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Meet Our Incoming Class

Introducing Bay Path's Genetic Counseling Class of 2024

Amanda Berkstresser is from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and graduated from Southwest Baptist University in 2022 with a degree in Psychology. During her time there, she served two years as a resident assistant and competed as an NCAA Division II cross country and track athlete. She has always loved being active and never says no to a challenge.

In her free time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her family, adventuring, playing her guitar, and loving her dog Dasher. Most recently, she has decided to accept a new learning experience and is currently helping her grandpa construct a cabin.

Amanda has always felt called to the medical field, but it was not until college that she fell in love with genetic counseling. She has always had a passion for special needs and has served as a para and teaching intern. Convinced she wanted to be a pediatrician, Amanda was shadowing when she was introduced to genetic counseling and realized that this was where she needed to be. She began her research, took the leap of faith to change her major, and was accepted into Northwest’s summer experiential workshop in genetic counseling. Not once has she doubted that genetic counseling is the path for her. She is excited to continue her journey at Bay Path University and take one step closer to her dream!

Leslie Clapp was born and raised in the small town of Deep River, Connecticut. She attended Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts, and graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience.

Leslie is a big advocate for diversity and gender equality in the STEM fields. As an undergraduate student, she was very involved with the STEM Scholar program, which shared this common goal. She was also very involved with Relay for Life and the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Leslie comes from a very loving family with an older sister, an older brother, and two incredible parents who have supported her in all of her dreams and endeavors.

In her spare time, Leslie loves to be around her friends, family, and dog Gunner. She loves to travel and try new things, especially after getting a taste when she studied abroad in Cork, Ireland, during her junior year. She is excited for the day that she is finally able to return to Ireland and Europe!

Leslie found her love of science back in high school. When her mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis her senior year, she decided that she wanted to pursue her degree in Neuroscience, which was the right decision. Leslie graduated college during the height of the pandemic and decided it was best to return home and be with her family. She accepted a position in an immunology lab at the Yale University School of Medicine, where she began studying anti-B cell therapy as a possible treatment for patients with Multiple Sclerosis. Leslie knew, however, that her passion was for a career that combined research, science, and patient care—genetic counseling. Her two-year position at Yale and her volunteer work at Hospice got her ready for her next chapter; the genetic counseling program at Bay Path University!

Anna Fagan is originally from the small town of Earlville, New York. She graduated from the University of Rochester with a B.S. in Brain & Cognitive Science, a minor in Biology, and a minor in Theatre.

She has spent her years since graduation working in clinical research, first as a clinical research coordinator with the University of Pennsylvania’s Radiology Research department and then as a research assistant with the George Washington University’s Biostatistics Center. Since 2013, Anna has been a part of the protocol management team for the GRADE study, a long-term comparative effectiveness trial for different treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Anna’s other passions include the performing arts, reading, yoga, and exploring the great outdoors. She currently lives with her family (and cat!) in Stamford, Connecticut.

Colleen Fenton grew up in Western Massachusetts. After graduating from Holyoke Community College with honors, Colleen was accepted to Mount Holyoke College (MHC), where she pursued a bachelor’s degree with a biology major and a chemistry minor. She was introduced to the field of genetic counseling during her first-year genetics and molecular biology class. She was immediately intrigued by a field of study that required a thorough understanding of genetics to provide patient-centered care. Post-graduation, she was employed as a research technician in the Camp laboratory of MHC. Her study of Bacillus subtilis provided insight into the process of sporulation and contributed significantly to her understanding of genetic regulation. Just before the end of laboratory funding, Colleen welcomed her first child and took some time to be home with her daughter.

The Behavioral Health Network currently employs Colleen as a substance use counselor, where she advocates for patients struggling with substance use disorder. In addition, Colleen has volunteered as a counselor with the Crisis Text Line for the past year. As a crisis counselor, Colleen has further refined her ability to formulate rapport while helping a diverse population. Colleen also participated in a ten-week workshop with the Medical College of Wisconsin, which gave her a more in-depth understanding of the field and allowed her to envision herself as a genetic counselor.

Colleen resides in Western Massachusetts with her partner, daughter, and two cats. In her spare time, Colleen enjoys learning the piano and spending time outdoors. With a solid foundation in genetics and patient advocacy, Colleen is excited to pursue a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling at Bay Path University.

