Bookmark and Share

Students

Current Students: Click here for a list of links to commonly used resources.

Class of 2016

Jennifer Billiet 
Jennifer Billiet

Jen graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, and a minor in Human Development. Jen was in the College Park Scholars, Advocates for Children program, and volunteered with America Reads throughout college. After graduating, she moved to Baltimore and started working in a clinical neurology lab at Johns Hopkins University. While she enjoyed working in the lab, she wanted to work more directly with people. After observing several local genetic counselors in action, she decided to pursue her master’s degree in genetic counseling. A Maryland native, Jen loves living in Baltimore, and is excited to be a part of the UMB genetic counseling program. Her thesis project is exploring the psychosocial experiences of women who had telemedicine genetic counseling for recently diagnosed breast cancer. Jen also volunteers for the Baltimore County domestic violence and sexual assault hotline. She enjoys playing with her dog Annie, cheering on the Ravens and the Orioles, and cooking in her free time.

Alyssa Blesson  
Alyssa Blesson

A Baltimore girl at heart, Alyssa (Ah-leesa) found the perfect fit in the University of Maryland School of Medicine genetic counseling program. Alyssa is from Catonsville, MD and graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Psychology. While at UMBC, she discovered genetic counseling through an introductory genetics lecture and began shadowing genetic counselors across Maryland as well as volunteering at a telephone crisis hotline center in College Park, MD. After graduation, she gained experience in the field of laboratory genetic counseling and interacted with genetic counselors nationwide as she worked as a genetic counseling assistant in the Whole Exome Sequencing program at GeneDx. Her work at GeneDx has inspired her current thesis project into how genetic counselors of various specialties have implemented whole exome sequencing in their practice, with focus on counseling techniques developed and issues encountered during the testing process. In her spare time, Alyssa enjoys working on campus at URecFit and exploring everything Baltimore and Maryland have to offer.

Amanda Catchings 
Amanda Catchings

Amanda graduated from Syracuse University in 2014 with a B.S. in biology and a minor in psychology. Amanda developed an interest in genetics in high school and her college experiences fostered her interest in the field of genetic counseling. During her time as an undergraduate, Amanda was a member of the Renée Crown Honors Program. As a member of the program, she had the opportunity to conduct research in a biology lab investigating progesterone signaling in mouse development and to write a Capstone thesis about her research. She was very involved in her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta, volunteered at the University’s Advocacy Center, was a member of the student-run dance organization Danceworks, and volunteered as a telephone worker at a local crisis hotline. She is happy to escape the tundra of Upstate New York for the city of Baltimore and she couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Genetic Counseling Program at University of Maryland. In her spare time she enjoys going for runs, listening to country music, eating copious amounts of ice cream and exploring the Inner Harbor.

Jennifer Gay  
Jennifer Gay

Originally from snowy Rochester, NY, Jennifer is thrilled to be all settled in to Baltimore and the University of Maryland! Jennifer graduated cum laude with a BA in Public Health and Spanish Literature from Franklin & Marshall College, where she also researched fetal skeletal development in a mouse model for Down syndrome, and precepted a course on reproductive technologies. While in undergrad, Jennifer also traveled extensively, exploring the role of culture in health care in Switzerland, India, China and South Africa, and returning to Africa a year later as a comparative study on the care of HIV/AIDS orphans in Kenya. During her senior year, Jennifer was exposed to genetic counseling by accident, and she fell in love with the profession, so she immediately made the shift from medical to graduate school. After graduation, Jennifer returned home for a year to teach a precocious, energetic batch of toddlers, and to serve her community as a sexual assault crisis advocate. At the University of Maryland, Jennifer is hard at work exploring her growing interests in prenatal genetics and counseling for artificial reproductive technologies, and she is developing her thesis on the perceived role of non-biological (social) parents in same-sex couples in the high-risk prenatal counseling session. In her limited spare time, Jennifer may be found in boot camp classes at URecFit, trying out new recipes, reading, or wandering beautiful Inner Harbor.

Monique Lubaton  
Monique Lubaton

After graduating from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2010 with a BA in Government & Politics and Jewish Studies, Monique returns to the great state of Maryland to join the MGC program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Before starting graduate school, Monique lived in Washington D.C. and worked for a law association. Once she realized that she did not want to become a lawyer and that her true passion was genetic counseling, Monique moved back home to Virginia Beach to pursue the academic, extracurricular and observational requirements. During her time home, she was lucky enough to work as a research assistant at the M. Foscue Brock Institute for Community and Global Health, a new public health initiative through Eastern Virginia Medical School. Some of her responsibilities included planning programs, drafting grant proposals and researching local public health metrics. During this time, Monique was also able to combine her interests in public health and genetics by helping to organize a genetic screening event for the Jewish community of Hampton Roads. Monique’s clinical and research interests revolve around gynecological cancers and she will be exploring them further in her thesis entitled "Endometrial Cancer Risk Perceptions in Women Diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome." She is thrilled to be at the University of Maryland, Baltimore and looks forward to two years of unique opportunities, excellent education and Baltimore charm!

