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Students

The University of Maryland Genetic Counseling students want to share with you a short video of what it means to become a Genetic Counselor.


Class of 2019

Class of 2019

Brittany Allen

Brittany Allen

Originally from Wisconsin, Brittany earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan in 2017 with a double major in Biology and Cognitive Science. She discovered the genetic counseling profession early in her undergraduate career and found it to be a perfect fit for her passion for genetics and desire to serve others. Her experiences working as a genetic counseling assistant at the U of M Comprehensive Cancer Center, as well as shadowing genetic counselors in the Fetal Diagnostic Center, solidified her desire to pursue this path. Brittany spent many hours volunteering at Ozone House, a 24-hour crisis hotline for youth in her community, where she provided support and resources to young people and their families. In her free time, she enjoys running, playing guitar, and trying new restaurants. She is very excited for the opportunity to join the Genetic Counseling Training Program at the University of Maryland, and begin exploring the city of Baltimore.

Paige Babb

Paige Babb

Born and raised a Hoosier, Paige is from Columbus, Indiana. She graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2017 where she completed her B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics along with a Psychology minor. During her time at IU, she was an active member of Delta Gamma Sorority, holding multiple leadership positions and participating in various philanthropic opportunities. She is proud to have been a four-year Student Coach for her sorority's Little 500 Bike Team. During her junior year, Paige completed a Health Psychology study abroad program in Vienna, Austria where she also had the opportunity to travel throughout Central Europe. Paige discovered her passion for genetic counseling early on and continued to refine her interest in the field through her college coursework and experience as a volunteer on the crisis counseling line at a local domestic violence shelter. She is extremely excited to make the move to the East Coast and begin exploring the city of Baltimore. As a huge fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and baseball in general, she is especially looking forward to catching games at Camden Yards. In her free time, you can find Paige marathoning Star Wars with her three younger siblings, reading whatever book she can get her hands on, and enjoying craft beer with her friends. She is thrilled to join the Genetic Counseling Training Program and continue her education at the University of Maryland.

Arianna Guillard

Arianna Guillard

Arianna is happy to be back home in her native state of Maryland after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Richmond, where she graduated summa cum laude with a double major in Biochemistry and Psychology. Arianna learned about genetic counseling at a young age when a family member went through the process. Her genetic counseling shadowing experiences and a 10 week internship at Mercy Medical Center for Advanced Fetal Care in Baltimore solidified her decision to pursue a career in genetic counseling. Arianna also worked in a biochemistry lab throughout college and gained valuable experience as a volunteer hospital advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Arianna has always had a passion for theatre, travelling and “I Love Lucy” reruns. She is thrilled to join the MGC program at the University of Maryland and is eager to see what this new experience will bring.

Shaydah Kheradmand

Shaydah Kheradmand

As a University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) alumni, Shaydah is delighted to return to Baltimore and join the MGC program at the University of Maryland. Shaydah earned her BS in Psychology in 2012 with concentrations in both Biopsychology and Human Services. Shaydah spent the following year immersing herself into the world of tea (another love of hers) while simultaneously searching for a career that married her passions for genetics and human services. During this period Shaydah discovered genetic counseling and later earned a BA in Biological Sciences at UMBC in 2014. After earning her BA, Shaydah worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor at Humanim and helped those with developmental disabilities work towards both personal and economic independence while enhancing their growth and quality of life. Shaydah has also volunteered as a call specialist at a local crisis hotline, and has spent her most recent years as a genetic counseling assistant at GeneDx. Shaydah describes her work and volunteer experiences as only solidifying her deep passion and interests in the genetic counseling field. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games, dancing, and most importantly, sharing tacos with close friends.

