Meet Our Incoming Class
Introducing Bay Path's Genetic Counseling Class of 2020
Originally from the D.C. area, Melissa Crane currently lives just north of Boston with her 3 children. She has worked as a newborn specialist and lactation consultant for over 12 years, focusing on special needs infants and high-risk mothers. Having been introduced to genetic counseling through personal experience, her advocacy work on behalf of these families furthered her desire to become a genetic counselor. As a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University, she had success in online classes and knew Bay Path’s Genetic Counseling Program would offer the flexibility she needed as a working mom. Her undergraduate research focused on epigenetics and psychiatric disorders and she hopes to further her exposure to the specialty of psychiatric genetic counseling while at Bay Path. In addition to her work with special needs families, Melissa is passionate about advocating through sport. She has finished 4 Ironman triathlons and over 20 marathons while raising funds for Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Breast Friends and other charities. She loves to run, bike and swim, and spend time outside with her kids.
Morgan Dimery is from West Columbia, South Carolina. She graduated from Clemson University in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Genetics and a minor in psychology. Currently, she is a Victim Advocate Program Coordinator with the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General, a position which has given her experience for future counseling situations. She chose to attend Bay Path University because of the reaction of current students, and feels that the online format will give her the opportunity to continue working as a victim advocate. “I read in many of the student’s bios how Bay Path is a tight-knit community,” Morgan said. “As a Clemson alumna, I have spent the past four years as part of a family, and by attending Bay Path I will be able to become part of another family.” In her spare time, Morgan enjoys weight-lifting, hiking, music, and football.
Natasha Fuller grew up in North Brookfield, MA and graduated from Worcester State University in 2012 with a BS in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Since then, she has stayed local to Massachusetts and worked in the laboratory, moving from an environmental lab into clinical toxicology for the last three years. Through her work in a clinical lab, Natasha was introduced to the field of genetic counseling. She knew immediately that she wanted to join the field and is excited to become a resource to patients and aid in their understanding of genetic testing. Natasha chose Bay Path University because the blended online format, combined with the clinical rotation opportunities, would provide an ideal learning environment for her.
Hannah was born and raised in London, England. Prior to studying genetic counseling at Bay Path, she graduated from Columbia University’s MS in bioethics program, working on the impacts of variants of uncertain significance on parental perceptions of children after prenatal chromosome microarray testing. Her contribution to this study resulted in her being co-first author in an article in Prenatal Diagnosis. Before immigrating to the United States, Hannah attended BPP Law School (Graduate Diploma in Law), University College London (MSc Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine) and The Royal Veterinary College (BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences). Her fundamental interest in genetics further developed when she was awarded an undergraduate Wellcome Trust Biomedical Vacation Scholarship to study the effect of the follistatin-like 3 gene (FSTL3) on the developing skeleton. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, the Association for Women in Science and Elevate Network. Outside of her professional interests, Hannah enjoys spending quality time with her family, attending studio fitness classes and travel.
Katherine Jodrey was born and raised in Worcester, MA. She attended Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Science (MCPHS) University - Boston where she obtained a Bachelor's degree in Biomedical & Molecular Biology. There she shared her love of science by serving as both a peer tutor and teaching assistant for the freshman biology courses while working as a student ambassador for the admissions and student financial offices. It was in the spring of her junior year that she discovered genetic counseling and began shadowing at UMASS Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. It was also during this time that she worked to collect data for a retrospective analysis on Lynch Syndrome, helping to guide future patient assessments. Most recently, she worked as a Quality Control Technician within the Integrated Genetics Laboratory at LabCorp where she formed a deeper connection with the people in her care through an industry setting. Katherine is an avid lover of animals and music. In her free time, she loves to hike and finds a reason to laugh at every opportunity. She chose Bay Path University because the program’s unique curriculum allows for a well-rounded learning experience through its diverse focus on ethics, mental illness, counseling, research and education. She is excited to begin and hopes that with her determination, compassion and genuine love for the profession that she will make a great addition to the Bay Path Genetic Counseling Program.
Jenna McMahon graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2015 with a BS in Biology with a focus on genetics, and a minor in Psychology. During her undergraduate program, she worked in a bat morphology lab, followed by an internship in an evolutionary genomics lab studying promoter function on epithelial-cancer-causing genes. Jenna also volunteered at Bay State Children’s Hospital and local elementary schools. After graduation, she joined DSM Nutritional Products as a research assistant where she was able to gain firsthand experience with CRISPR and other gene editing technology. Jenna supplemented her work experience by volunteering with both the Special Olympics as a cheerleading coach and Respond Inc. as a certified domestic violence counselor. Jenna says, “All of my experiences working and volunteering reinforced and focused my desire to be a genetic counselor. Bay Path gave me the opportunity to continue working and taking care of family members, while offering a unique focus on telegenetics and an ever-increasing network across the country.” In her free time, Jenna enjoys fostering dogs and listening to podcasts.
