How to know if genetic counseling is right for you…

Hi Everyone,

We recently did a morale event among my department’s GCs. We asked each other how/why we decided to enter this career. I thought the answers might be helpful for others wondering whether he/she also wants to be a GC.

It’s not always easy to know “what you want to be when you grow up.” But the following are our trains of thought regarding how we got here.

You’ll notice a few us say something along the lines of wanting to be a scientist, but one who doesn’t touch people nor sit in a lab all day.  🙂

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  • “Initially I was on the pre-veterinary medicine track at my undergrad when I decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to do something in genetics since those classes and labs were my favorite. However, I hated sitting at a bench doing experiments and trying to come up with hypotheses! I really wanted to incorporate some level of education into my career so my advisor suggested genetic counseling. I did a google search and voila!”
  • “I got into genetic counseling because I enjoyed genetics and psychology and didn’t want to do anything involving infectious disease!”
  • “I always thought I’d be a therapist, or a doctor. When I heard about genetic counseling essentially being a combination of both (in a high school textbook), I knew this was for me. I feel very fortunate that I heard about it so early and could prepare myself through college to get to grad school!”
  • “I got into genetic counseling because I wanted a career with both medical and scientific components (sounds like the canned interview response, but it’s true!) and something that would be constantly evolving. I also wanted to know that I’d be working in a field with good work-life balance so that I could actually see my family!”
  • “I was a psych major in college and knew I’d end up going to grad school, but did not want to be a psychologist.  I took a few career assessments online and genetic counseling kept coming up at the top of list – I had no clue what it even was, so I researched it and it was exactly what I didn’t know I was looking for… I applied for a local internship and the rest is history.”
  • “I got into genetic counseling because I wanted to be a scientist, but wasn’t keen on touching people. I also like the work-life balance part of the career.”
  • “I was as senior Bio major in college and stumbled across a poster about Genetic Counseling outside my professor’s office. I knew I didn’t want to “look under a microscope” as a career, so genetic counseling seemed like a good combination of people contact and science. It was November, so I had 2 months to decide if I wanted to be a GC, and get my applications in by the January deadline! The rest is history.”
  • “I was initially interested in becoming a physician and had planned on doing so up until my sophomore year of college. I really enjoyed the genetics course I took, but after doing some research I realized I did not want to be a geneticist. I decided that I still wanted to work in the field of genetics, so I researched other professions within this field and came to genetic counseling. Although fewer GCs were in roles outside of clinic, I knew the degree would give me a variety of job options should I decide that I didn’t want to stay in clinic.”
  • “I always loved science and genetics in school, but didn’t learn about the profession of genetic counseling until my junior year of college. After spending time working in both research and pharmaceutical labs during college, I realized I wanted more interaction with people. I shadowed some local genetic counselors and decided being a genetic counselor would be the perfect combination of science and interpersonal interaction.”
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GC GRAD SCHOOL APPLICATION ADVICE ((BY BRYNNA))

As we say goodbye to summer days spent at the beach, fall is right around the corner. Meaning, the next round of applications for the 2019 genetic counseling cycle!

To help prospective genetic students prepare, I recorded an episode with my good friend, Kira Dineen, on her genetics podcast, DNA Today. Along with two other amazing GC applicants, Brianna and Katie, we discussed our own experiences with the application process along with the brand new Match system. (A post on the Match system is in the works!)

Kira and I were also able to compile advice from over 50 accepted genetic counseling students! The results from the survey can be found on My Gene Counsel and on DNA Today.

GC App (Part 1) T (2)

Episode and survey data can be found here. Also, be sure to check out the follow up episode coming out in early 2019!

In other news, we have some updates! We currently rebooted our Twitter so please join in the #gcchat with us and others in the genetics community at @mapsandgenes. Also, stay tuned for updates in the Opportunities and Experiences tab!

U South Florida Genetic Counseling MSPH 2018 Open House – Online Viewing Available

Florida is a great state! I should know, I (Jade) live there. Check out the U of South Florida program, located in Tampa. This program puts you on track to earn a Masters in Genetic Counseling and Public Health — all good things in one! (Plus, the beach)

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Brigham and Women’s Genetic Counseling Career Day

It’s summa time! Meaning, a great time to sneak in some GC Career Counseling Days and learn more about the field.

Register here for Brigham and Women’s Genetic Counseling Career Day:

https://gccareerdayjune2018.eventbrite.com

 

GC Career Day

Prospective Genetic Counselor Day (Remote too!)

It’s that time of year again! (For me to plug GeneDx’s Prospective Genetic Counselor Day)

Are you interested in a career in Genetic Counseling?

 

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Consider attending the Prospective GC info session on April 27, 2018
RSVP: Meg Bradbury, MS, CGC, MSHS (mbradbury@genedx.com) by April 20, 2018
Not onsite? Join in remotely by video conference.
For further information please contact mbradbury@genedx.com

 

 

Genetic Counseling Case Series – Online series for prospective genetic counseling students

#expose yourself

Speaking of resume boosters… here’s an opportunity for individuals looking for more exposure to the field of genetic counseling before applying to graduate school:

The Genetic Counseling Program of the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center offers several online courses for genetic counselors and prospective students. The newest course, Genetic Counseling Case Series, provides an introduction to the genetic counseling profession through clinical and laboratory case examples. This would be a great option for prospective genetic counseling students who are looking to get more exposure to the field.

