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Our Students

If you would like to speak with any of our alumni about their experiences at the Genetic Counseling Graduate Program, please click "Contact" in the top menu and we will put you in touch.​​

First Year Students


Madison BernhardtCara Barnett

Cara was born and raised in Glen Ellyn, IL, a northwest suburb of Chicago. She graduated from Centre College in Danville, KY in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in anthropology. During her time at Centre, she worked under Dr. Mark Galatowitsch studying freshwater macroinvertebrate diversity. In addition, for a year and a half she served as a crisis line counselor and medical advocate for Ampersand Sexual Violence Resource Center. An avid equestrian, during her free time you will find Cara riding her horse, running, sleeping, or visiting a local craft brewery!

Nicole LahnerSamantha Choi

Samantha was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Kent State University in Kent, OH. During her undergraduate studies, Samantha worked as a research assistant in a health psychology lab studying risk perceptions and risk communication. In addition to her research experience, Samantha volunteered as an advocate for victims of crime through Townhall II, a local organization specializing in crisis intervention. Samantha’s passion for genetic counseling stems from prenatal shadowing experiences she gained at the Carolina Medical Center Women’s Institute in Charlotte. Her love for the field continued to grow after she completed an internship in genetic counseling with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Samantha loves baking, singing, painting and, most of all, coffee.

Andrew McFaddinKelly Drelles

Kelly is from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She graduated from Calvin College in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology.  She has gained advocacy experience through volunteering with children at Safe Haven, a service for those affected by domestic abuse.  She has been fortunate enough to be a Cancer Genetic Counseling Assistant in the year before entering graduate school.  In her free time, she enjoys going to Barre classes, baking, and exploring new restaurants.

Athena Puski

Ellen Goldstein

Ellen hails from Gaithersburg, MD, where she grew up and worked for the past year at GeneDx as a GCA. Ellen graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017 and enjoys cooking and eating new food, hiking or biking the outdoors, and participating in the arts, such as drawing, painting, listening to live music and (one day) stand-up comedy. Ellen has a strong background in IDD advocacy and hopes to further public knowledge and acceptance of the capabilities of adults and kids with autism.

Alexandra SuttmanVictoria Klee

Victoria was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH.  She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2018 where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience with a specialization in biological systems and behavioral neuroscience.  During her undergraduate career, Victoria was secretary of the Undergraduate Genetics Counseling Club, a swim coach and volunteer for the Ohio Special Olympics, and a Crisis Center volunteer for Franklin County Children’s Services. Victoria gained exposure to genetic counseling through working as a student research assistant in The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Division of Human Genetics exploring the genetic mutations driving metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and managing patients’ pedigrees and medical records. Victoria loves swimming, wakeboarding, cooking, and is so excited to be a Buckeye for 2 more years!

Karin WagnerLeah Lindak

Leah was born and raised in North Ridgeville, Ohio, a suburb west of Cleveland. She fell in love with OSU at a young age and graduated from The Ohio State University with a BS in Neuroscience in December of 2017. While an undergraduate, she led a service trip to Boston to work with the homeless community, was a member of OSU’s Undergraduate Genetic Counseling Club, played intramural sports, and worked as a nanny. Leah’s interest in genetic counseling began in high school and fueled her desire to shadow genetic counselors in Cincinnati and Columbus. Leah acquired advocacy experience through Crisis Text Line where she volunteers as a trained Crisis Counselor. 

Karin WagnerRachel Marbach

Rachel is from Exton, Pennsylvania. She graduated magna cum laude from Allegheny College in Meadville, PA in 2016 where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Psychology. During her time there, Rachel completed research in stream and disease ecology, specifically exploring the interaction between sex and aggression in parasite-infected salamanders. She also served as VP of Philanthropy for her sorority and had the opportunity to work with the local women's shelter in fundraising and service. After graduation, Rachel worked for Holy Family Institute as a family and child worker with high-risk behavior youth in Pittsburgh, PA. In her free time, Rachel loves DIY projects, traveling, and strategic board games. 

Karin Wagner

Madison Ruehl

Madison was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from St. Lawrence University in upstate New York in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and a minor in Creative Writing. Throughout her undergraduate career, she played volleyball for her university for all four years while volunteering at the local Canton-Potsdam Hospital. She interned during the summer before her senior year with an oncology genetic counselor at Scripps Green Hospital in La Jolla, California. She gained advocacy experience by being a part of SLU Advocates, the student-run sexual crisis hotline program at her university. In her free time, Madison loves to travel to new places and write about her adventures. 

 

Lara Sucheston-Campbell

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Current student of the class of 2020

Karin WagnerLeah Vicini

Leah was raised a Spartan in Grand Rapids, MI. She graduated from Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in Genomics and Molecular Genetics. During undergrad she worked as a research assistant in a psychology and epidemiology lab studying child development. She was also able to spend a summer during my undergrad at Van Andel Institute studying Alzheimer's disease. After graduation she worked as a clinical language and reporting technician for a genetic carrier screening company, NxGen MDx. While working, she was able to gain advocacy experience at Ele's Place, a center for grieving children. To take a break from science during undergrad she worked as a Wings Team member for Red Bull!
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Second Year Students


Amber Aeilts

Amber was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. She graduated from The Ohio State University in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and a minor in Psychology. During her time as an undergraduate she worked as a research assistant on studies involving breast and ovarian cancer under Leigha Senter-Jamieson and had the opportunity to shadow multiple genetic counselors in the area. Amber gained additional advocacy experience volunteering as a helpline advocate for the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO). In her free time, she likes to explore Columbus with her friends, play tennis, spend time with her family, and travel. 

