Could you tell us a little bit about your educational background?
I graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2015 with a BS in Biopsychology. During my time as an undergraduate, I took courses in everything from neuroscience to economics and spent my junior year studying abroad in Granada, Spain. After graduating, I started a brief career in marketing (working at two early-stage technology startups) while continuing to study science through UC Berkeley Extension.
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’ve always been interested in biology, and from a young age, I knew that I wanted to work closely with people. In college, I considered going to medical school and completed all of the requirements for the pre-med track, but ultimately determined it wasn't the right fit. I was just as interested in psychology, education, advocacy, and social justice as I was in medicine. When I discovered the genetic counseling profession, it seemed to combine all of these interests perfectly. My shadowing experiences confirmed my initial enthusiasm, and a couple years after graduating college, I redirected my energy toward pursuing a career as a genetic counselor.
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 didn’t even know that the genetic counseling career path existed until after I had finished my undergraduate degree. As such, I was missing a couple of important prerequisites: biochemistry and genetics! I completed these requirements online while continuing to work full time in marketing. It was challenging to juggle coursework, graduate school applications, shadowing, and volunteering with daily life at a technology startup, but my ultimate goal of becoming a genetic counselor motivated me to keep going.
Once you decided to pursue a Genetic Counseling degree, how did you know that KGI was the right school for you?
I felt really at home during my interview at KGI—everyone I talked to, both faculty and current students, was approachable, warm, and truly passionate about genetic counseling. I also loved that KGI students have the opportunity to rotate through a huge breath of institutions across Southern California. I ultimately want to work with Spanish-speaking patient populations, so being in a big and diverse metro area is really important to me.
What are you most looking forward to about beginning your Genetic Counseling studies at KGI?
I’m really looking forward to diving into coursework and meeting my fellow classmates. After nearly four years in the workforce, I can’t wait to be a full time student and to be able to focus all of my energy on becoming an excellent genetic counselor.
What is one fun and interesting fact about you?
I love travelling, and throughout my life I’ve repeatedly moved abroad for several months at a time. Most recently, I spent three months teaching English at a rural school in southern Chile and a few weeks volunteering at a shelter for girls in Arequipa, Peru.