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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Center for Genetic Medicine

Meet Our Students


2021

Tessa Bachinski

Undergrad: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Genetics and Genomics, Minor: Religious Studies

During her undergraduate career, Tessa was a helpline phone volunteer for the Rape Crisis Center of Dane County and volunteered at the UW Hospital in both Pediatrics and the Coordinated Care Unit. She also served on the executive board as Mission Director for Colleges Against Cancer. Tessa has shadowed genetic counselors in pediatrics and cancer at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and UW Hospital Carbone Cancer Center.

Elizabeth Bonnema

Undergrad: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Genetics, Cell Biology and Development

During her undergraduate career, Elizabeth was a Teaching Assistant and researched signaling networks in Drosophila melanogaster. Outside of academics, she volunteered as a Health Center Advocate at Planned Parenthood. Her passion for Genetic Counseling started after a course that looked at the implications of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) in people’s lives. Following graduation, she worked as a Genetic Counseling Coordinator at Reproductive Genetic Innovations and volunteered at Crisis Text Line. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her dog, play the violin and knit.

Jennifer Choi

Undergrad: University of California, Berkeley, Public Health

As an undergraduate, Jennifer provided free Hepatitis B education, screenings, and vaccinations to the Asian and Pacific Islander community. She also participated in medical outreach in San Pedro, Guatemala. After graduating, Jennifer worked at Counsyl in client-facing roles as well as internal roles within laboratory operations. She led the sample send-out procedure to offer AGG reflex testing for fragile X syndrome carrier screening and reviewed outcome results of non-invasive prenatal screens for a clinical experience project. In addition to shadowing genetic counselors at Counsyl, she shadowed clinical genetic counselors at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco. Most recently, she volunteered on crisis lines as a domestic violence counselor.

Aymara Clarke

Undergrad: University of Calgary, Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology

During her studies, Aymara completed her thesis research project in bioengineered algae. Post-graduation, she volunteered on the Distress Centre Calgary’s crisis phone lines while working at the UCalgary IT Support Centre as a Technical Support Analyst and Student Supervisor of 20+ student-staff team members. She also volunteered in a campus research lab, studying algae and plant-derived pharmaceuticals, neutraceuticals, and vaccine antigens. Most recently, she worked at the Alberta Children’s Hospital as a Clinical Genetics Volunteer, where she shadowed several genetic counselors. In her spare time, Aymara loves the outdoors, live music, coffee and discovering vegetarian restaurants.

Catherine Coakley

Undergrad: University of Georgia, Psychology, Minor: Public Health

While at UGA, Cat immersed herself into the community by working and volunteering for organizations like The Red Cross, UGA Food Pantry, and the Center for Student Activities and Involvement. Most notably, she dedicated herself to Kesem. Kesem is a national organization that supports children through and beyond a parent’s cancer, and she served as Teen Counselor, Outreach Coordinator, and Executive Director of the local chapter. Before completing her final undergraduate semester, Cat participated in the Northwestern Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling Internship, which solidified her determination to pursue this profession. After graduation, Cat continued to shadow and interview genetic counselors across the country.

Miranda Cox

Undergrad: Northern Illinois University, Biological Sciences, Minors: Chemistry and Psychology

As an undergraduate, Miranda worked in a neuroscience laboratory investigating ways to prevent mood disorders and physiological dysfunction caused by social isolation stress. Miranda also served as a peer mentor for students new to research and a crisis counselor with Crisis Text Line. She loved working as a summer camp counselor and program assistant for children and adults with disabilities through the Kishwaukee Special Recreation Association. Her passion for genetic counseling grew as she shadowed counselors at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

Andrew Drackley

Undergrad: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Integrative Biology

A recipient of UIUC’s iBio research grant, Andy worked in a mammalian evolutionary development laboratory exploring limb developmental pathways affected by the drug thalidomide, as well as probing for genes involved in digit reduction in ungulate species. He shadowed a pediatric genetic counselor during his final undergraduate semesters and has spoken with counselors working in a variety of roles. While at UIUC, he volunteered at Courage Connection, a local organization that provides housing and supportive services to individuals and families who are victims of domestic violence. Following graduation, Andy worked at Northwestern Memorial Hospital processing skin cancer tissue during Mohs micrographic surgery.

