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Supplemental Activities

Students in the Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling also participate in the following activities that supplement our curriculum. In addition to the categories listed below, first- and second-year students also participate in the popular game show "Genetic Jeopardy." Plus, students are required to attend advocacy/support group meetings to learn more about the support resources that are available to our clients.


Students attend an external genetics-related conference for patients and their families (e.g., SOFT conference, Fragile X conference).

Illinois Society of Genetic Professionals has been devoted to the development and delivery of genetic services, research and education in Illinois. It is the only organization devoted exclusively to the interests of the genetics professional community in Illinois. Quarterly meetings consist of an educational component and provide the valuable opportunity to network with other like-minded professionals. The annual educational symposium brings experts together to speak about the latest genetic topics.

All second-year students receive reimbursement from the program to attend the National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Conference.

Chicago is a host city to a wide variety of educational conferences. If possible, the graduate program is very supportive of giving the students the opportunity to attend selected meetings.

Field Trips

Students will go on field trips as they become available, such as visiting Misericordia. Misericordia has a wide range of programs on campus and in the community to meet the diverse needs of persons with developmental disabilities.

Students also attend a bereavement conference sponsored by University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling. Students from Northwestern, UW-Madison and the University of Minnesota program all come together in Madison for this one-day workshop.

Grand Rounds/Lectures

The Center for Genetic Medicine sponsors several annual seminars for the public and scientific community (e.g., Silverstein lecture series, Scott lecture series, genetics seminars by Illinois Humanities).

Students also get to attend grand rounds and sponsored lectures at their various clinical rotation sites across the Chicago area.

Laboratory Course

All students are required to attend the Laboratory Course each week during the winter quarter. This course is directed by faculty from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s Center for Genomics within the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Students will become more familiar with molecular/genomic and cytogenetic laboratory techniques, variant interpretation, written components of a laboratory report and the role of the genetic counselor within the laboratory setting.

Teaching Opportunities and Presentations

Students are very involved in the city’s DNA Day activities. They work closely with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Center for Jewish Genetics to organize presentations in Chicago public schools.

Each student is required to give one lay presentation to the public (high school or college students, community groups, public forums). The topics of these presentations have varied depending on the audience and needs. Past topics have included genetic counseling as a career, what is genetic counseling, the basics of genetics and inheritance and psychosocial issues in genetics.

Second-year students have the opportunity to teach genetics to medical students at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

Case Conference meetings allow students to present cases seen during their clinical rotations. Students may also be required to attend outside case conferences that are specific to their clinical rotations.

Journal Club meetings allow students and faculty to review current genetics journals and present recent articles of interest. In addition, they allow students to develop critical literature assessment and presentation skills, as well as to keep abreast of current developments in medical genetics.

Students also get the opportunity to present and teach each other in several of the courses in the graduate program.

Workshops and Seminars

Workshops and seminars are held by the program throughout the 18 months to help the students further their professional development. Topics include:
  • Preparing your CV/resume
  • Identifying the right job for you
  • Honing your interviewing skills
  • How to negotiate a salary
  • Developing your writing skills
  • How to get involved in NSGC
  • Networking: How and why is it important?

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