Current Students: Class of 2018

Here’s a glimpse of our second-year students. We asked if there was anything in particular during their first year of grad school that stands out as memorable (eg, intersession, family pals, community field placement). We’ve also included the topic of their Master’s thesis.

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ALLIE graduated from Stonehill College with a BS in Biology. She volunteered at the Sexual Assault Crisis Counselor at the YWCA of New Britain, CT where she provided short term counseling to local sexual assault victims/survivors through the crisis hotline, helping to empower and inform callers. She also accompanied clients to emergency room visits and court appointments to provide support and explain procedures.

“Being able to run intakes on my own a few weeks into my first internship in pediatrics was a powerful experience for me. I was terrified the first time I talked with a family without any supervision but after some practice it ended up giving a major boost to my confidence. Knowing that my supervisors trusted me allowed me to believe in my own ability to be a genetic counselor!”

Thesis Topic: Exploring the Attitudes and Experiences of Genetic Counselors Regarding Patients Facing Substance Use Disorders

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ANNA-LENA graduated from California State University Sacramento with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology. For two years, she worked with a family who had a boy with autism, and it was he who inspired her to pursue a career in Genetic Counseling.

“During my first year of grad school, there were so many memorable moments which helped me grow and become more passionate about becoming a genetic counselor. In particular, I loved my community field placement at Cotting School. It is a truly amazing place which welcomes and supports students with various forms of disabilities. I was fortunate to spend time with some of the high school students and we had so much fun participating in classroom activities and exploring the community. I learned so much from each one of them and am grateful that they welcomed me into their classroom.  I also really valued the many guest speakers who shared their knowledge and experiences with us. Each one of them reminded me how valuable this profession is and how excited and grateful I am to be part of it.”

Thesis Topic: Evaluation of the Support Provided to Male BRCA ½ Mutation Carriers: Are Their Needs Being Met or Can Genetic Counselors Do Better?

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ASHLEY graduated from Union College with a BS in Neuroscience. She volunteered at Crossroads Center for Children which serves a small group of children diagnosed with autism.

“I really enjoyed listening to all the guest speakers we had throughout my first year of grad school.  Interactions with individuals who have been directly impacted by genetic conditions are invaluable to the growth and development of my skills as a genetic counselor.  Not only did our guest speakers overcome some unimaginable challenges, but they were willing to share those private experiences with an audience of strangers.  It was an insightful and humbling experience that allowed me to further appreciate just how resilient people are.”

Thesis Topic: Clinical Supervisors’ Perspectives on the Expansion of Genetic Counseling Programs in the Era of Genomic Medicine.

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KATIE graduated from Assumption College with a BS in Biotechnology. She volunteered for Hands Together in Port au Prince (a key educational and development organization working in Haiti’s largest and poorest slum); Homes for Heroes (affiliation of real estate specialists and local business committed to providing easy ways to save on a home, and on every day home-related purchases); and SouthCoast Educational Collaborative (special education services).

“A particularly memorable moment for me would be my community placement at Cotting school. Even though I was only there once a week, it was very impactful to see the difference I could make on the students and how each week they would ask me questions about my life and tell me how much they would look forward to seeing each week. When you don’t think you’re doing very much, you’re actually still doing a lot in someone else’s eyes.”

Thesis Topic: Ehlers Danlos Syndrome: Navigating the Transition into Emerging Adulthood

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KATRINA graduated from Plymouth State University with a BS in Biology. She volunteered with Samaritans as a helpline befriender and Hope Health Hospice providing support to hospice and pediatric patients with life-limiting illnesses.

“My first internship was such a wonderful experience! I enjoyed interacting with the patients, hearing their stories, and participating in interesting cases. I also got a feel for the healthcare community, collaborating and interacting with other GCs, geneticists, neurologists, and other specialists within the hospital.”

 Thesis Topic: Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening for Sex Chromosome Anomalies and Copy Number Variants: Experience of Prenatal Genetic Counselors

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LINDSAY graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a BS in Biotechnology & Biomedical Science. She volunteered at Heritage Christian Services Stables which provides therapeutic horseback riding lessons to people with disabilities, as well as for various community service and fundraising projects through the Pre-Health Student Association.

“The most memorable part of my first year was my first internship over the summer.  It was an opportunity to put all of the skills and knowledge from the past year to use and realize that I do love genetic counseling. It got me excited to do and learn more in my second year.  The other best part of first year was spending time with my classmates during class brunches at “In a Pickle” restaurant!”

Thesis Topic: Improving Access to Genetic Counseling Visual Aids for People with Low Vision

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LIZ graduated from Loyola University with a BS in Biology and a BA in Italian. She volunteered at Lurie Children’s Hospital, Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago and is currently a canvasser/general volunteer for multiple political campaigns.   

“As far as the question goes it was definitely my summer internship. Being able to go to London and work in a completely different healthcare system was amazing. Everyone was so welcoming and I was able to see a lot in prenatal care and even saw some counseling in other fields as well! Living in London wasn’t too shabby either :).”

Thesis Topic: Geometric inclusivity: Pedigree symbols for transgender and non-binary patients

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LORRAINE graduated from Brandeis University with a BS in Biology. She volunteered at Zhengzhou First Affiliated Hospital (China) in the ER.

“The most memorable thing for me last semester was family pal. It was the first time for me see the day to day life of somebody with a genetic condition. It really changed my perspective.”

Thesis Topic: Is exclusive AMA referral to prenatal genetic counseling a thing of the past?

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RHONDA graduated from Reed College with a BA in Biology and earned a PhD from Harvard University in Genetics. For 20 years, she worked in a basic research lab and raised two children.

“There were a lot of wonderful moments in my first year as a GC student-all centered around the people I’ve met, my classmates, professors, and the families that have welcomed us into their homes and come to Brandeis to tell us about their lives.  One of the highlights was the first time I counseled a patient on my own and realized how far I’ve come in this past year. I also thoroughly enjoyed our “field trips”, in particular the trip to Perkins School for the Blind.  I’ll never forget the great feeling of hanging out with my classmates after finishing our final exams, eating and drinking at In a Pickle.”

Thesis Topic: Parent experience with genetic testing for pediatric epileptic encephalopathy: What can we do better?

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YIRU graduate from Northwestern A&F University (China) with a BS in Landscape Design and then earned a PhD from Michigan Technical University in Forest Genetic and Molecular Biotechnology. She volunteered at the Pregnancy Crisis Center as a mentor to support low income women by providing long term training for pregnancy and newborn care. She also volunteered at Rape, Advocacy, Counseling, and Education Services (R.A.C.E.S) where she answered the crisis hotline.

“My prenatal internship at Beth Israel was very special to me in my GC training. The amount of cases, with a good variety of indications, I participated in helped me to put the classroom learning into practice. It was eye-opening to see quite a lot of rare indications in just 30 clinical days.”

Thesis Topic: Academic appointment for genetic counselors: Opportunity, challenges and path