Suffolk

  • Stem Cell Transplant Coordinator at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston
  • Former Clinical Research Coordinator in Breast Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston

Why did you choose to study Radiation Science?

I wanted to choose a healthcare-directed major that would give me a specialized focus.  I really enjoyed the oncology care aspect of the curriculum, and felt like I gained a broad understanding of not only radiation physics, but also patient care.

How did your Suffolk experience prepare you for your career after graduation?

The instructors were great because they were practicing clinicians and could share their patient experiences in a way that could not be learned in a classroom.  The proximity of Suffolk University to Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) was also a great benefit, as I had the experience of taking a Radiation Physics lab in the Radiation Oncology Simulation suite at MGH.

What does a typical day in your job look like?

My position involves working with healthy and unrelated bone marrow and peripheral blood stem cell donors through the National Marrow Donor Program in conjunction with DFCI, who are requested as a match for a patient/recipient through the global registry.  I work to coordinate with donors and bring them in for a physical exam to determine if they are safe and suitable to serve as a stem cell donor. 

A day in my job involves working with stem cell donors through every step of the donation process.  This involves the collection of the stem cell product, whether it's going into the OR with the clinical team during bone marrow harvests early in the morning, or working with the Apheresis Center staff to collect the cells off of the machine as they are filtered.  Every day is different and poses a new challenge!