Student Spotlight: Nicole Moulas
How did your undergrad experience influence you to consider GC in grad school?
I learned about genetic counseling my freshman year of high school. I stumbled upon the profession during a career search exercise. The career description was the perfect marriage between my love of genetics and want to work with people. I continued to research genetic counseling throughout high school and college, always feeling drawn to the profession.
Since I had known about genetic counseling from early on, I was able to tailor my undergraduate experiences to learn more about the field. Ohio State has an Undergraduate Genetic Counseling Club that I participated in all four years. My participation in this club provided me with a direct link to the career field. The more I talked about genetic counseling with genetic counselors and other in the club, the more certain I was that I was pursuing the best career for me.
Was there a defining moment for you that convinced you that you were on the right track?
My junior year of college, I took a cell biology course. I vividly remember sitting in class listening to my professor explain how genes and proteins interact in a specific pathway resulting in a cellular function. It all clicked in my mind, a sort of “ah-ha!” moment. It was one of those moments when you realize everything makes sense and you absolutely love what you’re learning at the same time. That was when I realized I was in the right field. I felt like I could talk about genetic pathways forever. I’m fortunate I have found a profession in which I can do just that.
Based on your grad school experience so far, what have you enjoyed the most?
My favorite part of grad school thus far is our clinical rotations. I feel fortunate that at Ohio State we are able to begin our clinical rotations early, even before classes start. Starting in clinic so soon has allowed me more time to feel comfortable in the new roles I’m taking on. I have appreciated the opportunity clinic has given me to try out skills I’ve learned in the classroom as I’m learning them. As a second-year student now, I have seen the most growth in my learning in clinic. In clinic, I am given the space to try new counseling techniques and master skills over time.
What area of GC are you most interested in professionally?
I am most interested in pediatric genetic counseling. I have always loved working with children. I think there is something special about getting to help a child and their family on their diagnostic journey. By uncovering the genetic causes of a child’s health concerns, we are able to provide that child with the best possible care moving forward.
Advice for students considering the GCGP?
Pick a program that aligns with your values. Coming into graduate school, I knew I wanted a program that gave its students a strong sense of community and belonging. There were schools I checked out where I didn’t feel that my personality fit with the students or faculty well. That’s completely ok. By staying true to what’s most important to you, you are far more likely to land in the best program for you.