Nicole Haas was born and raised in rural northern Indiana. She recently graduated with High Distinction from Indiana University South Bend with a degree in biological sciences and a minor in chemistry. While there, she was an anatomy and physiology lab tutor for four years and held leadership positions in several clubs, including being the president of her school's mental health awareness chapter, Active Minds. She continued her passion of normalizing mental health conversations as a peer group facilitator with Dustin's Place, a local grief support group for
children and families who have lost loved ones.

She discovered the field of genetic counseling during her second year of college. She then interned at the Paqui and Brian Kelly Comprehensive Breast Center with the facility's cancer genetic counselors. She hopes to explore hereditary cancers more, with the goal of providing medically underserved, rural communities like the one she grew up in with genetic counseling services. She is very excited to start her journey to becoming a genetic counselor with Bay Path's program and is looking forward to the variety of clinical settings she can experience as a student. In her free time, she loves playing tennis, gardening, and going to the beaches of Lake Michigan with her loved ones.

Sabrina Johnson grew up in New Hampshire. Sabrina graduated from Colby Sawyer College of New London, New Hampshire in 2022 with her Bachelor of Science in Biology (Pre-Medical track). At CSC, she was a tutor for many science-related courses and completed undergraduate research. Her research included comparing two non-traditional cancer therapies separately and collectively to determine their effects on various cancer cell lines. She was introduced to the career of genetic counseling after completing her first year of undergraduate. After exploring a career with a genetic counselor at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, it was an easy decision to pursue this further. Following this decision, Sabrina volunteered for a therapeutic horse-riding center, where she got to help improve the well-being of people of varying disabilities. She also worked as a residential specialist at a therapeutic residential center that serves people with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. She interned at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, where she saw the hospital run first-hand when under a high-threat infection, COVID, and provided support through covid, network, and shadow. Additionally, she has taught early childhood for several years, which fueled her passion for educating and advocating.

Outside of academics, Sabrina enjoys spending time with friends and family and traveling when life allows. Sabrina is eager to start the Genetic Counseling program at Bay Path University.

Taylor Jump grew up in Las Vegas, NV, and graduated with her bachelor’s in Biological Sciences and minor in Chemistry from Dixie State University in St. George, UT. During her undergrad, she had been exposed to the field of genetic counseling and knew it would be the perfect fit. She spent two years working at the local domestic violence shelter as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse. She worked as an oncology genetic counselor assistant for Precision Genomics with Intermountain Healthcare. While at Intermountain, Taylor aided in championing an alternative service delivery method for patients affected by high-grade and metastatic prostate cancer. This project sparked her interest in making genetic testing more accessible to patients.

Outside of her professional pursuits, Taylor likes to spend her time dancing, in the great outdoors, or just relaxing with friends and family. Taylor is very excited to be attending Bay Path’s program this fall and looking forward to developing her skills as a future genetic counselor.

Rachel Kraus grew up in Thomaston, Connecticut, and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2016 with a BS in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences. While completing her undergraduate studies, she moved to Helena, Montana, for an internship in the genetics laboratory at Shodair Children’s Hospital. During this time, she worked alongside genetic counselors and quickly became interested in the field. After graduating, she earned her certification in Molecular Biology through the American Society for Clinical Pathology. Rachel is currently working as a Molecular Technologist for Baystate Health, where she performs genetic and virology testing. She has also discovered her love for teaching complex concepts to student interns. Rachel has volunteered with Crisis Text Line and at a local soup kitchen.

She lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut, with her husband Nick and her dog Riley. During her free time, Rachel enjoys taking her dog for walks, spending time with family, and playing board games with friends. Rachel is excited to start the Genetic Counseling Program at Bay Path University and to grow into a career as a genetic counselor

For the majority of her childhood, Caitlyn Maxfield lived in northwest Indiana. In sixth grade, she participated in Science Olympiad, where she immediately took to the “Heredity” event. A love for genetics has stuck with her all her life. After learning about genetic counseling in college, she knew it was the career for her. Always loving to learn, Caitlyn studied various subjects while at school. Some of her favorite courses included embryology, Greek and Roman mythology, genetics, humanities, and sociology. She graduated from Brigham Young University in December 2018 with a BS in Public Health and a minor in International Development. Since then, she has worked at healthcare clinics and as part of the management team at a Community Behavioral Health Center. She fulfills her love for learning by reading books and listening to genetics and genetic counseling podcasts. She imparts her newfound knowledge to her appreciative husband, a medical student at UMass. Caitlyn has experience as a tutor, teaching assistant, and crisis counselor. Through these experiences, she has developed a passion for the intersection of counseling and education, especially on an individual level.

