“Pitt checked every single box.”
Megan Hoenig was looking for a graduate program in human genetics that had it all: a solid reputation; cutting-edge scholarship; myriad in-clinic opportunities; a congenial, supportive environment; and an exciting location. The Plano, Texas, native and graduate of Texas A&M University with a degree in genetics and biomedical sciences found it all and more at Pitt Public Health.
“I chose Pitt Public Health because of the Genetic Counseling Program,” she says. “It’s the second oldest GC program in the country, but is always up to date with the latest in the field. When I first visited Pitt, I could feel the collaborative nature of the students and the interest the faculty have for their students to succeed as individuals—and I knew I made the right choice.”
While it was her passion for genetic counseling and not public health that originally led her Pitt, Hoenig believes utilizing public health in the genetics field is key to, among other things, addressing challenges like a shortage of genetic counselors during a time when knowledge within the field is expanding rapidly.
“The future of genetic counseling is expanding, and that is exciting for the field but a challenge to implement,” she says. “I plan to use my public health skill set to improve utilization of these services and to equalize access to genetics. My career aspiration is to be a genetic counselor who is able to impact my community with as much efficacy as possible.”
Hoenig is thankful for her Dean’s Scholar award and says without it she could not have pursued a dual MS degree as well as a Master of Public Health, which she believes will help her to have a broader impact on patient care. She’s also thankful for Pittsburgh’s famous pierogies, her new favorite comfort food, and the incredible faculty at Pitt Public Health.
“The wealth of knowledge and experience the faculty have is amazing. Real-life public health experiences and current research topics are brought into the classroom daily. The faculty is invested in us and treats us like the future colleagues that we are. I am constantly challenged to become the best public health professional I can be.”