Current Students

The Class of 2023 chose pitt because...

Ariel BreezeWhy I chose Pitt: There were several reasons that Pitt was my top choice for genetic counseling programs. I explored public health during my undergraduate career and was immensely interested in applying population health concepts to healthcare, including genetic counseling. Having the program housed within the School of Public Health means that public health concepts are continuously emerging in our classes, and I was excited to learn about genetic counseling through that lens. I'm also pursuing the dual degree in genetic counseling and public health genetics because of this excitement and desire to take my public health education a bit further as well. I was additionally excited about the confidence-building model offered at Pitt. Most genetic counseling programs don't give you the opportunity to take almost all of your classes prior to starting clinical rotations. Being able to have a firm knowledge base prior to delving into the clinical aspect was really appealing to me because I really enjoy being as prepared as possible. Pitt felt like the perfect program for me on a personal and academic level!
Background: Compassion counselor (Chronic Illness Hotline); research assistant and volunteer (Sanders-Brown Center on Aging Alzheimer’s Disease Center, University of Kentucky); medical transcriptionist for an orthopedic surgeon (Nuance); trained active listener (7 Cups of Tea)
Ariel Breeze (BS biology with minor in psychology, University of Kentucky, 2019)

Dan BrennsteinerWhy I chose Pitt: As a returning student with a few gap years, I favored the Pitt MSGC academic layout over other programs. Starting the year made up primarily of classes and coursework would allow me to dust off my study habits and focus my efforts. In addition to this structural fit, I had family members and close friends living nearby. With surrounding support systems, all within the realm of the wonderful city of Pittsburgh, my decision to join Pitt was solidified. Support comes from within the program as well, having a team of fellow students and faculty members that genuinely care about your mental health as well as your progression. As a current dual degree-seeking student, the uniqueness of the public health genetics degree also caught my eye, offering additional perspectives on the growing field of genetics and genetic counseling.
Background: Cancer Genetic Counseling Assistant (Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, PA); Certified Health Research Assistant (MyCode Community Health Initiative, Danville, PA)
Daniel Brennsteiner (BS biology with minor in chemistry, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, 2015)

Morgan BrzozowskiWhy I chose Pitt: I knew that the Genetic Counseling program at Pitt would be a perfect fit for me because it encompassed everything that I was hoping to find in a graduate school. The program fosters a collaborative environment that provides constant support and mentorship from the directors, local genetic counselors, and other individuals within the department of Human Genetics. The medical community associated with Pitt is something that I am excited to be part of. The diversity of the healthcare systems in the area allows for increased opportunities for involvement and exposure to the field. I appreciate the value Pitt places on a well-rounded education through the emphasis on public health, and having the ability to work with students outside the program. As a Pitt alum, I couldn’t be happier to be back home.
Background: Genetic Counseling Assistant (Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Neurology); Neurogenetics Research Coordinator (Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Neurology); Crisis Counselor (Crisis Text Line)
Work Position: Genetic Counseling Assistant, UPMC Eye Center
Morgan Brzozowski (BS biological sciences, double major in psychology, minor in chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, 2019)   

Madalyn CharnegoWhy I chose Pitt: From the time I began considering genetic counseling, I was always intrigued by the dual degree option at Pitt. Not only is the program housed in the School of Public Health, but there is a clear pathway for students who wish to explore public health further through the dual degree. Knowing that both my interest in genetic counseling and my interest in health, as it relates to literacy, could be nurtured at Pitt kept the program high on my list. When I started in the MPH program in fall 2020, I was immediately blown away by the welcoming atmosphere that Pitt provided—not only in my department, but across the university. I quickly became accustomed to the culture of support and understanding here and knew that there was no other place I would want to continue my education to become a genetic counselor. As a dual degree student now, I am still in awe of the way all of my faculty promote my success and confidence over anything else.
Background: Volunteer Crisis Counselor (Crisis Text Line); Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (Biology Department, Penn State); Undergraduate Research Assistant (Hanna-Rose Lab, Penn State); President (Science LionPride, Penn State); Peer Buddy (Communicating through Performance, Penn State); Graduate Student Representative (Nondiscrimination, Equal Opportunity, and Affirmative Action Policy Committee, Pitt); Tutor (Student Athletic Academic Services, Pitt)
Work Position: Research Assistant with UPMC Shadyside Nursing Education and Research
Madalyn Charnego (BS biology - genetics and developmental biology with a minor in deafness and hearing studies, Pennsylvania State University, 2020)