Victoria Groner

Undergrad: University of Pennsylvania, Biology, Minor: Bioethics

As an undergrad, Victoria was a trained peer counselor, volunteered with individuals with cerebral palsy, and lead an immersive wilderness pre-orientation program. Additionally, she conducted psychosocial and genomic interdisciplinary research through the National Cancer Institute on the experiences of families living with Li Fraumeni Syndrome. Since igniting her passion for Genetic Counseling in 2014, Victoria has had the opportunity to shadow genetic counselors in New York at Comprehensive Genetics and Mount Sinai Hospital, as well as at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Jelena Ivanisevic

Undergrad: Iowa State University, Biochemistry, Minor: Genetics

While at Iowa State, Jelena worked in the Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Lab studying vaccine development for porcine diseases. Jelena volunteered as a learning assistant for General Biology, a member of the Survivorship Committee for Relay for Life, the Vice President of Tri Beta Biological Honor Society, and a member of the Best Buddies Club of Iowa State. The summer before her senior year, Jelena studied cellular components and microenvironments of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and Prostate Cancer at the NorthShore Research Institute in Evanston. After graduating, Jelena volunteered as a Crisis Text Line Counselor and worked as a Research Assistant at Charles River Laboratories in the Immunoassay Department.

Zameena Lakhani

Undergrad: Western University, Canada, Biochemistry & Cancer Biology, Certificate: Business French

Zameena completed her undergraduate honours thesis project under the supervision of Dr. Silvia Penuela, examining the role of Pannexin 1 in malignant melanoma. During her time at Western, Zameena worked for the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation, conducting literature research on various national and international health challenges. She also volunteered extensively with senior populations, as well as with ANOVA women’s shelter on their crisis and support line, speaking with community members in crisis and training incoming volunteers. Through her genetic counselling shadowing experience, Zameena learned how to prepare for different patient scenarios.

Laura López Santibáñez Jácome

Undergrad: TEC de Monterrey, Mexico, Biotechnology Engineering

During her time as an undergraduate, Laura helped build CuentaME; the first online platform in Mexico that provides accessible and economical psychological help. In addition, she learned about leadership, empowering environments and crisis management by working at Camp Ouareau; an all girls summer camp in Canada. She was also a volunteer teacher for underprivileged kids in the outskirts of Mexico. Furthermore, Laura completed a Masters in Data Science while working at the National Institute of Genomic Medicine in Mexico. Finally, she got the opportunity to immerse herself in the world of genetic counseling during Northwestern’s Summer Internship in 2018. In her free time, Laura loves playing soccer and karaoke nights.

Priya Marathe

Undergrad: Boston University, Health Science, Minor: Public Health

During undergrad, Priya worked as a research assistant at the Boston University School of Social Work where she conducted research on mentor retention in the Big Brother Big Sister program of Boston. After graduation, she worked at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as a research assistant for a comparative effectiveness randomized clinical trial for patients with advanced hematologic malignancies. Here, she had the opportunity to shadow genetic counselors specializing in both adult and pediatric cancer.

Miguel Moran

Undergrad: University of California, Santa Cruz, Human Biology

Miguel developed an interest in genetic counseling after taking courses on the human genome and biotechnology. During his undergraduate career, he served as a peer academic adviser and peer mentor for first-generation students like himself. Miguel also volunteered with Crisis Text Line as a crisis counselor and in the Emergency Department at Dignity Health Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. He spent some time shadowing a genetic counselor at Kaiser Permanente in the Los Angeles area, leading to an interest in clinical pediatric and cancer settings. Miguel looks forward to working with underserved communities and educating them on the field of genetics and genetic counseling.

Joseph Strohmeyer

Undergrad: Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Biomedical Sciences & Applied Communication Studies

During his time at the university, Joe served in a variety of leadership roles, including President of his fraternity and President of the Interfraternity Council. Joe also worked on campus as a Freshman Orientation Student Leader for three summers, as well as a Supplemental Instructor for introductory chemistry courses. He conducted his senior capstone project investigating post-breakup communication behaviors in the context of social media and their potential effects on post-breakup distress. Additionally, he spent his final year of undergrad volunteering as a crisis worker for the national suicide prevention line. Joe gained exposure to the field of genetic counseling through Northwestern’s Summer Internship program.

Madaline Talamantes

Undergrad: Carleton College, Biology

While at Carleton, Maddie worked in a genetics laboratory as a research associate studying Kanamycin resistance in yeast and performing paternity tests on snake hatchlings. Maddie also enjoyed working in the Disability Services Office at Carleton, where she mentored students and conducted research on concussions. In 2018, she had the opportunity to present her research findings on concussions at the AHEAD international conference in Albuquerque, NM. Maddie completed her senior comprehensive thesis on gene drives in the vector for malaria, the mosquito Anopheles gambiae, and its parasite, Plasmodium falciparum. She played varsity basketball at Carleton and has a continuing passion for the sport. During her senior year, Maddie worked as a GCA at GeneMatters.

