Naomi Wagner is a Genetic Counselor at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, MA. She describes her career as an intersection of genetics and therapy. Genetics can come into play at many phases of life, including pre-natal, offering expectant parents options to test their pregnancy for various genetic conditions, and in adults, exploring genetics related to cancer conditions.
Naomi’s background was in lab research but she was looking for something with more human contact. She likes being able to meet with the individual’s whose lives are affected by the science that she’s doing. She describes that genetic counseling can be emotionally draining at times to be in the counseling role, and that genetic counselors are typically very empathetic and that it’s important to set good boundaries.
To prepare for a career as a genetic counselor, Naomi suggests that most people come from a pre-med background, but that it doesn’t have to be, and that graduate programs are open to students from diverse backgrounds. She suggests that students who are interested in the field check out the National Society of Genetic Counselors website to learn more, and to find counselors who they can shadow to learn more about the field.
Check out Candid Career to hear more about Naomi’s career path toward becoming a Genetic Counselor, and to watch other videos about people in this and similar roles