Arielle grew up in East Longmeadow Massachusetts. She graduated from ELMS college where she earned her B.A. in Biology with a minor in Psychology. As an undergrad she worked on research involving circulating melatonin and thyroxine in frogs and tadpoles. Shortly after college she began working in a Cytogenetics Laboratory and earned her ASCP certification in Cytogenetics Technology. During her time as a Cytogenetic Technologist she gained experience in oncology and prenatal genetic testing. It was in the laboratory, working alongside genetic counselors, where she developed an interest in genetic counseling as a career. Arielle currently works in the laboratory as a Molecular Technologist, performing both genetic and virology testing. She says, “I am excited to be a part of this program here in the community where I am rooted. The Genetic Counseling program at Bay Path is unique, as it allows flexibility that I have not seen in other programs. I can’t wait to see how this program will impact the future of genetic counseling and health care in this area.” Arielle and her husband currently live in Wilbraham, MA. They have two energetic little kiddos who they love spending time with. In addition to hanging out with her family, Arielle also enjoys Taco Tuesdays and scouring Pinterest for DIY projects.
Liz graduated from the University of Connecticut (Go Huskies!) in 2014 with a degree in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences and holds an ASCP certification as a Technologist in Cytogenetics. For the past three years, she has been working at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center’s Cytogenetics lab in New Hampshire where she performs karyotyping and FISH testing on both oncology and congenital specimens. Liz often participates in the genetic education of medical students, residents and fellows and is looking forward to the next step in her career. In her free time Liz enjoys writing, sewing and hiking through the many trails in New Hampshire. She is excited to begin her education at Bay Path University and looks forward to the diverse curriculum, flexible classwork and Bay Path’s tight knit student community.
Marie Rizio graduated from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences with a specialization in Cytogenetics and a minor in Psychology. She has spent the last five years working as a cytogenetic technologist in a clinical laboratory, analyzing chromosomes and correlating abnormalities to various cancers and prenatal disorders. She completed a clinical internship at Yale School of Medicine, where she spent a semester researching salivary gland tumors in an effort to improve the classification system for diagnosis and prognosis. Marie gained patient advocacy skills through volunteering for the Pilot House Special Needs Center, where she helped children with special needs to engage in recreational activities. She was also a volunteer for The Alzheimer’s Association, spending time with those afflicted with the disease. In her spare time, Marie enjoys cooking, reading, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. Marie chose to attend Bay Path University for her graduate studies for its interdisciplinary educational approach, innovative program design, as well as for the opportunity to contribute to and help shape its newly developed program. She is thrilled to be joining the Bay Path University community and is excited to start her journey and fulfill her dream of becoming a genetic counselor.
Brittany Spader graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2017 with a degree in Physiology, Cell & Molecular Biology along with a minor in Spanish. Having first becoming interested in genetic counseling in high school, she was able to shadow several genetic counselors and a geneticist while in college. Bay Path University interested Brittany because of the newer program, flexibility, and location. “I like the idea of a newer program with the hopes of helping them improve aspects for following years to come,” Brittany said. “The flexibility of being able to do a blended format for classes is both helpful and intriguing to me.” Finally, the location of Bay Path in Massachusetts interested her because she likes to travel and experience new areas. Never having been to the New England area excites her for this next life chapter. Some passions of Brittany’s are traveling, volunteering, being active outdoors, spending time with friends and family, and cooking. Her love for travel took flight while spending nine weeks living in Barcelona, Spain studying the Spanish language and culture and traveling around Europe.
A Nashville, Tennessee native, Samantha graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2008 with a B.S. in evolutionary biology. She has spent a number of years at the bench, working for Vanderbilt's Department of Medical Genetics as well as UCSD's Department of Neuroscience. The bulk of Samantha's projects have focused on polymorphism screening and identification, and she has a particular interest in Alzheimer's Disease and the many factors that play into it. While at UCSD, she coordinated an activity group for seniors with dementia at a local nursing home, and the shift to the clinical side of healthcare seemed natural. Experience in the healthcare industry taught her the importance of communicating complicated scientific topics to the general public. She chose a career in genetic counseling because it is a position that serves as the bridge between academics and patients, helping them to make informed decisions about their own health. She is thrilled to be a part of the community at Bay Path, where the flexible environment and personally tailored opportunities will equip her for success in a growing and changing field.
Allison Wood grew up in the Green Mountain State (Vermont) and went to the University of Vermont where she earned her BS. For the past ten years she has worked in the dairy industry providing reproductive and genetic consulting to large farms in the northeast. She especially enjoys helping farmers understand and put together programs that best allow the animals express their genetic potential. Allison lives in Fair Haven, Vermont with her husband and two children. In her free time, she is a very active advocate for newborn screening and rare diseases. She was a member of Baby's First Test Consumer Task Force, where she worked on a project regarding what information is given to parents during their first contacts about an out-of-range newborn screening result. She is also on the Board of Directors for Rare New England which brings together patients, families and providers touched by rare and complex disorders. Allison chose Bay Path because it offers a unique and desirable program for people who are unable to move to a place that has one. She was drawn to the progressive nature of the program that sees a world of new and different possibilities in the genetic counseling field.