Woman wearing a dark blue dress and wide black hat smiling ibn front of a tan brick wall.

Olivia Lopez

Where and what did you study in undergrad?
I studied Cell and Molecular Biology at Southeast Missouri State University and graduated in 2020.

What drew you to the genetic counseling field?
I love the dual nature of genetic counseling (GC) and how we get to experience both the educational and emotional side of genetics! There is so much versatility within the field and it only continues to grow. I also love how the field will never be stagnant and that I have the chance to learn something new every day. I had very positive interactions with every GC I met on my path to Wake, and I welcome the chance to work in such a collaborative environment and help foster inclusiveness and diversity for future GCs.

Why did you choose Wake?
It took me a long time to find a good fit and picture myself succeeding in a GC program. When I interviewed with Wake, I still had the normal jittery nerves, but there were none of those moments where I felt like I was failing a test, or that anyone was waiting for me to make a fumble—I could be myself around the faculty and I felt that I projected my genuine, if nervous, self. I also loved the opportunity to be part of a new program and help build it to help future students! The level of support I would receive from the program was also super important to me. I felt that every faculty member I spoke to was so receptive to hearing what the students needed and were more receptive to change.

What are your future hopes and aspirations as a genetic counselor?
I hope to be an asset to my patients and peers, both clinically and emotionally. As a genetic counselor, we will have the opportunity to shape the field and clinic environments and I hope to continue to make genetic counseling a welcoming, more diverse and inclusive field.

What is your favorite late-night snack?
I'll do everyone a favor and introduce you to cookie butter, courtesy of Trader Joe's!

If you could offer a word of advice to prospective students, what would it be?
I know it's hard, but I think the best piece of advice I can give is to try not to compare yourself to other applicants. Everyone has something unique and worthwhile to offer and will become such an asset to the field in the future. It's okay to take as much time as you need to find that level of fit in a program and to feel comfortable in speaking about your growth during the application process. Don't try to compare your timeline with anyone else's—the time will come when it's right!

Ask a Student

Class of 2024

If you're thinking about applying for the genetic counseling MS program at Wake Forest some of our current students are happy to connect and help answer your questions.

Allyson Morgan - allmorga@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Taking a gap year; North Carolina as a whole; things to do in Winston-Salem; living in downtown Winston; reapplying; being a Graduate Assistant at Wake; being in a new program; moving back to where you grew up; making connections; early undergrad graduation; gaining patient-facing experience; mental health!

Angel Serafini - aserafin@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Taking the non-traditional student track; many gap years; post-bacc coursework; moving from out of state; overcoming fear; being in recovery; finding a new church home; student loans; being a Graduate Assistant at Wake; anything about the field, applications, matching, and Wake Forest’s Program.

Courtney Davis - cordavis@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Taking a couple (2) gap years; moving with a significant other; North Carolina as a whole; things to do in Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas; reapplying; low undergraduate GPA; living in downtown Winston; being in a new program; research; being a Graduate Assistant at Wake; first-generation college student; anything related to applications or Wake’s program specifically.

Erika Ward - eeward@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Taking multiple gap years; being a reapplicant; coming from out of state (Michigander here!); moving with a significant other; navigating Winston-Salem as a NC newbie; anything about Wake’s program :)

Jamie Chamberlin - jcchambe@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about:Taking a gap year; transitioning from pre-med to genetic counseling; first time applicant to GC programs; fast-tracking the application process; North Carolina as a whole; living in downtown Winston-Salem; research; volunteering; being in a new program; summer activities; cold emailing GCs for informational interviews; long-distance relationships; how much I love Wake Forest’s program! :)

Linnea Lundh - llundh@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Taking four gap years between undergrad and grad school; living in Downtown Winston-Salem (the dog-friendly version); being an out-of-state student (from the Maryland/DC/Northern VA area); having a full-time job while applying; having a heavy research background → genetic counseling; being in a new program.

Madison Badje - mbadje@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Taking a gap year; being a reapplicant to programs; big out of state move (I am from Nebraska); advocacy experience; being a part of a new program; learning your way around Winston-Salem.

Olivia Lopez - oclopez@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Taking multiple gap years; being a third-time applicant; being an out of state student; moving 12+ hours to a new city; anxiety during interviews/application process; imposter syndrome/mental health; living in downtown Winston; anything about Wake’s program!

Class of 2023

Atticus Halpern - ahalpern@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Moving from a big city to Winston Salem, taking a lot of gap years to work, relocating to a different state with your Significant Other, applying to school as an older student

Bri Murphy - bkmurphy@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Being an LGBTQ+ student, mental health/imposter syndrome, being a Graduate Assistant, living downtown in Winston-Salem, anything at all related to our program

Hannah Krammes - hkrammes@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Applying to and attending school as a low-income student, student loans, moving 8 hours away for school, multiple gap years, being a Graduate Assistant, finding housing suited to big dogs/”aggressive” breeds, hiking/outdoors recreation in the area, anything at all about the field of genetic counseling and/or Wake Forest’s program

Macy Calvasina - mcalvasi@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Moving to Winston-Salem by myself, long-distance relationship, being in a new program, living downtown in Winston

Madison Young - mcyoung@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Out-of-state questions, getting advocacy experience, College Mentors for Kids, best hiking and food spots in Winston

Tiera Mack - tcmack@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Diversity/Culture/Religion, being a non-traditional student, taking gap years between undergrad and grad school, commuting to Winston-Salem, research, graduate assistant position, city girl moving to Winston-Salem, coffee spots in Winston Salem

Victoria Bartlett - vbartlet@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: The impact of having a close family member with cancer, living alone in a new city, the community outreach capstone project

Zerin Islam - zislam@wakehealth.edu

Things to ask me about: Being a diverse applicant & student, gap years/post-bacc programs & being non-traditional, attending school with a seemingly unrelated & non-science major, raising pets during grad school, anything about Winston-Salem or North Carolina, anything at all about life in general or the program