GC Internship Experience in an Industry Setting

This summer I had the privilege of completing an internship with the company Counsyl for five weeks in San Francisco, California.  Counsyl is a medical technology company that made a name for itself with its Family Prep Screen expanded carrier panel, which screens for over 100 different autosomal recessive and x-linked conditions.  This was the first year that they offered a competitive genetic counseling internship.  They requested my CV and two personal statements followed by three Skype interviews: two with genetic counselors with directorial roles and one with the Chief Scientific Officer. I was excited to even be considered for this opportunity.

Overall, the internship was an amazing experience.  My main project was to update the Family Prep Screen, which involved looking into the current literature for any updates to gene and variant classifications.  I was also able to talk with several genetic counselors that work for Counsyl and learn about their roles within the company. 

Interning with a commercial lab allowed me to see all of the moving parts that I didn’t know existed.  From my past experiences and classes, I learned about the technology behind genetic testing, but I didn’t know about the numerous different disciples needed to keep a commercial lab like Counsyl up and running.  It takes an abundant amount of engineers, programmers, scientists, and more working together and constantly communicating in order for the company to be successful and profitable.

This internship really opened my eyes to some of the different roles genetic counselors can have outside of the clinical setting.  At Counsyl, career options for genetic counselors extend into positions such as project directing and marketing.  Talking with these individuals illustrated the diverse potential of my master’s degree, helping me to appreciate my experience at UC even more.

--Joe Jacher, second year student