The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology offers a two-week summer mini-rotation for genetic counseling students across the U.S. Stacey Edwards, a student at Baylor University, was selected to spend two weeks working alongside the genetic counseling team at HudsonAlpha.
We sat down with Stacey to learn more about her experience this summer.
Why did you apply for the HudsonAlpha genomic counseling mini-rotation?
I applied for the mini-rotation because of my interest in genome sequencing. With the use of genomic technologies becoming more widespread, I wanted experience in counseling patients about the utility and limitations of the test. In addition, this mini-rotation provided an opportunity to work with a unique group of patients at the Smith Family Clinic, patients that have experienced their own “diagnostic odyssey” bring distinct psychosocial aspects to a counseling session.
What was your genomic medicine mini-rotation experience like at HudsonAlpha?
My time with HudsonAlpha was extremely well-rounded. I was able to see a wide variety of indications at the Smith Family Clinic and practice my skills as a genetic counselor while working with the patients. I spent time with the Educational Outreach team, and am truly impressed with the impact that HudsonAlpha has made on the community. Additionally, I learned about the research studies that the genetic counselors coordinate, the patient consent process and how to be a valuable resource to patients.
What was the most valuable part of the experience?
It was valuable to learn about the utility and limitations of genomic research and be able to use that knowledge in clinic with patients. In addition, I found that many patients are eager to participate in research studies in the hopes of contributing and helping other families around the world, which made me feel proud of the work that genetic counselors do.
Has the experience supplemented your genetic counseling training? If so, how?
This experience has been a great supplement to my genetic counseling training. In my future career, I’d like to be involved in genomic research in some way and in my time here, I’ve learned how to think about potential research ideas, how to coordinate projects, measuring outcomes and even had the opportunity to practice coding free response data!
What is one lesson you will take away from your experience at HudsonAlpha?
My time with HudsonAlpha showed me how diverse the role of a genetic counselor can be. Not only does the HudsonAlpha genetic counseling team see patients in clinic, but they participate in research studies, speak about the field of genetic counseling to various audiences, help teachers to teach complex genetic concepts, and work with students and interns of all ages to give them a path to genomic careers.
To learn more about the genomic counseling mini-rotation and how to apply, visit https://hudsonalpha.org/trainees