Indiana State University Newsroom



Indiana State welcomes new genetic counseling cohort

October 4, 2017

Indiana State University announces the second cohort for the Master of Science in Genetic Counseling program.

The two-year program prepares students with training in genetics, genomics and psychological counseling to enable them to become successful genetic counselors. Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand and adapt to the medical, psychological and familial implications of genetic contributions to disease.

During the first year, students are on the Indiana State campus for course work and clinical experience at the university's Genetic Counseling Clinic at Union Hospital, as well as other local experiences. During the second year of the program, course work is online while the students gain first-hand experience working as a genetic counselor in clinical rotations available in pediatric, prenatal, adult and specialty genetics clinics across the country.

Students in the 2019 cohort include:

• Irene Ford of Madison, Wis., who graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in genetics.

• Katherine Shepherd of Fresno, Calif., who graduated from California State University-Fresno with a bachelor's degree in biology.

• Brooke Sample of Marshfield, Wis., who graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison with abachelor's degree in genetics and history.

• Courtney Asman of Mount Clemens, Mich., who graduated from University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in neuroscience.

• Samantha Toy of Fort Wayne, Ind., who graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree on biology.

• Kassi Rains of Greencastle, Ind., who graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

• Nicole Collins of Norridge, Ill., who graduated from University of Illinois with a bachelor's degree in biology.

Genetic counseling is a young and quickly growing profession that began in the early 1970s with 10 graduates from Sarah Lawrence College. There are currently more than 4,000 certified genetic counselors in the United States and Canada, with the demand growing more quickly than the current training programs can accommodate.

Indiana State's program is the 33rd accredited genetic counseling program in the U.S. and Canada. With the demand for qualified genetic medical professionals increasing, so has the demand for genetic counseling training programs; however, to allow for more personalized attention, cohort sizes remain small across the country.

At Indiana State, eight students are accepted each year. Students come to State with undergraduate degrees in a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, psychology, public health and nursing, as well as advocacy experience in crisis counseling or working with individuals with special needs.

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Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/Genetic-Counseling-White-Coat-Ceremony/i-qFpfVF4/0/df6ff992/X3/White%20Coat%20Ceremony_Gibbons-6191-X3.jpg -- Back row from left, President Daniel Bradley, Genetic Counseling Program Director Megan Tucker, Irene Ford, Katherine Shepherd, Brooke Sample, Courtney Asman, Samantha Toy, Provost Mike Licari and Professor Rusty Gonser. Bottom row from left, Kassi Rains and Nicole Collins.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/Genetic-Counseling-White-Coat-Ceremony/i-8sLbJjz/0/017d45d1/X3/White%20Coat%20Ceremony_Gibbons-6161-X3.jpg -- From left, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, Irene Ford and Provost Mike Licari.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/Genetic-Counseling-White-Coat-Ceremony/i-bfJsNfx/0/166e67b0/X3/White%20Coat%20Ceremony_Gibbons-6174-X3.jpg -- From left, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, Katherine Shepherd and Provost Mike Licari.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/Genetic-Counseling-White-Coat-Ceremony/i-fZfV4mg/0/4755d7d9/X3/White%20Coat%20Ceremony_Gibbons-6170-X3.jpg -- From left, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, Brooke Sample and Provost Mike Licari.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/Genetic-Counseling-White-Coat-Ceremony/i-ngpv7p4/0/8827c84b/X3/White%20Coat%20Ceremony_Gibbons-6154-X3.jpg -- From left, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, Courtney Asman and Provost Mike Licari.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/Genetic-Counseling-White-Coat-Ceremony/i-6k7VKJt/0/f15126e8/X3/White%20Coat%20Ceremony_Gibbons-6178-X3.jpg -- From left, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, Samantha Toy and Provost Mike Licari.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/Genetic-Counseling-White-Coat-Ceremony/i-qL4JktS/0/fa1eccaa/X3/White%20Coat%20Ceremony_Gibbons-6166-X3.jpg -- From left, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, Kassi Rains and Provost Mike Licari.

Photo: https://photos.smugmug.com/Events/Events-by-Year/2017/Genetic-Counseling-White-Coat-Ceremony/i-SgDGHR8/0/e59b0a98/X3/White%20Coat%20Ceremony_Gibbons-6158-X3.jpg -- From left, Indiana State University President Daniel Bradley, Nicole Collins and Provost Mike Licari.

Writer and media contact: Connor Myers, media relations assistant, Office of Communications and Marketing, cmyers34@sycamores.indstate.edu or 812-237-3773

Story Highlights

The two-year program prepares students with training in genetics, genomics and psychological counseling to enable them to be successful genetic counselors. Genetic counseling is the process of helping people understand genetic contributions to disease.

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