Alyssa Valentine

Undergrad: University of California, Davis, Genetics, Psychology

In the summer of 2016, Alyssa worked at Ambry Genetics as a Clinical Data Intern. While at UC Davis, she founded Aggies for CureDuchenne, a club focused on providing a social support network for local families affected by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. She later completed a summer internship with BlueShield of California as the Genetic Counseling Intern in the Special Investigations Unit, where she helped the department identify cases of potential fraud, waste, and abuse in genetic testing labs. Alyssa shadowed in pediatric and prenatal genetic counseling clinics. As a lifelong competitive ice hockey player, she also played for UC Davis’s co-ed team.

Sidney VanDyke-Ries

Undergrad: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Psychology, Minor: Biology

As an undergraduate, Sidney was involved in a behavior genetics laboratory as a research assistant. Additionally, her time outside of school was spent working as a public affairs intern at Planned Parenthood and tutoring English for a local nonprofit serving refugees and immigrants. After graduation, she worked for the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium as an evaluation project associate. Her work here included analyzing data, conducting focus groups, and compiling evaluation reports to assess grants. Sidney also volunteered with Mountain Family Developmental Services in Carbondale, Colorado and plans to continue her shifts on Crisis Text Line.

Melissa Wang

Undergrad: University of California (UC), Davis, Psychology, Genetics and Genomics

As an undergraduate, Melissa served as founding president of the Genetic Counseling Club, organizing community outreach and club events. She was also a research assistant in the Kliebenstein Lab, where she completed an individual project studying the ecological behavior of fungal species Botrytis cinerea. As a member of Global Medical Brigades, she provided medical services for underserved communities in rural Honduras. Upon graduating, Melissa worked as a genetic counseling assistant at the UC Davis Division of Genomic Medicine, serving as the lead assistant for the Metabolic and Rasopathy Clinics. Melissa has extensively shadowed genetic counselors in cancer and general/pediatric specialties.

Margaret Wiley

Undergrad: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Biology, Certificate: Global Health

During her time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Meg worked as an inclusion staff member in the Madison school district to support students with disabilities or other needs. She volunteered for Dane County’s Juventud program, helping provide academic support and leadership development for Latino and Spanish speaking youth. Meg was involved with outreach activities through UW-Madison’s Undergraduate Genetics Association, and served as volunteer chair her senior year. She also enjoyed being a facilitator for peer groups studying Introduction to Genetics. Her favorite and most unique experience in college was creating and presenting her sculpture representing the mirror neuron function and experiences of those with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Jessica Young

Undergrad: Simon Fraser University, Canada, Biological Sciences, Minor: Kinesiology

Jessica was a student researcher and played varsity volleyball as an undergraduate at SFU. She worked on a study involving the effects of methylmercury on Zebra Finches that was published in Ecotoxicology in 2018. After graduation, Jessica gained knowledge about the field by shadowing genetic counselors at the Hereditary Cancer Clinic as well as the Adult Metabolic Disease Clinic in Vancouver. She also volunteered at Options for Sexual Health where she shadowed nurses in their contraceptive counseling sessions, and for the Fraser Health Crisis Line as a volunteer call taker.

2022

Maddie Berkvam

Undergrad: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Zoology, Minors: Environmental Studies and Global Cultures

Maddie Berkvam graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015 with a BA in Zoology and minors in Environmental Studies and Global Cultures. During her time in undergrad, Maddie had the opportunity to collaborate on the design and execution of a genome-wide association study assessing the genetic underpinnings of plant pathogen susceptibility, through which she discovered her passion for genetics and earned the Hilldale Research Fellowship. She began gaining counseling experience while working as a line therapist at a clinic for children with Autism spectrum disorder. Upon graduating, Maddie moved to Chicago where she accepted a role in the creative arena and continued exploring her desired career path. With a long-standing love of writing, Maddie has enjoyed working for the past 5 years as a Medical Copywriter. In her free time, she volunteers as a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line and as an Ambassador for NAMI.

