Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I graduated from University of Windsor in 2019 with an Honours Bachelor of Science in Biology with a focus on molecular and cellular biology. After taking several psychology courses as electives, I decided to spend an extra year completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and graduated with distinction in 2020.
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?
Even since I was young I knew that I wanted to be in the healthcare field. I was fascinated by life and the ways in which it continues to adapt and evolve, but also the mechanisms which sustain it. I always thought I would be an OBGYN, but my second year Anatomy class sealed the deal, and I knew that blood, guts and gore were not for me. I was drawn to genetic counselling because it represents the true definition of translational medicine - benchside, bedside, and community. Beyond my love for genetics and epigenetics, I have a passion for continual learning, knowledge translation, and service. As a genetic counselor I will be able to contribute positively to my self-concept and fulfill an innate yearning to give back. But most importantly I will be a vital part of the community in a way that helps to build trust in science, elevate underserved populations and advance our healthcare system.
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?
As a single mom of two small children, returning to school seemed like an unlikely option. The year after my son was born, I returned to university. I found freedom in knowledge and I entered with a fresh perspective. The choice was mine because an education held the potential for a better life for myself and my children. It was liberating to be immersed in academia and I realized the enjoyment I have in learning. So my motivation to graduate stemmed not only from necessity, but a zeal and passion for knowledge.
As a single mom, school, work, and my responsibilities as a mother requires careful planning to ensure daily needs are met and tasks are accomplished. Many nights after my children are asleep, I spend completing work, extracurricular projects, and studying. But I recognize and am thankful for the immense support that I have from my friends and family, which has allowed me to be successful. I also acknowledge that this is not always the case.
Genetic counselling became the goal, and I knew that everything I had overcome was a part of the person that would be an excellent genetic counsellor. The sleepless nights, extra hours at work, and volunteer commitments, prepared me for the pursuit of a graduate degree. I am excited to be an example for my children that shows it is never too late, you are never too old, and never not worthy, if you set a goal and reach it with hard work and dedication.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies?
I am most looking forward to being surrounded by my classmates and like-minded individuals. It is so refreshing to come from such different backgrounds and share our experiences in the relation to genetic counselling. There is so much value in learning from others. I am also excited to experience the different genetic counselling rotations that are unique to KGI and build industry connections.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
Between the start of my university career and my return to school, I went to culinary school and graduated as a pastry chef. I love to bake traditional pastries and I am known for my French macaron.