• Ryan Brown-Ezell

    Ryan is from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Birmingham-Southern College (BSC) in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a distinction in Public Health. During her time at BSC she conducted research to identify β-amyloid plaques using a PrPc reporter gene and evaluated the E. coli concentration of sediment in Turkey Creek, Pinson Alabama. Ryan additionally traveled to Accra, Ghana where she gained insight and experience in various fields of pediatric healthcare and public health. As an undergraduate, she was a BSC work-study, advocated as a Southern Ambassador for her school, and served as a peer mentor to aid first-generation college students. She also led panhellenic sorority recruitment, worked on her sorority executive board, and gained experience as the secretary of the Alpha Epsilon Delta health pre-professional honors society. In addition to AED, Ryan was inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta first-year honors society, Alpha Kappa Delta sociology honors society, Tri-Beta Biology honors society, Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honors society, and Mortar Board. Through her excitement for Genetic Counseling, she established a connection between BSC and UAB Genetic Counseling Program. The relationship not only further encouraged Ryan to pursue Genetic Counseling; but also forged permanent internship opportunities and educational resources for future BSC students.

     

    Anna Crider

    Anna is from Cincinnati, OH. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences and a minor in accounting. Anna discovered genetic counseling in college and knew it was a path she wanted to pursue after taking time to live abroad. After college, Anna continued to work at Robert Bosch Automotive Steering in finance where she had been an accounting intern. She then moved to Spain to teach English as a second language and learn Spanish for a year. After returning to Cincinnati, Anna was a genetic navigator in Precision Medicine and Genomic Health at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Northern Kentucky for two years, where she was able to work with many genetic counseling specialties and a hereditary and high-risk cancer prevention clinic. Outside of work and school, Anna loves to volunteer in her community and dances for fun.

     

    Georgia Haggard

    Georgia is a native of Decatur, Alabama. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in May 2021 with High Distinguished Science and Technology Honors from The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics and Genomics. She also received her Master’s in Multidisciplinary Biomedical Sciences in 2021. While an undergraduate student, she was afforded the opportunity to work in multiple biomedical research labs to gain research experience. One of these research experiences was through the Pediatric Oncology Education program at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Also, she was able to volunteer as a patient pal at Children's of Alabama on the Hematology and Oncology units, where she spent time with patients and their families. In addition to this, she was also able to host UAB's Science Olympiad tournament and receive the Goldwater scholarship. After graduation, she decided to work as a genetic counseling assistant for the UAB department of genetics, where she was able to gain experience in multiple clinic settings. Her primary role was to facilitate patient point of care testing as a part of UAB's interdisciplinary breast cancer care team. As a genetic counseling assistant, she was able to truly confirm her passion for genetic counseling and gained invaluable experience interacting with patients.

     

    Julia Lanza

    Julia is originally from Marietta, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in genetics. As an undergraduate, she volunteered as a crisis text line counselor and a High School Outreach program director with UGA Miracle. Through UGA Miracle, she raised funds and hosted events benefitting the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. After graduation, she worked as a genetic counseling assistant in the Sibley Heart Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. As an assistant, she supported two genetic counselors and several cardiologists in the management of patients with inherited cardiovascular conditions. Responsibilities included database management, placement of orders, collection of patient information, communication with laboratories, and coordinating prior authorizations for testing. The opportunity provided incredible patient interaction alongside a multidisciplinary team and an invaluable education of cardiovascular conditions.

     

    Audrey McBride

    Audrey is from Harrisburg, Missouri. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbia College in December of 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in biology and a minor in psychology. During her undergraduate studies, Audrey worked for the University of Missouri’s urgent care running point of care tests and taking patient’s vital signs, gave campus tours as a Student Ambassador for Columbia College, and worked as a substitute teacher for elementary schools. During her time at Columbia College, she co-taught a freshman foundations course and mentored first-year students during their transition into rigorous college courses. Audrey has also volunteered as a Crisis Counselor for the Crisis Text Line, a fundraising volunteer for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and as a Blood Donor Ambassador for the American Red Cross.