Jessa Bidwell

Undergrad: Wartburg College, Neuroscience

Jessa Bidwell graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa with a B.A. in Neuroscience in 2016. As an undergraduate, she studied hormonal effects on anxiety in hamsters and the neuromuscular junction in fruit flies. After graduating, she spent two years studying biomedical science and physiology at Loyola University Chicago where she was also a peer mentor and founder of a book club. She then transitioned to a role as a clinical research coordinator at Lurie Children’s Hospital, working with children with neuromuscular disorders. Jessa has also loved tutoring children in a variety of subjects and volunteering with Chicago Scholars, a program that helps underprivileged high schoolers transition to college. In her free time, she enjoys taking walks, cooking, and playing board games.

Brady Bunkelman

Undergrad: Cornell University, Biological Sciences, concentration in Genetics, Genomics, and Development, Minor: Creative Writing

Brady Bunkelman graduated from Cornell University in December, 2018 with a B.A. in Biological Sciences, concentrated in Genetics, Genomics, and Development, and a minor in Creative Writing. While an undergraduate, he held leadership positions in several community service groups including Alpha Phi Omega, Habitat for Humanity, and Biology Service Leaders. In addition, he was a Resident Advisor, a member of Pants Improv Comedy, and conducted research under Dr. Marc Halushka at Johns Hopkins University for two summers. Following graduation, he began work as a server, a substitute paraprofessional, and volunteered as a Youth and Family Advocate Intern at Tubman, a domestic violence shelter. In his free time, Brady enjoys cooking, playing board games, singing, and being outside.

Arlene Carlos

Undergrad: Bradley University, Biology and Spanish

Arlene Carlos graduated from Bradley University in 2019 with a B.S. in Biology and Spanish. As an undergraduate, she worked in a molecular biology laboratory investigating DJR-1 in Tetrahymena and tutored various introductory biology courses. Outside of academics, she served as a peer mentor to underrepresented first-year students, held various positions with her Latina-based sorority, and volunteered with Crisis Text Line. After graduating, Arlene worked as a program assistant for children and adults with disabilities through the NSSRA, as well as a chiropractic assistant. She is currently volunteering at Advocate Medical Group, where she continues to shadow genetic counselors.

Mary Carney

Undergrad: Lafayette College, Biology, Minor: Spanish.

Mary Carney graduated from Lafayette College in 2018 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Spanish. During her undergraduate career, she was a Teaching Assistant for an Immunology course and researched murine breast cancer models her senior year. She was also actively involved in the campus Colleges Against Cancer club and the all-female A Cappella group. After graduating, Mary moved to Chicago to accept a position as a Rehabilitation Clinical Assist at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. In this role, she worked with a diverse pediatric population and gained exposure to many genetic syndromes. Mary was able to shadow Genetic Counselors frequently at Lurie Children’s as well as conducting informational interviews. Her passion for Genetic Counseling continues to grow as she excitedly awaits school in the fall.

Nour Chanouha

Undergrad: American University of Beirut, Biology, Minor: Psychology

Nour Chanouha graduated from the American University of Beirut in 2020 with a major in Biology and a minor in Psychology. During her undergrad, Nour completed a bench research project on breast cancer. She volunteered as a teacher assistant at AUB’s Next Step program, a vocational program for youth with intellectual disabilities, notably Down syndrome. Nour also volunteered at the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon and tutored Biology for underprivileged public school students at MMKN and Nasma NGOs. At Nasma, she organized an educational summer camp for Syrian refugees. Her passion for genetics started in high school when she attended a workshop on recombinant DNA technology at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, NY and culminated in her recent shadowing experience at the only genetic counseling clinic in Lebanon. Nour competed for AUB’s varsity swimming and track &field and was the swimming team captain during her senior year.

Erin Fey

Undergrad: University of Missouri-Columbia, Biology
Graduate: Vanderbilt University, MS in Biomedical Sciences

Erin Fey graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. She then went on to work as a research assistant in a biochemistry lab at St. Louis University and further her laboratory education by earning a masters in Biomedical Sciences from Vanderbilt University in 2019. Her masters thesis focused on the detection and analysis of structural variants of the histological subtypes of breast cancer. It was during her time in Nashville where she was introduced to the field of genetic counseling and started working towards the goal of becoming one. After graduating Erin began working as a Genetic Counselor Assistant at Washington University in the pediatrics division.

