Meet our Current Students

Class of 2022
The Class of 2022 on the first day of fall classes
Class of 2023
The Class of 2023 at "The Lawn," a new nearby park

 


Class of 2022

Raza Chaudhry

Raza Chaudhry

Raza is from Pakistan. He graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology in 2018. For the next two years, he worked as a Research Technologist for the Cavener lab at Penn State where he utilized the CRISPR/Cas-9 system in mice. During his time at the lab, he realized he wanted to combine his passion for genetics with patient advocacy. He is interested in prenatal, cardiac, and metabolic specialties within Genetic Counseling. His long-term goals include increasing access to genetic counseling services within the South-Asian community. Outside genetic counseling, he is an avid concertgoer and loves playing video games.

Haley Crane

Haley Crane

Haley is originally from Ellicott City, Maryland. She graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland, College Park in the spring of 2020, where she majored in cell biology & genetics and minored in Spanish. During her undergraduate years, she was involved in the University Honors program, Delta Gamma fraternity, Terp Thon, and she studied abroad in Spain. She spent two summers as a genetic counseling intern in the Center for Inherited Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she gained valuable exposure to the field. In her free time, Haley enjoys traveling, spending time outside, and going to the beach.

Allayna Frank

Allayna Frank

Allayna is a 2020 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology’s Biomedical Sciences program. She studied and worked in the fields of biomedical engineering, stem cell research, ICU care, home senior care, and even hospitality prior to discovering the field of genetic counseling, the ideal combination of her passions for medicine, teaching, psychology, and the study of developmental disabilities.   Allayna’s greatest career aspiration is to help patients and their families find the maximum comfort and autonomy possible with their diagnoses.  Originally from Northern New York, she is excited to begin her career in a city that is completely new to her!

Yael Freiberg

Yael Freiberg

Yael is from Los Angeles, CA. She majored in biological sciences and minored in gender studies at the University of Southern California. She studied Robertsonian translocation in a yeast lab at USC, where she completed a master’s degree in molecular genetics and biochemistry. After leaving the lab, she worked alongside genetic counselors at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she gained clinical exposure and also enrolled patients into the USC arm of the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network. During this time, she also worked at Trader Joe’s! When she’s not studying, Yael enjoys exploring Philadelphia and cooking.

Nicole Kasatkin

Nicole Kasatkin

Nicole is a Philadelphia native. In May 2020, she completed her undergraduate degree at Temple University, where she majored in biology with teaching and double minored in cognitive neuroscience and chemistry. While at Temple, she became a certified peer educator, conducted research for two years at the Center for Metabolic Disease Research at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine, and taught students in the Philadelphia School District through Temple’s TuTeach program. She also actively helped individuals through the Crisis Text Line and as a volunteer at a local hospital. In her free time, she is a ballroom dance enthusiast, avid traveler, and fan of all pets!

Deirdre Kessler

Deirdre Kessler

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Deirdre majored in French at Pomona College in Claremont, California. Before starting at Penn, she worked as a medical scribe in Brooklyn and an English assistant at a high school in France, and she volunteered at Crisis Text Line and GiGi’s Playhouse. Her interests in language, health literacy, and solving puzzles of all kinds led her to pursue genetic counseling, a field that she believes combines all three. Outside of school, Deirdre enjoys studying computational linguistics and geography, watching British TV shows, and searching for new recipes. She plans to specialize in pediatrics.

Allison Mazzella

Allison Mazzella

Allison is originally from New Jersey, but has been in Boston since college. She is a 2016 graduate of Brandeis University, where she double-majored in Biology and Chemistry. Due to the passing of a close childhood friend, Allison has been involved in the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) community for many years. She has spent the past few years doing SMA and neuromuscular disorders research at Boston Children’s Hospital and Cure SMA, as well as volunteering at Girls on the Run, Boston Cares and BARCC. Allison enjoys building Legos, cheering for the Eagles, and always wearing green!

Olga Oretsky

Olga Oretsky

Olga is from Fair Lawn, New Jersey. She went to the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate education and double-majored in Biochemistry and Psychology. After graduating, she worked as a research fellow in the Affective Neuroscience and Pain laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, where she studied various psychosocial aspects of pain perception. Prior to graduate school, she briefly attended a seminary in Jerusalem and then worked as a tutor at a local community college in eastern Pennsylvania. Olga is particularly interested in learning more about psychiatric genetic counseling during her training.

