Abigail Whiting MS '18

Abigail is a native of Columbus, Ohio. She studied Molecular Genetics and Psychology as an undergraduate at Ohio State University, where she made sure to attend as many Buckeye football games as possible. Abigail worked in the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, designing forms for research studies through the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, before diving into her own research on the Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) Research Project team, studying the relationships between genotypes and phenotypes. She volunteered as a helpline advocate for the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO), providing emotional support to victims of sexual violence and their family members and friends. She also volunteered at the annual Down Syndrome Association of Central Ohio (DSACO) conference for adults with Down syndrome and their families and was a founding member of the Undergraduate Genetic Counseling Club at OSU. Abigail loves living in New York and being able to explore Manhattan and Brooklyn on the weekends, but is disappointed that she hasn’t won the Hamilton ticket lottery yet.

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

Working as part of the DCM Consortium Project allowed her understand the full scope of genetic counseling. In this role, she was able to aid in behind-the-scenes work and participate in patient interactions and see the impact that genetic medicine had on their care. Working on a qualitative research thesis project with an OSU genetic counseling graduate student gave her additional insight into the importance of psychosocial care of patients with genetic diagnoses. She has also found her role instructing high school biology students, as part of a DNA Fingerprinting class, helpful in learning how to gauge and counsel patients at their level of understanding about a topic.

Describe your clinical placement and role.

Abigail's first clinic rotation is with Integrated Genetics in Brooklyn. Her rotation mostly involves prenatal cases and sometimes cancer appointments with a wide range of populations, including Asian, Orthodox Jewish, and Middle Eastern patients. She observes consultations and is practicing building her contracting and family history taking skills.

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

There is a method to the madness of interviews and creating cohesive classes, and it will work out the way it is supposed to. It is hard to be forced out of your comfort zone while learning how to shape your counseling style too, but making mistakes and fighting your way through the moments of discomfort are the best ways to help you improve.