Class of 2020
Jimena Prado is originally from Mexico City. She moved to Canada when she was 15 years old to complete her high school education and stayed to go to university in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Jimena graduated from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology & Immunology in 2017. While at Halifax, she served as an executive at the Dalhousie International Students Association where she supported and advocated for the international community at the university. Jimena also volunteered at the Maritime Medical Genetics Service where she was able to shadow genetic counselors. After graduation, she worked at a private company providing clinical trials with logistical support and sample management. She also continued volunteering at various organizations including the Emergency Department at the IWK Health Centre, the Sexual Assault & Harassment Phone Line at Dalhousie Student Union, the Halifax Refugee Clinic and the Canadian Red Cross. She also volunteered as a camp counsellor at Brigadoon Village and loved every second of it. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, drinking coffee and practicing yoga.
Rachel Simon grew up in the small town of New Market, MN. She graduated summa cum laude in May of 2018 from North Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and a minor in Psychology. As an undergraduate student, she worked as a research assistant in a wheat genetics lab at the USDA. She also volunteered as an on-call advocate for the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center in Fargo, ND and a side-walker for NDSU's Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies program. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, fiancé, and their cat. She also enjoys traveling and attempting to craft and bake.
Grace Bronken was born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, California. In 2018, she graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a B.S. in Psychobiology and a minor in Society and Genetics. As an undergrad, Grace conducted research with the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, counseled fellow students under the UCLA Grand Depression Challenge, and studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland. During her time at UCLA, she was also actively involved in the Genetic Counseling Student Interest Group and became the club president during her senior year. In her free time, Grace enjoys skiing, traveling to new places, and rooting for the Minnesota Twins and Vikings!
Kahlen Darr, originally from Celina, Ohio, graduated summa cum laude from Northern Arizona University (NAU) with a B.S. in Biology, a minor in Chemistry and certifications in Wildlife Management and Conservation Biology. During his undergraduate degree he spent time on Saipan in the Marianas Islands archipelago conducting independent research on the effect of invasive cover types on the endemic bird species of Saipan. During his time at NAU he was a peer teaching assistant for General Biology I and II. After graduation Kahlen spent some time as a wildlife technician conducting surveys for Mexican Spotted Owls in the White Mountains of Arizona. He worked with terminally ill patients and their families providing socialization and respite care. Kahlen is also a certified dog trainer and as such enjoys spending time working and hiking alongside his Catahoula mix Isaac.
Amanda de Leon is from Los Angeles, CA. In 2016 she earned her B.S in Psychobiology from UCLA. While an undergraduate, she did a fellowship with UCLA-Harbor putting on free health fairs, and conducting research on the Affordable Care Act in a Latino community. She was also a food educator at an all girl’s orphanage. After graduating, she worked as a substitute teacher and behavior technician. She also began volunteering with the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center as a crisis counselor. She has shadowed cancer and prenatal genetic counselors, and interned with cancer genetic counselors in the Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and the LA County + USC medical center. In her free time, she enjoys telenovelas, cooking, Boba, and bike riding.
Jennine Deckert is from Winnipeg, Canada. In 2017 she graduated from the University of Manitoba with her B. Sc. Honors Genetics with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. During her undergraduate degree she researched gene expression in mosquitos, and for her Honors thesis investigated the interaction of two enzymes in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. As an undergraduate she taught adaptive swimming lessons to children and young adults with a variety of disabilities, while also volunteering as a reproductive health counselor for teens. Most recently she has worked as a sexual assault and crisis counselor, as well as a medical assistant at a community health clinic. In her free time she enjoys travelling, camping, playing ringette and trying new foods.
Maribeth Golm grew up in Howell, Michigan. She graduated with a Bachelors in Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2016, where she obtained a double major in biology and anthropology. During this time, she was a genetic counseling intern at Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Indiana. After graduation, Maribeth worked as a Genetic Counseling Assistant in the Cancer Genetics Clinic at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. She also volunteered as a hotline and hospital advocate at a rape crisis center. Maribeth loves to spend her time hiking, being outdoors, bowling, reading, and playing board games.