The course includes adult, cancer, laboratory, pediatric, preconception, and prenatal case presentations that can be accessed on demand from work or home at any time of day or night. Goals of the course include:

  • Introduce students to the genetic counseling profession through case examples
  • Describe the role of genetic counselors in healthcare and the major aspects of a genetic counseling session
  • Familiarize students with medical, genetic, and psychosocial issues that can present in genetic counseling cases.

 

More information on their online courses can be found here

Additional info:

 

  • Cost: $95
  • Hours of content: 5.3
  • NOT AVAILABLE FOR CEUs

 

 

 

Job Opportunity – Genetic Counseling Assistant (GCA)

Genetic Counseling Assistant (GCA) positions are a great introduction to the field and a wonderful way to gain experience before applying to graduate school.

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GCA positions are popping up more frequently. Some prospective students may wish to inquire whether there is a position available at a local genetic counseling facility, or even whether the facility would be willing to create a position.

Great job opportunity for those in the Maryland/DC area or those able to relocate. See details below.

To apply, head over to https://www.genedx.com/jobopenings/.

 

To learn how some facilities are implementing GCAs, see the following literature:

  • Trepanier, A. M., Cohen, S. A., & Allain, D. C. (2015). Thinking Differently About Genetic Counseling Service Delivery. Current Genetic Medicine Reports, 3(2), 49-56. doi:10.1007/s40142-015-0069-7
  • Rahm, A. K., Sukhanova, A., Ellis, J., & Mouchawar, J. (2007). Increasing Utilization of Cancer Genetic Counseling Services Using a Patient Navigator Model. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 16(2), 171-177. doi:10.1007/s10897-006-9051-6
  • Presented Abstract from the Thirty Fifth Annual Education Conference of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (Seattle, WA, September 2016): The genetic counseling assistant: Dana-Farber’s experience in establishing a new role
  • Concurrent Paper for GC Professional Roles from the Thirty Third Annual Education Conference of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (New Orleans, LA, September 2014): The Genetic Counseling Assistant: Is Our Profession Ready for Multiple Career Levels?
    1. Robinson1, B. Crawford2, S. Pirzadeh-Miller1, P. Read3, S. Pass1
    2. Simmons Cancer Center, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
    3. Cancer Risk Program, University of California San Francisco
    4. The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • Presented Abstracts from the Thirty Fifth Annual Education Conference of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (Seattle, WA, September 2016): Finding the right mix: Optimizing the utilization of the genetic counseling skill set
    • P. Read1, M. Marvin1, B. Yashar1, L. Robinson2
    • 1. University of Michigan
    • 2. UT Southwestern Medical Center

How to Build a Resume and Cover Letter for your First Genetic Counseling Position

Did you all tune into the Student/New Member SIG Webinar on November 29th?

Cindy Soliday (Kaiser HR hiring manager for GCs) & MaryAnn Campion, MS, CGC (co-director of Stanford program) discussed how to obtain your first GC position. And while I coudn’t stay on the line for the entire lecture, I jotted down some notes on resume and cover letters.

Quick Notes on Resumes:

  • Keep it short (1-2 pages)
  • Use simple, obvious formatting
  • Use the formatting to draw attention to your key points; don’t bury them
  • Include (1) personal contact information (2) education (3) experience (clinical placements, relevant work experience, relevant volunteer work) (3) professional organizations (4) awards (5) special skills (bilingual, etc.) (6) major publications and presentations
  • Indicating “References available upon request” is OK
    • However, choose your references wisely and always ask your references in advance
    • Prep your references and give them a heads-up as to which jobs you’re applying for
  • Ensure your resume is TARGETED to the specific job; create multiple versions of your resume that are tailored to each job opportunity
  • Absolutely no excuse for typos! Have multiple people proof read
  • Tips:
    • Keep one long continuous (all-purpose) resume/CV saved, then cull the long version for specific jobs/opportunities
    • Turn resumes into PDFs before submitting so they remain visually appealing. Otherwise, formatting may get messy depending on how it’s saved into the system.

Quick Notes on Cover Letters:

  • Intended to introduce and complement your resume/CV (should NOT be a repetition of your resume)
  • 1 page, simple, NO TYPOS
  • Address the letter to the specific hiring person or company
  • Explain why you are writing
  • Main body should list major accomplishments or experience; convince the employer to interview you
  • Tailor the letter to the position
  • Emphasize your specific career goals at this position
  • Encourage the employer to contact you in the last paragraph

 

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My understanding is that the presentation slides will eventually be posted on the SIG board. If you’re not already a member, consider joining. The rest of the webinar provides information regarding job searching, salary and benefit negotiation techniques, and
examining what HR hiring managers and lead genetic counselors are looking for in an applicant.

Happy job searching!

Happy Genetic Counselor Awareness Day!

GC

Today, November 9th, is genetic counselor awareness day! Take a minute to learn about what a genetic counselor does. Check out this blog and https://www.nsgc.org/ for more information about genetic counseling.

Check out the video from the National Society of Genetic Counselors:

 

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