Cassady Pelphrey

Cassady Pelphrey

Cassie is from a small town (actually a village) called West Jefferson, Ohio. She attended the University of Kentucky and graduated in May 2020 with a B.S. in Biology with a focus in genetics and a minor in psychology. Cassie became interested in genetic counseling at the age of sixteen upon meeting her own family’s genetic counselor who continued to foster her interest in the field. Cassie has been involved in the FH Foundation for familial hypercholesterolemia as an advocate for awareness; she completed 2 years of research in undergrad; and she was a resident advisor for 2.5 years, as well. Cassie’s hobbies are reading and trying to make people laugh on Zoom. 

Anna Platt

Anna Platt

Anna grew up in Oakton, Virginia.  She graduated from University of Delaware in 2019 with a B.S. in Neuroscience. A long time Special Olympics coach, she knew she wanted to help families with genetic conditions. After college, she worked as the Genetic Counselor Assistant for the Genetics team at Inova Fairfax Hospital. There, she had the opportunity to observe NICU consults, as well as pediatric, neurology, and cardiology clinics. Her experiences have led to her interest in the application of genetic testing and counseling in the NICU and other inpatient departments. In her free time she is cheering on the Washington Nationals and Capitals with her friends, family and dog, Archie.

Jacob Squicciarini

Jacob Squicciarini

Jake is from Albion, New York, a small town in western New York right between Rochester and Buffalo. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rochester in 2019 where he majored in molecular genetics with a minor in clinical psychology. Before joining the genetic counseling program at Penn, Jake worked as a genetic counseling assistant in the Division of Pediatric Genetics at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester and volunteered for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Jake is interested in the counseling of individuals with differences in sexual development and hopes to further explore the role of genetic counselors in DSD clinics.

Katie Rose Sullivan

Katie Rose Sullivan

Katie Rose grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey and graduated from Haverford College in 2018 with a degree in Biology and a minor in Neuroscience. After graduating, she worked at the University of Pennsylvania for two years investigating cerebrovascular rare diseases. Katie Rose is a long-standing member of the New Day Community, a nonprofit organization that provides a respite summer vacation for adults with developmental disabilities, where she particularly enjoys mentoring first-time counselors.

Baijia Wang

Baijia Wang

Baijia (Bekah) is from Taiyuan, China and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology and a minor in German. As an undergraduate, she worked in Wisconsin National Primate Research Center with macaque monkeys in an Episodic Memory Project. Additionally, she volunteered at Briarpatch Youth Services in Madison as a volunteer counselor and gained experience interacting with parents and their teenage kids. In her free time, Bekah enjoys hanging out with her cat, watching movies, and traveling.

Samantha Williams

Samantha Williams

Sam is a Philly native, but has been living in New York for the past 10 years. She graduated from the double degree program between Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2014, receiving bachelor's degrees in Biology and Jewish Thought. Since college, she has been working in clinical research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her work there solidified her interest in research and oncology, and introduced her to genetic counseling. In her free time, she serves as referee for the wrestling tournaments her two cats participate in daily. 

Corinne Zrada

Corinne Zrada

Corinne is from Moorestown, New Jersey, and graduated from the University of Miami in 2020. She was a Health Science major with minors in chemistry, biology, and psychology. As an undergraduate, Corinne participated in research involving a genetic screen on Drosophila melanogaster. Additionally, she was on the executive board of the Special Olympics club at the University of Miami. She is currently interested in clinical cancer genetics and is passionate about being a part of the growing field of genetics. Corinne enjoys staying active outdoors and spends her summers down the shore.


Class of 2023

Isabel Anez Bruzual

Isabel Anez Bruzual

Isabel is originally from Caracas, Venezuela. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Boston University, where she double majored in Neuroscience and Psychology. Following graduation, Isabel started working at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) as a Clinical Research Coordinator. During her three years at MGH, she led a biomarker study and clinical trials for patients with familial ALS and presymptomatic carriers of an ALS causative mutation. Her experience with this patient population led her to pursue a career in genetic counseling. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling, working out, and spending time with friends and family.

