NIH

The Johns Hopkins University/National Human Genome Research Institute Genetic Counseling Training Program

Meet the Students

Class of 2017
Devon Bonner

Devon Bonner

Devon Bonner is a Florida native and has spent her life living in central Florida. She graduated from the University of South Florida in 2011 with a BA in Psychology. After graduation, Devon became the lead research coordinator for a study investigating the etiology and health outcomes of breast cancer in a registry-based sample of young African American women at Moffitt Cancer Center and continued to pursue a BS in Biomedical Sciences. It was through her experience working with families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and genetic counselors across the state that she realized her passion for genetic counseling and community participatory-based research initiatives. Devon has greatly enjoyed her time in the JHU/NHGRI program and experiencing a real change of seasons! Her clinical experiences have included a laboratory rotation at GeneDx, a prenatal rotation at Howard County General Hospital, 8 weeks in sunny southern California completing a cancer rotation at the City of Hope Medical Center, a general genetics rotation at Children's National Medical Center, and rotations with three separate specialty clinics at the NIH. Devon's thesis is focused on how cancer genetic counseling clients make meaning of variants of uncertain significance. 


Celeste D'Amanda

Celeste D'Amanda

Celeste D'Amanda hails from Rochester, New York, and has lived in multiple states around the northeast. She graduated with a BA in Biology and Chemistry from Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont, in 2013. While studying at Bennington, she focused on cell biology and genetics and contributed to research in several laboratories. She came to the JHU/NHGRI GCTP with experience in volunteering as a hospice care aide over the course of 7 years, as well as having obtained a certification for sexual assault crisis counseling in the state of Connecticut. Her interest in genetic counseling grew from these experiences as she developed a passion for providing compassionate patient care and advocacy. As she has progressed through graduate school, so far she has gained experience in clinical rotations in prenatal genetics at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, pediatrics at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the National Eye Institute, and the Johns Hopkins general genetics clinic. She has specific interests in the concepts of hope, uncertainty, and clinical trial participation. These interests have inspired her to tackle these issues in her thesis project which will qualitatively examine the experiences of various stakeholders in clinical trials for Fragile X Syndrome.  


Katie Fiallos

Katie Fiallos

Katie Fiallos graduated from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2008 with degrees in Spanish and International Studies.  After graduation, Katie returned to Quito, Ecuador where she had studied abroad during her Junior year of college. In her four years there she interned with the United Nations, taught English as a foreign language, and immersed herself in the culture.  While in Ecuador, Katie came back to her passion for genetics, and after researching a career in genetic counseling, determined that it contained just the right mix of science and direct patient contact that she was looking for.  Katie joined the JHU/NHGRI genetic counseling training program in the fall of 2014 and has thoroughly enjoyed both her classes and being with her classmates. Katie completed a six-week genetic counseling clinical rotation in Santiago, Chile last summer where she was able to combine her Spanish skills with her genetic counseling by conducting sessions in Spanish.  She also had the opportunity to experience and come to understand the culture and medical system in Chile.  Katie's interests lie in issues related to Latinos in genetic counseling and she is exploring Latino causal attributions for breast and colon cancer in her thesis. In her free time, Katie likes to be active by going to the gym, playing tennis or swimming, and she also enjoys reading and all sorts of board games. 


Lydia Hellwig

Lydia Hellwig

Lydia Hellwig was born and raised in Shorewood, Wisconsin. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2014 where she majored in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Sociology and minored in Psychology. Lydia found her passion for genetics at an early age, fascinated by the Human Genome Project. Her love of genetic counseling has only grown since then. During her undergraduate experience, she worked as a genetic counseling intern at the Medical College of Wisconsin. There she worked with genetic counselors in both clinical and research roles. Lydia also volunteered through a peer listening and crisis intervention group at Johns Hopkins University, as well as worked in a biochemistry lab at the School of Medicine. As a genetic counseling student at Johns Hopkins and the NHGRI, she has gained valuable clinical genetic experience in the prenatal, laboratory, cancer, neurology, and whole exome sequencing settings. She is exploring the interpretations and predicted behaviors of clients receiving different classifications of genetic variants as part of her thesis. 


