Friday, February 3, 2017

Educational Opportunities

The Pitt genetic counseling students have the opportunity to participate in a number of educational experiences that enhance their training including educating high school and undergraduate students about the genetic counseling profession. Read on to learn about some of our students’ experiences educating others about genetic counseling.

“I really value my experience leading small group discussions with some AP Psychology high school students. We worked through a genetic counseling session together as a group and discussed complex ethical issues surrounding genetic testing. I was very struck by how thoughtful they were in their answers. They were all very interested in genetics and compassionate regarding how it could have a major impact on people’s lives. As the leader of this discussion, it was the first time I was in an ‘expert’ role in regards to genetic knowledge, and having such a positive interaction early in my educational experience gave me great insight into the role of a genetic counselor in a session before I entered into rotations.” - Emily Griffenkranz, Class of 2017

“I had the opportunity to speak to the Tri Beta biology honors society about genetic counseling this semester, and I really enjoyed the experience. I ultimately decided to become a genetic counselor after listening to some graduate students talk about their program, so after speaking to the undergrads about my program I felt as though I had come full circle. I can only hope that our discussion inspired one of the students in the audience in the same way that I was inspired by genetic counseling students when I was in college” - Julia Stone, Class of 2018

“I also had the opportunity to give a presentation to college students in Grove City, PA introducing them to the field of genetic counseling. I enjoyed the teaching experience and was glad I could help increase knowledge about genetics, as it is such an important public health goal.” - Claire Leifeste, Class of 2018

“I spoke to some students in Grove City, PA about genetic counseling and my experiences in Pitt’s program thus far. Although most students in the room were on the pre-med track, I still think it was important information to pass on to future medical professionals so they can better direct people to genetics services in the future. I believe educating people about what genetic counselors can do is a major component of growing the profession and expanding personalized medicine throughout our healthcare system.” - Meg Hager, Class of 2018

“Educational experiences at the University of Pittsburgh allowed me to share my passion for public health and genetic counseling with high school students who were part of the Health Career Scholars Academy. I was able to first introduce careers in public health and then specifically genetic counseling and its applications to public health to these students. The students were then divided into groups and I was able to go through a genetic counseling scenario and discuss public health and ethical implications. It was really amazing to not only share my passion, but to also hear the thoughts of my future fellow public health professionals.” - Brooke Hornak, Class of 2017

“I spent a day last year getting to talk with some amazing teenagers affiliated with the Huntington’s Disease Society of America’s National Youth Alliance at their annual conference.  These teenagers and young adults are personally affected by Huntington’s disease, and wanted to learn more about genetic testing options available for them in the future.  To facilitate a thoughtful discussion, we broke up into small groups and role-played scenarios involving individuals trying to decide when and how to get tested for Huntington’s disease.  The teens were amazing; right away they understood the emotional complexities that come with testing, and were wonderfully gracious in sharing their own personal experiences with me.  It’s always a wonderful experience to help educate others about genetics, but this particular group was a pleasure to work with, and I was so grateful that they allowed me to listen to their own journeys and struggles with Huntington’s.” - Emily Massiello, Class of 2017

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