Class of 2021

liz aleman
Liz Aleman
BS, Psychology, University of California, Davis

My time as a transit driver trainer for ASUCD Unitrans was truly a unique experience. I loved teaching students how to drive buses, and it helped me develop my interpersonal skills. Additionally, I was a camp counselor for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. It honestly felt like Disneyland for both the kids and staff as the site was fully ADA accessible. No activity was off limits, including zip lining and archery. I enjoyed witnessing their growth in self-esteem, confidence, and independence as they spent a whole week away from their families, which is not easy for anyone.

I am thrilled that Brandeis offers the possibility of doing some internships abroad, I think it will help me gain a better understanding of different healthcare systems and the diverse patient populations which we cater to. I cannot wait apply what I learn from both faculty and my peers to my future profession as a genetic counselor.

emily bistline
Emily Bistline
BS, Biology, Allegheny College

I volunteered for Crisis Text Line and was a counselor at a camp for teens with Turner syndrome. Both of these experiences have had lasting impacts on me and helped me develop empathetic listening as well as interpersonal skills that will make me a more understanding, compassionate genetic counselor.

I’m most looking forward to getting to come into my own as a genetic counselor and develop my own style. I also look forward to getting to know my classmates and traveling for the summer internship.

Corinne Echmalian
Corinne Echmalian
BS, Environmental Science and Policy, Marist College

I’ve always had a love for life sciences and a passion for helping others. I studied environmental science and biology in college, and started working as a research technician in an Alzheimer’s research lab after graduating in 2015. Between then and now, I also worked as a camp counselor for several summers, as an after school teacher, and as a homemaker for local seniors. I rounded out my experience by volunteering with Crisis Text Line. What solidified my decision to apply (for the second time!) to genetic counseling programs was having the opportunity to shadow at hospitals in my area and interview genetic counselors on the phone.

I am most looking forward to learning everything I can from the program, and getting to apply my knowledge to helping people. The Brandeis community is so warm and welcoming, and I can’t wait to immerse myself in its learning environment!

Alex Lisi
Alex Lisi
BA, Biology, Bucknell University

I volunteered in an autism support classroom in an elementary school for a year and had the opportunity to be embraced by the community as well as bond with the children and families that were a part of it. I was given a new perspective of what families go through on a daily basis and the experience showed me how seemingly small milestones can be such large accomplishments based on the eyes of the beholder.

Brandeis has a real focus in patient care and advocacy through programs like Family Pals, and I am very excited to have the opportunity to take part in it, learn from it and take the knowledge forward in a future career in genetic counseling.

Linda Liu
Linda Liu
BS, Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University

I worked as a full time tutor at CramCrew before applying to graduate school. It gave me the opportunity to develop my interpersonal skills as well as discover my passion for spreading knowledge to others. The opportunity also made me a better listener who is open and empathetic towards students’ struggles and everyday stresses. What I enjoyed most about tutoring was seeing the direct impact my time and efforts had on various students. Whether it was achieving their goal score on a standardized test or simply learning a new, hard-to-grasp concept, I always loved the feeling of knowing I made a difference.

I’m most excited about participating in Family Pals and seeing the impact of a genetic disorder from a family’s point of view. I have limited experience and exposure with working with families suffering from genetic disorders and would love the opportunity to gain insight into patient lives.

Clare Morris
Clare Morris
BS, Neuroscience, Virginia Polytechnic and State University

Throughout college, I volunteered at the Raft Crisis Hotline of the New River Valley in Virginia. Through this experience, I learned how to truly listen and empathize with those who are struggling or just needed someone to talk to. I enjoyed the feeling of ending a conversation knowing that the person on the other end of the phone felt some sense of relief and emotional satisfaction. I also worked in a genetics lab focusing on transgenetic mosquitos, where I familiarized myself with different genomic and bioinformatic developments in the field.

I’m excited to gain all the necessary information to allow me to become a genetic counselor while also getting to know a new area and classmates. When I came to interview, this program at Brandeis really felt like a tight-knit group; I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone through classroom discussion, research, clinical rotations and more. I am excited for the numerous experiences that will help prepare me for the role of a genetic counselor, including diverse clinical work, but also getting to know patients and their families.

esther orr
Esther Orr
BS, Psychology, University of Michigan

Prior to entering grad school, I enjoyed working in the genetic epidemiology laboratory at my alma mater, researching the telomere length and its relation to public health; volunteering at Samaritans as a phone and text volunteer; painting animals and beautiful lighthouses around New England; gardening in my small garden; walking my two giant dogs; and eating great seafood with friends.

Looking ahead, I am most excited about learning more about genetic illnesses and how families with genetic illness live with it. Learning the everyday challenges they may face will help me better understand my role as a genetic counselor and the ways I may support them. I am also very excited to get to know all my colleagues and huge group of alumni!

lynn pais
Lynn Pais
MS, Human Genetics, University of Michigan; MSc, Biomedical Genetics, Vellore Institute of Technology; BSc, Biotecchnology, St. Aloysius College.

My experiences from interacting with individuals with genetic disease and from working in genetics research laboratories in different countries over the past eight years have shown me how important it is for people and their families to have access to specialized genetics services.

I am looking forward to training with the highly experienced faculty and my fellow classmates at Brandeis, who will guide me on my journey toward becoming a strong and empathetic genetic counselor.

andrea sand
Andrea Sand
MS, Pharmacology, University of Minnesota; BS, Chemistry, Harvey Mudd College.

Some of my past experiences include working as an EMT-basic as well as volunteering for a hospice organization. Having the opportunity to interact with patients in different settings is something I’m very humbled by; I’ve learned how important it is that patients are listened to and understood.

I’m excited to be a part of a program that emphasizes the patient viewpoint so strongly and am looking forward to learning in such a community-oriented atmosphere.

kaitlyn white
Kaitlyn White
BA, Biology, University of Iowa

I volunteered as a crisis intervention counselor with the Johnson County Crisis Center and later served as a clinical genetic counseling intern for the Iowa Institute of Human Genetics. My time as a crisis counselor laid a great foundation for practicing counseling techniques and coping skills that are integral to the field, but my time as a genetic counseling intern really allowed me to immerse myself even further by delving into the different specialities that are offered.

As an intern for the human genetics institute, I worked alongside genetic counselors working in specialties such as prenatal, pediatrics, nephrology, neurology, cardiology and cancer. While working as an intern, I was able to participate in patient sessions by taking family histories, drawing pedigrees and explaining the disease pattern of inheritance.

Some things that really drew me to the Brandeis program were the close-knit community feel it has and the emphasis it places on incorporating patient experiences into the training of its students. For this reason, I’m really looking forward to getting to know my cohort and participating in the Family Pals program.