Kaley Arnold

Kaley Arnold

Kaley is from Florham Park, New Jersey and graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in public health. While at TCNJ she created an organization called Healing Arts which promotes mental health and wellness though the therapeutic power of art. Since college, she completed an internship at the Cancer Institute of NJ in the Precision Medicine Oncology department. She currently works as a contact tracer and case investigator for the NJ Department of Health. Kaley is interested in learning more about pediatric genetic counseling during her training. Outside of genetics, she enjoys horseback riding, painting, and spending time with friends and family.

Brianna Berlin

Brianna Berlin

Brianna was raised as a Jersey girl but is a Colorado native through and through. After graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in Cell Biology and Neuroscience, she moved back west to pursue reproductive physiology and cancer genetics research at the University of Colorado. During her time in Denver, she worked as an ophthalmic medical scribe and volunteered as a hospice counselor. These experiences and her passion for patient advocacy led her to pursue genetic counseling. In her free time, she can be found gaming, baking, and hiking with her dog, Mozart.

Lan Chen

Lan Chen

Lan is from Madison, Mississippi, and graduated from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and minor in anthropology. As an undergraduate student, she conducted research on the epigenetic effects of vagus nerve stimulation on learning and memory pathways. She also mentored and taught middle school science in Nashville through the Vanderbilt VSVS program and served as vice president and co-director of Project Heal, now a chapter of the Global Medical Missions Alliance. She gained exposure to the field of genetic counseling in her role as a coordinator for a clinical trial evaluating neuropsychiatric comorbidities in Huntington’s disease. In her free time, Lan enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, trying new recipes, and watching Premier League soccer.

Elizabeth Coffran

Elizabeth Coffran

Elizabeth is from Marshfield, Massachusetts. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Biology from Boston College. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a research assistant, teaching assistant, and a tutor at a local elementary school. She spent her summers interning at the Psychiatry Neuroimaging Laboratory at Brigham and Women's Hospital and at the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. After graduation, she started working as a Clinical Research Coordinator at Ora, Inc. In her free time Elizabeth enjoys traveling, going to the beach, and spending time with friends.

Anna Duemler

Anna Duemler

Anna is from Green Lane, Pennsylvania. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in 2018 with a degree in Biology with an option in vertebrate physiology. Following graduation she started a post baccalaureate fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. She started in Dr. Christina Annunziata’s lab, analyzing the mechanisms of an immunotherapy clinical trial for ovarian cancer. In 2020 she began working with Dr. Kathleen Calzone’s group, developing a project analyzing the association between the CDH1 gene, cleft lip and/or palate, and family history of gastric or breast cancer. During her time at the NIH she also worked as a crisis counselor, volunteered at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, and spent time shadowing various genetic counselors.

Kimberly Gaiser

Kimberly Gaiser

Kimberly is from New Jersey and graduated from Bucknell University in 2018 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Public Policy. Upon graduation, she completed a postbaccalaureate program at Thomas Jefferson University and worked in the 22q and You Center at CHOP as a clinical research assistant. This part time role led her to a full-time role in Clinical Genetics as a Scribe while continuing research on 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. This past year, she organized and implemented the annual 22q and Boo event and 22q Awareness Day (11/22). Kim enjoys reading any book off Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club list, attempting the daily NYT crossword puzzles, and sending snail mail to loved ones.

Brielle Gehringer

Brielle Gehringer

Brielle is from Maple Shade, New Jersey. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for her undergraduate education and graduated in 2018 with a B.A. in Biology. Since then, she has been a research coordinator of the ASPE Study at Penn, a genetic study of autism spectrum disorder. Her experience with clinical research has inspired her to pursue a career in genetic counseling. In her free time, you can find Brielle at a concert or on the beach!

Hannah Hadgu

Hannah Hadgu

Hannah was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She attended Gettysburg College and graduated in May of 2019 with a B.S in Biology and a double minor in English and Peace and Justice Studies. After graduation, Hannah moved to Philadelphia where she worked as the Genetic Counselor Assistant for the Genetics team at the Main Line Health Hospitals. In this role, she had the opportunity to shadow cancer, prenatal, and cardio genetic counseling sessions. Hannah looks forward to exploring prenatal genetics further throughout her time at the University of Pennsylvania. In her free time, Hannah enjoys watching musicals, staying active, and spending time with her friends and family.

