Class of 2017
Hometown: Chilliwack, BC
Why did you decide to pursue a career in genetic counselling?
I explored quite a few career paths before deciding on genetic counseling. Biology and genetics were always my most interesting courses, and I knew I wanted to work with people. Genetic counseling is the perfect combination of all the aspects I was looking for in a career. It allows for quality time with patients in a healthcare setting, while also allowing for a good work/life balance.
How did you hear about genetic counselling?
I first heard about genetic counseling in one of my undergraduate genetics courses. I was also fortunate to have a volunteer research position in a cardio-genetics clinic that has a genetic counselor working with patients. Through that position, I was able to observe many genetic counseling sessions and my curiosity about the profession grew.
What attracted you to UBC’s two-year Genetic Counselling Program?
Besides being close to home, UBC’s program stood out for a couple reasons. Firstly, students start clinical rotations within the first two weeks of school, allowing for a lot of practical experience alongside classes. Secondly, each student completes a directed studies research project during the program. Both research experience and hands-on learning were important to me, and UBC was definitely a great fit.
How did you prepare for the application process and interviews?
I practiced standard interview questions with friends, and had a few people read over my application.
What’s one piece of advice you would offer to prospective applicants interested in joining UBC’s program?
I suggest taking advantage of every volunteer opportunity you have! Not only does volunteer experience help strengthen your application, but allows you to discover what you are looking for in a career. I discovered genetic counseling this way, and knew exactly why I wanted to pursue it as a career by the time I applied.
As a student, what’s a ‘typical day’ like?
What I love about the program is that every day is different! In first year, you have quite a few classes, so most days are a combination of class and rotations. You might have a few classes in the morning, and then head off to see some patients in the afternoon. We also participate in hospital rounds and other events, so it’s always busy!
What has been the biggest highlight of the program so far?
I’ve really enjoyed the variety of clinical rotations I’ve had so far! In just my first semester, I spent two months in the general clinic with prenatal cases, had a 3-week rotation in the embryopathology lab and spent a month in a private fertility clinic.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
In 5 years I hope to be living in Vancouver and starting to build my career! While I’m not sure what area of genetic counseling I want to pursue, I’m confident the wide variety of rotations during the program will help me figure it out.