Non-Profit Virtual Panel Information Session – Tuesday, April 14th 6:00pm – 7:30pm – Career and Professional Development and the College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences are sponsoring a Non-Profit virtual panel information session. This will be a live online Zoom session featuring four panelists from the Peace Corps, Teach for America, United Way of Roanoke Valley, and the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. This event is open to students from all majors and colleges and alumni who are considering a non-profit organization as a next career destination. For more information, check out the hyperlink to the title of this event as a preview in Handshake and the flyer below. The event will be recorded for those who are unable to attend. For additional questions, contact Jonathan Byers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy Margolin is a 2019 graduate of Virginia Tech and is currently a first year graduate student at Indiana University. Below is her interview:
What led to your interest in genetic counseling?
I feel like I got lucky in my path to genetic counseling. I did not know that this profession even existed until my junior year at Virginia Tech. I was a neuroscience major who had no idea what I wanted to do after undergrad. I viewed my two career options as research and medical school; I had considered both of these, but neither of them encompassed everything I wanted in a profession. This made me nervous as I was approaching graduation! One day I literally Googled “healthcare professionals not doctor” to see what other options I had. This Google search led me to lists of careers, including genetic counseling. As soon as I read the description of genetic counseling, I knew it was perfect for me. It was incredibly serendipitous! My hope is that this alumni spotlight will help someone else uncover an interest in genetic counseling.
What did you major in and what inspired you to choose this/these areas of study?
I majored in experimental neuroscience. When I started at Tech, I was in University Studies (undecided) with the intention of studying multimedia journalism. However, I took a psychology course my first semester called Nervous Systems & Behaviors that helped me discover my passion for learning about the brain. The next semester I officially changed my major to neuroscience.
What activities did you participate in as an undergrad that shaped your preparation for graduate school?
Most of my time outside of classes was spent with the Marching Virginians— Tech’s marching band! While being in band did not directly prepare me for graduate school, it taught me life skills that I was able to bring with me to grad school. I also participated in activities that are more traditionally tied to grad school prep. For example, I did undergraduate research with Dr. Bowers, volunteered with Crisis Text Line, and shadowed genetic counseling appointments. Although it is important to meet any requirements grad schools have, I would encourage students to make time to pursue personal hobbies as well. They can help prevent burnout and also make you more of a unique and interesting applicant.
What are some words of wisdom about the application process? What would you have liked to know ahead of time? What do you wish someone would have told you before you began applying?
The application process for genetic counseling grad school is done through a match system. This process entailed applying to individual schools, waiting to hear which schools offered me an interview, traveling for those interviews, and ranking the schools I was most interested in. Due to the match framework, instead of hearing back from each school I applied to whether I got in or not, I found out on one day if I got into a program, and, if so, which one. This is different than many of the graduate programs my friends were applying to. Due to the nature of the match system, I felt like the process was drawn out and filled with uncertainty. That being said, my biggest piece of advice to applicants is to try and be patient. Be patient with the process and also with your friends and family who might not understand the match process.
What do you enjoy most about genetic counseling?
My favorite thing about genetic counseling is that I get to help people better understand their own health. Genetic counselors act as a sort of liaison between patients, their physicians, and genetic testing laboratories. Genetics can be overwhelming to anyone, and especially to people that are not familiar with biology. One of a genetic counselor’s many roles is to take this complicated information and make it accessible to patients. Seeing patients beginning to understand their genetic health is the most enjoyable part of this profession.
What was your favorite undergraduate class outside of the genetic counseling prerequisite classes?
My last semester at Virginia Tech, I took a class on Broadway musicals! It was a peer-led honors course that met once a week. While I loved my science courses, this easily became one of my favorite classes at Tech. We discussed current events and issues in the musical theater industry and analyzed the scripts of Dear Evan Hansen, Mean Girls, and The Book of Mormon. I would encourage everyone to make the time to take a class outside of their usual course of study. Take a class just for fun—it’s worth it, I promise!
What memory stands out the most from your first few weeks of graduate school?
