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Current student bios

Class of 2018

Tom Felton completed his bachelor’s degree in Biology at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. While at Carleton College he worked as a research assistant in a plant genetics lab, lifeguarded and played college soccer. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, boating, traveling to new places, and cooking.


Kelly Stedman is originally from the Stillwater, MN area. In 2011 she graduated from Winona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. During undergraduate she volunteered at a food shelf and battered women's shelter. Guided by a passion for cancer research she graduated from the University of Minnesota in December 2012 with a Master of Science degree in Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology with a research thesis on phosphatase expression in subtypes of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Most recently, she has managed an educational lab at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and served as an adjunct faculty at Saint Paul College teaching General Biology and Microbiology. She has also volunteered at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. In her free time she enjoys time with her husband and pets, playing the marimba, and spending time on the St. Croix River. 

Cheyenne Dewey grew up in San Ramon, California, and has since found her home in the Pacific Northwest. In 2016 she graduated with honors from the University of Puget Sound with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a minor in Spanish. In college she enjoyed molecular biology research on the microbial communities of high-sulfide habitats in Puget Sound and jobs as a chemistry course assistant and peer tutor. While studying abroad, she was able to explore her passion for science bilingually through an internship in a microbiology lab in Madrid, Spain. She hopes to connect science and communication for patients through genetic counseling and to continue her volunteer work with BRIDGES and Camp Erin in grief support for children and their families. In her free time, you can find Cheyenne dancing every style she can find, from Fusion and Salsa to Contemporary and Hip Hop.

Jerri Cheung graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology. She was born in Hong Kong and moved to the States as a child. During her undergrad, she was a tutor for the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society. She is also trained as a Client Caseworker for the American Red Cross and a Swing-Bed Patients Activity Coordinator at Summit Pacific Medical Center in Washington State. Outside of school, Jerri enjoys drinking tea, doing jigsaw puzzles, playing video games and watching football. 

Anna Rae Shelley grew up in the small town of Jefferson, IA. She graduated magna cum laude in December of 2015 from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she was involved in Psi Chi, Psychology Club, research in a psycholinguistics lab, and was an officer and member of Orchesis Dance Company. She worked as a respite care provider for families of children with developmental and intellectual disabilities, at Student Disability Services, and at Care Initiatives Hospice as a Patient Services Volunteer. During her last semester, she completed an internship with a genetic counselor in the Family Cancer Risk Program at Mercy Cancer Center in Des Moines, IA. After graduating, she continued her work in respite care and began working in a memory care house for the elderly who suffer from early to late stage dementia. In her free time she enjoys being active, cooking, reading, and going to live music shows.

Alex Holcomb is originally from Dallas, Texas and graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (and a minor in History) in 2014. After graduation, she volunteered at a domestic violence center answering the hotline and interfacing with clients and worked as a genetic counselor assistant, with cancer genetic counselors, at the UT Southwestern medical center in Dallas. Alex is an avid reader and podcast listener who enjoys baking, cooking, all things Harry Potter, and yoga.

Veronica Greve is originally from Western Michigan and received her B.S. in Molecular Genetics and Genomics from Michigan State University in 2014. During that time, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant in a biochemistry lab focused on plant signaling as well as trained and volunteered as a hotline advocate on the Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention team. After graduation, Veronica continued researching plant phenotyping for Michigan State from Ithaca. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and attempting to improve her culinary skills.

Rachel Saunders grew up in Denver, Colorado.  In 2013, she graduated with a degree in Biology from Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.  As an undergraduate, Rachel played Varsity Women's Soccer and volunteered with Special Olympics.  After graduating, Rachel moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where she worked in the laboratory at a chemical manufacturing company.  She also spent time working as a Healthcare Access Advocate at The Arc Greater Twin Cities, an advocacy organization that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  She currently serves on the leadership committee of the GenYWCA, an organization that works to connect young professionals to the YWCA's mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.  In her free time she enjoys traveling, playing soccer, hiking the Colorado 14ers and being outdoors.

Kate Holzer, originally from New Ulm, Minnesota, graduated in 2011 with a degree in Biology from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. While there, she was employed as a biology Teaching Assistant. After graduation, she worked in a molecular laboratory in the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Minnesota performing RNA extraction and polymerase chain reactions to detect genetic material of viruses in animal samples. She also volunteered as a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center, as a Resource Counseling Advocate at a domestic violence shelter, and as a coach with Special Olympics. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, exploring the Twin Cities, and being outdoors during the nice days in Minnesota!

Kelsey Moriarty is originally from Houston, Texas, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Baylor University (Sic’em!). While at Baylor she worked on undergraduate research projects and was on the leadership team for Beta Beta Beta biological honors society. From 2014-2016 Kelsey was a research assistant at MD Anderson Cancer Center focusing on T cell therapy for lymphoma. During this time, she also volunteered with Crisis Intervention of Houston as a counselor on the hotline. She also volunteers with SIRE to help people with special needs through therapeutic horsemanship. In her spare time, Kelsey enjoys reading, walking her pug and eating chocolate.


Class of 2019

Alexandra Wallgren is from Hermantown, Minnesota. In 2017, she graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Spanish and Hispanic Studies from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. While in Omaha, she was involved in comparative genomics research that focused on the impact of human activity on lotic water systems in the Galapagos. In addition, she worked as a teaching assistant and tutor for Creighton’s Genetics course. Her volunteer work includes mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands and hotline service for the Women’s Center for Advancement, as well as counselor work for Camp Abilities and leadership in a local Girl Scout troop. In her free time, Alexandra enjoys exploring the Superior Hiking Trail, singing in small ensemble, and making food.