She is excited to study at Bay Path and begin her journey as a Genetic Counselor. Currently, Caitlyn lives in central Massachusetts and spends her free time exploring New England with her husband and their joyful baby girl.

Chris Moraski grew up in Milford, a small town in the northeast corner of Pennsylvania. After high school, Chris attended Oswego State University in Upstate New York, where he earned degrees in biology and education and completed a minor in athletic coaching. During this time, Chris solidified his love of genetics and passion for helping others through education and service. Chris moved to Denver, Colorado, in 2016, where he has been working as a teacher for the past six years. He has spent that time taking complex, scientific topics and explaining them to kids in a meaningful way that meets them where they are. He believes that his work with students of diverse backgrounds and knowledge bases will help to foster an atmosphere of understanding and connection between him and future patients. While teaching a genetics course that he created, Chris collaborated on a project with a genetic counselor and instantly knew that this was the career for him.

During his time away from work, Chris enjoys coaching and playing rugby, exploring the outdoors, and going on adventures with his wife, Brooke. He is looking forward to learning from all of those at Bay Path University as he begins this new journey. He hopes to utilize this incredible opportunity to combine his scientific passion of genetics, classroom experience, and life goal of helping others into a career in genetic counseling.

Victoria Munoz was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She graduated from St. Mary’s University in 2020 with a BS in Biology. She then went on to MD Anderson School of Health Professions in Houston, Texas, where she earned her BS in Molecular Genetic Technology and further honed her skills working with different molecular techniques in a diagnostic setting. Victoria’s fascination for genetics began in her youth when her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. That fascination grew into a passion for genetics, and it became a mission to become a bridge between the medical world and patients. To help people better understand their genetic diagnosis and provide their families with the right tools to support their loved ones along the way.

Victoria is very family-oriented and loves spending quality time with them and her adorable rescue pup, Stitch. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling and experiencing different cultures, her favorite being Japan. She enjoys volunteering within the community and recently as a crisis counselor. She is a part of her local Star Wars cosplay group. Also, She volunteers with local organizations like the Special Olympics Texas, Catholic Charities, Pets Alive, Rey Feo, and various organizations. She is extremely grateful for the opportunity and is looking forward to pursuing her passion of becoming a genetic counselor through the program at Bay Path University

Lisa Paulek is from a small mountain town near Durango in Southwest Colorado. She earned her BS in Biology from Colorado State University, where her undergraduate research focused on juvenile lemon shark ecology in the Turks and Caicos Islands. After graduation, she returned to Durango to work at her family’s garden center and became a high school biology teacher. She spent five years teaching in the same community she grew up in, and in 2022, Lisa was honored with the Boettcher Teacher of the Year Recognition Award. When asked by students what she would do if she weren’t a teacher, she always said, “something in the field of genetics.” Though her passion for education will always remain, she is excited to enter Genetic Counseling and hopes to bring her passion to the profession. Concurrent with teaching, she earned her MS in Biology online from the University of Northern Colorado, where she was captivated by her genetics and physiology courses.

In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, hiking, fishing, and hunting with her husband, gardening and sitting on the porch with her three dogs, spending time with family, and riding her colt named Stetson.

Sara Prevalla is from a small town in Connecticut but comes from a big European family. An interesting fact about Sara is that she is a triplet with two identical brothers who are her built-in best friends. She graduated summa cum laude and salutatorian of the honor’s program at Florida Atlantic University in 2020, obtaining a B.S. in Biology. After her undergraduate career, Sara decided to explore different jobs within the medical field to gain the experience she needed to figure out her future career path. During this time, Sara became EMT-B certified and worked as a medical assistant at her local urgent care clinic. For the past year and a half, she has worked as a medical technologist at her local hospital laboratory. She found that she loved being a patient advocate in her role as a medical assistant and loved working in the lab, but she could not find the perfect balance between direct and indirect patient care that she was looking for. After feeling discouraged that she would not find a career that felt right for her, Sara began to think about which courses inspired her the most during her undergrad and researched jobs that focused on those disciplines. As it turned out, Sara’s passion for research, advocacy, genetics, laboratory work, and anatomy & physiology aligned well with the role of a genetic counselor! She is excited and extremely grateful to begin her journey of becoming a genetic counselor at Bay Path University.

