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Students and Alumni Stories

Our students and alumni news, and experiences in the program and how it has affected their lives.

Rebekah Waikel (class of 2019) co-authored Herum K.M., Weng G., Kahnert K., Waikel R., Milburn G., Conger A., Anaya P., Campbell K.S., Lundby A., Won K.J., Brakebusch C. Cardiac fibroblast sub-types in vitro reflect pathological cardiac remodeling in vivo. Matrix Biol Plus. 15:100113 (2022).

Rebekah Waikel (class of 2019) co-authored Ledgister Hanchard, S.E., Dwyer, M.C., Liu, S., Hu, P., Tekendo-Ngongang, C., Waikel, R.L., Duong, D., Solomon, B.D. Scoping review and classification of deep learning in medical genetics. Genet Med. S1098-3600(22)00755-9 (2022).

Rebekah Waikel (class of 2019) co-authored Duong D., Hu P., Tekendo-Ngongang C., Ledgister Hanchard S., Liu S., Solomon B.D., Waikel R.L. Neural Networks for Classification and Image Generation of Aging in Genetic Syndromes. Front Genet. 13:864092 (2022).


Morgan Luevano (class of 2020) was interviewed for WJBF, a news station in Augusta, GA, for a piece about the importance of genetic counselors, medical management for BRCA1/2 carriers, and Augusta’s annual Miracle Mile Walk that takes place in October. It will air for breast cancer awareness month.

Ali Conn (class of 2022) - Ali's abstract, based on her capstone project, "Banning Treatment for Transgender Youth: A Look at the Effect of HB1570 on Transgender Arkansans and their View of Healthcare," was accepted for poster presentation at this year's annual NSGC conference.

 

Sarah Linn (class of 2022) - Sarah's abstract, based on her capstone project, "Genetic Counseling Assistant Study: How Clinic Workflow and Career Goals are Impacted," was accepted for poster presentation at this year's annual NSGC conference.

Sarah Linn (class of 2022) - Sarah was given a new subspecialty in her first GC job - she is the first GC in the Disorders of Sexual Differentiation Clinic at Children's Wisconsin/Medical College of Wisconsin.

Mike Peracchio (class of 2022) - Mike's abstract, based on his capstone project, "Exploring the Experiences of Male Genetic Counselors," was accepted for poster presentation at this year's annual NSGC conference.

 

Derek Ansel (class of 2023) was promoted from Senior Director, Therapeutic Strategy Lead, Rare Disease to Executive Director, Therapeutic Strategy Lead, Rare Disease at Worldwide Clinical Trials in July, 2022.

Derek Ansel (class of 2023) presented at the World Orphan Drug Congress on "Trends & Challenges: Patient-focused Rare Disease Research in 2022" in Boston on July 12th. He is scheduled to present at the Outsourcing Clinical Trials Nordics Conference on "Next evolution of operational considerations in rare disease trials" in Copenhagen on October 25th.

Amber Telford (class of 2023) completed the competitive Mayo Clinic Laboratory Genetic Counseling internship, summer, 2022.

 

 

Ashley Thompson (class of 2023) presented at the European Society of Human Genetics Conference in June, 2022 on the topic of "De Novo Experience of Individuals with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome: Sometimes the People in Your Family are Never Going to be the Ones who Understand Best."

Ashley Thompson (class of 2023) completed the competitive Mayo Clinic Laboratory Genetic Counseling internship summer, 2022.

 

"Even though I knew Genetic Counseling would touch on so many of my passions, a career change at 40 was very intimidating, and seemed impossible at times. But Bay Path's hybrid online program eliminated many of the logistical variables for a non-traditional student like me. The training has been excellent, and I landed the job of my dreams." - Page Brody G'19

"One of the highlight experiences I was able to have through the Bay Path Genetic Counseling Program was an Industry/Lab rotation with Illumina in San Diego, California. As a native of the area, I'd driven past the campus for years and was extremely thankful to finally have an opportunity to work with the renowned company. Although the rotation was unfortunately held completely remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the experience was still incredible. With Illumina, I participated in variant curation, reported results during Genome Day (a philanthropic genome testing program for international pediatric cases), and explored the genome sequencing process. As an extra assignment, I also lectured to lab staff members on a recent article relating to metabolomic profiling and genomic sequencing. It was also fun to work with other interns, including two Genetic Counseling students from Augustana's program. Certainly an experience I will not forget!" - Sara Pugsley G'21


"This summer, I spoke at my institution’s Breast and GI Cancer Support Group. This was my first in-person presentation since becoming a genetic counselor, and I found the experience to be fulfilling. My presentation included a background of cancer genetics, the role of a genetic counselor, what to expect at a genetic counseling appointment, and the two most common indications for testing we have at our office: HBOC and Lynch syndrome.  I facilitated a discussion after, which allowed patients to ask questions and share any experiences they have had with genetics. This opportunity allowed me to gain a new perspective on the journey of a cancer patient and connect with patients on a different level than I normally do. The most challenging and rewarding case I have navigated so far was with a patient who was unexpectedly identified as a CDH1 mutation carrier. With her only indication for CDH1 being her history of lobular breast cancer, I was not expecting this result. She handled the information as well as could be expected, and asked a lot of good questions; understandably, her main concern was whether to follow the recommendation of prophylactic gastrectomy. This patient has called a couple times since her results review appointment to ask about research studies and non-cancer related genetics. While this case certainly had its challenges, I am reminded why I chose this field each time she calls and is so appreciative of my help." -Morgan Dimery, G'20

"I graduated in 2019 as part of Bay Path University's inaugural class, and I currently work in telehealth. My primary area of practice is with the IVF/infertility sector, but I also regularly meet with hereditary cancer and prenatal patients. I have recently started a cardiogenetics clinic with my company, and we hope to see its volume grow in the coming months. I am proud of the work I have done thus far as a genetic counselor. I feel comfortable navigating psychologically intense content with patients, and I owe a great deal of that to Bay Path's strong foundation in psychology and counseling. Some people may never need a frame of reference for this, but fertility treatment is an incredible odyssey my patients are often thrown into. On the first day in the clinic, they typically collect about 12 tubes of blood, all sent off to different labs for different things. One of those tubes is typically sent off for carrier screening. I meet with couples to disclose those results, and talk about reproductive risk for recessive genetic disease. Oftentimes the patient I am meeting with has no idea what testing was even done, or for what reason. We live in this exciting time in history where our tools to mitigate genetic disease are largely still developing...but they exist. I speak with patients a lot about IVF embryo screening as a way to mitigate the risk for having a child with a particular genetic disease. It's incredible to think that we even have the capacity to do this, but the process is far from simple. A patient must be willing to journey through the process, which is both financially and physically draining. I think Bay Path really expanded my empathetic reach. It's not just about disclosing results in a way someone can understand. A large part of what we do is peeling back all of those social and psychological layers encasing a diagnosis. I am privileged to have the opportunity to serve as a guide for these patients at a time when we have some tools to prevent genetic disease, but not many to cure it. That is very difficult for people to navigate. It's really amazing for me to reflect on how many students Bay Path has already had and will have in the future. Students who will be genetic counselors like myself, and who will play such a pivotal role in so many lives. I thank Bay Path deeply for that." -Nicolette Lawrence, G'19