Michael Setzer

Michael Setzer

Michael Setzer was born and raised in Sayre,Pennsylvania. He received a B.S. in technical writing and communication with an additional major in biological sciences from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014, graduating with College Honors. While attending school, Michael was a staff writer and the Science and Technology editor for CMU's student newspaper, The Tartan. He served as a patient support volunteer at the Hillman Cancer Center and worked with individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome at The Children's Institute in Pittsburgh. As a senior, he also served as a mentor to first-year students in CMU's Mellon College of Science. He performed research Carnegie Mellon. His senior honors thesis utilized historical and rhetorical analysis to make recommendations regarding public communication for genetic screening programs. Since joining the genetic counseling program, Mike has completed prenatal rotations at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and the MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a cancer rotation at Johns Hopkins, and a general genetics rotation at Walter Reed.  He also completed an elective neurogenetics rotation at the NIH and spent his first summer working with the Amish population at the Clinic for Special Children in Lancaster, PA.  He is currently completing an additional rotation at an NIH specialty clinic while working on his thesis exploring a new online method for understanding and studying genetic counselor communication.


Class of 2018
Emily Bonkowski

Emily Bonkowski

Emily Bonkowski grew up in the small town of Genoa, Illinois. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2011 with a degree in Biological Sciences and a concentration in Neuroscience. While in college, she pursued research in human molecular genetics as well as human behavioral pharmacology and volunteered in a clinic for uninsured residents of Chicago and on a Global Medical Brigade trip to Honduras. After graduating, she worked in a medical genetics lab in the Department of Neurology at the University of Washington in Seattle, investigating the genetic causes and mechanisms of rare neurodegenerative diseases and movement disorders. For three years, she volunteered as a phone worker and trainer on the King County Crisis Line, and has also spent time volunteering with Planned Parenthood and as a summer writing tutor for the UW Genomics Outreach for Minorities Project. She has enjoyed to combining her interests in science and research with her motivation to serve patients, their families, and the community. This past year, Emily completed prenatal rotations with the MedStar Washington Hospital Center and a private maternal-fetal medicine practice.  She also spent some time with the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program and the GeneDx laboratory.  She has just completed a summer rotation with the genetic counseling training program in South Africa.


Anna Chassevent-Jenks

Anna Chassevent-Jenks

Anna Chassevent-Jenks was born and grew up in Vancouver, Washington. For her undergraduate degree she traveled across the U.S. to South Carolina to attend Anderson University where she majored in psychology. Anna was first drawn to genetics in early high school through participating in the "Designer Genes" Science Olympiad competition where her team placed in the top three in the state. Through working on her graduate research degree at Clemson University in Healthcare Genetics she realized that her true passion is in helping patients directly through genetic counseling. In her time at Clemson University, she co-taught a genetics course for nurses and was integral in establishing a hereditary cancer screening clinic at the health center on campus. She was also engaged in involving undergraduate nursing students in clinical genetics research. Since starting the genetic counseling program, Anna has completed prenatal rotations with the Howard County Hospital and with the MedStar Washington Hospital Center. She also completed a lab rotation at GeneDx.  This past summer, she completed a neurogenetics rotation at the Kennedy Krieger Institute.


Rachel Gore

Rachel Gore

Rachel Gore is a native of Massachusetts and has spent her life living in and around the Boston Area. She graduated with a BA in Biology from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. During her time at Clark, Rachel conducted genetics research as part of a team investigating growth and development pathways in a Drosophila model. She volunteered as a peer health counselor for the CHOICES Health Center, and led a discussion group as a teaching assistant for a Medical Ethics Course. These experiences cemented her interest in genetics and cultivated a passion to pursue a career as a genetic counselor. Rachel worked for two years as a Medical Assistant at an Internal Medicine practice in Boston, where she loved the opportunity to apply her academic interests working with patients in a clinical setting. Since joining the genetic counseling training program, Rachel has had a prenatal rotation at Mercy hospital in Baltimore and a rotation with the NIH ClinSeq program. She also rotated with the Genetics and Rare Disease Information Center. This past summer, she completed a general genetics rotation at St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, New Jersey.


