Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I took an unconventional path with my higher education. Right after high school, I worked and took classes at my local community college for four years. I then transferred to UC Davis, where I obtained a BS in Biotechnology. Since graduation, I have worked in academic and industry laboratory research settings for the past four years before being accepted to KGI.
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?
What draws me to genetic counseling over other health care professions are three things. First is the psychosocial component. Genetic counselors are unique in that they care for their patients holistically by addressing the clinical and emotional impact of a genetic diagnosis. Second is the opportunity to form long-lasting connections with families. Due to the nature of genetic diseases, genetic counselors often care for entire families over generations. Lastly is the specialization in genetics. Genetics is an exciting and rapidly evolving field and is the foundation of personalized medicine.
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?
I faced both financial and academic obstacles. Graduate school and the application process are expensive, and I had to ensure that I was financially stable before taking on more debt. Taking four years between undergrad and graduate school to work helped to increase my professional skills and obtain greater financial security. I also graduated undergrad with an average GPA. I had to work hard to find volunteer opportunities that were fulfilling and increased my competitiveness.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies?
I am most looking forward to rotations and being able to interact with the diverse patient population in LA county. I am looking forward to connecting empathetically with myself and others as well as improving my communication skills.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
The meaning of my last name is “strong skillful spear” in German.