Carolyn Rogers  
Carolyn Rogers

Carolyn is a Pennsylvania native who has found herself happily studying Genetic Counseling at the University of Maryland. Originally from Pittsburgh, Carolyn studied at the Pennsylvania State University where she received a B.S. in Biology and minored in Psychology. While at Penn State Carolyn completed activities such as volunteering on a sexual assault crisis hotline, volunteering at Mt. Nittany Medical Center, and taking on roles in the Scheryer Honors College Student Council. During her summers she worked on her undergraduate research project in transcriptomics and bioinformatics and worked at a summer camp for intellectually disabled adults. Carolyn is working on developing her thesis project and is currently interested in observing the interaction between depression in women and their satisfaction with prenatal genetic counseling. In her free time she liked to hike, sketch, and discover the exciting things that Baltimore has to offer.

Erin Syverson  
Erin Syverson

Originally hailing from Maple Grove, MN, Erin received her BS degree in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Before moving to Baltimore, Erin served as a crisis counselor with Briarpatch Youth Services, volunteered at multiple day programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and worked as a respite provider for United Cerebral Palsy. She also worked in the Graduate Medical Education office at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, where she helped with the oversight of the medical residency programs. Given her background, genetic counseling was love at first mention: a perfect combination of science, education, and working with individuals with disabilities. Likewise, her work experience has also shaped her research interests - her thesis, The Impact of Clinical Genetics Exposure on Residents’ Utilization of Clinical Genetics Skills and Genetic Counseling Services, hopes to identify ways to make medical schools’ genetics curricula more targeted. Although she misses the fried cheese and tater tot hotdish from back home, she is happy to be here, loving her classmates, enjoying the abundance of nearby dessert shops, and is thankful for all of the amazing opportunities.

Class of 2017

Dina Alaeddin  
Dina Alaeddin

Born and raised in the small Middle Eastern country of Jordan, Dina was exposed to genetics at a young age and has been interested in the field ever since. Dina graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics from Cardiff University in Wales, UK. During which she volunteered at a Breast Cancer Program, ran laboratory diagnostic tests, sequenced DNA and researched prevalence of genetic disorders in her home country. Dina then moved to Virginia - where she completely lost her British accent and became a DC sports fan - in hopes of finding her niche in the healthcare system. Upon learning more about the Genetic Counseling field, she fell in love with it. Genetic Counseling comprised exactly what she was looking for; Genetics with the clinical, research and educational aspects, all combined. After familiarizing herself with the essentials of the US healthcare system, through working with several physicians and being exposed to several genetic disorders, Dina shadowed genetic counselors and started working as a Genetic Counseling Assistant in the Whole Exome Sequencing program at GeneDx. Dina enjoys travelling and playing sports; specifically basketball. She loves being outside, and cannot wait to further explore the city of Baltimore. She is beyond excited and proud to be part of the UMD GC program.

Liz Cutting  
Liz Cutting

A born and bred Baltimorean, Liz, is excited to join the MGC program at the University of Maryland. Liz is from Towson, MD and graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. While at Princeton, Liz fell in love with genetics after her freshman year epigenetic seminar taught by renowned scientist, Shirley Tilghman. When not in the lab, Liz kept busy at school as a member of the women's varsity lacrosse team. After graduating in 2014, Liz returned to Baltimore to work at the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Program for Personalized and Genomic Medicine. While at UMB, Liz ran focus groups that aimed to improve the way in which clinicians and laboratories communicate genomic data to patients, as well as, designed software that could potentially assist clinicians when viewing a genetic test result. In her spare time, Liz enjoys running, yoga, and exploring her favorite city, Baltimore!

Kristen Leppert  
Kristen Leppert

A Maryland native since birth, Kristen is originally from Harford County but moved to Baltimore County to attend college at Towson University. There, she earned her B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology and fell in love with the city of Baltimore. During her undergraduate career, she was an active member of Kappa Delta Sorority, holding multiple leadership positions and enjoying many new experiences - including a trip to Chicago for a leadership training academy. During her time as an undergrad, her coursework and research experiences led Kristen to discover her passion for genetic counseling. Her desire to attend graduate school for genetic counseling continued to grow during her shadowing experiences at Kennedy Krieger, as well as during her time as a volunteer counselor at Whole Woman’s Health, a women’s health clinic which provides abortion care. She is extremely excited to be a part of the genetic counseling program at the University of Maryland, while also living in the heart of Baltimore and experiencing all that the city has to offer. In her free time, Kristen enjoys trying new recipes, cheering on the Orioles at Camden Yards, yoga, and craft beer.