My cohort went out for tacos and drinks the first Friday night of grad school! It was a great way to celebrate our accomplishment of being accepted and surviving week one of classes. Going out together was also a nice way to get to know each outside of the classroom. This was especially important to me, as I was brand new to Indianapolis and did not know anyone in my new city. Forming friendships outside of school helped me adjust to these big life changes.
Did you have any fears going into genetic counseling?
My biggest fear going into grad school for genetic counseling was that I would be underqualified. Having only taken one genetics course at Tech, I was nervous that I would not know as much or be as good at genetics as my classmates. However, I quickly realized that everyone felt this way. One of my classes during my first semester was a basic human genetics course. The point of this class was to close any gaps that may exist between students and ensure we all had a standardized level of genetics coursework. While some students found this course easier or harder based on their prior knowledge, it was a great way to help us all get to the same level, and my entire cohort was so supportive of each other.
What: Learn more about the Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences (MABS) at VCOM/Bluefield College in a virtual chat session
When: March 16, 2020, 3-5 p.m. EST
Register: https://www.careereco.com/events/vcom (Links to an external site.)(cut and paste in your browser)
- Direct Linkage to the D.O. program at all 4 campuses so you could be accepted directly from the MABS program to the medical school if you hit benchmarks
- Taught by medical school faculty
- Opportunity to attend any of VCOM’s Four Campuses
- Application Being Accepted through April 15th of this year
“Greetings from AACOM!
AACOM will be hosting our annual Medical School Expo on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 from 5:00 PM – 9:30 PM ET at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, 2660 Woodley Road NW, Washington, DC 20008.
The 2020 Medical School Expo is a free event for students and advisors interested in learning more about the medical profession and gaining tips and tricks on how to strengthen their medical school application. We invite students from VT to join us for this special, in-depth look at the medical profession and what it means to be DO. The event’s keynote address will be delivered by America’s Family Doctor, Dr. Jen Caudle. Following the keynote from Dr. Jen, both current medical students and physicians from a variety of specialties will participate in panels, answering questions from the audience. After the keynote and panels, a medical school fair with representatives from over 30 of our colleges of osteopathic medicine will be held.
We ask that you please encourage your students to Register Now!
Registration is free but required. Additional information (parking, a list of exhibitors, etc.) can be found on the official event page.”
If you are pre-dental and willing to travel to the Maryland area over spring break, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) is putting on a recruitment event.
From their website:
“Date: Saturday, March 14, 2020
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Venue: Gaylord National Harbor and Convention Center
Location: National Harbor, MD
The 2020 ADEA GoDental Recruitment Event is a FREE in-person event that offers individuals interested in dentistry the chance to meet admissions officers from U.S. and Canadian dental schools and attend interactive presentations to help them be successful applicants. This dynamic event is geared toward high school, community college and four-year college students, as well as others interested in dentistry.”
See more here: https://www.adea.org/GoDental20/
Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Information Panel/Q & A
When: Wed., March 18, 2020, from 12:30 – 1:30 pm
What: Members of the VTCSOM admissions team will provide an overview of their admissions process and candidate evaluation criteria. They will discuss prerequisite coursework, grade remediation, experiences and group involvement, and the application process in general.
Where: Smith Career Center (Meeting Room A & Annex, 1st floor)
Preregistration: Not required
VTCSOM Student Mentoring Appointments
When: Wed., March 18, 2020, from 2 – 4:30 pm (following the Information Panel/Q & A
What: Members of the VTCSOM admissions team will meet individually with students, providing advice and feedback on coursework, preparation, competitiveness, etc.
Where: Smith Career Center
Complete this interest survey : https://forms.gle/Moq4M818pZc1NbDK6 to be considered for a mentoring time (survey open Feb. 24 – Feb. 27 at 4 pm). Preference given to seniors, juniors, sophomores; those planning to apply in the upcoming admissions cycle; and those specifically interested in Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. After 4 pm on Feb. 27, all students who express interest in a mentoring time will be contacted about their status. Those selected will be invited to sign up for a mentoring session, through Handshake, beginning Mar. 2, 2020