Ryan Kuehl

Ryan Kuehl

Originally from Springfield Massachusetts, Ryan graduated in 2017 from Providence College with honors and a B.S. in Biology. Ryan took on various leadership roles while at Providence College, including two years as a resident assistant learning essential crisis management and counseling skills. At Providence College, Ryan conducted research on DNA samples from two different species of African fish, leading to a publication and an increasing interest in genetics. In the fall of his junior year, Ryan discovered that the genetic counseling career combined his two main interests:  to support and advise others and the science of genetics. While finishing his undergraduate work, Ryan conducted a 13 week internship with genetic counselors within the Lifespan Network including those employed by Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, and the Miriam Hospital. Through observing genetic counseling sessions, Ryan gained an authentic look at what it means to be a genetic counselor and pushed him to pursue genetic counseling. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys playing sports, finding new places to eat, traveling, spending time with family, and baking the world’s best banana bread. Ryan is excited to live in another fascinating city and begin his studies at the University of Maryland.

Emma Perez

Emma Perez

Emma was raised in Long Island, New York and traveled north to Boston University for her Bachelor’s degree in Health and Behavioral Science where she graduated in December 2015 with honors. During her time at BU, she was a devoted member of the Women’s Rugby Club, worked in a lab studying pheromone detection and behavior, and took part in piloting a program for women facing cognitive difficulties after breast cancer treatment. She discovered genetic counseling her sophomore year and after a few informational interviews with local genetic counselors, she knew this was the path for her. Emma spent her gap year working as a research assistant for the Partner’s Biobank at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she gained valuable experience talking to patients about their genetic information, obtaining informed consent, and working professionally in a hospital setting. During her time at the Biobank, she was able to shadow cardiovascular genetic counselors and return of research result sessions. She saw first hand the need for genetic counselors in the clinical and research sector and is beyond excited to be a part of this burgeoning field. In her spare time, she volunteered at the Astra Zeneca Hope Lodge and with Crisis Text Line, offering comfort to those who needed it. Emma is looking forward to exploring Baltimore, meeting new friends, finally getting around to watching The Wire, and of course, eating the famous blue crab. In her spare time, she enjoys being outside, playing board games, exercising, baking, and reading.

Rebecca Sheedy

Rebecca Sheedy

Originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Becky graduated summa cum laude from Lebanon Valley College with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. Involved in ΒΒΒ, Colleges Against Cancer, and Servants of Christ, Becky remained extremely involved around campus. Becky participated in genetics research involving the origins of functionally repetitive expansins in polyploid plants, specifically Actinidia deliciosa, kiwi fruit! Becky’s love for genetics flourished during an international internship in Ponferrada, Spain during which she was exposed to a number of unique genetics cases. Working as an Emergency Medical Technician, Becky thoroughly enjoys using her knowledge and skills to help others. Becky is excited to begin her career in genetics in Baltimore, Maryland!

Ashlee Vargason

Ashlee Vargason

Originally from Humboldt, TN, a small town in rural West Tennessee, Ashlee graduated summa cum laude from Mississippi State University with a B.S. in Biology and minors in Microbiology and Psychology.  Hoping to mix her interests in genetics, education, and psychology, Ashlee discovered genetic counseling provided the patient interactions and meaningful experiences she desired.  During her undergraduate career, she gained many valuable experiences as a molecular lab assistant studying parasitic resistance genes in Glycine max and as a teaching assistant for undergraduate biology courses at MSU.  She also volunteered as a crisis counselor for the organization Crisis Text Line and worked as a genetic counseling intern at the University of South Carolina.  During the internship, Ashlee was able to observe many different genetic counselors and cases in cancer, prenatal, pediatrics, and Huntington’s disease, and this opportunity confirmed that genetic counseling was how she wanted to serve others. In her free time, Ashlee enjoys reading all kinds of books, traveling to new places (but specifically, Disney World), drinking too much coffee, pilates, and laughing with friends and family. Although Baltimore will be a change from her Southern roots, she is thrilled to embrace the city life and honored/humbled to have the opportunity join the Class of 2019 at the University of Maryland.  

