Student Biographies

Class of 2018

Brittney Corwin

brittney-corwin

Brittney (Olney, MD) received her BS in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland (summa cum laude, 2010). She was vice president of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, and a member of the Golden Key International Honors Society and the Phi Theta Kappa (National Honorary Scholastic Society). She was a lab assistant in a bioacoustics lab and research assistant in an entomology lab. She was an undergraduate teaching assistant in Organic and Bioanalytical Chemistry. She worked as an emergency medical services volunteer, assisting a paramedic team, and is BLS certified. She has experience with electronic patient records and molecular biological databases, Brittney has been working for three years as an Accessions Tech and then a Genetic Counseling Assistant at Gene Dx. Brittney has business experience in various administrative positions and has provided direct caregiving for a family elder. These paths have led her to choose a career that melds her love of genetics with her experience in working with people.

  

Rachel Holman

rachel-holman

Rachel (Murray, UT) received her BS degree in Human Development from the University of Utah (1998) and her MS degree in Audiology from Brigham Young University (2001). Her master’s thesis was entitled Sensory Gating of the Auditory Potential P50 in an Adult Male Stuttering Population. Rachel has research experience performing electrophysiological testing of subjects with fluency disorders (BYU, 2000‐1), analyzing data from excision of tumors in rats (Johns Hopkins Medical Center, 2002), and analyzing neuropsychological data (University of Utah 2015). Rachel has work experience as an audiologist, where she administered and evaluated diagnostic tests for hearing and balance disorders, counseled patients and caregivers for hearing aids and other assistive devices, advised communication and compensation strategies to manage various hearing disorders, and performed newborn hearing screens and consulted with parents. She also served as a specialist at the Utah Alliance for Children and presently owns a business as a yoga instructor and exercise instructor in elementary schools. Other community and volunteer service includes fund raising for the Road Home, cued speech transliterator for college students, chemistry and Italian language tutor, and providing audiology services and member of an operating room team on a medical mission in Hanoi, Vietnam. Personal and work experiences with the world of genetics have enticed her to seek this new career goal.

 

Dana Jarvis

dana-jarvis

Dana (North Arlington, NJ) received her BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC (cum laude, 2008). She was a high school science teacher (chemistry, biology) in Florida (3 years) and Puok District, Cambodia (2 years). She worked with disadvantaged students in both locations, created a Public Health Awareness Program, and designed an anatomy & physiology course for students in the Jay Pritzker Academy in Cambodia. Dana volunteered as a genetic counseling assistant in pediatric genetics (University of Utah), and the VA Hospital Genomic Medicine Services (Salt Lake City, UT). She also organized weekly activities for developmentally challenged adults and volunteered for the SOFT conference in Salt Lake City. Dana believes that genetic counseling has the potential to influence not just individuals but broader cultures as well.

 

Brandy Lamb

brandy-lamb

Brandy (Stoughton, WI) received her BS in Biology from Utah Valley University, Orem, UT (cum laude, 2012) and a studied Veterinary Science abroad at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand (2007‐08). She has certifications as an Assistant Animal Laboratory Technician, an Emergency Medical Technician, and a Veterinary Assistant. She was employed as a Sample Collection Technician in a pharmaceutical research and development laboratory and has worked in multiple animal laboratory settings. Volunteer activities include Parent Stressline advocate and veterinary assisting. Upon graduation, Brandy would like to work in a clinical setting and then transition to a laboratory setting.

 

Ashlie Miller

ashlie-miller

Ashlie (Belmont, CA) received her BS in Biology (cum laude, 2015) with a Molecular and Cell Biology concentration from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. As an undergraduate she was a genetics research assistant, Secretary of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (which she helped initiate), and a peer counselor/health educator. She did a summer internship at DuPont (Genencor). She was a scholarship awardee and member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She also has experiences working with children as a childcare associate at a sports resort and as a nanny and she has volunteered for Special Olympics. Since graduation she has volunteered as a genetic counseling assistant at the Stanford Center for Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and as a crisis counselor on a crisis phone line. Ashlie has interests in providing clinical care, molecular biology, bioinformatics, pediatric genetics, and cardiovascular genetics.