Kate CioffiWhy I chose Pitt: I was initially drawn to Pitt’s program because it’s housed within a university with an excellent reputation for clinical research and a city known worldwide for its health systems. I was excited by the wide breadth and accessibility of Pitt’s clinical rotations, and was particularly interested in their more unique rotations like primary care. Pitt’s program being positioned within the School of Public Health was another huge draw for me, since it encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and infuses a valuable public health perspective into the GC curriculum. When I spoke with faculty and students during my interview, I could immediately tell that Pitt fosters an encouraging and supportive environment that I wanted to be a part of. It was clear to me that the program truly prioritizes developing confident, capable, and compassionate genetic counselors. Pitt’s dedication to their students, combined with the fact that Pittsburgh is such a fun and livable city, made the program the obvious choice for me. I’m so excited to be a part of this amazing community at Pitt and begin my training in the lovely city of Pittsburgh!
Background: Genetic Counseling Shadowing (Geisinger Medical Center); Undergraduate Research Assistant (Anthropological Genomics Laboratory, Penn State and Bollinger-Krebs Bioinorganic Chemistry Laboratory, Penn State); Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (Introductory Microbiology Laboratory, Penn State); Caring Hospice Volunteer (Lancaster, PA); Crisis Center North Crisis Hotline and Text Line Volunteer (Pittsburgh, PA); Science Writer (Getson & Schatz Immigration Law Firm) 
Work Position:
Genetic Counseling Assistant at UPMC Hereditary GI Tumor Program
Kate Cioffi (BS in biochemistry and molecular biology, biochemistry option, Penn State University, 2019)

Lucy GaleaWhy I chose Pitt: Pittsburgh has been my US home since moving from Australia and I was thrilled to find out that the country’s second oldest genetic counseling program was just down the road. When I met with staff, students, and alumni from the Pitt program, I had such positive experiences, everyone was so welcoming and encouraging of my journey to be genetic counselor and all had such great things to say about the program. After these interactions, plus speaking with GCs in the Pittsburgh region who are clinical supervisors, I knew that Pitt was the perfect place for my education and development as a GC. The Pitt program also has so many clinical opportunities within close reach of the city limits, as well as the possibility to do a rotation abroad, both of which made me even more pleased to apply to the program. I am incredibly excited to begin my genetic counseling career as a Pitt student.
Background: Client Relations Manager & Florist (Allison McGeary Florist); Genetic Services Committee Member (PAGC); Next Chapter Book Club Volunteer (Carnegie Library East Liberty); Library Volunteer (Carnegie Library Squirrel Hill); Dress for Success Volunteer (Allegheny Branch); Webinar Coordinator (Queensland Education Science Technicians); Scientific Operations Officer (Pittsworth State High School); Secretary & Newsletter Editor (Golden Key Executive Committee at USQ); Peer-to-Peer Tutor (USQ); Demonstrator Assistant (USQ); Summer Research Scholar (Australian National University)
Lucy Galea (BS environment & sustainability, 2013 & BS Honors biology, 2014, University of Southern Queensland)

