Current Students and Alumni
First Years (Class of 2019)
Brita Christenson is from Minnesota and graduated from the University of Northwestern—St. Paul in 2016 with her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate, she served as a resident assistant, a teaching assistant for genetics and the World Languages Department, and a volunteer tutor at Gigi’s playhouse, a Down syndrome achievement center. She gained experience in genetic counseling by shadowing lab and cancer genetic counselors and presenting on the genetic counseling profession in a college honors symposium. She also received an REU grant for biochemistry research at Texas A&M and worked on genetics research projects at UNW. Most recently, Brita worked as a wellness coach for patients with diabetes through Savvysherpa, a healthcare research company.
Kristina Cotter is from Massachusetts and received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Boston College in 2011 and her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Tufts University in 2016. As an undergraduate, she volunteered at the Boston College Campus School for students with disabilities and started the Boston College chapter of Project Sunshine, an organization that runs recreational and educational events in pediatric hospitals. During her PhD, Kristina researched mechanisms to reduce breast cancer metastasis and published several papers in the breast cancer space. As a graduate student, Kristina also had the opportunity to participate in the Graduate Student Council and met with several genetic counselors in the Boston area. Most recently, Kristina was a life science consultant in San Francisco.
Natalie Deuitch is from North Carolina and received her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Food Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2015. As an undergraduate she worked in basic cancer research, studied traditional medicine in India, and completed an honors thesis on biological and sociocultural implications of celiac disease. After graduation, Natalie worked in autoinflammatory genetics research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, where she gained both lab and clinical experience and shadowed a variety of genetic counselors. Natalie also volunteered with a local Hospice organization, working primarily with pediatric patients.
Laura Hayward is from Stanford, California and is excited to come back home! She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Claremont McKenna College in May 2016. As an undergraduate, she served as a Residential Assistant, co-captain of the soccer team, and a horrible ballroom dancer. As a junior she interned at UCSF's cancer genetics and prevention program, where she fell in love with the field of genetic counseling. Since then she has completed her senior thesis, identifying functional single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with breast cancer. Laura most recently worked as a Support Engineer at a startup in San Francisco.
Josh Keyes is from Colorado and graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2015 with his bachelor’s degrees in Neuroscience and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He provided resident companionship for the Memory Care assisted living community at Frasier Meadows, worked as a lab assistant for the undergraduate Principles of Genetics and Phage Genomics labs, was a tutor for various courses including genetics and biochemistry, and was a teaching assistant for Intro to MCDB, Principles of Genetics, and Bacteriophage Genomics. Josh gained exposure to genetic counseling by working as an intern for a cancer genetic counselor at Parker Adventist Hospital.
Helen Kim is from southern California and completed her bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology at Claremont McKenna College in 2012. She is eager and excited to start her training in Genetic Counseling after a career in research, spanning topics of chromatin remodeling enzymes, structurally guided rational HIV-1 vaccine design, and structure-function mechanism of human microRNA-mediated gene silencing machinery. Helen has served as a peer coach in graduate school, a supervised visitation provider for families undergoing separations, and as a student therapist for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her recent position at Illumina, she attended the Understand Your Genome symposium and assisted early adopters navigate their clinical WGS results through workshop sessions. Helen is fluent in Korean.
Kim Kinnear is from Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2011 with degrees in Psychology and English. As an undergraduate, she worked as a respite worker and tutor for children with autism. She was also a volunteer as a research assistant in a schizophrenia lab and as a patient visitor at the children’s hospital. Kim also worked as a counselor at a residential treatment center, treating individuals with OCD, anxiety, depression, and eating disorders.
Rachel Mangels is from southern California and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2009 and a Ph.D in Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California in 2016. Rachel’s doctorate research focused on sexual selection’s effect on the genetic and phenotypic variation of reproductive traits. As a graduate student, she was a teaching assistant for multiple undergraduate Biology courses for both science and non-science majors. Most recently, Rachel worked with adults with disabilities at ROSIES Foundation and shadowed genetic counselors in the cancer and cardiovascular departments at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Andrew Shaw is from San Diego, California and received his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from California State University, Long Beach in May 2015. His previous experience includes volunteering for a rare disease patient advocacy organization - Global Genes, working with emergency medical staff at music festivals, as well as regularly participating in a local food bank in Long Beach. Before joining Stanford's GC program, Andrew volunteered in the Cancer Genetics program at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange while also working at Ambry Genetics as a clinical assistant leading the development of Ambry’s tumor testing services.
Erika Snure is from Des Moines, Washington and graduated from the University of Washington in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She gained exposure to genetic counseling through shadowing pediatric, cancer, and neurogenetics clinics, and met with other genetic counselors in laboratory and commercial roles. Erika focused her volunteer experiences on helping fellow students as a peer health educator and worked with children and families as an inpatient child life volunteer at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Most recently, Erika worked as a genetic counseling assistant in the University of Washington Medical Genetics Clinic for over two years.
Kate Vlessis is from Bend, Oregon and completed her bachelor's degree in Integrative Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. Following her studies, Kate lived and worked for a year in Wellington, New Zealand within a Behavioral Neurogenetics laboratory at the University of Victoria, Wellington. Returning to the U.S., she began working as a medical oncology scribe and volunteering in community outreach and education at Planned Parenthood. Kate also gained experience shadowing genetic counselors at Invitae in San Francisco and at OHSU.
Second Years (Class of 2018)
Stephanie Booke is from northern California and will complete her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics from UCLA in June 2016. As an undergraduate, she was a volunteer activities coordinator for a nursing/rehabilitation center, an active listener intern, and a Physics learning assistant. Stephanie has done a genetic counseling internship at the UCLA Cancer and created GC internship resources as a member of UCLA’s Genetic Counseling Student Interest Group.
