What made you decide to double major in biological sciences and psychology?
I decided to double major because I knew I wanted to go into Genetic Counseling after college. I had always had an interest in genetics and biology but knew I didn't want to go the lab route, so when I heard about a way to combine my interest in the sciences into a patient-facing role, I knew I wanted to continue down that path
What have been your favorite classes to take within your majors?
BIOS 412 Human Genetics was a super small class where we were able to have open discussions and really learn about the genetic basis behind many common disorders and how they manifest differently in everybody. PSYC 440 Perspectives in Psychology was a discussion-based class where we talked about topics ranging from aliens, to cryptids, and drugs, and I was able to get hands-on experience with psychology research and I even found significant results.
What activities are you involved in? How do they help you achieve your goals?
I started with Big Red Resilience and Well-Being in the spring of my freshman year as a well-being ambassador, a student who advocates for mental health and well-being. During my junior year, I became a REACH Suicide Prevention Trainer where I help facilitate suicide prevention training. I also joined the BRRWB staff as a student intern where I have been working on my thesis surrounding promoting student well-being on campus and using the well-being assessment to conduct research on current student well-being trends.
I helped to co-found the Pre-Genetic Counseling Club of UNL in the spring of my junior year. We decided we wanted to start the club because there had previously been very few resources for students interested in the field. Since we had our first club meeting this fall, we have been able to invite six practicing genetic counselors to join our meetings and offer personal statement, resume, and finding graduate school workshops to our members; and have been able to connect our members with research, volunteer, and specific field experiences.
Have you found any mentors that have helped you along the way? How would you recommend other students go about finding a mentor?
My biggest mentor has been Constance (Connie) Boehm, the director of Big Red Resilience and Well-Being. Connie has always believed in me and pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of. I have gained so many wonderful opportunities I would not have been able to have without her and she has supported me through some difficult times in college as well. I think finding a mentor is as simple as getting involved in something that really sparks your interest and saying yes to the opportunities that it provides.
What is your best advice for students who want to pursue a similar career path?
My best advice is to engage in lectures, do the assignments, and ask questions. If you're intentional about your education you will get more out of it than if you just go to class, tune out, and go home after. Professors will appreciate your willingness to learn and engage and you will gain knowledge and skills important for your future career.