Carolyn MaxwellWhy I chose Pitt: I had the pleasure of attending Pitt for my undergraduate career and I fell in love with the university and the city. When applying to graduate school I knew I wanted to come back to Pitt for a multitude of reasons. In working with the genetic counseling club, I was able to see the supportive environment fostered by the genetic counseling program directors and the genetic counselors in the city. Another major contributor to my decision is students’ ability to receive a dual degree in public health genetics. Through the dual degree program, I am able to learn additional skills which help foster my passion for equity in access to genetic services and community engagement. Unlike most programs Pitt has a primary care clinical rotation. I am excited to see how this will incorporate into the field of precision medicine, a forefront of clinical care in which genetic counselors will play an integral role. The ability to have a work position throughout my schooling was important for me and Pitt always emphasized their support for working students. The supportive environment and diverse opportunities are why I choose Pitt.
Background: Intake Coordinator (Specialized Therapy Associates); Evaluator (Collaborative for Evaluation and Assessment Capacity); Sexual Assault Crisis Line Volunteer (Pittsburgh Action Against Rape); President and Volunteer Coordinator (Pitt Genetic Counseling Club); Browne Fellowship (University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work)
Work Position: Clinical Research Intern, Therapeutic Research in Neuromuscular Disorder Solutions (TRiNDS)
Carolyn Maxwell (BS biological sciences with minor in chemistry, Certificate Conceptual Foundations of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 2020) 

Glenna NoskaWhy I chose Pitt: Beyond being drawn to Pitt’s reputation for all-around excellence in education, I was specifically drawn to the Genetic Counseling Program for its goal of fostering leaders in science and health care through the study and understanding of genomic information. I was also pleased to discover that Pitt’s Genetic Counseling Program is housed within the Graduate School of Public Health. Not only does this provide students with the unique opportunity to customize their education and pursue a dual degree in Genetic Counseling and Public Health, but it ensures both curriculums contribute to an overarching goal of health equity for everyone—something very important to my personal and professional values.
Background: Registered Nurse with positions in Public Health, Reproductive Health and Pediatric Metabolism and Genetics, Victim Services Certified Advocate; Volunteer (Ronald McDonald House); Peer Educator (Center for Alcohol Studies and Education, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire)
Glenna Noska (BS nursing, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 2013)

Rebecca OberschmidtWhy I chose Pitt: Pitt’s program stuck out to me from when I first learned about genetic counseling.  I became familiar with the program as an undergraduate student at Pitt through the genetic counseling club, where I heard from first- and second-year students about their experiences in the program.  They all seemed so close with one another, which was very important to me.  The program leadership seemed very supportive of the students as well.  I also got the chance to work with Pitt alumni and see how well the program prepared them for their jobs.  Additionally, our coursework is concentrated in the first year, which is my personal learning preference.  Because we are so focused in clinical rotations in our second year, I think this will help with translating our skills into the workforce once we graduate.  It is also great that students get to experience both of the fantastic hospital systems in Pittsburgh to see how different hospitals and specialties within hospitals are run on the clinical side and how operations in whole hospital systems can differ.  The public health focus of Pitt’s program is also unique, and the program gives you a very relevant perspective of the field no matter whether or not you choose to add a dual degree or a certificate.  Pittsburgh has also been an amazing place to live and has so much to offer, from the restaurant and bar scene to all of the sporting events and the unique neighborhoods to explore.  I am so excited to spend two more years here!
Background:  Genetic Counselor Assistant (Nationwide Children's Hospital); Laboratory Genetic Testing Utilization Management Student Worker at (UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh); GC Shadowing (Nemours A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia); Peer Educator at the Stress Free Zone (University of Pittsburgh); volunteer at Family House (Pittsburgh, PA); "Big Sister" (Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh); undergraduate teaching assistant for Introduction to Microbiology Lab (University of Pittsburgh); undergraduate research assistant (Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh); Vice President of University of Pittsburgh Student Health Advisory Board, Genetic Counseling Club (University of Pittsburgh)
Rebecca Oberschmidt (BS biological sciences, minor in chemistry, University of Pittsburgh, 2020) 

