Halie Holmes MS '18

Halie grew up in Wall Township, New Jersey. She graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ in 2015 with a BS in Chemical Biology and a minor in Social Sciences with a concentration in Psychology. As an undergraduate, she worked as a student researcher in a gene therapy laboratory under the advisement of Dr. Philip Leopold. Although she originally wanted to pursue genetic research, she learned about genetic counseling during her sophomore year and knew that was the right path to follow. In order to learn more about the field, she pursued shadowing opportunities in the New York City area, including the pediatric cardiology clinic at Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she shadowed throughout her junior year of college. After graduation, Halie worked as a genetic counseling assistant at GeneDx in Gaithersburg, MD, where she worked closely with lab genetic counselors to process samples for whole exome sequencing. This experience further cemented her love for genetic counseling and gave her a terrific background in genetic testing. During this time, she also volunteered as a crisis call specialist for the Mental Health Association in MD. Halie is so happy to be part of Sarah Lawrence College’s genetic counseling program and continues to practice yoga, play music, write, and dance in her free time.

What experiences helped you prepare for a genetic counseling graduate program?

My job as a genetic counseling assistant and my position at the crisis hotline helped me prepare the most for the genetic counseling program. As a genetic counseling assistant, I learned the path of a genetic testing sample from the time it leaves a clinical genetic counselor’s hands to the time results are reported to the patient. I also learned about the role and perspectives of a lab genetic counselor, and a lot about exome sequencing! From my time counseling on the crisis hotline, I learned many of the counseling methods we are using in our “Fundamentals of Genetic Counseling” class.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before beginning your graduate program?

First, I wish I had taken a closer look at the first-year course list. My undergraduate genetics and physiology notes would have been nice to have on-hand! Second, I wish I’d known ahead of time how supportive my classmates would be. As someone who was nervous about the large class size at Sarah Lawrence, it would have been nice to know I had nothing to worry about!

How do you typically get to school and clinical rotations?

I live in the Bronx and I have a car, so I typically drive to school. My current clinical rotation is in the Bronx, so I take a bus because it is close to me and easy to get to. I live near a subway line, so I can hop on the subway and get to Manhattan in no time. I find it very easy to get around!