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Lupus Blog & Current Events

Interview with Madelyn Rivera

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Interview with Madelyn Rivera

For the month of July, we will be featuring the people of UMass who support our research. For my first interview, I had the pleasure of interviewing Madelyn Rivera. Maddy works in our research core facility as an Animal Care Technician. Maddy always goes above and beyond to help us, and she does everything with a smile and a positive outlook on life. Get to know her here!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself. What got you interested in research?

My name is Madelyn A. Rivera. I'm 36 years old and have 3 children. I'm currently working at UMass Chan Medical School as an Animal Care Technician. I'm passionate about my work and my fellow staff. I'm always wanting to brighten up everyone's day and make a difference.

I became interested in research because of my children. All three of my children are medically complex, ranging from brain trauma, to autoimmune diseases, to chromosome deletions. I always needed to know everything about their conditions to care for and support them, and I made it my goal to learn as much as I can. I want to better their lives and ease their pain, and I hope to help many more people just like them.

I tried for many years to get into my current position. After being rejected, I went to school to receive my Vet Assistant Certification, hoping that the hands on experience and certification would help me secure a position once the opportunity arose.... It did!

  1. You play a supporting role for our projects, which we are very grateful for. What is your favorite part about your job?

I'm passionate about my job and I love everything about my position. I'm hands on, caring for animals on a daily basis. I work side by side with brilliant minds, and I'm exposed to many opportunities to learn about research projects and medical advances. I have a great support team in every area in the work place.

  1. You have a personal connection to lupus. Would you mind sharing your experiences with our readers?

I have a family member who is diagnosed with Lupus. She's very uncomfortable and in pain daily. It breaks my heart knowing she tells her medical team the pain she's experiencing, and they dismiss it because they have no other available treatments to give her. She's very self-conscious due to the rash on her face from Lupus and refuses to go out. Her hair is thinning and she feels unattractive.

  1. What is one thing you wish everyone knew about lupus?

I want others to know that Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It's not only the skin that's affected, but the whole body. There are both visible and invisible symptoms of Lupus.

  1. Any advice for people looking to move into a research support career?

For those who want to pursue a career in research I say to you: be passionate about research, empathetic, understanding, compassionate, and know everything you do is for the greater good. You may feel like a small gear, but a clock could not work properly if a gear was missing or broken. You are a part of a bigger picture to make positive changes for the world.

We are so thankful for you, Maddy. Your persistance, resilliance and empathy are inspiring.

We thank all research core facility staff who help us make our lupus research possible!

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