Sam RunaWhy I chose Pitt: I chose Pitt because of its intersection between genetic counseling and public health. Both are imperative to providing effective counseling and will help drive the future of public health genetics. Making sure we are all trained on not only the basics of genetic counseling but keeping us up to date on all DEIA initiatives and maintaining an open and supportive environment for learning and growth. Additionally, the program and program leadership are very supportive of all of their students and strive to ensure that our wellbeing is taken care of, along with our education. I know that being a part of this program will not only set me up for success in my future as a genetic counselor but also has provided me with a supportive and great community.
Background: Project Sunshine DC chapter; Aquatic Therapeutic Recreation for Montgomery County; Business Manager/Administrator (Pitt Public Health Student Government Association)
Work Position: Genetic Counseling Assistant, Program Assistant for GeneDx
Samantha Runa (BS biology with minor in chemistry and political science, Oregon State University, 2016)

Impana ShettyWhy I chose Pitt: As I was researching genetic counseling programs, Pitt’s program had several factors that stood out to me. I was drawn to Pitt’s program for its confidence building model. I liked how most of the courses are completed in the first year, so that students have a solid foundation going into clinical rotations during the second year. With the program housed in the Graduate School of Public Health, getting to learn through a public health perspective was also something that I found unique. In addition, Pitt has such an established program with welcoming faculty and an extensive alumni network, so I felt that I would be well supported throughout the two years of the program. Outside of the program, Pittsburgh is a fun city to explore with its vibrant neighborhoods, scenic parks, and great restaurants!
Background: Clinical Data Manager (Comprehensive Research Solutions, Bethesda, MD); Clinical and Research postbaccalaureate fellow (National Cancer Institute); Summer research intern (National Cancer Institute); Volunteer (The Trevor Project); Undergraduate Teaching Assistant: Psychology of Women (University of Maryland); University Honors Peer Mentor (University of Maryland)
Impana Shetty (BS cell biology & genetics, BS psychology, University of Maryland College Park, 2017)

Elise WilliamsWhy I chose Pitt: My decision to apply to Pitt was informed by my mentors and my experience working in Pittsburgh. I moved from Texas to Pittsburgh for a position as a genetic counselor assistant and Pittsburgh quickly became my new home. The genetics community here is set on helping students succeed and the local community is equally as generous. In addition, the opportunity to work towards a Masters of Public Health was an opportunity that I did not want to miss out on as I greatly value the impact public health has on medicine. Pittsburgh is a great example of public health working well; students can ride the city buses for free, there are many grocery stores and markets close by, and there are community health clinics within walking distance of many residential areas. The Pitt Public Health and Genetic Counseling programs are well-established and their long withstanding culture of mentorship has helped Pittsburgh stand out as a keystone of medical genetics as a whole. I am very thankful to have a role here!
Background: Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Scholar (UTSA); McNair Scholar Student Research Intern (UTSA); Medical Humanities Student Organization Co- President (UTSA); Crisis Counseling (Crisis Text Line); Reading Buddy (San Antonio Youth Literacy Group).
Work Position: Genetic Counselor Assistant, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Division of Genetic and Genomic Medicine
Elise Williams (BA medical humanities with minor in biology, University of Texas at San Antonio, 2019)

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Why I chose Pitt: My interview experience at Pitt was unique in that I immediately felt like I fit with the current students and faculty. The students were welcoming, passionate, and seemed to be each other's biggest supporters, which was something that I was looking for in my graduate school environment. I had great conversations with the faculty and genetic counselors throughout my interview day, and could tell how student-centered the program was. In addition, during my two gap years I worked with a genetic counselor who was an alumna of the Pitt program, and she had nothing but positive things to say about her experience. These factors, along with the fact that the program is housed in the school of Public Health, made Pitt stand out to me as I was considering my rankings. Though it's not completely tangible, the fact that I felt connected to the students and faculty after just one day on campus at Pitt was what completely sealed the deal for me!
Background: Research assistant at the Lombardi Cancer Center (Georgetown University); Crisis Text Line volunteer (Online); teaching assistant (Georgetown University); peer mentor (College of Wooster); student health center peer educator (College of Wooster); vice president of the Psychology Club (College of Wooster); research assistant at the Ophthalmology Genetic Counseling Clinic (University of Michigan); genetic counseling shadow through the University of Michigan and Georgetown University
Work Position: Genetic counselor assistant at Magee-Womens Hospital
Savannah Binion (BA in psychology, College of Wooster, 2018)

