Students & Alumni
Our students come from a variety of undergraduate institutions, with varied industry experiences and career goals.
See our current students and get a feeling for the variety of professionals who join the program. To see a listing of our recent graduates, click ASGCGP Alumni.
Jada is a Colorado native who earned her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. During her time at Colorado State, she earned a cancer research fellowship through University of Colorado and extended her time in the lab by becoming a lab assistant for a Boettcher-funded research study focusing on cancer genomics. After graduating, Jada started as a Research Coordinator for the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where she managed several interventional clinical trials focusing on autoimmune liver conditions. With her ultimate goal in mind, Jada transferred to the Department of Neurology and became the Lead Psychometrist for the Alzheimer’s and Cognition Center. She performed cognitive assessments for over 140 patients diagnosed with the following conditions: Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment, posterior cortical atrophy, and healthy controls. This position provided her a higher level of patient interaction and the opportunity to support patients outside of a coordinator role. Jada is excited to continue her education and explore both Sioux Falls and San Diego. In her free time, Jada loves exercising, reading, painting, listening to live music, dancing, spending time with family, and cuddling with the sweetest doggy in the world.
Yvonne is from Glendale, CA and received her bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from the University of California, San Diego in 2011. Since graduating, she has worked at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center on different studies aimed at improving pediatric health outcomes. While working, she volunteered as a warmline telephone operator for Postpartum Support International, an organization that assists women and other individuals experiencing the effects of perinatal mood disorders such as postpartum depression or anxiety. Recently, Yvonne served as a Clinical Intern, assisting genetic counselors at the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center under the Providence Saint Joseph health system. In her free time, she enjoys watching baseball games, dancing, roller skating, and crafting.
Originally from Roswell, NM, Kelsey earned a bachelor’s degree in Family and Human Services with a minor in Psychology from John Brown University in Siloam Springs, AR. During her time at JBU, she interned at the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter, working directly with women and children seeking refuge from domestic violence. She also co-authored and published a curriculum for young women as a capstone project, discussing interpersonal topics like intimacy, differentiation, and body positivity. Together, these experiences fostered a passion for women’s health, which she is looking forward to studying further. The summer after graduation, Kelsey studied abroad in Poland, teaching English youth camps in local high schools and eating the most amazing pierogis. Upon moving to Colorado, she began working at the Emily Griffith Center as a Visitation Supervisor, providing parental coaching and mentorship. After shadowing a genetic counselor, she knew that it was the right fit for her because it combined her love for science and passion for helping others. In her free time, she loves camping, reading, brewery hopping, and cheering on the Broncos!
Savannah was born in Warren, MI but calls Minnesota her home. Her father was diagnosed with Hepatitis B and therefore spent a lot of time in hospitals. From a young age, Savannah was intrigued with the healthcare professionals who helped her father and knew that one day she wanted to be the one helping others. She attended Concordia University-St. Paul where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with minors in Chemistry and Hmong Studies. Throughout her undergraduate years, Savannah worked as an Office Assistant at the Office of Career Development. It was there that she was introduced to the genetic counseling world and received the resources to kick start her academic and professional journey. During her senior year and post-graduation, Savannah worked as a Clinical Program Assistant at Fraser, where she was able to work with autistic preschoolers in nurturing their growth and development by implementing and tracking their therapeutic goals and progress (coping skills, play skills, social skills, etc.). In addition, Savannah also volunteered at her local church and youth camp in serving the next generations of youth and young adults. Through her experiences, Savannah has confirmed her passion to help others and is excited to start her journey to become a Genetic Counselor. During her free time, Savannah enjoys practicing calligraphy, running marathons (on Netflix), and playing board games with friends.
Lucy is most recently from Chesterfield, MO. She attended North Dakota State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology in 2015 and a Master of Science in Genomics and Bioinformatics in 2018. Her graduate research centered around developing a molecular marker that tracks pest resistance in common bean. It wasn’t until she was almost done with her thesis that she learned about the genetic counseling field and decided to pursue this dream. Lucy has been a lifelong advocate for the Down syndrome community and volunteered as a partner for Cass County Special Olympics. She also worked as a Genetic Counseling Assistant in a breast cancer clinic, providing help to the counselors and patients. In her free time, Lucy enjoys playing indoor volleyball, walking her dog, working out, and traveling to see family.
