Meet Our Students
Maddie BerkvamUndergrad: 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 BidwellUndergrad: 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.
Thea BloomUndergrad: Monmouth College, Biology, Minor: Chemistry
Thea Bloom graduated from Monmouth College in 2016 with a B.A. in Biology and a Chemistry minor. During her undergraduate career, Thea was a recipient of the ASIANetwork Student-Faculty Fellows Program, where she assisted in grant writing and field research in Borneo, collecting leeches and analyzing their DNA to determine mammalian biodiversity in logged verse unlogged forests. Post-graduation, Thea worked as a flight attendant, traveling to over 35 countries, while gaining exposure to the genetic counseling field. Thea has served as a teacher and tutor at Heartland Alliance, teaching English and Citizenship classes to the immigrant and refugee community in Chicago. As a crisis liner for the National Runaway Safeline, Thea worked with runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth and their families.
Brady BunkelmanUndergrad: 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 CarlosUndergrad: 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 CarneyUndergrad: 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 ChanouhaUndergrad: 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 FeyUndergrad: 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 GoudaUndergrad: 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 IzdebskiUndergrad: 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.
Rebecca JaegerUndergrad: DePaul University, Biological Sciences, Minor: German
Rebecca "Bex" Jaeger graduated from DePaul University in 2016 with a BS in Biological Sciences. In college 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, later moving to the department of Neurogenetics & Translational Neuroscience where she has been working as a 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 MillmeyerUndergrad: University of Iowa, Biology (Genetics & Biotechnology), Minor: Health and the Human Condition
Angie Millmeyer 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 MochizukiUndergrad: 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 MorrisonUndergrad: 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 PhungUndergrad: 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 PrindevilleUndergrad: 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 RamseyUndergrad: 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 StokesUndergrad: 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 TsaiUndergrad: 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 VarmaniUndergrad: 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.
Elyse AzrielUndergrad: Indiana University, Biology, Minor: Psychology
Graduate: Northeastern Illinois University, MA in Rehabilitation Counseling
As a clinical therapist and Manager of the Supported Employment Program at The Josselyn Center, a Chicagoland mental health nonprofit, Elyse Azriel, MA, CRC, LPC, and her team helped clients with disabilities secure competitive employment. She currently serves on the Human Rights Committee for TotalLink2 Community and the Counselor Education Advisory Board at NEIU. After discovering her own Lynch Syndrome diagnosis, Elyse became involved in AliveandKickn, an advocacy group for Lynch patients. She was welcomed onto the AliveanKickn Board of Directors in 2021 and continues to improve the lives of patients and families through research, education, and screening.
Madison DoddsUndergrad: Carnegie Mellon University, Biological Sciences and Hispanic Studies
At CMU, Madison was actively involved in Global Medical Brigades, serving as co-president her senior year. She also performed research at the Hinman Lab, studying gene regulatory networks in starfish. Following her graduation, she served with AmeriCorps at the Latino Community Center in Pittsburgh. She was an intake specialist and head of the COVID-19 Campaign, where she scheduled vaccine appointments for clients. She lead a team of Vaccine Awareness Champions to share information about the vaccine and understand vaccine hesitancy in the Latinx community. She has been volunteering with Pittsburgh Action Against Rape as a helpline counselor. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, traveling, and baking.
Nouran GoudaUndergrad: University of Toronto, Genetics
After graduating, Nouran 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.
Madison GranierUndergrad: Southwestern University (Georgetown, Texas), Biology, Minor: Spanish
As an undergraduate, Madison worked in a molecular ecology laboratory investigating environmental DNA and spent a summer researching cancer genetics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She held several leadership positions, including president of the Biology Honor Society and coordinator of a science program for elementary students. After graduating, Madison worked as a laboratory technician at UT Southwestern investigating metabolism and Alzheimer’s. She then worked at Planned Parenthood, helping patients in underserved communities receive care. Madison was also the social media intern for Grey Genetics and a volunteer for the Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center. In her free time Madison enjoys baking, biking, and traveling.
Gaganjot GrewalUndergrad: University of California, Los Angeles, Psychobiology
While at UCLA, Gaganjot (Gagan) was involved in a competitive Bhangra team and worked as a research assistant. Post-graduation, she took up a volunteer position with the City of Hope clinical cancer genomics team, where she helped organize genomic conferences while working part-time as a Behavioral Therapist. Later, she accepted a genetic counselor assistant position with the pediatric and adult genetic clinic at UCSF. Apart from her clinical duties, she worked on a 15q24 microdeletion case study and helped develop a connective tissue disorder packet. Gagan has also teamed up with an Instagram page @brown.girl.health to raise genetic counseling awareness to the South Asian community.