Why I chose Pitt: I chose Pitt for my genetic counseling education for several reasons. I was drawn to the school’s unique emphasis on genetics in public health. I also appreciated the overall structure of the program that allows for most courses to be completed in the first year so students are fully prepared to take part in clinical rotations. After visiting Pittsburgh I quickly realized I wanted to be a part of this passionate, dedicated group of people. Even though we are only a few weeks into classes, I already feel the support of this close-knit genetics community.
Background: Genetic counseling assistant (GeneDx); volunteer genetic counseling assistant (Advocate Lutheran General Hospital); crisis intervention hotline volunteer (Crisis Center of Johnson County); online support group administrator, Make-A-Wish volunteer (Northern Illinois)
Elizabeth Bombal (BS in biology, genetics and biotechnology track, minors in psychology and informatics, University of Iowa, 2017)

Why I chose Pitt: I applied to Pitt because of the program’s established history, its integration of public health into the GC program curriculum, and engaging activities written by students on the program’s blog. Before the pandemic, I was very lucky to get to do an in-person interview at Pitt, where I enjoyed it very much and learned that the program has much more to offer: compassionate and dedicated program leaders, the amazing alumni network, and diversity in clinical rotations in a prominent health care system. Passionate about improving Viet genetic health with cultural competency, I strongly believed that Pitt GC program’s public health approach would equip me with powerful tools to make a difference in my community. Furthermore, living in Pittsburgh is a cherry on the top. The city is peaceful, affordable, and diverse with a unique vintage charm.
Background: Volunteer at Trauma Intervention Program (Orange County, CA); volunteer and GC shadow at Cancer Genetics Center (St Joseph’s Hospital); STEM and psychology tutor (C2 Education); Newhope crisis hotline counselor (Orange, CA); genetic counseling shadow intern (Dr. Cowan’s Office); student research assistant in molecular genetics (University of California, Irvine); genetics peer tutor (UCI)
Work Position: Vietnamese Medical Interpreter and Translator
Phuc Thi Hong Do (BS in genetics, UCI, 2019)

Why I chose Pitt: When looking to apply to programs, Pitt’s program stuck out to me by having students take most coursework in the first year of training and then having a focus on clinicals during the second year. Hearing more about this program design, I knew that this confidence building model was a great fit for my learning style. With Pitt being housed in the Graduate School of Public Health, classes are taken with students pursuing different degrees. I felt it was important for my education to be in a program that promotes collaboration between a variety of disciplines. During my interview, it was apparent that the program leadership fostered a welcoming and supportive environment to help students become well-rounded genetic counselors. I am excited to start my graduate education and be a part of Pitt’s GC program.
Background: Genetic counseling assistant (Cincinnati, OH); volunteer at Ronald McDonald House; cancer GC shadow (TriHealth, Cincinnati, OH); prenatal GC informational interview (Natera); pediatric GC informational interview (Nationwide Children’s)
Kristen D’Aquila (BS in secondary education and biology, University of Cincinnati, 2016)

Why I chose Pitt: The Graduate School of Public Health is unique in that it offers an MPH in Public Health Genetics and MS in Genetic Counseling dual-degree program, providing graduates with the training to succeed as public health practitioners and genetic counselors. Given my interests in health disparities and inequities in genetics services, it became clear that Pitt was a great fit for me. I originally joined the department as an MPH student in 2018, and I am thrilled to continue my training as a dual-degree student. I am continuously motivated by the collaborative environment, opportunities for growth, and the faculty and students’ shared vision to improve the health of patients, families, and diverse communities.
Background: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intern (CDC Office of Genomics and Precision Public Health); research assistant (The University of Texas Health Science Center); Medical Reserve Corps (San Antonio Metropolitan Health District); Communities in Schools mentor; Planned Parenthood volunteer; genetic counseling shadowing (May’s Cancer Center, San Antonio)
Work Position: Genetic counseling graduate student worker at the UPMC Hereditary GI Tumor Program
Lauren Garcia (BA biology, St. Mary’s University, Certificate in Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center, 2018)