Lexie was born in New Mexico and subsequently resided in New York, Alabama, and Indiana due to her father’s service in the United States Air Force. She eventually landed in Fargo, ND, where she graduated from high school. Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, she attended Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD. There, Lexie worked towards a biochemistry degree certified through the American Chemical Society, as well as participated in Augustana's Civitas Honors Program. During her time at Augustana, she helped to conduct research on the bioconjugation of DNA-aptamers to inorganic quantum dot molecules, which she presented at the National American Chemical Society conference in San Diego. After graduating in 2016, she was offered a summer internship at the Avera Institute of Human Genetics, learning and working on next-generation sequencing research projects. In her most recent position as a Laboratory Specialist at Sanford Health's Imagenetics lab, she obtained valuable knowledge in molecular genetics, sparking her interest in genetic counseling. Shadowing genetic counselors and conversations with the lab’s genetic counselors continued to kindle her passion for the field, and she is enthusiastic to continue her education as a Viking for a second time. For fun, Lexie participates on a curling team and in bonspiels because curling rocks! She is also an avid reader, enjoys the bike trail and events downtown, listens to a multitude of podcasts, and travels often to visit friends and family.
Allie grew up in Redding, a small Northern California town. She attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. There she earned her Bachelor of Science in Animal Science and a minor in Psychology in 2018. She worked as a veterinary technician for many years, as she aspired to become a veterinarian. However, after discovering her passion for genetics and learning about genetic counseling, she began working as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) for children with autism. As a RBT, she worked one-on-one with six different children on the autism spectrum. She practiced Applied Behavior Analysis to teach positive behavioral changes and life skills to each child. She also helped to train their families to enhance success outside of the session. As well as working during her time at Cal Poly, Allie volunteered with Students Supporting People with Disabilities and Stand Strong, a domestic violence crisis line. Allie is looking forward to seeing what Sioux Falls has to offer! In her free time, Allie enjoys playing with her dog, boating on the lake, hiking, traveling, working out, and spending time with her loved ones.
Danielle is a Colorado native, raised just outside of Denver. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Physiology with a minor in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018. While at CU, she worked as a student ambassador, volunteered at a senior care organization, and provided in-person and over-the-phone emotional support as a victim advocate for Moving to End Sexual Assault. She also volunteered as a Special Olympics softball coach and attended support group meetings for families with children who have Fragile X. During her junior year, Danielle interviewed and began shadowing genetic counselors in cancer, prenatal, and lab specialties. She was also lucky enough to attend several genetic counseling symposiums at Children's Hospital Colorado. After graduating, Danielle worked with a local genetic counselor on research for a genetic pedigree software company. Danielle is excited to explore both Sioux Falls and San Diego over the next two years as she embarks on this next chapter of life. In her free time, Danielle loves hiking and backpacking, skiing, traveling, and trying to pet every dog she sees!
Katie grew up in St. Joseph, MN, just outside of St. Cloud, and attended Minnesota State University, Mankato. She graduated in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. During her time in Mankato, Katie was involved in the National Residence Hall Honorary and the Midwest Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls, as well as assisted with research in the Molecular Biology lab, working with a gene that is up-regulated in certain cancers. In addition, Katie volunteered with the Committee Against Domestic Abuse (CADA) in Mankato, and with Anna Marie’s Alliance in St. Cloud after graduation, supporting survivors of domestic abuse and their families. Katie has been interested in genetic counseling since high school, after her mom took a job with the CentraCare Genetics clinic, and was excited to discover a field that blended her interest in genetics, education, and patient interaction in the health field. She was able to shadow genetic counselors in general/pediatric genetics, cancer, and perinatology. After graduating, Katie volunteered in the genetics clinic and helped create the first Genetic Counseling Assistant position at CentraCare. She was the clinic GCA for almost a year prior to entering the program, primarily helping with the familial cancer clinic and multidisciplinary breast clinic. Katie is excited to continue on her path to becoming a genetic counselor, explore Sioux Falls for the next two years, and find the best pizza, Mexican food, and coffee in the city. In her free time, she also enjoys reading, watching hockey, playing sand volleyball, and spending time outdoors.
