At 5:30 a.m., biochemistry senior Preston Callaway wakes up to get ready for his shift at the ArcPoint Testing Clinic. His day begins at 6 a.m. at Cassell Stadium with administering coronavirus tests for Virginia Tech student athletes. He’ll do this for two hours then will walk over to Lane Stadium around 8 a.m. to check-in patients and perform COVID-19 tests for Virginia Tech faculty and students. Callaway can test 3-4 patients per minute and says he has easily administered thousands of tests since he joined the clinic in September 2020.

You can find Callaway interacting with patients and collecting samples at Lane Stadium until 4 p.m. The shift coordinators will come in and take his samples and upon seeing the now full plastic bags of collected coronavirus samples, Callaway is reminded of the importance of his work.

“I’m not going to be the one to find a cure or anything, but I feel like I play an important role in keeping COVID-19 under control by being a swabber at ArcPoint,” he said.

Preston Callaway with mask on standing in on the football field in Lane Stadium
Preston Callaway stands on the football field in Lane Stadium in his ArcPoint Testing Clinic work uniform. Photo courtesy of Preston Callaway.

Callaway joined ArcPoint because he wanted to be involved in the fight against COVID-19 in some way. This motivation to be a part of something bigger than himself stemmed from his experiences being a student during the pandemic.

“When the coronavirus first appeared around my second semester of my junior year, I took it seriously and stayed home after spring break, but I didn’t realize how long it was going to last. It was completely different!” he said.

The opening at ArcPoint couldn’t have been a better opportunity for Callaway, as he’s on the pre-med track in the department. “I’m appreciative of the opportunity to interact with patients all day and to earn clinical hours as an undergraduate student.”

Callaway says his favorite part of working at the clinic is patient interaction. Working at ArcPoint has only solidified Callaway’s plans of staying in the medical field. After graduation in May, Callaway intends to go to physician assistant (PA) school.

“I want to go to PA school and specialize in pediatrics. I’ve always wanted to work with children. Kids have a mind of their own and they’re smarter than you think and that’s what fascinates me.”

- Written by Cameron Warren