The OAGC Web Design and Marketing Subcommittee is proud to present our second Member Spotlight! Meet Leanne Hagen, one of our newest genetic counseling colleagues! Read on to see what advice she offers those thinking about a career in genetic counseling. Be sure to check back next quarter for our next member spotlight!
What led you to a career in genetic counseling?
My aunt is a genetic counselor, so I first heard about the career from her. Over time I realized I enjoyed science and wanted direct patient care, but I have a huge fear of needles, so it seemed like the best fit! The more exposure I got to genetic counseling the more I loved it.
What part of your career in genetic counseling excites you most?
Where modern technology is taking us. From clinical trials for gene therapy to NIPT for single gene conditions. It is so overwhelming, but exciting, to be on the edge of such great strides in science.
In five years, what changes do you see occurring in the field of genetic counseling?
I feel like a lot of changes are on the horizon. As our field grows there will likely be more “non-traditional” career paths that genetic counselors will take. Additionally, our roles within the clinic may become more specialized to accommodate all of the settings that need genetic support.
What advice would you give a person considering genetic counseling as a career?
Try to get as much exposure to genetic counseling as possible. I know it’s difficult, but there are online case series, and informational meetings if you aren’t able to shadow. Consider talking to genetic counselors with different career paths (lab, clinical, industry, advocacy, clinical trials etc). Before graduate school I wasn’t aware that those were options!
If you could not be a genetic counselor, what career would you pursue?
I would like to think something adventurous, like zoology or wildlife conservation, but most likely I would be an engineer.