In her spare time, Sara enjoys painting with her friends, cooking with her family, spending time with her significant other, and going on trails with her Rottweiler, Xena, and German Shepherd, Nila.

Alexis Rock was born and raised in Littleton, Massachusetts. She attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, earning a B.S. in Biology & Biotechnology with a minor in Psychology. During Lexi’s time at WPI, she was a Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority member, worked as a student philanthropy ambassador, and served as the treasurer for the pre-health honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta. As a part of her project-based learning, Lexi has completed independent research on the psychological impact of labeling advanced maternal age pregnancies and developing model soil environments to better understand bacterial relationships. Following graduation, Lexi accepted a part-time position in her undergraduate lab, continuing her senior research work on bacterial relationships in soil and working full-time as a special education assistant at a therapeutic day school.

Outside of school and work, Lexi works on theatrical productions at her high school and trains in all dance styles to better her choreography skills. She also enjoys crafting, doing puzzles, and spending time with her two Goldendoodles, Toby and Lukas. Lexi has been dreaming of becoming a genetic counselor since she discovered the field in 8th grade and is very excited to continue this journey at Bay Path!

Ellen Saurer joins Bay Path University’s Class of 2024 from Madison, WI. She graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2020, earning a Bachelor of Science in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development and a Bachelor of Science in Technical Writing and Communications. During her undergraduate career, she was involved with many organizations that allowed her to pursue her passion for outreach and advocacy. Besides being actively engaged with the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega for four years, she worked as a “de-stress” counselor, providing one-on-one mentorship to promote effective stress management strategies for students. This closely aligned with her work as a Peer Health Educator for an online course, “Success Over Stress.” It was Ellen’s practical experience as a genetic counseling intern at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), however, that definitively reaffirmed her love and desire to become a genetic counselor. While medicine and research are heavily focused on curing diseases, Ellen is drawn to genetic counseling because of its focus on the healing of individuals with genetic conditions. Since graduation, Ellen has worked full-time as a prenatal genetic counseling assistant at MCW, further validating that genetic counseling is her perfect career fit with its balance of scientific education, compassion, patient autonomy, and support. Within the last year, Ellen became a Community-Based Big Sister in Big Brothers Big Sisters. She earned a Graduate Certificate through the Clinical Genetics & Genomics program at the University of Connecticut. Together, these experiences have provided countless opportunities to be a part of empowering moments for others within her community.

Ellen is very excited to start her journey as an MSGC student at Bay Path University! Ellen will also work as a part-time genetic counseling assistant in the Adult Genomics Medicine Clinic at MCW, further enhancing her education outside the classroom. In her free time, Ellen enjoys reading and spending time outdoors, particularly playing pickleball, paddle boarding, hiking, and ice skating!

The daughter of an army officer, Rebecca Stackhouse, grew up in Virginia, Maryland, Germany, and California. In 2014, she graduated from Duke University with a BS in Biology and a minor in Spanish. During her years at Duke, Rebecca researched genes involved in symbiosis in the lichen species Cladonia grayi. Outside of her studies, she worked as a volunteer to create and implement the curriculum for a community-based summer science camp for girls.

Rebecca earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in 2015 and spent seven years teaching science to high school students in Baltimore. During this time, she served as her school’s representative to the county teachers association. While researching careers for her biomedical science students, Rebecca stumbled on genetic counseling and was intrigued. After shadowing genetic counselors and volunteering at the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County, she became certain it would be the perfect career to combine her passions for science and teaching. Rebecca is excited to pursue her degree at Bay Path and become a patient educator and advocate.

She currently lives in Baltimore and enjoys spending her free time traveling, hiking, baking, and playing music.