Rachel Schwiter  
Rachel Schwiter

Rachel, from Fairmount Springs, PA, graduated summa cum laude from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. She completed a B.S. degree in Psychology in 2015. During her undergraduate years, she was a member of the Lycoming College Scholars Program, played the flute in many musical ensembles, taught tap dance classes, and interned for a family-based mental health service. Rachel completed an individual research project that focused on finding associations between dopamine degradation and personality traits. She also volunteered at Camp Victory, a camp for children and adults with special needs, in the summers. Her interest in genetic counseling comes from a history of Osler-Weber-Rendu Syndrome in her family. After job-shadowing her family’s genetic counselor, she continued to observe genetic counselors in other specialties and loved the variety of cases that they saw each day. She is excited to be a student in the Genetic Counseling Training Program and is grateful for all of the opportunities that the University of Maryland, Baltimore and the city of Baltimore have to offer! In her free time, Rachel enjoys playing her flute semi-professionally and attending Zumba classes.

Patrick Semesky  
Patrick Semesky

Born and raised in Lutherville, MD, Patrick received his B.S. in Biology and his B.A. in History at The University of Virginia. After four years of explaining to people in Charlottesville that Baltimore is not “just like ‘The Wire,’” he returned home to work as a patient service coordinator in the Department of Otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Working alongside audiologists, otologists, and speech-language pathologists, he built a connection with the deaf and hard of hearing community and aided in research focused upon quality of life for older patients and emergent reading and communication skills for younger patients receiving cochlear implants. He was introduced to genetic counseling by his high school biology teacher, and as an employee in a medical center he was able to do some invaluable shadowing. Seeing counselors in action confirmed his passion to become a member of the field. Before applying to the UMD MGC program, he joined Crisis Text Line, a text based crisis intervention service tailored toward adolescents. He has enjoyed CTL as a platform to make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth. In his free time, he enjoys playing music, sports, cooking breakfast, and quoting movies excessively. He is thrilled to be a part of the program and is looking forward to building the skills to become an effective counselor.

Kelsey Stauff  
Kelsey Stauff

Kelsey graduated from the University of Maryland in College Park, MD in May 2010. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology and in Secondary Education. During college, she was a part of the College Park Scholars Earth, Life, and Time program, a leader in the Alternative Spring Breaks program, and a sexual and domestic assault peer advocate. After college, she started teaching high school biology in southern Maryland as well as coaching soccer, basketball, and track. Kelsey also has volunteered as an adult mentor to youth in Southern Maryland for the past four years. Kelsey enjoyed sharing science with teenagers each day but after a few years, she felt that her heart was leading her into the medical world to find her true passion. She began to research genetic counseling and shadow counselors after narrowing down her interests. She is excited to join the UMB MGC program and become a student again. In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys writing poetry, going to country concerts, exploring new places, and being active in any form (but especially running and playing basketball)!

Katie Steike  
Katie Steike

Originally from a small town called Carmel in upstate New York, Katie graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in molecular genetics, a minor in music, and a cluster in psychology from the University of Rochester. Although she’ll miss the snowball fights and skiing, Katie is thrilled to be settling into the warmer weather and exciting culture of Baltimore. While an undergraduate, Katie was a teaching assistant for several chemistry courses at the University of Rochester, tutored students in biology and chemistry, and was an academic coach/peer counselor for students with intellectual disabilities who were auditing classes at the university. Katie found out about genetic counseling the summer before her senior year and immediately knew that it was for her. She shadowed the genetic counselors at her university that fall and fell in love with the profession. Katie is excited to begin her career as a genetic counselor and couldn’t be happier to be attending the University of Maryland for her studies. In her free time, Katie enjoys skiing, hiking, rock climbing, juggling, and cooking, and looks forward to exploring more of Baltimore.

Julianne Whitleigh  
Julianne Whitleigh

Julianne graduated cum laude from Franklin and Marshall College in 2013 with a BA in Biology and minor in Religious Studies. During her four years at F&M, Julianne played on the college’s softball team, pursuing her lifelong passion to play competitively without sacrificing a top-notch education. Julianne was also a Gray Scholar, affording her opportunities to serve the community of Lancaster, PA, while navigating college with other students traditionally under-represented in higher education. Julianne was chosen to serve as a research assistant in the Hackman Scholars program, a position from which her work on synthesizing, purifying, and characterizing thiophene derivatives was published. After graduation, Julianne began volunteering working with women facing crisis pregnancies. Her counseling work with these women, along with her work in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, helped her realize the value of truly addressing clients’ needs; combined with her love for human biology, Julianne found her perfect career in genetic counseling. From the beautiful Jersey Shore, Julianne is excited to move to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and begin her studies in the genetic counseling program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.