Why I chose Pitt: Pitt’s program has been on my radar since I first learned about genetic counseling in the 9th grade. As I learned more about the program in undergrad, and during my time living here after graduation, it only confirmed that Pitt was my top choice. The program provides access to not only amazing healthcare systems, but the opportunity to learn from equally amazing genetic counselors. During interviews, it was wonderful to hear how hands-on the program directors and surrounding genetic counselors and physicians are in the student’s learning. It was important to me to choose a program with supportive program leadership. I also loved that the program is not only housed in the School of Public Health but GC students have the opportunity to pursue a dual degree in Public Health Genetics. This is a unique advantage at Pitt’s program that I think provides a different perspective to the constantly changing field of genetic counseling. Outside of the program itself, what’s not to love about this beautiful city! The skylines are gorgeous, the people are friendly, and there’s never a shortage of things to do. Whether you enjoy trying one of the many breweries, taking a walk through local parks, or simply exploring the differences between the neighborhoods, Pittsburgh is truly a lovely place to live and I’m excited to get to be able to spend two more years here.
Background: Cognition trainer (Brain Train America); developmental intern (University of Maryland, NICU); domestic violence hotline volunteer (Crisis Center North); GC shadowing (Greater Washington Maternal Fetal Medicine and Genetics, UPMC Magee Women’s Hospital, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, West Penn Hospital); genetic counselor assistant (Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh)
Work Position: Genetic counselor assistant in the Division of Medical Genetics at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Julia Knapo (BA biology, minor in psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2017)

Why I chose Pitt: Pitt being the only school in the nation to offer a dual-degree program in Genetic Counseling and Public Health Genetics drew my attention when I was applying. During the interview process, I felt very welcomed by the faculty members and the GC students, and I especially felt their supportive spirit. The Pitt program is well established and I thought their confidence building model would fit my learning style very well. I really appreciate Pitt’s international scope and the opportunity to do clinical rotation internationally. The more I thought of my future goal, the more I saw the importance of public health approach in genetics. Pittsburgh is a very new environment for me, but I am excited to explore the city (after this pandemic) and become well-rounded GC as I receive the education from the Pitt Public Health Program.
Background: Staff research associate I (UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine); genetic counseling shadowing (Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Cancer Center; Kaiser Permanente West LA Medical Center; UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinical Genetics); suicide prevention crisis counselor (Didi Hirsch Mental Health Service); Genetic Counseling Student Interest Group (UCLA)
Work Position: Genetic counselor assistant at UPMC Shadyside GI Lab
Aika Miikeda (BS in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics, UCLA, 2018)

Why I chose Pitt: I chose Pitt because I have really come to respect the thriving medical community in Pittsburgh and the high standards of the genetic counseling program. As an undergraduate at Pitt, I had the opportunity to learn about the genetic counseling program in depth, as well as meet the program directors and current students. I knew through these experiences that I would get an invaluable education and make incredible connections with the students and faculty in the Public Health school. I have full confidence that the education, public health perspective, and clinical rotations in the area will help me become a thoughtful and well-rounded genetic counselor. I am truly a Panther for life and thrilled to be a part of the class of 2022.
Background: Genetic counseling assistant (PreventionGenetics, Marshfield, WI); client services representative (Rhythm Pharmaceuticals, Marshfield, WI); Pittsburgh Action Against Rape helpline volunteer (Pittsburgh, PA); Foundations of Biology undergraduate teaching assistant (University of Pittsburgh); Pitt Genetic Counseling Club (University of Pittsburgh)
Work Position: Genetic Counseling Assistant, PreventionGenetics
Maria Rhine (BS in biological sciences, minors in chemistry and social work, certificate in conceptual foundations of medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 2019)