Karly KernUndergrad: Pepperdine University, Biology and Hispanic Studies
Karly completed her capstone project in Spanish on HPV vaccinations in Latin America and also worked as a Teaching Assistant for the organic chemistry department. Karly found a passion for counseling others through her work as a resident advisor and within her university’s Title IX office. Outside of school she volunteered with Constellation Theatre, an organization that runs workshops for children with disabilities. In her free time, Karly loves to read, paint, and play with her cats. She gained exposure to the field through genetic counseling seminars and shadowing opportunities in Northern California.
Zaina KhatoonUndergrad: University of Minnesota Twin Cities, Physiology, Minor: Public Health
As an undergraduate, Zaina was a research assistant in an epigenetic research lab studying Contactin-2 as a potential biomarker for Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and is where she was introduced to genetic counseling. Zaina also served as a peer mentor to underrepresented first-year students, held a board position on the Pakistani Student Association, and was a student reviewer for the Minnesota undergraduate research & academic journal. After graduation, she worked as a pharmacy technician and volunteered as a Resource Counselor at Tubman, a local domestic violence shelter. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, hiking, meeting new people, and exploring new places.
Carley KnudsenUndergrad: University of North Dakota, Biology and Psychology, Minor: History
Throughout her time as an undergraduate student, Carley was a teaching assistant for a variety of psychology courses, held various leadership positions within her sorority and other academic organizations, and studied abroad in Florence, Italy where she volunteered at a local pharmacy. She also worked in her university’s pathology laboratory where she studied genetic expression in bladder cancer and gene profiling in breast cancer. Following graduation, she began working as a Hereditary Oncology Genetic Counseling Associate at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and volunteered with the WCA Crisis Hotline. In her free time, she enjoys making macrame, baking & decorating her apartment.
Jessica KreamerUndergrad: University of Michigan, Environmental Science (concentration in Environmental Health)
Graduate: Midwestern University, MS in Biomedical Science
After graduation, Jessica worked as a hospitalist medical scribe in the Chicago area and later earned a Masters in Biomedical Science from Midwestern University in 2018. Her masters thesis studied epigenetic modifications of bacteria in response to graviola, a tropical fruit with antibacterial properties. After graduating from Midwestern, she became an associate scientist and later a quality technician at Abbott Labs, working on both immunochemistry and clinical chemistry assays. When the pandemic hit, she volunteered for a hotline that provides emotional support to seniors suffering from loneliness, grief, and anxiety. She also volunteers for a local domestic abuse shelter.
Lillianne MarcheggianiUndergrad: University of Florida, Microbiology and Cell Science
In undergrad, Lillianne completed her honors thesis by researching the effects of Pseudomonas aeruginosa colonization on protein trafficking and volunteered as a teaching assistant in several microbiology labs. Additionally, Lillianne held a leadership position in Floridance, a student-led dance company that specializes in performance and community outreach. Throughout her time in Floridance, she volunteered to provide children with disabilities an adaptive dance experience. After graduating, Lillianne worked as a medical scribe in colorectal surgery. She also volunteered at a therapeutic horse-riding center and as an English tutor for first-generation immigrants. Outside of class, she loves to read and update her book blog.
Athena NagelUndergrad: Indiana University-Bloomington, Biology (concentrations in Molecular Genetics and Cellular Biology), Minors: Chemistry and Music Performance
During her time at IU, Athena worked as an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Justin Kumar’s lab studying the genetic and developmental pathways of the Drosophila eye. Athena also held several leadership positions, such as the fundraising chair of the American Medical Woman’s Association and the president and co-founder of Blooming Memories through Music. During her Junior year as an undergrad, Athena studied abroad for a year at the University of Oxford through their international Biochemistry program. After graduating, Athena spent a year working as a genetic counseling assistant at PreventionGenetics in Marshfield, WI.
Neha RizviUndergrad: University of Houston, Biology, Minors: Mathematics and Business Administration
As an undergraduate at UH, Neha held an officer position for the United Missions Relief organization at her campus and aimed to bring awareness to local and global crises. In addition, she volunteered at a SIRE Horse Therapy Facility, where she assisted in the rehabilitation of numerous special needs patients. She also planned activities and participated in fundraisers for a local children’s shelter. Neha’s passion for the field began when she attended in-person and online recruitment events and shadowed Prenatal Genetic Counselors associated with UT Health and Baylor College of Medicine. In her free time, Neha loves to garden, paint and bake.
Casey SchererUndergrad: University of San Diego, Behavioral Neuroscience, Minor: Chemistry
As a research assistant in the social psychology laboratory at USD, Casey studied veterans’ experiences in higher education. During her undergraduate years, she volunteered for Crisis Text Line, NAMI, and Alzheimer’s San Diego. Following graduation, Casey worked at Achieve TMS as a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Technician where she treated patients with Major Depressive Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As an intern at UCSF’s Cancer Genetic Counseling Department, she shadowed appointments and created patient pedigrees. Casey continues to volunteer as a Crisis Text Line counselor, tutor disadvantaged children for Homework Central, and run a small online business to donate to various charitable causes.
