• 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. 

     

  • Madeleine Franchi

    Madeleine is originally from Marietta, Georgia. In 2020 she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Arts in biological sciences and a minor in psychology. During her time at Clemson, Madeleine was a member of the Clemson Honors College. She worked for the Academic Success Center as a Peer Assisted Learning Leader and later as a tutor to support students in a Business Calculus class. Also, she participated in both team-based and independent research projects in psychology. In her free time, she enjoyed being a member of the Clemson Club Swim Team and held a leadership position as treasurer. In addition, she volunteered as a swim coach for ClemsonLIFE, Clemson’s program for students with intellectual disabilities. To gain experience while in undergrad, she spent the summer before her senior year shadowing genetic counselors in the Atlanta area.

     

    Andrea Frickman

    Andrea is originally from Taylor Mill, Kentucky. In 2020, she graduated from the University of Kentucky where she received a B.A. in biology with a specialty in genetics and a psychology minor. As an undergraduate, Andrea worked as a Community Living Support worker with a woman who has a metabolic disorder and autism. Andrea also worked in a biology research lab where she studied stem cell differentiation and regeneration in planarian worms with a focus on the role of cilia in congenital heart disease. She continued to volunteer at a women’s crisis center where she learned strong interpersonal and counseling skills. She spent her free time shadowing genetic counselors in the Lexington and Cincinnati area while also participating in advocacy work for those with disabilities.

     

    Lani Kesterson

    Lani grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2017. During her time as an undergraduate student, she served as a peer advisor for the College of Arts and Sciences. As an undergraduate, Lani spent several summers working and shadowing in research labs, specifically focusing on genetics and nutrition science. Additionally, she was able to gain exposure to the field of genetic counseling by shadowing GC's at St. Vincent's in cancer genetics and at UAB in pediatric and prenatal genetics. In 2019, Lani received her Master of Science in Multidisciplinary Biomedical Science with a concentration in genetics and genomics from UAB. After graduation, she worked as a tutor for Master's and international students. Most recently, she worked as a medical assistant in a clinic, which gave her additional skills in patient interaction and communication.

     

    Mary Grace Roden

    Mary Grace is originally from Cullman, Alabama. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2018. As an undergraduate student, Mary Grace spent time as a peer mentor through the Honors College and facilitated activities in local Tuscaloosa schools to encourage STEM abilities and interest. She served as Director of Schools for the BABH annual food drive to raise donations for the West Alabama food bank and create awareness of food insecurity in the state. She also worked as a research assistant in the psychology department. After graduating, Mary Grace spent time as a genetic counseling intern at Clearview Cancer Institute in Huntsville, AL. She then began working as a genetic counseling assistant at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. These clinical experiences provided a unique and realistic perspective of the field prior to entering graduate training.

     

    Hannah Walter

    Hannah is a Birmingham, Alabama native. She is a 2019 Cum Laude graduate of Auburn University where she received a Bachelor of Science in microbial biology with a minor in human development and family studies. As an undergraduate, she served as director of Student Relations for Auburn University Dance Marathon raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and vice-president of STARS advocating for survivors of rape and sexual assault. She worked as a genetics tutor for high school students in the Auburn/Opelika area and volunteered with My Brother’s Keeper after school program. Shadowing in the UAB Cancer Clinic and Marfan Syndrome Clinic allowed Hannah to gain more exposure to the work of a genetic counselor; volunteering with the NF-1 Walk allowed her to gain enriching exposure to affected individuals and their families. Upon graduation Hannah joined a research lab at UAB where she continues to work on a project reevaluating mice as a model of human disease due to structural differences between the two genomes. During this time, she volunteered at the Birmingham Crisis Center and was selected to sit on Mitchell’s Place Junior Board, on which she continues to serve.