Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I finished undergrad with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology and BA in Spanish. I love science and knew I wanted to work in healthcare, but I am also passionate about literature and language—so double majoring allowed me to explore all of my interests! During undergrad, I worked in a lab that performed metagenomic analyses on snow algae populations, and another lab that studied protein degradation pathways in nematodes using fluorescent microscopy.
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?
For a long time I was under the impression that you had to be a science genius in order to work in healthcare, so I didn’t really think it was an option for me. However, when I was in high school, my family experienced a tragedy that showed me otherwise: that healthcare is really about helping people! For a while, I wanted to be a doctor—until I shadowed an OB/GYN who used to be a genetic counselor. Her patient care was completely unique in its thoroughness and her extensive knowledge about genetics really inspired me. In genetic counseling, I found a career path where I could help people who are going through their hardest times, while working in a dynamic and ever-changing 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?
Science and math have actually always been difficult for me—I always felt like I was much better at literary arts. One of the biggest obstacles for me in getting through classes like calculus and organic chemistry was my own self confidence! I felt a lot of imposter syndrome about myself as a scientist. Another challenge that I faced during undergrad was trying to balance school with work. At one point, I was taking four upper-level science classes while working three part-time jobs, something I would definitely not recommend! However, I learned a lot about my own limitations.
Once you decided to pursue a Genetic Counseling degree, how did you know that KGI was the right school for you?
I actually didn’t have very strong feelings about KGI until the interview. However, once the interview began, I found that I was really clicking with each person that I spoke with. It felt a lot more fun than interviews I had at other schools, as I was able to have the type of natural conversation that I might have with a friend or co-worker. I am also really excited about the innovative approach that KGI takes to learning and teaching science.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies at KGI?
I am looking forward to getting back into the swing of school and learning things every day. I am especially excited to work and learn with a group of people who are all as passionate about the material as I am.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
My favorite thing in the world is sailing! I have been racing sailboats competitively all over the west coast for 10 years, and I’ve worked as a sailing coach and the director of a youth sailing program. Any time that I’m not studying, I’m definitely on the water! I also love hiking, skiing, and mountain biking.