Julia Cooper

Julia grew up in Worthington, Ohio, and upon graduating high school she moved 10 miles away from her childhood home to Ohio State’s campus, where in 2015 she earned a BS in Molecular Genetics and a minor in Human Development and Family Science. While an undergrad, Julia developed an interest in genetic counseling during the over 300 hours she spent volunteering with the cancer genetics program at OhioHealth. Additionally, she was a founding member of the Undergraduate Genetic Counseling Club at OSU, a survivor advocate for SARNCO, and a coach with Girls on the Run of Franklin County. She gained clinical research experience as an intern for Leigha Senter, MS, LGC at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Division of Human Genetics, where she assisted with studies involving families with Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome due to mutations in BRCA1/2. Between undergrad and entering graduate school, Julia worked as a Genetic Counseling Assistant at OhioHealth, done countless hours of hot yoga, and satisfied her wanderlust by traveling to Thailand. 

Jennifer Gauerke

Jenny was born and raised in Waupaca, WI. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Biology from Winona State University in Winona, MN. Throughout her undergraduate career, she conducted research in the areas of neuropsychology, social psychology, and health psychology. Jenny also completed a summer undergraduate research fellowship at Mayo Clinic in the Neurobiology of Disease Lab studying the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis in zebrafish. She gained advocacy experience through being an outpatient intern at a mental health facility, holding an executive board position on her school’s St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Up Til Dawn club, and by performing philanthropic work for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) through her sorority. Following graduation from Winona State University, Jenny completed a post-baccalaureate fellowship at Mayo Clinic in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department studying patient mutations related to familial hypercholesterolemia. In her free time, Jenny enjoys hiking, skiing, watching Netflix, and spending time with friends and family.

Marie-Louise Henry

Marie-Louise was born in Brussels, Belgium and raised in the state of Michigan. She graduated from Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a minor in French. As an undergrad she worked as a research assistant in a clinical psychophysiology lab studying the correlation of anxiety and depression between children and their parents. She also worked in a plant research lab studying various microbes. Marie-Louise gained advocacy experience volunteering with Loaves and Fishes, a transitional house for the homeless population in the greater Lansing area. She loves to travel, write, and spend time with family and friends.

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Katherine Myers

Kate is from Mansfield, Ohio. She graduated from The Ohio State University in 2015 with a degree in Microbiology and a minor in Clinical Psychology. During her undergraduate career, Kate was a member of the Undergraduate Genetic Counseling Club, shadowed many genetic counselors, and volunteered at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the Heart Hope Foundation. After graduation, Kate worked in a microbiology lab for the College of Dentistry at OSU before working as a clinical research coordinator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Cardiovascular Genetics. She was honored to present her work on numeracy and genetic knowledge’s effect on perceived recurrence risk of congenital heart defects as a poster presentation at NSGC’s 2016 Annual Education Conference. In her free time, Kate enjoys cooking, swimming, reading, and rooting for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Keith Pelstring

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Current student of the class of 2019


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Laiken is from Altoona, Wisconsin. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the Spring of 2017, where she studied Biology and minored in Chemistry and Psychology. She gained a passion for genetic counseling after shadowing genetic counselors in both the clinical and laboratory settings, as well as after completing a laboratory genetic counseling undergraduate summer internship at PreventionGenetics, a genetics laboratory located in Marshfield, Wisconsin. During her undergraduate coursework, she researched opposite-sex friendships and men’s and women’s household task distribution preferences in an Individual Differences and Evolutionary Psychology lab. She gained advocacy experience through volunteer work in a local hospital’s critical care unit and a social/emotional support internship at an early childhood learning center near her hometown. Laiken also worked as a child’s advocate at a local shelter. In her free time, Laiken enjoys dancing, running, biking, and playing board games with friends and family. 

Kelly Rich

Kelly was born and raised in Westwood, Massachusetts, a small suburb south of Boston. She attended Northwestern University, graduating in 2014 with a bachelor's of science in Social Policy. In college, Kelly worked as a research assistant at Northwestern's Allada lab, studying the interaction of neurodegeneration and circadian rhythm in drosophila, which introduced her to the power of genetics. She worked in public policy as an intern at the Evanston, IL Housing Department, held a three-year position as a PURPLE Mentor within Northwestern's Athletic Department and served as a board member for the Campus Coalition against Sexual Violence. Since graduation, Kelly has worked in direct patient care, qualitative primary care research, and most recently in biotech. She became very interested in genetics after working for the past two years at GNS Healthcare, a precision-medicine, machine-learning biotech company that leverages big data to improve patient outcomes. Outside of healthcare, loves lacrosse, traveling, cooking, hiking, and coffee.

Abigail

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Abbie was raised in Hartland, Wisconsin. She studied at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa majoring in Biology and Spanish. While at Luther, she studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain where she gained a passion for medical Spanish and Spanish culture. During her undergrad, she also had a month long internship at the University of Minnesota’s Genetic Counseling Graduate Program and tutored. After graduation, she was a resident for a year at Waukesha Family Practice Center. An avid volunteer, Abbie has worked with special needs students through Luther College’s Council for Exceptional Children and is an On Call Sexual Assault Advocate through the Waukesha Women’s Center. In her spare time, you can usually find Abbie reading, playing trumpet, or baking cupcakes. ​​​​​​