     

    Victoria Moy

    Victoria is from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of South Carolina Honors College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Heath Promotion, Education, and Behavior. As an undergraduate she served as a crisis call line volunteer and hospital advocate for Pathways to Healing, an organization which supports survivors of sexual violence. In addition, she gained extensive research experience in public health, nursing, and molecular biology settings, and successfully defended her Honors College senior thesis about young adult electronic cigarette use. Finally, Victoria enjoyed playing the oboe in a university ensemble, taking active part in her sorority, and tutoring younger students in Organic Chemistry. Following her graduation in December of 2021, Victoria worked in a cancer genetics lab where she performed next-generation sequencing and organoid tissue culture. Her research was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research and JCA Joint Conference in December of 2022 and is currently under review for publication.

     

    Hannah Olive

    Hannah is from Charlotte, North Carolina. She graduated from Samford University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. While at Samford, she participated in research evaluating the contribution of nuclear gene mutations in the development of age-related symptoms in the mouse model of Rett Syndrome. During this time, she also served as a client advocate for a local crisis pregnancy center. After graduation she volunteered with the Genetic Counseling team at the UF Health Cancer Center in Gainesville, Florida and engaged with patients during the pre-test counseling process. She later spent two years working as a Genetic Counseling Assistant in the Genetics Department at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she gained invaluable experience working with patients across a variety of specialties. As a GCA, she conducted a quality improvement project implementing a screening protocol for patients with hemihyperplasia and macroglossia. She presented the findings from this project at the Southeastern Regional Genetics Group Conference in 2021. These opportunities provided her with a well-rounded perspective of the field and hands-on experiences to confirm her passion for Genetic Counseling.

     

    Molly Spangenberg

    Molly is originally from Glen Carbon, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in public health and minors in biology and medical humanities. As an undergraduate, she volunteered as a crisis counselor and participated in an internship providing resources for cancer patients. After graduation, she worked as a genetic counseling assistant in the genetics department at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, New York. While at Mount Sinai, she worked directly with cancer genetic counselors to coordinate care for patients and their families interested in genetic counseling. This opportunity provided valuable experience that prepared her for her graduate studies.

     

  • Yael Bar-Peled

    Yael is from Athens, Georgia and graduated with honors from the University of Georgia with a BS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. As an undergraduate, she served as research assistant at the Complex Carbohydrates Research Center and the Paul D. Coverdell Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences. After graduating, Yael joined the Center for Vaccines and Immunology as laboratory manager with her research focused on vaccine development in respiratory viruses often fatal in immunocompromised individuals. Her bioinformatical analysis training in the UGA Genetics Department further provided her with a practical knowledge set for genetic counseling in addition to learning more about the genetic counseling profession from multiple genetic counselors of varying specialties. Prior to graduate school, she volunteered as a crisis hotline counselor at The Cottage, a sexual assault and children’s advocacy center.

     

    Morgan Bryars

    Morgan is originally from Bay Minette, AL. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in May of 2021 with High Distinguished Honors from The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. During her time as an undergraduate, she was a member of the University Honors Program and served as Vice President of the UAB Genetics Club. In 2018, she joined a lab on campus where she continues to work as a research lab assistant in the Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology. This position has allowed for multiple immunity-based research opportunities and laboratory experience. She also worked through the Vulcan Materials Academic Success Center on campus as a peer tutor for biology and genetics. Additionally, she volunteered with the Birmingham Crisis Center’s Senior Talk Line, serving to reduce the feeling of social isolation among the senior citizens of Birmingham, AL. Morgan had the opportunity to shadow genetic counselors of various specialties in the Birmingham and Huntsville areas, further exposing her to the field of genetic counseling.