Nouran Gouda

Undergrad: University of Toronto, Genetics

Nouran Gouda graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bsc. in Genetics in 2015. After graduating she returned home (to Egypt) where she discovered her interest in counseling while working with school children experiencing domestic violence. In 2016 she joined the genetics lab of one of the most prominent children’s cancer hospitals in Egypt as a research associate. She worked on projects including profiling miRNA in pediatric leukemia patients and monitoring the gut microbiome of hospitalized children during chemotherapy. Her expertise in NGS technology earned her the opportunity of completing laboratory genetic testing for pediatric patients with suspected hereditary cancers while assisting the clinical geneticists in delivering test results.

Monika Izdebski

Undergrad: Northeastern University, Biology, Minor: Psychology

Monika Izdebski graduated from Northeastern University in 2017 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in a reproductive biology lab on campus, participating in projects focused on folliculogenesis and ovarian development, and at Massachusetts General Hospital, studying genetic modifiers of Huntington’s disease. Additionally, she worked as a teaching assistant for a biology laboratory course and volunteered in a summer program for children with developmental disabilities. Following graduation, Monika worked at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she coordinated studies of targeted therapies for thoracic malignancies. She also volunteered at a crisis center focused on suicide prevention. Monika furthered her interest in genetic counseling through meeting and shadowing genetic counselors in the Boston area.

Bex Jaeger

Undergrad: DePaul University, Biological Sciences, Minor: German

Bex Jaeger graduated from DePaul University in 2016 with a BS in Biological Sciences and a minor in German, where she became interested in equitable access to care, participating in medical service trips to communities in Nicaragua. She also studied abroad in Orbetello, Italy, volunteered with “Insieme A Chicago,” an Italian language school for children, and spent time during her summers as a camp counselor for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. After graduating she worked as a medical scribe in the emergency department at Rush University Medical Center, then the department of Neurogenetics & Translational Neuroscience where she has been working as a clinical research coordinator on clinical trials and compassionate use protocols for the treatment of Niemann Pick Type C. She also volunteered with the IMD Guesthouse, an organization that provides temporary housing to patients and families undergoing medical care in Chicago.

Angie Kalwies

Undergrad: University of Iowa, Biology (Genetics & Biotechnology), Minor: Health and the Human Condition

Angie Kalwies graduated from the University of Iowa in 2020 with a B.S. in Biology (Genetics & Biotechnology) and a minor in Health and the Human Condition. During her undergraduate career, she completed her honors thesis researching a whole-genome duplication in a species of freshwater snail. She also worked in a cardiovascular research lab assisting in projects and lab operation. She was also an active member in the Alpha Chi Sigma national chemistry fraternity, serving as president in her senior year. She also enjoyed volunteering in her community at the animal shelter and the domestic violence intervention program. Through genetic counseling seminars and shadows at the Iowa Institute of Human Genetics, she fell in love with the profession.

Ashley Mochizuki

Undergrad: University of California, Los Angeles, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, Minor: Asian American Studies

Ashley Mochizuki graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2018 with a B.S. in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, and a minor in Asian American Studies. As an undergraduate, she was a research assistant in an epigenetics lab, where she studied DNA methylation in lettuce plants. She was also a volunteer at Ability First, and an intern with Asian Pacific Islander Forward Movement, where she interpreted cooking classes in low income communities. Post-graduation, she moved to Kyoto, Japan, and taught English to students ranging from grades 1-9. After moving back to the US, Ashley began working for Fulgent Genetics, where she gained knowledge of the field from an industry perspective, while volunteering as a Crisis Text Line counselor.

Danikka Morrison

Undergrad: University of California, Los Angeles, Biochemistry

Danikka Morrison graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2017 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate, she worked as a research assistant in a neurobehavioral genetics laboratory exploring the genetics of Bipolar Disorder. She volunteered as a crisis counselor for the Suicide Prevention Center and worked as an ESL tutor for Project SPELL. After graduating from college, she worked in clinical research and medical device manufacturing. Meanwhile, she shadowed genetic counselors at the Disney Family Cancer Center and UCLA Medical Center. She also continued volunteering for organizations close to her heart such as the Best Day Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the Huntington’s Disease Society of America. In her free time, she enjoys thrifting, hiking, and exploring new places.

Arti Sharma Pandey


Graduate: Montana State University, Bozeman, PhD in Biochemistry

Arti Sharma Pandey obtained a Ph.D in Biochemistry in 2007 from Montana State University, Bozeman, where her research involved X-ray crystallography of the bacterial enzymes 2-KPCC and Fe-only dehydrogenases to determine their mechanism of action. She has been working as a Professor of Biochemistry at Kathmandu Medical College (KMC) since then and in the capacity of a Genetic Counselor since 2016 at Nepal Cancer Hospital. She has pioneered newborn screening in Nepal through a pilot study in collaboration with the national Newborn Screening Laboratory in Switzerland. She is the author of several highly cited scientific research publications.