Mrunmayee Shete grew up in Nashik, India. She moved to USA when she was 17 to attend University of Washington. In 2018, she graduated cum laude with B.S. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. While at University of Washington, she worked as an undergraduate intern at the Nemhauser lab researching bioengineering plant shoot architecture using CRISPR to increase plant yield. She volunteered as a crisis counselor for Teen Link at Seattle Crisis Clinic and Crisis Text Line. She has also volunteered as a biology tutor at the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society and a morning volunteer for ROOTS young adult shelter. Outside of school, Mrunmayee enjoys reading, being active, crocheting, playing with cats and learning new things.
Jenna Soukup is originally from Sleepy Eye, MN. In 2017 she graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and a minor in Microbiology. During her undergraduate degree Jenna spent time doing a variety of research projects, including one on the formation of metastasis in triple negative breast cancer. She also tutored organic chemistry and was a member of the American Chemical Society student group. In her free time, Jenna loves to crochet, craft, and cook and gets out to hike whenever she can!
Bridget Winchester grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated with distinction from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a degree in Genetics. As an undergraduate, she led an introduction to biochemistry discussion and a peer mentoring group for an honors biology program (Biocore). She also enjoyed leading an after-school science club for elementary school students. After graduating she moved to Marshfield, Wisconsin, to work as a genetic counselor assistant at PreventionGenetics. In Marshfield, she volunteered with Heartland Hospice and the Personal Development Center as a SANE phone advocate. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, reading, and practicing yoga.
Class of 2021
Alexis Dammann was born and raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and minor in Psychology. After graduation she thoroughly enjoyed volunteering as a crisis counselor through Crisis Text Line and in the children's program at the Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Shelter. She also has had various jobs in the community: a tutor for biology, a caregiver for a woman with Rett Syndrome, and a behavior specialist for children with mental/developmental disabilities. In 2018, she moved to Marshfield, WI to work at PreventionGenetics as a Lab Tech and Genetic Testing Coordinator. In her free time, Alexis loves baking everything chocolate, board games, reading, photography, and 'playing' with her two birds!
Amelia Richardson grew up in Arizona, Upstate New York, and a suburb of Chicago. After earning a BS in molecular biology from Brigham Young University in 2008, she worked as a research technician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in a stem cell lab focused on treatment of neural diseases. Amelia completed a PhD in biomedical sciences at the University of California San Diego in 2018, where she studied a cancer mutation in the cohesin complex. She has worked as a TA for undergraduate genetics and developmental biology classes and as a guest lecturer for UC San Diego School of Medicine’s pre-matriculation summer course. Her past advocacy work includes serving on the board of a STEM education and diversity discussion group, volunteering for Special Olympics, and assisting at a special education preschool. Most recently, she helped facilitate a self-advocacy group and implemented person-centered planning at a day center for adults with developmental disabilities. In her free time, she enjoys baking, knitting, making kombucha, and watching Doctor Who.
Carly Allen-Tice was born and raised in Mahtomedi, Minnesota. In 2019, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development and a minor in Spanish. As an undergraduate, Carly pursued research focused on familial hypercholesterolemia for her honors thesis and took on the role of study coordinator for the Cholesterol Evaluation to Explore Risk Screening (CHEERS) project. She also volunteered and interned for The Aurora Center for Advocacy and Education, served as the president of the Pre-Genetic Counseling Club, and completed a variety of genetic counseling related projects. After graduation, she spent time traveling to Peru, Portugal, and Spain. In Carly’s free time, she enjoys hiking, playing piano, and spending time with friends.
Carolyn Kalscheur grew up in Lakeville, Minnesota. She graduated with high distinction in 2013 from University of Iowa, earning degrees in Psychology and Dance. While in Iowa, she worked as a research assistant studying neural plasticity. After finishing undergrad, she began her advocacy work with Alzheimer’s Association, led programs for children and adults affected by Down Syndrome with Gigi’s Playhouse, and provided daily care and support for adults with traumatic brain injuries with Restart, Inc. She also became certified in Mental Health First Aid and kept the lights on at home by practicing her counseling skills from behind the bar. Her free time is generally spent baking, biking, cross-stitching, getting quality time in with her husband, and spoiling their dogs.
