Interview season is quickly approaching, and soon the Division of Human Genetics will be holding interviews with prospective students. As a current student, I will be taking applicants on tours around the Division and throughout Children’s Hospital. I find it hard to believe that I will be a tour guide, because it seems like just yesterday that I was still figuring out the labyrinth that is the hospital. Come to think of it, it seems like I was just interviewing here as a prospective student. As I reminisce about my interview experience, I marvel at everything that I’ve learned and accomplished since coming to the program one year ago. The University of Cincinnati Genetic Counseling Program has given me the opportunity to accomplish goals that I never expected to achieve in such a short time.
First, I already have already selected a thesis project to work on with the help of my research advisor and research advisory committee. I will survey clinical geneticists and genetic counselors to learn about the future of the ever-evolving genetic counseling field as well as the additional training that changes in the profession will necessitate. I plan to ask respondents to identify the emerging content and skill areas in the field of genetic counseling, as well as to select the best method of incorporating emerging areas into training for genetic counselors. I’m excited about my thesis because I feel that it will make a significant contribution to the genetic counseling field. My first year classmates are equally as excited about starting their projects, which focus on everything from determining the needs of parents who adopt children with genetic conditions to learning about the accuracy of risk assessments provided by direct-to-consumer testing companies.
In addition, I’m already starting to actively participate in clinic. I have gained experience taking medical histories, drawing pedigrees, and explaining inheritance and recurrence risks to patients. Some of my first year classmates have even led entire counseling sessions already! We have seen a wide variety of conditions, some of which we may never see again in our practice because they’re so rare. The Craniofacial Center, the Cardiovascular Genetics Program, and the Skeletal Dysplasia Center at Children’s Hospital are only a few of the unique clinics in which we have observed patients and taken on roles. My classmates and I are excited to have the opportunity to become involved in clinic early on in our schooling.
Lastly, I’m grateful to say that since beginning the program, I have made 25 new friends (11 full-time first year students, not including myself, 12 full-time second year students, and 2 part-time students). I’m eager to come into school every morning to spend time with my classmates, and I don’t mind studying because there are always people in the Division to encourage me. One of my favorite aspects of the genetic counseling program here is the strong sense of community that it fosters. The students not only help each other with school work, but support one another on a personal level. We’ve grown tremendously close over the past few months, and have developed friendships that will likely last a lifetime.
As a side note, I’ve also mastered an unbelievable amount of medical terminology since beginning the program. Words like hepatosplenomegaly simply roll of the tongue now. Reflecting on everything that I’ve learned since I interviewed here a year ago, I’ve come to realize how lucky I am to be a student at the University of Cincinnati.
-Maureen Osak, First Year Student