Class of 2020

Class of 2020

Emily Callahan

Emily Callahan

Emily was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA before attending The Ohio State University for her undergraduate degree where she studied neuroscience with a specialization in biological systems and behavioral neuroscience. While at Ohio State Emily was involved with the undergraduate genetic counseling club, volunteered for the Crisis Text Line as a Crisis Counselor, and was a student ambassador for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and the Ohio State Neuroscience Department.  She gained valuable experience and exposure to genetic counseling by working as a student research assistant in the OSU Wexner Medical Center Division of Human Genetics with the cardiovascular genetic counselors. Her two years in this role solidified that genetic counseling was the ideal career for her.  While there she was responsible for patient pedigrees, and aided in various research projects exploring the genetics of heart disease. In her spare time, Emily enjoys spending time with her dog, and all dogs. Additionally, she has a great appreciation for the outdoors, as she enjoys running and grew up competitively skiing. Emily is thrilled to explore a new city and lots of new food, and to join the Class of 2020 at the University of Maryland.

Allison Costa

Allison Costa

Allison earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Rhode Island in 2015 with a double major in Biology and Health Sciences. After graduating, she moved back home to Long Island, New York, to work as a Sales Representative for a biotech company. In this job she had the opportunity to travel the country to speak with researchers and attend conferences. Along with being a Sales Rep, Allison spent her weekends as a volunteer Crisis Counselor, helping victims of sexual assault and domestic violence seek treatment for their injuries and receive the counseling they needed. Her experiences speaking with researchers in the genetic field and her volunteer work sparked her interests to pursue a genetic counseling career. Allison also shadowed a prenatal genetic counselor, which further solidified her interests. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, running, and trying new restaurants. She is very excited for the opportunity to join the Genetic Counseling Training Program at the University of Maryland and calling Baltimore her home for the next two years.

Lucy Drayson

Lucy Drayson

Originally from London, England, Lucy earned her undergraduate degree at Connecticut College in 2015 with a double major in Biology and Psychology. Lucy moved to Washington, D.C., to work in a neuroscience research lab at Children’s National Medical Center, studying the developing visual system in mice. During her time working at Children’s she shadowed prenatal and pediatric genetic counselors, where she discovered her passion for genetic counseling. Outside the lab, Lucy volunteered for Whitman Walker Health, where she ran HIV tests and provided results and support for patients at events around D.C. She also volunteered at the HSC Pediatric Center, where she comforted infants and provided companionship to inpatients. Her experiences with genetic counselors and her volunteer work solidified her interest in pursuing a genetic counseling career. In her free time, Lucy enjoys cooking, baking bread, and visiting National Parks, and is excited to join the MGC Program at the University of Maryland.

Katherine Drum

Katherine Drum

A Florida native, Katie graduated with honors from the University of Florida in 2015 with a B.S. in Zoology and a minor in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. She explored several different career paths ranging from dolphin training to conservation policy before discovering genetic counseling, which combined her passion for education and meaningful interactions with the fascinating field of genetics. After shadowing genetic counselors in a variety of specialties, Katie became certain that it was the right career for her. She also gained valuable experience volunteering with the Women’s Center of Jacksonville on their Rape Recovery Team, where she helped provide both hotline and in-person crisis intervention and support services. In her free time, Katie enjoys going to the beach, playing the piano, taking naps, and spending time with family and friends. Baltimore is definitely a change from her Florida roots, but she is thrilled to join the Genetic Counseling Training Program at the University of Maryland!