     

    Kelli Carpenter

    Kelli is a native of Flemingsburg, Kentucky. In 2017, she graduated from Transylvania University with a B.A. in Biology and Anthropology. While studying at Transylvania, Kelli served as president of Alpha Lambda Delta, a first-year honor society, and as president of her sorority, Phi Mu. She spent a summer collecting data for a bat acoustic monitoring study. As a rising junior and senior, she was selected to serve as a peer mentor for first-year students. After graduation, Kelli began working in biotech as a molecular biology research assistant. In this role, she learned a lot about the process of genetic engineering in yeast cells. During this time, Kelli discovered her passion for genetic counseling and sought out shadowing opportunities throughout the state of Kentucky. Kelli has also gained counseling experience as a staff advocate for Ampersand Sexual Violence Resource Center.

     

    Melyssa Garner

    Melyssa is from Huntsville, Alabama. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2020. During her time as an undergraduate student, she worked as a teaching assistant in introductory biology lab courses and spent time volunteering at the RISE Center, where she got to work with special education pre-K students. She gained research experience as a summer research scholar at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Melyssa spent the summer before her senior year as a genetic counseling intern at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, AL, where she gained experience shadowing genetic counselors in both a clinical and research setting. Outside of her studies, Melyssa played trombone in the Million Dollar Band and spent a year on the leadership team. After graduation, she moved back to Huntsville, where she worked as a special education aide in a pre-K classroom.

     

    Lindsay Kendall

    Lindsay grew up in Austin, TX. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. During her undergraduate studies, Lindsay participated in an internship with MD Anderson Cancer Center where she researched the effect of a mutator enzyme in somatic hypermutation. Following graduation, she worked in the Genomics Facility at National Jewish Health where she performed Sanger and next-generation sequencing. Prior to joining UAB, Lindsay gained valuable experience as a genetic counseling assistant with Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers. While at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, she coordinated the transition of the genetic counseling department to tele-health, was a billing advocate for patients, and provided emotional support for patients throughout their cancer journey. 

     

    Amy Lamore

    Amy grew up in Monmouth, Maine. She graduated from the University of Maine at Orono in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with a minor in psychology. As an undergraduate student, she studied clearing methods to better assess diabetic neuropathy in adipose tissue. After graduation she worked as a Laboratory Assistant for a genotyping laboratory and Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician in a crisis stabilization unit before becoming a Genetic Counseling Assistant at Maine Medical Center’s Outpatient Oncology Clinic. This experience gave her the opportunity to work directly with patients and see the impact Genetic Counselors have on patients and their families.

     

    Emily Oppmann

    Emily is from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In May 2021, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Middle Tennessee State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in genetics and biotechnology and minors in Chemistry and Global Studies. As an undergraduate, she volunteered as a conference coordinator and group leader for Tennessee Girls in STEM, which is an annual, hands-on learning experience for girls in Middle Tennessee. During this time, Emily also volunteered at her local domestic violence and sexual assault center as a crisis counselor. Additionally, Emily worked as an undergraduate researcher in several MTSU labs. For her Honors College senior thesis, she did a genetic analysis on a species of endangered Tennessee clover. In addition to winning two presentation awards for her research at the annual Association of Southeastern Biologist Conference in April 2021, her paper was published in the peer-reviewed journal Castanea in May of the same year.

     

    Catherine Smith

    Catherine, who grew up in Connecticut and Ohio, graduated from Miami University in 2018 with a major in biology and a minor in neuroscience. As an undergraduate, she volunteered with Crisis Text line and a local children’s theater. She also gained research experience through investigating neurological associations of genes and their neurosensory implications. After graduating, she worked as a genetic counseling assistant where she gained valuable insight into the field and experience interacting with patients in a medical setting. Additionally, she expanded her counseling experiences at the Pittsburgh Action Against Rape as a sexual assault counselor, helping callers talk through various topics on sexual violence. Excited to share her passion for the field, she developed the Genetic Counseling Experience Initiative, a program for prospective applicants to increase exposure to genetic counseling through facilitating meaningful interactions with genetics professionals. These, and other experiences, gave her diverse and meaningful opportunities that prepared her for graduate training.