Current Students: Class of 2019

Meet our second year students. Learn about some of the activities they enjoyed prior to beginning graduate school as well what they found memorable about their first year at Brandeis.

AmandaAmanda Allred
BA in Neuroscience, Lake Forest College

“Before joining this program, I worked as a lab technician in a molecular biology lab. Though I’m grateful to no longer be working with mice, I feel that exposure to next generation sequencing better prepared me for my lab rotation doing variant interpretation over this past summer.”

“My favorite moment as a first-year genetic counseling student was wintersession, where I had the opportunity to hear from individuals and family members about living with a disability or a genetic condition.”




Ana Sarmiento
BA in Biology, State University of New York Purchase College

“My advocacy experience prior to applying was the best preparation I could have received for my genetic counseling formation. I volunteered as a rape crisis counselor for Milford Rape Crisis Center (MRCC) in Connecticut. Helping others in their most vulnerable moments actually revealed their strengths. I found myself encountering similar experiences throughout my training in genetic counseling, and I am so thankful for my time with MRCC.”

“A year goes by very quickly, and there were many moments that shone memorably. I however, will be the first to “nerd,” and admit that my favorite part of my first year was clinical genetics. I felt like the course indulged my pre-matriculated perception of what genetic counseling was supposed to be. I really enjoyed learning about different syndromes, their features, and testing options for them.”

AnujaAnuja Chitre
BS in Life Sciences, National University of Singapore

“My summer internship at St Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH), Missouri has definitely helped prepare me to become a better genetic counselor. Interacting with patients and their families for the first time was nerve-wrecking but the support of my supervisors and the warmth of the patients and their families helped to boost my confidence. I enjoyed working with the diverse patient population at SLCH the most!”

“The winter session stood out as the most memorable experience of my first year! Listening to stories of patients and their families as they went through their diagnostic journey and beyond was a truly eye opening and humbling experience!”


BethanyBethany Zettler
BS in Biomedical Engineering, Boston University

“Working as a clinical research assistant after college helped me develop many skills that are important to genetic counseling. For example, I wrote informed consent forms and discussed clinical trials with a diverse group of patients, which required explaining scientific concepts clearly and discussing alternatives to participation. I used those same skills during my prenatal internship to provide information on genetic testing and pregnancy management options available. In both settings, I supported patients through a complex process to make informed decisions for themselves and their families.”

“My community field placement at Perkins School for the Blind in the infant & toddler group was a very memorable part of first year. The entire group had so much positive energy, and the teachers were truly passionate about helping kids reach their fullest potential and celebrating every success. I was paired with an amazing little boy with multiple disabilities, which was challenging at times but very rewarding. Connecting with his mom really enhanced my perspective on what it is like for families to live with a genetic condition or other disability. I also enjoyed our visit to the state Newborn Screening lab – it was fascinating to see how dried blood spots are processed and tested for many treatable genetic conditions.”



Gnyapti Majmudar
BS in Biology, University of Michigan

“I was a Peer Advisor at the undergraduate research program at the University of Michigan. It helped me become a genetic counselor because I was in a teaching role and had the opportunity to work with students in stressful situations.”

“The most memorable part of my first year at Brandeis was the Winter Session that we had before the start of our second semester. Hearing the patients and parents’ perspectives on living or having a family member with a genetic condition showed us the reliance that families have and reminded me why genetic counseling was the right career choice for me.”



Jen Samuels
MPH, Eastern Virginia Medical School
BS in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech

“I volunteered as a support group facilitator for children and adults that were grieving a significant loss. I loved working with my middle-school aged kids and think I learned more from them than they did from me. Their strength and resilience was inspiring and guided me towards a field where I could continue to work on my counseling skills. While there were certainly lots of hard days, we had a lot of fun together too.”

“I did my first internship in New Zealand and it was such an amazing and memorable experience. Not only was it interesting to see how genetic counseling differs on the other side of the globe, it was great to work within a completely different healthcare system than what I am used to.”



Julie Howell
BS in Genetics, University of Georgia

“To prepare to become a GC, I did an internship with Project Safe, a domestic violence shelter and advocacy organization. This experience taught me a great deal about respecting others experiences and perspectives as well as the importance of self care.”

“From my first year, I loved the community placement the most! Brandeis forged a relationship with a new site so I was able to be involved in the community I wanted and that placement helped me decide on my thesis topic. It was an amazing experience!”




Maggie Campbell
BSc in Biochemistry, Queen’s University

“My community placement at Perkins School for the Blind in the infant-toddler group had a large influence on my professional growth. I appreciated how open families were about their everyday challenges and successes.”

“I am so grateful to all of our guest speakers who shared their stories during winter session and introduction to genetic counseling. Hearing patient perspectives has been so valuable in starting clinical internships.”




Sarah Spinette
PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
BS in Biochemistry, University of Rochester

“Two experiences were particularly significant to my preparation for genetic counseling. As a volunteer for Crisis Textline, I learned many skills that are applicable to counseling including establishing rapport, identifying patient strengths, sources of support, resource identification, recognizing transference and counter-tranference and many others. Secondly, my experience as as an Educator (of Biology) has helped me immensely when performing the educational component of counseling sessions.”

“Many of the presentations by afflicted and parents during Intercession left a significant mark on my first year experience. Hearing the patient and care-giver experience first hand increases our awareness and understanding of the thoughts, reactions, and emotions we might expect to confront in clinic. My first internship will be unforgettable. It was such a tremendous learning experience and opportunity for personal growth.”



Talia Flamos
BS in Biology, Brandeis University.

“Before coming to graduate school I did a lot of volunteer work with Special Olympics Equestrian! I loved sharing my love for horses with the kids and getting to know their families- I think ultimately that’s what drove me to want to have a career that allows me to work with some of the same population and why I’ve enjoyed pediatrics so much!”

“As for my first year, spending my summer in Portland, ME in a pediatric clinic was definitely the highlight! It was my first time really living alone in a new city away from all my family and friends in MA, but the summer was well spent learning so much in clinic, meeting so many amazing people, and experiencing such a beautiful city!”