Neil ShahUndergrad: Rutgers University, Genetics, Minors: French and South Asian Studies
As an undergraduate, Neil studied the TGF-β signaling pathway in C. elegans, instructed a transitional course to international students and tutored Expository Writing. Passionate about advocacy work, his roles included: working with adolescents with autism spectrum disorders, volunteering at Crisis Textline and a COVID hotline, and serving as a South Asian mental health advocate. Upon graduation, Neil worked as a Genetic Counselor Assistant in Preimplantation Genetic Testing. He is an avid South Asian singer who enjoys collaborating and performing at various gigs/events. As an active member of Minority Genetic Professional’s Network, Neil hopes to work towards empowering representation from underrepresented groups in genetic counseling.
Jennifer ShinUndergrad: University of California, Los Angeles, Biochemistry
Graduate: Georgetown University, MS in Physiology and Biophysics
Since graduating from GU, Jennifer has worked at So Others Might Eat, serving the unhoused in Washington DC, and educated her local community in Los Angeles as a freelance science and math tutor. Through these experiences, Jennifer became passionate about educating and advocating for her community, and she is excited to continue pursuing these passions as a genetic counselor. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys playing board games, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family.
Anum SiddiquiUndergrad: Stockton University, Biology, Minor: Holocaust and Genocide Studies
During her undergraduate career, Anum was involved with interviewing and assisting Holocaust Survivors with writing their memoirs. She also worked in a genetics laboratory investigating the viability and duration of sperm life in White Pekin Ducks. Post-graduation, Anum worked as a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist, conducting sleep studies on patients with sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and delayed sleep phase disorder. Anum has spent her free time as a summer camp counselor for the Muscular Dystrophy Association where she was the primary caretaker for children with neuromuscular disease. She enjoys long hikes, camping, and eating on the rocks overlooking the epic views while enjoying the fresh mountain air.
Ria SinglaUndergrad: University of California, Santa Barbara, Biochemistry
As an undergraduate, Ria worked in a molecular biology laboratory investigating WDR5A and conducted research focused on obesity & binge-eating at Johns Hopkins. She pursued her passion for advocacy and education while volunteering at her local elementary school, tutoring various introductory biology courses, and working as a crisis counselor. After graduating, Ria interned at Igenomix, where she gained knowledge of the field from an industry perspective and fell in love with the profession. She is currently a member of the board at the non-profit, Embracing You, where she continues to advocate for survivors of human trafficking.
Vanessa VennerUndergrad: University of California, Santa Cruz, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
At UCSC, Vanessa (Prerna) worked in a genetics lab where she studied admixture-enabled selection in fruit flies, and worked as a film production assistant. Additionally, she was an undergraduate tutor, elementary school teacher, and most recently worked at UCSF with the Cancer Genetics & Prevention Program. She is actively involved with the Minority Genetic Professionals Network, and is passionate about increasing the diversity and equity in genetic counseling to better support underserved populations. In her free time, Prerna enjoys watching movies, roller skating, and playing with her miniature dachshund, Bash.
William WhislerUndergrad: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Genetics, Certificate: Leadership
While at UW Madison, Will researched at the Audhya Lab, co-authoring a paper on the role of ESCRT proteins in C. Elegans. Outside lab, he worked as a Campus Tour Guide Supervisor, acted as a Chair in the Student Leadership Program, and played for the UW Club Tennis Team. Upon graduation he gained exposure to the genetic counseling field by shadowing and researching with Jennifer Leonhardt in Bemidji. He also developed his counseling skills volunteering as a Resource Counseling Advocate at the Tubman Domestic Violence Shelter and while working as counselor for the IMAlive crisis center. Additionally, a summer internship with GENEWIZ strengthened his passion for communicating genetic information.
Soohyun YooUndergrad: University of Toronto, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Cell and Molecular Biology
As an undergraduate, Soohyun (Sam) was a research assistant who studied the topic of the cell cycle mediated protein-protein interaction of the Human SLX4 protein. Post-graduation, he volunteered as a crisis line responder for several different organizations including Crisis Textline, CSPS and Distress Centres of Greater Toronto. Soohyun also joined the Minority Genetics Professional Network where he realized the healthcare disparity faced by diverse populations across the world. This experience solidified his determination to further spread genetic counseling services throughout underserved populations throughout the globe. In his free time, Soohyun enjoys cooking and eating a variety of different cuisines across the world.