Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I was at UC Riverside from 2013-2018. I started out as a Business major, but I later realized that I felt more passionate about healthcare and sciences. I switched my major to Biology, and I successfully completed my Bachelors of Science. After graduating, I took some Psychology courses at Pierce College and some science courses at UCLA Extension in preparation for MSGC applications.
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 found healthcare to be the right field for me because I enjoy not only studying science but also being alongside patients and supporting them in their journeys. After taking an upper division Human Genetics course, I instantly recognized that it was my passion. Learning about decoding DNA and reading my genetics textbook felt like reading a great mystery novel- I couldn't wait to turn the page. I was amazed by how evolving the field is and how many new opportunities there are for clinical actionability and personalized medicine based on genetic science. I also felt optimistic to learn about the future prospects of gene therapy for patients. While shadowing genetic counselors, I was inspired by the meaningful and impactful relationships the genetic counselors had with their patients. Genetic counseling is the right choice for me because it fits my passion of supporting and communicating with patients as well as my passion for staying involved with research and education in the field of genetics.
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 fell behind in my undergraduate coursework due to switching my major and also having some health issues. However, I finally got back on track, and I subsequently felt extra motivation to succeed in my education. I learned about the field of genetic counseling when I took an upper division Human Genetics course in one of my last quarters before graduation. Because I discovered my passion so late in my undergraduate journey, I had to do a lot of research on my own about how to get into the field. Genetic counseling is a tough field to break into, but after a lot of networking, I finally found opportunities that worked well for me.
I applied to MSGC programs in the 2018-2019 cycle, and I didn’t match with any programs. Although it was extremely disappointing, I took it as a learning opportunity to better myself and my skills. After a year of dedication to my new volunteerships, internships, and courses, I applied in the 2019-2020 cycle and matched with my dream program, KGI!
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies?
I am most looking forward to building connections with my classmates and professors. Genetic counseling is a small and unique field, so I know we will be each other’s best support system for many years to come.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
I love old school Disney movies, and I pretty much know the words to all the songs!