Chelsea grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She graduated from the University of Missouri - Kansas City with her BS in Biology with an Emphasis in the Cellular and Molecular Basis of Health and Disease and a Minor in Chemistry. She completed her MA in Bioethics from Kansas City University and her thesis on the ethical conflicts existing between cultural practices and individual autonomy. She realized her passion for advocacy within marginalized and disadvantaged populations during her undergraduate and graduate years. She sought experiences to enlighten and enrich her knowledge of the challenges faced by these populations by completing various volunteering experiences, which included a medical mission trip to Belize, becoming a RAINN online hotline counselor, and a summer camp counselor for local inner-city youth living with Sickle Cell disease. Knowing she would eventually want to teach, she completed her DHEd in Health Education through A.T. Stills University while working for the local non-profit blood bank as the Director of Donor Recruitment. It wasn’t until she underwent genetic testing with her first child that she became aware of the genetic counseling field. She felt that each step in her life had led her to this perfect career.

Following graduation, she hopes to help establish a genetic counseling school in Kansas City and teach future genetic counselors while practicing in the community. She is excited to attend Bay Path University, where she will complete her training and become the most prepared to fulfill this dream. C

helsea enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, watching hockey, and cooking in her free time.

Gabriella Van Thiel is from Appleton, Wisconsin, and earned her bachelor’s degree in Genetics and Genomics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019. Upon graduating, she began working as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Department of Pediatric Urology through the university. Quickly after the pandemic's start, she switched roles and accepted a position as a Genetic Counselor Assistant at Thedacare back in her hometown. There she learned more about the day-to-day tasks of Genetic Counselors and assisted with ordering genetic tests, submitting insurance prior authorizations, and prepping patient charts. The position furthered her passion for the field of Genetic Counseling and strengthened her drive to pursue it as a career. She has also volunteered with multiple organizations, such as Crisis Text Line, the Miracle League of the Fox Valley, her local Boys and Girls Club, and her church. She also spent a summer interning at a domestic abuse women’s shelter.

In her free time, Gabriella enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and baking. She is excited to attend Bay Path University and to be one step closer to becoming a Genetic Counselor.

Anneka Walton is from Richland, WA and recently graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science and minors in public health and chemistry. During her time at Utah State, she was an ambassador and advisory board member for the honors and undergraduate research fellowship programs and spent time serving the disabled community. She completed two research projects involving the historical perceptions of disease and disability. Other valuable experiences throughout her undergraduate career included participation in the EDS Advocacy ECHO program, the Genetic Counseling PURE internship through the Medical College of Wisconsin, and work as a “REACH peer mentor” providing mental health skills training to students as a part of campus psychology services.

Anneka initially discovered her passion for serving and connecting with people in the medical field while interning at a hospital in high school, and after a particularly poignant experience decided she needed to find a career where she could primarily serve as an advocate for patients while still following her love of medical science and research. A computer science internship at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory confirmed that a career spent in front of a computer wasn’t for her. However, she continued to work with the amazing people there over the next five years. After a couple more internships and research, she ultimately discovered that genetic counseling was the perfect career for her. She is incredibly excited to begin this next step with all the advantages Bay Path offers, especially its flexible format and fantastic faculty!

Outside of her professional interests, Anneka enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, cooking and trying new foods, growing plants, sewing, and exploring nature.

Lily Wyand was raised in Western Massachusetts but currently resides in the Boston area. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Regis College in December of 2019 with a Bachelor’s in Biology and a minor in Public Health. During her time at Regis, you could find Lily in one of her various work-study positions, and she thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the Regis College Dance Company. Since graduating, she has been working at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in their department of Cancer Genetics and Prevention as a Genetic Testing Coordinator. In her role, she provides administrative support to genetic counselors and meets with patients to assist in the video consenting process for genetic testing. In this role, she enjoys the opportunity to help patients access genetic testing in a timely manner, but is excited to further her education to extend the support she can provide. Lily learned about genetic counseling in her first year of undergraduate study in her general biology class and, at the time, knew she needed to know more. It was after completing a Genetic Counseling and Research Assistant Internship in the summer of 2019 at Boston Children’s Hospital that solidified her passion to pursue this career as she had the opportunity to see what a clinical genetic counselor does from day to day and how this role incorporated her interest in genetics and working with people like she had not seen prior.

Lily is an avid skier whose first job as a ski instructor showed her she enjoyed sharing her knowledge with others. In her personal time, if you don’t find Lily on the slopes, she is most likely getting ice cream with friends, soaking up the sun, or starting some new craft. Lily is excited to join the Bay Path program, given her Western MA roots and the unique opportunity that this hybrid program can allow her.

Please visit the MS in Genetic Counseling program page to learn about the curriculum, program options, and more!