Alicia Harrison

Alicia Harrison

Alicia is from the mountains west of Denver, Colorado. She graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 2017 with degrees in Biochemistry and International Studies. While in school, Alicia gained additional valuable experience volunteering with Global Medical Brigades, University Hospital, and the Cleveland Sight Center. After two years as a genetic counseling assistant at Austin Cancer Center, Alicia joined the Genomes2Veterans team at the Boston VA, doing translational genomics research. In her free time, Alicia enjoys travel, photography, and reading too many books at a time.

Kellyn Madden

Kellyn Madden

Kellyn grew up a few miles from Philadelphia, across the Ben Franklin Bridge in South Jersey. She graduated from Dickinson College in 2019 with a major in molecular biology and a minor in English. After graduating, she worked at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia doing bench research on pediatric cancers. Kellyn is interested in studying the intersection of health disparities and genetic counseling and hopes to aid in the process of bringing equity to America’s health care system after she earns her degree. For fun, she enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and hanging out with her golden retriever, Rigby.

Kyle Mahoney

Kyle Mahoney

Kyle is from Chichester, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Pennsylvania State University in May of 2021, receiving a degree in Biology with a focus on genetics and development. In his final year of school, Kyle began volunteering with Crisis Text Line and was able to do cancer and COVID-19 research in a lab on campus. He was able to gain shadowing experience during the summers of his freshman and sophomore years, and by doing simulated genetic counseling sessions. During the summers Kyle worked at a summer camp as a counselor, and eventually taught environmental education at the camp. Kyle enjoys playing video games, watching TV, and supporting the 76ers.

Daniel McGinn

Daniel McGinn

Daniel was born at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He grew up in Voorhees, NJ and attended Moorestown Friends School. Daniel attended Davidson College, earning a BS in Biology as well as captaining the men’s lacrosse team and working as a CHOP summer research assistant before assuming the roles of clinical coordinator and GCA upon graduation. Daniel had the privilege of presenting his research findings at national and international meetings and interfacing with outstanding clinicians, patients and families who inspired him to pursue a career in genetic counseling, back where it all began - at UPENN.

Juliet Milani

Juliet Milani

Juliet grew up in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. She graduated from Middlebury College in 2021 with a degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and a Psychology minor. Before joining Penn’s program, she spent a summer interning at Penn’s Basser Center, where she confirmed her interest in genetic counseling as a career. She also worked as a lab assistant at Fox Chase Cancer Center, conducting anti-cancer research. Aside from genetic counseling, Juliet enjoys singing and playing the guitar, puns, and fitness.

Jasmine Purcell

Jasmine Purcell

Jasmine is from Lorton, VA. She graduated from Christopher Newport University in May 2019 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and minors in Leadership Studies and Spanish. At CNU, she was selected as a Presidential Scholar and had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Oxford. After graduation, she worked as a Genetic Counseling Assistant at GeneDx where she was able to gain invaluable experience with genetic tests. Her interests include expanding access to genetic testing for underserved populations. In her free time Jasmine enjoys volunteering with Crisis Text Line, baking and going to the beach.

Amy Ren

Amy Ren

Amy is from Boston, MA, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 2015 with a degree in Medical Anthropology. After college, Amy worked at Voyager Therapeutics in Cambridge, MA, doing gene therapy research for neurodegenerative disorders. Her work focused on AAV capsid evolution and developing a CNS-specific gene delivery platform. She started volunteering as a crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line in the spring of 2020. She is fascinated by psychosocial and ethical considerations in genetic counseling and is excited to start patient-facing work in the clinic. Amy loves running, baking, podcasts, surviving triathlons, all things nerdy, and cheesy dad jokes. Most importantly, she cannot wait to get a puppy with her significant other after graduation!

Abigail Ward

Abigail Ward

Abbie grew up in Dover, New Hampshire, and graduated from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University in 2016 with a degree in Health Sciences and a minor in Health Psychology. After graduating, she stayed in Boston and worked in clinical research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, focusing on tumor sequencing in pediatric solid malignancies. This work helped deepen her interest in pediatric genetics and oncology, which she hopes to continue in her career as a genetic counselor. In her free time, Abbie enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and cheering for Boston sports teams!