Alina Sitaula was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. She moved to the United States when she was 18 to attend Southeastern Louisiana University for her undergraduate degree. She graduated with a degree in biology (micro/molecular concentration) and a minor in Chemistry. While at Southeastern, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant and participated in studies such as “Modulation of mt-DNA level with exercise” and “Analysis of Irisin and RbAp48 levels in various tissues of mice subjected to exercise”. After graduation, she worked as a lab researcher in National Jewish Health and then as a PRA in the TEDDY/DAISY research at Barbara Davis Center, CU Anschutz Medical Campus. She also volunteers as a sexual assault hotline advocate at the Blue Bench.  Her hobbies include reading, baking, cooking and watching soccer.

Andrea Stoddard earned a B.S. in Cellular/Molecular Biology with a Chemistry minor from Utah State University in 2016. As an undergraduate she worked as a supplemental instructor, teaching students General Biology. After graduation she worked on a research project with the U of M in the genetic counseling department. She has loved volunteering in the community:  at a shelter for victims of sexual and domestic assault, a community emergency assistance program and as a big sister in the Big Brother Big sister program. During her free time, Andrea enjoys rock climbing, swimming, scuba diving, traveling and playing with her three adorable puppies. 

Dana Miller is originally from Regina, SK, Canada. She earned a B.Sc. with Specialization in Molecular Genetics from the University of Alberta in 2016. During her undergraduate degree, she researched chaperone involvement in cardiac development, and enjoyed attending various conferences related to developmental genetics. She held a leadership training team position at the University of Alberta’s Peer Support Centre, which provides supportive listening services to the campus community. She explored other volunteer opportunities at The Edmonton Down Syndrome Society as well as at The Steadward Centre, helping individuals with impairments to be physically active. In her spare time, she enjoys being physically active: biking, weight lifting, skiing, and golfing. She also enjoys cooking, especially on Edmonton Oilers game days.


Dayna Cohen grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota in 2014. During her undergraduate career, she participated in tiger conservation research in Thailand, and worked at a summer camp in Wisconsin for 5 summers. After graduation, Dayna was employed by a gastroenterology clinic as a Patient Coordinator for a year where she served as a patient advocate by coordinating their care and communication with their physician. Soon after, she joined Fairview Health Services as the Medical Secretary for the Genetic Counseling Department, where she assisted in Cancer, Prenatal, and Pediatric clinics, as well as the Molecular Diagnostic Lab. In her free time, Dayna enjoys hiking, reading, playing tennis, all desserts, and Gopher sports.


Elena Fisher is from St. Louis, MO and graduated with a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2015. Following graduation, she worked as a research technician at Washington University School of Medicine in a lab studying ALS and Alzheimer’s disease. During this time, she wrote and submitted grants, helped manage the finances of the lab, and learned a lot about neurodegenerative diseases, especially through her hospice volunteer work. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors, crafting, traveling, reading, and eating!


Heewon Lee is an alumna of the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism and women’s studies. Since 2014, she has worked in the University of Minnesota’s division of gynecologic oncology as a study coordinator and research assistant. Heewon helped create a mobile app called mAGIC that educates ovarian cancer patients about genetic counseling, and became the patient recruiter and health navigator for the study. She administers assessments for another study examining cognitive decline during and after chemotherapy. Heewon is also the program coordinator for the GOLD study, which surveys a cohort of gynecological cancer survivors to determine risk factors for poor quality of life outcomes. Outside of work, Heewon enjoys taiko drumming, camping with her husband and two young sons, and running around the many lakes of Minneapolis.


Iman Kashmola was born and raised in sunny San Diego, California, and has since made the Midwest her home. She graduated magna cum laude from Iowa State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics, a Certificate in Leadership Studies, and initiation into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. While a Cyclone, she was an active peer mentor in the Genetics Learning Community and led tutoring and Supplemental Instruction sessions in both biology and leadership development courses alike. After graduating, Iman completed a genetic counseling summer internship at the Iowa Institute of Human Genetics, and has since been working for the Molecular Otolaryngology and Renal Research Laboratories (MORL) at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. While at the MORL, she drafted patient result letters and answered questions from healthcare providers regarding variant interpretation and genotype-phenotype correlations in families with hereditary hearing loss. When not studying, Iman is an avid baker and enjoys performing sun salutations with her fellow yogis.

Katy Schroepfer is excited to continue as a Gopher after graduating from UMN in 2017 with a BS in mathematics and minors in computer science and biology. During her undergrad, she was a Resource Counseling Advocate at a local domestic violence shelter, an officer on the Pre-Genetic Counseling Club, volunteered with Miss Amazing, and completed directed research exploring the human microbiome as part of the Blekhman Lab. She also worked as a lab assistant at the Genomics Center. In her free time, she enjoys watching football, reading, eating sushi, and daydreaming about owning a dog. 

Valerie Kruger grew up in Bremerton, WA. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she completed a summer internship with the HIV Vaccine Trials Network at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. After graduation, she worked as an advocate at the YWCA’s ALIVE domestic violence shelter answering the crisis line and connecting domestic violence survivors to resources in the community. She also worked with the Genetic Support Foundation, an independent non-profit created to increase access to genetic counseling and objective information about genetics. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, being active, and trying new food.