 

Jenna Petersen

jenna-petersen

Jenna (Draper, UT) received her BS in Biology (with a minor in Chemistry) from the University of Oklahoma (with Distinction, 2015). She spent a semester in Arezzo, Italy and was a biology research assistant and student library assistant. She was a National Merit Scholar, a College of Arts & Sciences Leadership Scholar, and was Outstanding Undergraduate in the Department of Biology. She held several scholarships and was an Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society Member. Jenna was also a Site Volunteer with Birth Choice of Oklahoma, a counselor for Royal Family Kids Camp, a Clinic Volunteer for the Manos Juntas Foundation, campus volunteer and leader for Habitat for Humanity, and a participant in Relay for Life. Since graduation, Jenna volunteered as a Health Promotions and Volunteer Engagement Specialist with AmeriCorps (providing day health services to adults with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and dementia) and a Shelter Advocate Assistant in Seattle, WA. Jenna has a strong interest in advocacy and looks forward to being an effective representative of a profession committed to the health and support of every patient, and to aiding in the creation of a more compassionate healthcare system.

 

Nicole Stopa

nicole-stopa

Nicky (Anchorage, AK) received her BS in Biology (2009) from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, NM. She was a student chemistry researcher and intern at the National Center for Genome Resources, where she used a sequencing database to search for splice variants associated with schizophrenia. She received her MS degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Alaska, Anchorage (2014), where she was a biology research assistant. Her master’s thesis was entitled Chromatin modifiers in Xenopus laevis: Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 function and Williams syndrome transcription factor complexes in development. Nicky was the first author on a review, “The PRMT5 arginine methyltransferase: Many roles in development, cancer, and beyond.” This work was published in Cell Mol Life Sci (2015) and she has presented at multiple local and national conferences. Nicky has volunteered for a rape crisis hotline, Kuddle Korp (NICU), a camp for children with autism, a soup kitchen, Planned Parenthood, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. She has also worked in fisheries management on a commercial fishing boat in Alaska. Nicky received numerous scholarships and fellowships, was a member of several honor societies, and was a student senator and grant reviewer for the Graduate Student Association. Nicky likes the practical application of science to solve problems. She is interested in neurogenetic counseling with a combined clinical and research role, and is especially intrigued by diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer disease and autism, and with epigenetics.

Class of 2017

Andrea Crawford

Andrea Crawford

Anni (Park City, MT) earned her BS in Biology with a minor in Anthropology from Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA (2013). She was a medical assistant, ambulatory care technician, and phlebotomist. She volunteered as a hospice home volunteer in in Billings, MT.  She was a global health intern in Nicaragua, where she worked on a housing project, and created, piloted, and presented a research tool to qualitatively measure the impact of Global Brigades. Anni is interested in cultural issues and community health.

 

McCall Erickson

McCall Erickson

McCall (Provo, UT) is a graduate of Brigham Young University, Provo, UT with a BS in Molecular Biology (April, 2015). She is a Genetic Counselor Assistant at Lineagen, Inc., Salt Lake City, UT.  She was a lab manager and research assistant at BYU, where she performed biochemical and molecular genetics assays in E. coli. She studied genes for phosphate signal transduction, introduced site-directed mutations back in chromosomes at their normal location, and characterized interactions between PhoU and PstB proteins of E. coli. This work was presented in two posters at the American Society of Microbiology and is in press with BMC Genetics. McCall volunteered with the Utah County Crisis Line and the Provo Care Center. She is a member to the Golden Key International Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. She has a special interest in the genetics of hearing loss.

 

Brianna Murray

Brianna Murray

Brianna (Bountiful, UT) received her BS in Genetics & Biotechnology (University Honors, 2012) with minors in Family Life and in Molecular Biology from Brigham Young University (Provo, UT). Brianna was a mentored Undergraduate Researcher in the School of Education. Her honors thesis, Effects of Biobliotherapy on Elementary Students’ Attitudes Towards Children with Developmental Disabilities, reflects this work. She was also a TA in Bioethics, a RA in a lab studying regulation of DNA sequences linked to breast cancer, and a group leader for new student orientations. She was a Summer Fellow at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy and she completed a genetic counseling internship at the Northwestern Center for Genetic Medicine. She has worked as a paralegal, as a Salt Lake Community Action Program Head Start teacher, as a writer and editor for College Funding Advisors, as a Human Services Technician at Davis Behavioral Health, and as an Educational Product Specialist for Nutraceutical. Volunteer work included stints as an English teacher in China and Korea, Program Director for Fridays Kids Respite, and Shelter Volunteer for the Center for Women and Children in Crisis. Brianna also speaks Spanish. She is interested in pediatric genetics.