DeVon Hunter-Schlichting is originally from Coon Rapids, MN. In 2013, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a B.S. in Zoology, and a MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2019. During her undergraduate degree she worked as a research assistant in murine genetics at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research. After graduation and during her MPH degree DeVon worked as a researcher at the Masonic Cancer Center focusing on epigenetics in cancer etiology and inter-individual differences in immunity, viral exposures, and cancer epidemiology. She also currently volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters and has been matched with her Little for over 4 years. In her free time, DeVon enjoys spending time with her furless sphynx cat Prometheus and watching all things reality TV and WWE.
Greg Marsh is from Midland, Michigan. He attended Wayne State University in Detroit for his undergraduate education and graduated with a B.A. in Chemistry and a minor in Biology in 2017. During and following his time at Wayne State he studied and co-authored two publications studying Spinocerebellar ataxia in fruit flies at a genetics lab at WSU. He has volunteered at a hospice center providing emotional care for patients. He also worked as a genetic counselor assistant at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan pediatric genetics clinic in Detroit, Michigan. Outside of school and work Greg enjoys biking in the city, cooking and baking, and going to concerts.
Jessica Ruedy was born and raised in White Bear Lake, MN. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development from the University of Minnesota in 2017. During her time as an undergraduate, she was a Shelter Intern and then Shelter Relief Advocate at Sojourner Project, a domestic violence shelter in the Twin Cities. In addition to her time at the domestic violence shelter, she also enjoyed volunteering with children at a local charter school and at the Science Museum of Minnesota. After graduation, Jessica worked as a study coordinator for type 1 diabetes studies in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. In her free time, she loves to run, bake, travel, and spend time with family.
Nicole Cronin was born in Montreal, Canada but has lived in Minnesota, Arizona, and North Carolina, as well. She graduated from University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2019 with a B.S. in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development and a minor in Microbiology. During her time as an undergraduate, she worked as an undergraduate research assistant and completed directed research and Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) projects on the bypass of UV-induced DNA damage during DNA replication in mouse cells. Additionally, she worked as an undergraduate teaching assistant for general and foundational biology courses and volunteered with Crisis Text Line as a crisis counselor. Throughout her undergraduate, she was also involved with Colleges against Cancer, Phi Beta Chi sorority, and the Pre-Genetic Counseling Club. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, playing cribbage, going to Twins games, and checking out local breweries and restaurants.
Samera Al-Najjar is from Chicago, Illinois. In December 2018 she graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana with a Bachelors of Science in molecular and cellular biology. As an undergraduate, she volunteered with on-campus organizations to provide free health screenings to underserved communities in the Champaign area. She also volunteered with Four Paws for Ability as a foster for a service dog in training named Licorice. In the summer she worked as a taxpayer advocate assistant to help the diverse communities of Chicago understand and navigate property tax procedures. After graduation, she continued to volunteer with Chicago Public Schools to help organize and judge the academic decathlon speech competition. In her free time, she enjoys baking, ice skating, swimming, and watching The Property Brothers.
Seth Stafki grew up in Perham, Minnesota. He graduated with a Bachelors in Science from the University of Minnesota, Duluth, where he obtained a major in Biochemistry with minors in Biology and Psychology. During this time, he volunteered with genetic counselors at Essentia Health and worked as a Personal Care Assistant at McCarthy Manor in Duluth. After graduation, Seth worked first as a substitute teacher in the Duluth ISD 709, then as a Genetic Counseling Assistant in the Cancer Genetics Clinic at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. He enjoys the outdoors, cooking, and traveling.
Caroline Andrews was born and raised in Ham Lake, Minnesota. She graduated summa cum laude in 2019 from Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan with a BS in Biology and a minor in Classical Education. In Hillsdale, she served as a resident assistant, biology tutor, and TA, enjoying mentoring and supporting other students. She worked as a research assistant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas studying allelic imbalance in cancer using computational techniques, as well as did on campus research in population genetics and virology. She volunteered with the American Cancer Society, visited local high schools to advocate for students exploring diverse career options, and coordinated a volunteer program to lead recreational sports for underserved kids in the county, through which she loved coaching middle school girls basketball. In the summers, she worked in junior golf with the MN PGA and still dreams of becoming a professional golfer someday (maybe after retirement). She loves playing and watching all kinds of sports as well as reading, spending time with her (many) siblings, and enjoying the outdoors.