Claire grew up in a small town in the Foothills of Alberta near the Canadian Rocky Mountains. She graduated from the University of Calgary in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. During her first undergraduate year, she discovered her interest in genetics. Claire undertook a research project at the Molecular Genetics Laboratory in the Alberta Children's Hospital, where she studied the clinical utility of next-generation sequencing for prenatal congenital heart disease. She was fortunate enough to co-author an article in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada following her research. Claire continued at the Molecular Genetics Lab to study disease-causing variants through a summer research grant while also having the opportunity to attend genetic rounds and seminars. Following graduation, Claire realized genetic counseling was her ideal career, combining genetics and the ability to help and educate others. Claire volunteered at the Calgary Distress Centre as a Distress Line Volunteer, where she provided support for those in need. She also spent time volunteering at a therapeutic riding center, where children with disabilities are given the opportunity to ride horses. In her spare time, Claire likes to horseback ride, go snowboarding, read a good book, or play with her dog, Benson. She is excited to start her journey at Augustana University to pursue the career of her dreams in both Sioux Falls and San Diego.
Originally from Takoma Park, Maryland, just outside the District of Columbia, Aaron graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and a minor in Sociology. Aaron competed all four years as a member of the school’s NCAA Division I soccer team. Additionally, he was a part of the school’s applied conservation and ecological research lab, focusing on the distribution and nesting patterns of the wood thrush, an endangered bird species. After graduating, Aaron started as a technician in the accessions laboratory at GeneDx, where he gained further familiarity with the field of genetics. He quickly realized that he desired a career path with face-to-face interaction and shifted his attention to the genetic counseling department within the company. Aaron transferred to the Neurology group at the company as a Genetic Counseling Assistant (GCA) and was given an opportunity to shadow a genetic counselor in both lab and clinical settings. Through these experiences, it became clear that the profession would be a perfect blend of his interest in genetics and a desire for personal patient interaction. In addition, over the past two years he has served as a mentor and coach for the DC Special Olympics program, connecting with disadvantaged and underrepresented groups through athletics, while also volunteering with a 22q awareness group. In his free time, Aaron enjoys playing sports, listening to live music, and traveling.
Shea was born and raised in Glendale, Arizona and graduated from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas in 2018. While running cross-country and track, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She discovered her passion for genetic counseling through a part-time job as a Developmental Services Worker for an eight-year-old girl with Trisomy 4p. What started as a way to earn some extra money as an undergraduate student quickly led her to explore the world of genetic counseling. Over the course of four years, she assisted with her medications and helped her learn, as well as witnessed the effects this condition had on her family members. She was fortunate enough to see how crucial a genetic counselor truly was from both a medical and emotional standpoint. In addition, she also volunteered as a counselor with the Crisis Text Line. Prior to starting the genetic counseling program, Shea worked for Developmental Services of Northwest Kansas. She helped over 14 individuals, ages 30-70, with various disabilities engage in society and become more independent. With a strong passion for special needs, Shea is excited to stay in the Midwest to attend Augustana University and hopes to extend genetic counseling to rural communities after graduation. In her free time, Shea enjoys running, being outdoors, reading, playing with her pup, Remmy, and spending time with friends.
Annina is a Southern California native, born and raised in Long Beach, California. She graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2017. As an undergraduate student, she volunteered in a heart research lab but soon realized her desire to work with people. At the beginning of her junior year, she learned about genetic counseling and realized she had found her calling. Over the next two years, she spent time shadowing several different genetic counselors at both UC San Diego Health and Rady Children’s Hospital of San Diego. She spent time in a variety of different departments, including prenatal, cancer, pediatrics, and muscle disease clinics. After her experience in the muscle disease clinic, she volunteered her time at the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s summer camp. Annina’s additional passions in life are gymnastics and coaching. During her time at SDSU, she worked as a trampoline, tumbling, and acrobatics coach, helping athletes face their fears and achieve their goals. After graduating, she worked as a clinical laboratory technician at Illumina, performing the Infinium genotyping assay. Annina is excited to experience all that Sioux Falls has to offer over the next year and will be completing her second year back in San Diego. In her free time, you can find Annina country line dancing, tumbling, playing with her pup, and doing any and all outdoor activities!
