Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
My interests were always in the sciences so it was only natural that my educational background lead to the pursuit of a science degree in my undergraduate career. I wanted to become a scientist since my elementary years and was drawn to the field for its complexity, mystery, and constant evolution. In 2016, I graduated with my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience.
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?
Since I was young, I was passionate about the sciences and wanted a career working with patients in a healthcare setting. Growing up, I wanted to become a doctor, but during my undergraduate journey into the pre-medical sciences, I realized that medical school was not for me. Having a myriad of interests and passions, I also explored career options as a teacher and researcher. Funnily enough, I enjoyed all of these professions, but one alone did not satisfy me. As I worked as a research assistant in a genetics lab, I found out about genetic counseling. Intrigued, I researched the field and fell in love with the profession as it was the perfect mix of patient interaction, research, and community education (and of course, genetics!). Ultimately, shadowing a local genetic counselor solidified my career choice. With the rise of direct-to-consumer testing and integration of new genetic technologies, the field is rapidly growing and I want to help patients navigate the unique genetic landscape we currently live in.
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?
On my path to genetic counseling, I have faced challenges mainly in the form of balancing my social, academic, and personal responsibilities. Especially during my early years in college, I struggled to find a balance with all of my commitments. After graduating, juggling various roles was also challenging for me as I applied to genetic counseling programs while working full time, volunteering, and taking on additional coursework. However, I learned that through hard work, time management, and the support of loved ones, I was able manage my responsibilities and persevere.
Once you decided to pursue a Genetic Counseling degree, how did you know that KGI was the right school for you?
I knew that KGI was a great match for me after corresponding back and forth with the program director, Ashley Mills, months before applications opened and after attending the open house for the genetic counseling program where I immediately connected with the faculty and administrative staff. KGI also has an innovative and nontraditional approach to science, which truly resonates with my learning style. In addition, the emphasis on pharmacogenomics and the diversity of rotation sites will lend a unique perspective to the genetic counseling curriculum.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies at KGI?
I am looking forward to beginning a new chapter in a new city, collaborating with others who share my passion for genetics and want to improve community scientific literacy and communication. I am excited to learn and grow with my fellow classmates as we begin our genetic counseling journey together. More specifically, I am ecstatic to be part of an inaugural genetic counseling program uniquely housed within a school of pharmacy.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
I am the lead staff contributor for the genetic counseling blog, Maps and Genes (mapsandgenes.wordpress.com)!