Why I chose Pitt: I had an initial bias towards Pitt as my top choice for a genetic counseling program because I love my undergrad career there so much, but everything else I learned about it made it seem like a true perfect fit. As a meticulous planner, the confidence building model of having the majority of classes before clinical rotations spoke to me. I was reassured by their friendliness towards students working part-time to support themselves through graduate school. The placement of the program within the School of Public Health shows how much they value how genetic counseling fits into the wider context of healthcare. And above all, I could tell how much the directors cared about developing excellent genetic counselors while providing support for their students. I knew that if I matched with Pitt, I would become part of a tight-knit, lifelong community.
Background: Sexual assault crisis line volunteer (Pittsburgh Action Against Rape); research assistant in mtDNA lab (Vascular Medicine Institute, Pitt); programming and development intern (Our Clubhouse); vice president and editor-in-chief (Pitt Genetic Counseling Club); copy chief (The Pitt News); editor-in-chief (The Pitt Pulse)
Work Position: Genetic counseling program teaching assistant
Bailey Sasseville (BS biological sciences with minor in chemistry, BA English writing, University of Pittsburgh, 2020)

Why I chose Pitt: I chose Pitt because of the confidence-building model. I really like the idea of taking most of my classes in the first year and then building in shadowing and clinical work. I also like that all clinical rotations are located in Pittsburgh and a car is not required to attend clinics.
Background: Genetic counseling assistant (GeneDx); volunteer (The Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia)
Haley Soller (BS in biology, minor in anthropology, University of Virginia, 2019.)

Why I chose Pitt: I chose Pitt because their GC program, along with the broader Human Genetics curriculum, is uniquely housed in the Graduate School of Public Health, which allows me to work collaboratively and intimately with other public health professionals. In this program, it is clear to me that even as we pursue separate goals as scientists, as clinicians, and as researchers, the work that we put in is for the shared goal of achieving population health for all. The curriculum also includes clinical rotations and plenty of roleplay: directors prepare students for their careers by showing, not telling. Faculty and staff know what they are doing, and they do it well. More than that, they include the students every step of the way. When students and faculty ask me, “How are you doing?” I can just tell that they mean it. Pitt is also just a lovely city to live in. I appreciate the city’s rugged terrain, abundance of beautiful green spaces (I’m looking at you, Frick Park), and I also recognize its burgeoning role as a healthcare leader in southwestern PA – clinical resources abound!
Background: Seasonal affective disorder undergraduate researcher (University of Pittsburgh); board of directors (Peer Support and Advocacy Network); hospital volunteer (UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Magee-Womens Hospital); admin staff assistant (American Cancer Society); student intern (Bridging the Gaps, University of Pittsburgh); student intern (CDC Office of Genomics and Precision Public Health); HUGEN Curriculum Committee student representative (University of Pittsburgh)
Work Position: Graduate student research assistant with the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics/COHRA2 Study
Frank Swann (BS psychology with honors, minor in French language, University of Pittsburgh, 2015)

Why I chose Pitt: I was so excited to start my genetic counseling training at the University of Pittsburgh! Although I am not currently in the dual-degree program here, I really liked how Pitt integrated public health and community impact even among the standard genetic counseling classes. I think it is always important to be able to relay a lot of the clinical concepts and experiences back to larger communities and learn more about the correlations between public health sciences and genetic counseling. Coming originally from Minnesota, the city of Pittsburgh has been home to me for the past couple of years, and I was excited to learn more about the Pittsburgh community and finally become a part of the “yinzer culture.”
Background: Leadership intern (Willis L. Jones Leadership Center; University of Wisconsin-Madison); lead staff member (Porchlight Inc, Madison, WI); board member (Student Employee Advisory Group, University of Wisconsin- Madison); genetic counseling intern (Regions Hospital, Minnesota)
Work Position: Genetic counseling assistant at Allegheny Health Network’s Oncology Genetics Department; sexual assault counselor through PAAR; project manager for the Glimmer of Hope High Risk Breast Cancer Program
Natalie Tri (BS in genetics, minor in leadership, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2018)

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