Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I completed my undergraduate degree in December of 2019 at California State University, Sacramento where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Biology. When I first started my undergraduate career I had my heart set on Forensic Biology, which seemed like the perfect fit for me. My goal at the time was to work in a crime lab. However, the further I got into my undergraduate career, the more I felt unsure about whether this career was the one for me. I knew I had a passion for genetics, but I wanted more than working in a crime lab — I wanted to build relationships with people. At that time, I made the decision to focus on genetics and explore the different fields related to it, which is how I discovered the field of genetic counseling. During undergrad, I did research in a molecular genetics lab on the mechanics of gene amplification and CNVs. I was also a peer mentor for NSM students and a volunteer at Sutter Health in the oncology department. After graduation, I worked at UC Davis Health as a genetic counselor assistant in the cancer center.
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 honestly was not drawn to the healthcare field until discovering genetic counseling because I never saw myself in any of those career options. For me, genetic counseling was the perfect mix between my love for genetics and my desire for improving the patient experience. Navigating the healthcare system and trying to get answers can be very difficult and frustrating at times. Genetic counseling gives me an opportunity to hear patients out, establish a personal connection, and be their advocates.
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 often felt the pressure of being a minority in my field and changing my identity to be accepted in different settings. As a result, I found it difficult to navigate building my resume and networks. A trait that I had to push within myself constantly was to take initiative to seek resources and opportunities on my own.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies?
I am looking forward to starting my clinical rotations and getting to explore all of the different specialty areas of genetic counseling. I am also looking forward to bringing more awareness to this field, particularly in the Middle Eastern community.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
I love to bake and I dream about having a bakery one day. (Beeba’s Bakery).