Melissa Lamberto Phys’11 turned her passion into a career as a medical physicist

Written by Jenna Pizzi
Published on September 20, 2016

melissa lambertoThe first in her family to attend college, Melissa Lamberto Phys ‘11 found her path to a rewarding career in Medical Physics at USciences

When Melissa Lamberto Phys’11 was deciding on a major she knew two things: she loved science and caring for others.

“I knew I wanted to focus on science and find a way to help people, but I wasn’t sure what my career options were,” said Lamberto.

Although Lamberto was a biochemistry major, her professors helped her follow her passion for physics. It was Lamberto’s advisor, Elia Eschenazi PhD, who helped her discover her path to a career as a medical physicist.

“We went to a series of seminars that helped us to explore different career opportunities for students with an undergraduate degree in physics,“ said Lamberto. “I never knew what a medical physicist was, but when I met one I knew that was exactly what I wanted to be.”

Medical physicists work with cancer patients to ensure their radiation treatments are delivered safely and effectively. They also implement new, cutting edge technologies within the radiation oncology department to help improve cancer treatment quality.

“It is a challenging but rewarding job with the perfect mix of problem solving and patient care,” she said. “You are the leader in the department. I like how versatile your skillset has to be, compared to other pathways for someone with a physics degree.”

Lamberto, the first in her family to graduate from college, said her family is proud of her academic accomplishments.

“They might not know what it is that I do, but they are very proud that I have been able to find a career that makes me happy,” said Lamberto.

After USciences, Lamberto received a full scholarship to Louisiana State University where she completed her master’s degree. She landed her first job at Pinnacle Health Cancer Center in Harrisburg, PA.

Lamberto said her USciences education prepared her for the career, not only gaining the knowledge of basic physics theory that she uses each day, but also the guidance and mentorship of professors helped her to have the focus to think critically.

“Our class sizes were small enough that our professors would know each of our specific areas of weakness, and where we should improve,” said Lamberto. “All of my physics professors took the time to get to know each of the students and I felt like I was part of a family.”

It was that close-knit learning environment that helped prepare her for what is now a rewarding career in medical physics.

 “Now, I feel like I am not afraid to tackle difficult projects at work because of what I learned at USciences,” she said.

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