Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I had the amazing opportunity to graduate with my associate degree from Idaho State University while still in high school, which allowed me to immediately jump into Genetics major classes when I got to Brigham Young University. After spending time in Taiwan on a church mission, I took several Chinese language, culture, and literature classes while finishing up my major requirements. This past year I have been living in China, studying abroad, and doing an internship. When I came back, I received my diploma, Bachelor’s in Genetics and Biotechnology, just in time for KGI classes to start in the fall.
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 though I come from a family filled with nurses and other healthcare professionals, I didn’t decide that I wanted to take this path until first studying Genetics and exploring the laboratory and research side of the field. It wasn’t until after I had worked in some labs at school and as an intern that I realized: even though the work was interesting, what was more inspiring to me was using my genetic knowledge to help others directly. Through other experiences at BYU and abroad, I know that I work best when working with people. After shadowing a few genetic counselors at local hospitals, I felt an overwhelming sense of “This is what I need to do” and I worked hard to do everything I could to get there.
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?
Nothing worth having comes easy, and genetic counseling is a very competitive field. Obviously, there were challenges, however when I look back on the road I took to get here, the obstacles seem so small compared to the overwhelming sense of accomplishment and gratitude that I feel. Speaking honestly, the obstacles that I had to overcome were small in comparison with the obstacles that I know others had to face. I am humbled, and grateful for the journey that I had. The obstacles I faced were challenging classes, working proactively to making the right connections in a place with limited options, and in my own way searching for experiences that would prepare me for a career in genetic counseling.
Once you decided to pursue a Genetic Counseling degree, how did you know that KGI was the right school for you?
When the time came to start applying for graduate schools, I took a very individual approach to researching schools in order to figure out which would be the right one for me. After doing the initial searches and considering several different factors, going through the process of applying, and interviewing, KGI stuck out. For me, location is so critical, located on the west coast, KGI is one of the few schools that would be close to my family and hometown. Along with this, located in the LA county and being so close to a large population of Chinese people I hope to be able to use my language skills and cultural understanding to help those patients. I am very happy to be at KGI and know that this is the right school for me.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies at KGI?
I am just excited to get started! I am ready to learn and work and grow! I can’t wait to meet my KGI classmates, mentors, and teachers, and it is exciting to be a part of a larger class of students compared to other MSGC programs. All in all, I have been preparing for this for a long time. I am looking forward to doing clinical rotations and making connections in the Southern California community and at KGI.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
I like trying new things: traveling to new places, eating different kinds of food (I am not picky!), and meeting new people! Beyond that I also enjoy riding my bike and going camping with my family and friends.