Brenden Phung

Undergrad: University of California, Davis, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Brenden Phung graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2019 with a BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology after serving a 2 year volunteer service mission in Hong Kong. While at UC Davis, Brenden served his local community at the Sacramento Paul Hom Clinic as a patient advocate, where he would help translate between medical staff and Chinese patients. Upon graduating, Brenden continued in healthcare working with patients as an ophthalmic medical technician at the Ottman Eye Group in Carmichael. In his free time, he volunteered with Crisis Text Line as a crisis counselor and shadowed genetic counselors in pediatrics at the UC Davis Division of Genomic Medicine as a clinical assistant volunteer. Brenden is also an avid musician and frequently performs in community events.

Breanne Prindeville

Undergrad: University of Miami, Neuroscience, Minor: Chemistry

Breanne Prindeville graduated from the University of Miami in 2014 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she volunteered as a research assistant at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute where she studied the role of Pannexin1 in ischemic injury of Retinal Ganglion Cells. Post-graduation, Breanne worked as medical assistant at DuPage Medical Group and then as an Intraoperative Neurophysiologist for NuVasive Clinical Services for four years. Breanne also worked as a Peer Coach at the Program for Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) Chicago, assisting adolescents with autism spectrum disorders in learning social skills. Breanne is a Genetic Counseling volunteer at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where she has shadowed several pediatric genetic counselors.

Kyra Ramsey

Undergrad: Northwestern University, Neuroscience

Kyra Ramsey graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a BA in Neuroscience. As an undergraduate, Kyra worked for a number of research laboratories across many specialties. One such lab was the Health Communication Interaction Design Lab which allowed Kyra to interview genetic counselors and genetic counseling patients in order to learn more about potential communication discrepancies in the field. This role solidified her desire to pursue genetic counseling as a career and helped to spark her interest in VUS results. Outside of research, Kyra devoted her time to many advocacy roles including leading the diversity and inclusion initiative within her sorority and facilitating club meetings for RnR, a student club for female and non-binary members of the LGBTQ community. Most recently, Kyra has spent the last year volunteering with Crisis Text Line as a crisis counselor.

Tyler Stokes

Undergrad: Vanderbilt University, Child Development, Minor: Chemistry

Tyler Stokes graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2017 with a B.S in Child Development and a minor in Chemistry. While at Vanderbilt, she volunteered with Project Sunshine, American Red Cross and served as an Admissions Student Host. Additionally, she developed databases to track proficiency in physician-focused professional rehabilitation courses at the Center for Professional Health. Passionate about serving children with disabilities, Tyler volunteered in multiple roles at BRIDGES, a community center dedicated to providing resources and advocating for those with hearing loss. Following graduation, Tyler worked as a Quality Assurance Technician for Impossible Foods and volunteered with Crisis Text Line. Her passion for genetic counseling grew as she interviewed counselors and continued health professions coursework around the Bay Area.

Hannah Tsai

Undergrad: University of California, San Diego, Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Hannah Tsai graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2015 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. After graduation, Hannah worked at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies as a research assistant in Dr. Martin Hetzer’s lab. One of her projects examined the human transcriptome using machine learning techniques to create a predictor of biological age. Outside the lab, Hannah volunteered as a hotline crisis counselor at the Center for Community Solutions domestic violence shelter. In addition, she coached local students at the Starlings Volleyball Club. Hannah also volunteered for the genetics team at the Providence Disney Family Cancer Center in Burbank, California. In her spare time, Hannah loves cooking, eating, playing volleyball, and hanging out with friends.

Sameer Varmani

Undergrad: University of British Columbia, Medical Laboratory Science

Sameer Varmani graduated from the University of British Columbia in Canada in 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Medical Laboratory Science degree. While at UBC, he worked as a peer tutor for a cell-biology course, and a technician at the Diamond laboratory, exploring the relation between COMT gene alleles and executive functions. He was also involved in literature review projects at the University of Toronto health network and the UBC Hospital, including one publication focused on the effect of authority hierarchies in operating rooms. Additionally, Sameer volunteered as a UBC Wellness Peer, providing conversational and resource-based support for students. He also volunteered at the Credit Valley Hospital in Ontario where he shadowed counseling sessions in prenatal and cancer genetics, and contacted patients to create family pedigrees.

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