Yingyue (Annie) Li

Yingyue (Annie) Li

Yingyue (Annie) Li was born and raised in Cangzhou, China. She graduated from Hebei University in 2010 where she majored in Biotechnology and minored in International Trade and Economics. She initially envisioned herself as a biomedical scientist, and enrolled in the graduate program of Biochemistry at the University of Iowa. The training equipped her with a deep understanding of how genetic abnormalities contribute to carcinogenesis, however, she realized that her true passion is to translate the latest discoveries in human genetics to patient care. She graduated with a Masters in Biochemistry in 2012 and then worked as a research assistant at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics (UIHC), while volunteering at Family and Internal Medicine at UIHC and the Crisis Center of Johnson County. Annie has completed a prenatal rotation at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center and also rotated with the Genetics and Rare Disease Information Center.  After spending some time at home in China, she spent her summer in a cancer rotation at Inova Fairfax Hospital. 


Hannah Wand

Hannah Wand

Hannah Wand got her B.S in molecular biology at the University of Pittsburgh where she was an HHMI fellow in Jon Boyle's lab, researching the molecular genetics of Toxoplasma gondii. Following her graduation in 2013, Hannah joined PJ Utz's lab at Stanford to research autoimmune diseases. She has always been an active volunteer in the community and has spent time working with the Hospitalized Elder Life Program in San Francisco. In her free time, Hannah likes to be outside hiking or getting an adrenaline rush from trying new activities like ziplining! She unwinds with dancing, reading, or Netflix marathoning. Hannah has completed a prenatal rotation at Howard County General Hospital and a lab rotation at GeneDx.  She spent her summer rotating with the genetic counseling training program in South Africa.


Class of 2019
 
Katherine Anderson

Katherine Anderson

Katherine Anderson graduated from the Honors Program at Miami University in 2014 with a B.A. in zoology, speech communication and environmental science. She was most recently an educator at the Cosley Zoo in Wheaton, Illinois, and previously worked at Disney World as an Animal Behavior intern. Katherine has volunteered as a group facilitator for Growth from Grief, a program for children mourning the loss of a loved one. As an undergraduate research assistant, Katherine worked on research using voles as a model for evolutionary biology and behavioral neuroscience.  


Alexa Geltzeiler

Alexa Geltzeiler

Alexa Geltzeiler will graduate in May from New York University (NYU) with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is currently working on her senior thesis on the effects of self-esteem upon the interpretation of supportive messages in romantic relationships. Alexa worked as a helpline operator at the National Eating Disorders Association from 2014 to 2015. She is also assisting NYU Professor Eric Brenner on a paper on a laboratory exercise examining polymorphisms at the phenylthiocarbamide (PTC) locus. Alexa studied abroad in London in 2014.


Chenery Lowe

Chenery Lowe

Chenery Lowe graduated from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 2014 with a B.A. in French Area Studies. She also minored in Chemistry and Humanities. Before enrolling in the training program, Chenery worked as a primary and middle school teaching assistant in Dax, France. She is currently volunteering as an intern at in the Genetics Department of the UCSF Hereditary GI Clinic Cancer Risk Program. While at Kenyon, Chenery was a competing member and officer of the equestrian team. She also put those skills to use as a dismounted education coordinator at Redwood Hills Pony Club.


Ahna Neustadt

Ahna Neustadt

Ahna Neustadt grew up in Newbury Park, California. She graduated in 2014 from the University of California, San Diego, with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. As an undergraduate and Amgen Scholar at UCSD, Ahna worked on a cancer immunotherapy nanoparticle vaccine research project at Genelux and the Moores Cancer Center. She also cofounded the first UCSD undergraduate interdisciplinary research journal, called Equilibrium, which emphasizes the importance of ethics in research. Following graduation, Ahna began shadowing genetic counselors and working as an academic specialist and after-school program coordinator at Maple Elementary School. She also served as an intern with the BreakThrough Student Assistance Program, which assists middle school and high school students and their families with navigating the local school system. Ahnais excited to pursue her interests of cancer genetics, teaching, patient care, and public health policy during her training in the field of genetic counseling. Ahna enjoys singing, cooking, and swimming.

 

Last Updated: September 13, 2016