Sarah is a Georgia native who earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Georgia Tech in 2016. At Georgia Tech, she studied gene expression changes in immune cells in a human genetics laboratory under Dr. Gregory Gibson. As an undergraduate, Sarah also spent a semester abroad in New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji, studying biogeography. Soon after graduation, she moved to Maryland to join the NIH as a Scientific Program Analyst at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). As a Scientific Program Analyst, she helped ensure the efficiency and measure the efficacy of large research initiatives like the Undiagnosed Diseases Network and Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) Project. While in Maryland, Sarah volunteered as a call specialist for EveryMind’s Crisis Prevention and Intervention Hotline, and she took graduate courses through the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences. She is excited to have found a field that aligns closely with her professional and personal interests and is looking forward to studying in Sioux Falls. Sarah enjoys gardening, baking, and spending time with her cats.
Gillian grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has been living in sunny San Diego, California for the past 11 years. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor's degree in Biology and a minor in Psychology. After graduating in 2007, she moved to San Diego and started her career working in the pharmacology department of a small pharmaceutical startup. Since her passion was always genetics and molecular biology, she continued her education, earning a master’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology at San Diego State University. From there, she worked at Sequenom in Research and Development, learning many valuable molecular laboratory skills, including Next Generation Sequencing. This training, in turn, enabled her to land a position at Illumina, working in the Product Development group.
Gillian’s desire to help people fueled her to move into a role in the Technical Support department at Illumina, where she helped customers troubleshoot issues they had with their sequencing runs. Here, she was introduced to genetic counselors, ultimately renewing her interest in the field which she had first heard about in high school. She is super excited to pursue this degree at Augustana University! Gillian looks forward to exploring Sioux Falls during her first year and will return to San Diego to complete her second year. Gillian’s favorite activities include playing softball, practicing yoga, rock climbing, cooking, traveling, and hanging out at the beach with her friends!
Lindsey is a born and raised Midwesterner. She grew up in Becker, a small town in the heart of Minnesota, and ventured to North Dakota for the first four years of her college career. Lindsey graduated from North Dakota State University in 2018 with a degree in Biological Sciences. During her time at NDSU, Lindsey had some amazing experiences to grow professionally and personally, through time spent as a resident assistant, cycling instructor, member of Blue Key Honor Society, and crew captain of the NDSU Love Your Melon organization. Academically, Lindsey’s passion for studying genetics started at a young age. Her younger brother has a rare genetic syndrome called Pallister-Killian syndrome (PKS), and he has influenced every part of her life including her career path. She has been a volunteer for PKS Kids, an organization built to create awareness and community for families involved with PKS. Lindsey had an exciting opportunity to work as a genetic counseling intern at Sanford Health in Fargo. There, she got an insider’s view on what being a genetic counselor entails and loved every minute of it She spent most of her time in maternal-fetal medicine but had opportunities to learn from both cancer and pediatrics as well. During her internship she had many projects, but some of her favorites included working on generating pedigrees, creating patient handouts, and, most importantly, researching and constructing a guide for a carrier screen that looked at 175 autosomal recessive conditions and the relationship those conditions have with prenatal ultrasounds. Lindsey cannot wait to continue her education in genetic counseling and explore not only Sioux Falls but also San Diego in her second year of the program. When Lindsey is not studying, you can probably find her at a local coffee shop, hot yoga studio, or the beach when she’s in San Diego.
