Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I have a BA and MA in Communication Studies, emphasis on Intercultural and Interpersonal relationships. I completed my science pre-requisites through UCLA’s Extension program.
What first got you interested in the healthcare field as a career choice? There are a lot of career options in the field -nursing, physician assistant, etc., what made you decide that genetic counseling was the right practice area/career choice for you?
I originally wanted to use my background in Communications to work in the nonprofit sector, to help provide information and resources to communities. After working for a while with a Deaf nonprofit, I landed a job at UCLA as a study coordinator. It was there I learned about genetic counseling; the study was about educating the Deaf community about hereditary cancers and the benefits of genetic counseling. It was during my time at UCLA that I recognized that I enjoyed learning about genetics and sharing that information with the community. I chose to pursue genetic counseling because it would allow me to continue the kind of work I enjoyed doing at UCLA, but within a larger, more direct role. And as an ASL user, I’d be able to provide direct communication to Deaf patients, something that is sorely lacking in the health field.
What type of obstacles have you had to overcome on the road to getting your education and in particular in pursuing your Genetic Counseling degree?
To be a viable candidate for the MSGC program, I needed to take a lot of science pre-requisites. I spent a little over two years taking classes through UCLA’s Extension program, while working full-time. I am also a Deaf student and had to learn how to manage various challenges in getting access to the same information as my Hearing peers in the classroom (those challenges did not come with easy solutions). Simply put, for a little over two years my life was nothing but work, school/study, eat, sleep, and repeat. Despite my dedication and hard work, I wasn’t sure if it would be enough to get me into an MSGC program. I did not succeed in getting in on my first try, but I got in the second time around. And THAT, made everything I went through worth it.
Once you decided to pursue a Genetic Counseling degree, how did you know that KGI was the right school for you?
KGI offered what no other program that was interested in me offered: support. MSGC programs are intensive as-is; I was looking for a program that could help alleviate some of the additional stress/challenges that come with being a Deaf student. KGI went above and beyond my expectations with that. They pride themselves in being innovators and I saw that first-hand during my interview with them and their disability coordinator. From using the flipped-classroom approach, to enrolling more students than any other MSGC program, KGI doesn’t go with the norm. They assess what is needed in the field and design their program to match that.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies at KGI?
I’m looking forward to the camaraderie and working relationships that will develop.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
I enjoy crocheting and anything that involves creating things with my hands.
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