Vienna Huso

Vienna Huso

Vienna graduated summa cum laude from Pennsylvania State University in 2018 earning a B.S. degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a minor in Information Sciences and Technology in Health Policy Administration. While an undergraduate, Vienna conducted research that focused on understanding how early changes in metabolism affects development and growth in C. elegans. Her time at Penn State was also enriched by working as a resident assistant and volunteering as an ESL tutor with the State College Mid State Literacy Council. As an Amgen Scholar, Vienna spent the summer of 2017 conducting research at the National Institutes of Health studying early signaling events in mouse embryos immediately after fertilization. At NIH she also enjoyed the challenge of researching and writing a policy brief to implement a health education messaging service with the goal of reducing infant mortality. Another highlight of the summer was assisting with a program for high school students from financially-disadvantaged school districts interested in STEM. Vienna’s desire to become a genetic counselor is driven by specialized interest in molecular developmental biology and genetic diseases and energized by the opportunity to improve health outcomes for at-risk populations through education, engagement, and outreach. Born and raised in Maryland, her appreciation for Baltimore deepened while volunteering on a Habitat for Humanity construction team that rebuilt seven row houses over a period of four years in the Sandtown neighborhood. A recipient of the University of Maryland President’s Fund Scholarship, Vienna is thrilled to continue her education in a community she cares deeply about.

Colleen Jodarski

Colleen Jodarski

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Colleen graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2015 with a B.S. in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development and a minor in Psychology. During her time at the U of M, she was a teaching assistant for an introductory biology course where she enjoyed the challenge of teaching scientific concepts to students from a wide variety of backgrounds. After graduation, Colleen worked as a scribe in an Emergency Room, where she gained valuable insight about the healthcare system. It was during this time that she discovered her desire to educate patients and provide them with psychosocial care. Colleen found that genetic counseling was a career field that merged these passions with her strong interest in genetics. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 2017 to begin a Postbaccalaureate research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. While at the NIH, Colleen studied the efficacy of a new diabetic nephropathy treatment in mouse and cellular models with the aim of including the drug in future clinical trials. She enjoyed the many learning opportunities afforded by the NIH, including the ability to see patients with genetic counselors, which further solidified her passion for the field. Colleen also volunteered as a crisis counselor for the organization Crisis Text Line. In her free time, she enjoys running, reading at coffee shops, baking, and spending time with friends. Colleen is thrilled to be a part of the MGC program at the University of Maryland and to have the chance to explore another city in the Mid-Atlantic.

 

Michael Kamen

Michael Kamen

Originally from Long Island, New York, Mike graduated with a BA in Psychology and History from Stony Brook University. As an undergraduate student, he volunteered for several years as a counselor at Response Crisis Center. After graduation, Mike helped strengthen communities and develop leaders through two terms of service with AmeriCorps NCCC. He then moved to Washington, DC and worked with Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges to support active duty Service members pursuing higher education degrees. After learning about the profession of genetic counseling and its purpose of providing individualized care for patients and their families, Mike became interested in pursuing this as a career. He prepared by taking night and weekend chemistry and biology classes at the University of District of Columbia (UDC). He also worked part-time in a chemistry lab at UDC creating a compound that filters heavy metals from contaminated water. Mike is excited to continue his journey to becoming a Genetic Counselor at the University of Maryland Baltimore.

Emma Moores

Emma Moores

Emma graduated with honors from Truman State University in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and a minor in French. Her undergraduate years were spent working with the Women's Resource Center on campus, reading existentialist French literature, volunteering at the local hospital to assist in patient satisfaction levels, and performing PCR analysis to help determine the prevalence of the Chytrid fungus in North America. From there, after a brief stint in Georgia, she moved overseas to northern Italy, where she explored as many countries as possible, learned a little restaurant Italian, and spent her time working as an education counselor with the active-duty service member population, helping them to work towards their goals. While this time was incredibly fulfilling, it helped to define exactly what she felt was missing: the challenge and fascination of the sciences she had so loved in her undergraduate years. She also mentored local incoming spouses to help them have a successful start in a foreign country, and underwent CARE Team training, to assist those same families in the case of a service member's death or injury during a training rotation. In her free time, she enjoys reading dystopian fiction, hand-quilting, spending time with her family, leisurely hikes in new places, and teaching her old dog new tricks. A Midwest girl at heart- and despite the lack of hometown BBQ - she is thrilled to be able to explore the East Coast and to join the class of 2020.