Alyssa is a Colorado native who grew up just outside of Denver. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry from Northern Arizona University in 2015. While at NAU, Alyssa participated in an NIH-funded research training program located in New Zealand. During this experience, she had the opportunity to work with an exercise physiologist, assisting in validation of echocardiogram analyses taken during high intensity exercise training. Upon graduation, Alyssa began her career as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist in the Mycobacteriology Laboratory at National Jewish Health, the #1 respiratory hospital in the nation. While in this position, she performed clinical testing such as molecular identification, antimicrobial drug susceptibility testing for Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Nontuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM), and managed the testing and data delivery for several clinical research contracts. Successful completion of these tasks allowed Alyssa the opportunity to transition into a role as a Research Laboratory Scientist for the Colorado Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Research and Development Program (CFRDP). As a member of the CFRDP team, she prepared NTM isolates from CF patients to provide surveillance of potential infection transmission using whole genome sequencing and bio-banked CF-NTM isolates for use in collaborative CF research. Though Alyssa enjoyed the clinical and research laboratory environment, she desired to be involved in direct clinical application of test results. Interning for a cancer genetic counselor and volunteering as an oncology nursing assistant in a Denver hospital solidified her interest in cancer genetics and strengthened her desire to become a genetic counselor. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys both coaching and playing competitive softball, hiking, traveling, and cheering on the Denver Broncos.
Originally from Alden, Minnesota, Karina graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics. At UW, Karina served as an Undergraduate Research Assistant for a genetics laboratory within the Animal Science Department. She researched DNA methylation patterns to locate genes that act as genetic markers for determining bovine fertility statuses. Karina was also a member of the Wisconsin Alumni Student Board, where she planned and executed various events aimed at connecting past, present, and future Badgers! In Madison, Karina worked as an Advanced Behavioral Treatment Technician for the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP), a company that serves children with autism. She also volunteered weekly with The Respite Center at RISE, a non-profit that provides emergency childcare and respite for children. Karina discovered genetic counseling in high school and has been pursuing the career ever since! In addition to her love of science, Karina’s experiences traveling to the Marshall Islands and New Orleans, along with multiple science fairs, revealed to her the importance of choosing a career that combines genetics and helping others. In her spare time, Karina enjoys crafting, running, spending time lakeside, and tackling new outdoor adventures with friends and family. Next is mountain biking!
Sydney grew up in Watertown, South Dakota. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology at the University of South Dakota with a minor in Business Administration. As an undergraduate student, she was actively involved in Colleges Against Cancer and volunteered as a mentor for Camp Love’s Embrace, a grief camp for children. During the summer of her junior year, Sydney was an intern for Sanford Imagenetics, where she spent time shadowing genetic counselors in the breast cancer, internal medicine, maternal-fetal medicine, pediatrics, and reproductive endocrinology clinics. For her senior honors thesis, she worked in the Sioux Falls Veterans Affairs Hospital Research Lab, assisting with a research project to study the role of Calcineurin in alcohol consumption. Through this research, she co-authored a published article by the Oxford University Press and presented the research to legislators in Pierre, South Dakota. Following graduation, Sydney began working as an Associate Genetic Laboratory Technician for the Sanford Medical Genetics Laboratory. In her free time, Sydney likes to shop, crochet, learn about family history through genealogy, and spend time with friends and family.
Malia grew up in the small town of Somerset, Wisconsin. She attended college at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2018. She minored in Psychology and Chemistry and was a member of University Honors. While at UMD, she served as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for two courses--Genetics and General Biology II--and conducted research in a lab within the UMD College of Pharmacy that used autophagy inhibition in mice to study neurological disorders. Malia volunteered at the Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse in Superior, Wisconsin, as well as in the surgery family waiting room at a local hospital. During her summer breaks, she worked as a Department Assistant at a hospital near her hometown, providing administrative support to all levels of hospital staff. She is extremely excited to spend the next two years in Sioux Falls as part of the Augustana-Sanford Genetic Counseling Graduate Program. She loves dogs, reading, and, like a true Wisconsinite, cheese! In her spare time, Malia enjoys going on walks, watching Netflix, listening to podcasts, and spending time with friends and family.
Class of 2019
Samantha (Sam) McAllister
Class of 2018
Kaitlyn (Katie) Burns
Maija (Rannikko) Trout