Cara Barnett ’18 got a head start in her future career in genetics this summer, while interning at the Division of Genetics and Metabolism at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital in Lexington.
“At both of these locations, I spent my time shadowing a genetic counselor,” Barnett said. “This involved everything from sitting in on genetic counseling appointments with patients, to helping file paperwork and understanding test results. Further, I attended a selective weeklong internship program for prospective students at Northwestern University’s Master’s Program in Genetic Counseling.”
Looking to pursue a Master’s of Science degree in the field, Barnett knew this internship would give her the extra step and opportunities needed to move forward.
“I was very excited about the opportunity to work directly with a genetic counselor, as it is a smaller career field and there are only about 2,000 counselors in the U.S.,” she said. “Having the opportunity to work in the University of Kentucky HealthCare system also provided me a lot of basic knowledge and training regarding specific practices in healthcare.”
As a biology major, her rigorous coursework prepared Barnett for what she encountered during the internship, particularly her genetics and cell biology classes.
“This experience has been very eye opening for me,” she added. “Not only have I learned much more about the various career paths genetic counselors can take, I have made invaluable networking connections.”
The opportunity Barnett had to shadow genetic counselors in two different clinics provided an array of learning experiences that will prepare her to apply to graduate programs.
“I can already tell that I have become much more versed in cancer genetics,” she said, “as well as rare genetics conditions in both children and adults.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
September 7, 2017