Daiana Bucio is from northern California and will complete her bachelor’s degree in Genetics & Genomics from UC Davis in June 2016. As an undergraduate, she was a crisis hotline counselor, a Boys & Girls Club camp counselor, an academic peer advisor, a play therapy volunteer and a volunteer with an on-site psychologist. Daiana, who is a bilingual Spanish speaker, also served as a research assistant at the UCDMC Alzheimer’s Disease Center, was a genetic counseling intern at UC Davis MIND Institute and a clinic volunteer in Nicaragua and at a low-income clinic in Napa.
Abby D’Angelo is from Massachusetts and graduated from Wesleyan in 2014 with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She served as a parental stress line counselor, a Planned Parenthood volunteer, a patient visitor and women’s clinic volunteer. Abby was also a tutor and research lab assistant at Wesleyan and Boston College. She gained exposure to genetic counseling by shadowing cancer, cardio, and prenatal genetic counselors.
Athena Ganetsos is from the Bay Area and completed her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of San Francisco in 2014. She was a crisis hotline volunteer, an emergency room scribe, and a volunteer for a recreation/rehabilitation center for individuals with mental and physical disabilities. She was also a research intern at Prosetta Biosciences. Most recently Athena was a cancer genetics intern at UCSF and a customer care specialist at Natera.
Madeline Graf is from southern California and received her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology and Society from UCLA in 2014. As an undergraduate, she was a crisis text line volunteer and a volunteer surfing aid for children with CF. Madeline served as a research intern for both UCLA’s Deaf Genetics and Peer Relations projects. She shadowed cancer and prenatal genetic counselors and was a member of UCLA’s Genetic Counseling Student Interest Group. Madeline is currently a lead clinical genomics assistant at Ambry Genetics.
Daisy Hernandez is from southern California and earned her bachelor’s in Biology from CSU Northridge in 2014. She is bilingual in Spanish and was a sexual assault advocate and a peer health eating disorder counselor, providing counseling in English and Spanish. Daisy also served as a patient care volunteer, an instructor for a psychology course / eating disorder program coordinator, and a volunteer assistant for individuals with cognitive/physical disabilities. Daisy shadowed pediatrics and non-clinical genetic counselors and was an administrative assistant at PacGenomics.
Lily Hoffman-Andrews is from Massachusetts and graduated from Clark University in 2010 with her bachelor’s degree in Biology. Lily gained exposure to genetic counseling by shadowing and attending genetics case conferences in the Boston area. She is currently a volunteer for the Samaritans Crisis Hotline and a senior research assistant for the Genomes2People translational genomics research group at Brigham & Women’s Hospital.
Kira Kalkus is from Colorado and received her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University in 2015. As an undergraduate, she served as a resident assistant, a political communication teaching assistant, and a camp counselor for children whose parents have cancer. Kira was also a research assistant in an interpersonal perception/ communication lab at Stanford.
Michelle Pacione is from southern California and completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Berkeley in 2013 and her Master of Education from Boston University in 2015. As an undergraduate, she was a peer counselor, a hospital volunteer, and the student health services director at UC Berkeley. To gain exposure to genetic counseling after graduating, she shadowed genetic counselors in neuromuscular, pediatrics, and cancer clinics. Michelle is a Teach for America alumni and is currently teaching high school honors biology and forensic science in Massachusetts.
Jessica Park is from New Jersey and will graduate from Cornell in May 2016 with her bachelor’s degree in Human Development. As an undergraduate, she was a research assistant for a health and medical decision making lab, served as a counselor in training at Cornell and as a community health advocate, shadowed doctors in oncology and drug addiction rehabilitation departments, and interned as a medical assistant in Honduras and Haiti. Jessica, who is bilingual in Korean, shadowed genetic counselors in hospital and private clinic settings.
Kim Zayhowski is from Massachusetts and will complete her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience, Biology, and Psychology from Brandeis in May 2016. As an undergraduate, she was a peer counselor, a memory and cognition research assistant, an academic tutor, and a social justice in disability scholars fellow. Kim also served as a curriculum/behavioral programming intern for children with special needs, worked as a neuropsych consultant assistant, volunteered in clinics in Honduras, and shadowed genetic counselors.
Class of 2017 - graduated 6/17/17
- Alyssa Armsby
- Stephanie Bivona
- Danielle Dondanville
- Ellie Harrington
- Jessica Kianmahd
- Karina Liker
- Megan Nathan
- Aiste Narkeviciute
- Julia Silver
Class of 2016 - graduated 6/11/16
- Natalie Downs
- Kayla Hamilton
- Kelly Miller
- Tia Moscarello
- Lauren Puryear
- Chloe Reuter
- Trishna Subas
Class of 2015 - graduated 6/13/15
- Sophie Blease
- Della Bro
- Elise Calonico
- Ping Gong
- Rebecca Luiten
- Allie Newhall
- RJ Okamura
Class of 2014 - graduated 6/14/14
- Kelly Broady
- Katie Kobara
- Ashley Navarro
- Shannon Rego
- Anastasia Richardson
- Kim Splinter
- Erica Stricko
Class of 2013 - graduated 6/15/13
- Kristen Dilzell
- Rachel Farrell
- Emily Hendricks
- Sahil Kejriwal
- Greg Kellogg
- Amirah Khouzam
- Adrienne Miller
Class of 2012 - graduated 6/16/12
- Aarin Ables
- Megan Grove
- Emily Hurford
- Bita Nehoray
- Jessica Profato
- Nadine Rayes
- Layla Shahmirzadi
Class of 2011 - graduated 6/11/2011
- Myla Ashfaq
- Gemma Chandratillake
- Kyla Dunn
- Lili Kuzmich
- Stephanie Sottile
- Reana Tischler
- Kim Vande Wydeven