 

Carly Rost

Carly Rost

Carly (Red Lion, PA) received her BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from West Chester University of Pennsylvania (cum laude, 2013). While there, she served as University Ambassador in the Office of Admissions and completed an independent research project studying common health concerns for a canine breed and the genetic mechanisms involved. After graduation, she moved to Texas to work as a Genetic Counseling Assistant in cancer genetics at Moncrief Cancer Institute/UT Southwestern Medical Center. Her advocacy work included serving as Support Group Co-Facilitator for women with cancers, participated in activities to raise awareness of hereditary ovarian cancer and hereditary colon cancer, serving as a Special Olympics volunteer, grief counselor for a NICU parent support group, and advocate for the Finish Line Youth Foundation, which raised money and awareness for children from underprivileged backgrounds and with disabilities. Carly looks forward to getting to know Utah and experiencing some of the many outdoor activities. She envisions the future when genetics will be incorporated into individuals’ personal health plans, and is personally looking forward to hiking and snowboarding in Utah.

 

Kira Svirsky

Kira Svirsky

Kira (Aurora, CO) received her BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Metropolitan State College in Denver, CO (2011). While there, she was Vice President of Auraria Students for the Humane Treatment of Animals. She was a legislative intern and administrative assistant with the national Humane Society of the United States in Washington, DC and an intern with the Colorado State Directors Office, where she worked on animal protection issues. She also worked as a quality assurance analyst for Boulder Language Technologies, where she tracked performance of software. Her advocacy work includes Outreach Coordinator/Case Manager at Pueblo Rape Crisis Services, Education Ambassador for Bright Pink, Spay/Neuter Assistant at Coco’s Cat Rescue (Playa del Carmen, Mexico), and news writer for Best Friends Animal Society. She is a native Russian speaker and also speaks Spanish. Kira is interested in cancer genetics.

 

Katelyn Swade

Katelyn Swade

Katelyn (New Freedom, PA) graduated with a BS in Biology and a certificate in Health Studies from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA (May, 2015). Her honors thesis project focused on exploring mevalonate kinase deficiency and the relationship between statins and the inflammatory response. This work resulted in a poster at a joint conference of The Society for Leukocyte Biology & The International Endotoxin and Innate Immunity Society. She was a TA in physiology and anatomy; a member of the Student Senate Academic Programming and Standard Committee, Junior Class President, Sophomore Class Treasurer and Freshman Class Secretary; Student Representative on the Young Alumni Trustee Selection Committee; Student Coordinator for the First Year Experience Mentorship Program; house member of the Social Justice House; participant in a leadership institute; and a member of the women’s softball team. Advocacy work included volunteering at a pregnancy crisis center; Student-Alumni Liaison in a program to promote student philanthropy; Co-Chair of a student United Way activity; and umpire for a youth softball league.  She spent her summer working as a personal and classroom care aide at a school for children with autism.  She is interested in a mix of research and clinical counseling, and looking forward to exploring the outdoors opportunities in Utah.

 

Jennie Vagher

Jennie Vagher

Jennie (Aurora, CO) graduated with a BS in Biology and minors in Psychology and Chemistry from Morningside College, Sioux City, IA (cum laude, 2014). She participated in research to screen for genetic mutations in the BRCA1 gene; research showing that the dive response is independent of facial submersion; and research investigating whether passaged lab strains of S. aureu have different fitness costs than active human isolates. She was a member of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society; student representative of the Biology/Chemistry department to provide information to 1st year students and act as a mentor to upperclassman; and member of the Agriculture Faculty Department Search Committee. Jennie also worked as a microbiology lab technician. Advocacy activities include volunteering as an Advocate at a sexual abuse and domestic violence crisis agency and a community clean-up. She also played softball in college. She is interested in cancer genetics.