Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I completed my BS in Cellular & Molecular Biology at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. In addition to my biology degree, I also completed a minor in chemistry, completed undergraduate research in the chemistry department, and participated in the Pre-Health and Chemistry clubs. During my senior year, I began an internship at a local biotech start-up, Apeel Sciences, which allowed me to hone my skills as a synthetic organic chemist. After graduation, I spent the next 3.5 years working at Apeel full-time before deciding to apply to MSGC programs.
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’ve always been interested in the healthcare field and, for most of my life, had planned to go to medical school. When I joined Apeel Sciences during my senior year of college it was supposed to be for just a semester-long internship. I loved the company and my role so much that I ended up staying for over three years. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve experienced the profound impact that counseling has had on my own life, as well as those around me. This led me to the genetic counseling field, where one’s ability to listen with empathy is just as critical as one’s scientific acumen.
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 didn’t learn about the genetic counseling field until about a year before applying so I had a bit of catching up to do in terms of making sure I had completed all the required coursework and experience. I had been out of college for a few years and was working at a biotechnology start-up full-time so it meant that I had to fit in extra coursework and preparation during my nights and weekends. The amount of time I spent at work would not allow for sufficient preparation for this new career trajectory, so I made the difficult decision to find a job that would create the bandwidth in my life to complete all the pre-requisites and requirements for applying to Genetic Counseling programs.
Once you decided to pursue a Genetic Counseling degree, how did you know that KGI was the right school for you?
Almost as soon as I started applying to MSGC programs I knew that KGI was where I wanted to be for my studies. When going through the application process, it was evident that KGI was a place that cared about the whole person, not just the statistics in your application. I was impressed by the warm and inviting spirit of everyone that I met during the process. I like that KGI is a newer program and, as only the second class, we get to actively participate in how the program evolves.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies at KGI?
I’m most looking forward to learning alongside my classmates and finally starting this new career that we’ve all been working so hard to begin!
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
I love potatoes. They are my favorite food (group?) and I can think of an appropriate potato dish for any occasion or time of day.