Second Year Students

Class of 2018
Julie Baskin Julie Baskin ( grew up in Detroit, Michigan and Stony Brook, New York.  She received her B.S. in Zoology from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in 1980 and her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 1991.  She previously worked as a Research Instructor at UAB where her research interests included Fc receptor-initiated cell signaling, regulation, and downstream cellular responses in autoimmune disease (SLE).  Julie has also worked as an educator in Birmingham and Montgomery area public schools.  Prior to coming to Emory, Julie volunteered at the Kirklin Clinic Breast Health Center and in the Pulmonary Clinic at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.  She enjoys time spent with her family, taking spin classes, and painting.
Gill Chao

Gill Chao ( is from Taiwan, but grew up in Singapore and Beijing. She graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 2016 with a B.S. in Molecular Biotechnology and a minor in Biology. In her sophomore year, Gill represented CUHK in the international Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, which sparked her interested in communicating genetic information to various audiences. Her undergraduate research projects included studying the role of iron regulatory proteins (IRP) in the iron utilization of plants, and the role of smad1 and smad5 in congenital heart valve disease using mice. Gill’s love for volunteering is rooted in her family and started in primary school where she taught painting to the children with disabilities alongside her grandfather, who is an oil painting professor. She also collaborated with local children’s charities, coordinating projects supporting new immigrants and 'leftover children'. Although she was not introduced to genetic counseling until her junior year, Gill gained exposure to genetic counseling by observing the clinical sessions of Dr. Josephine SC Chong at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong and found that her love for genetics, molecular biotechnology, and passion for communication, education, advocacy, and interest in analyzing issues from various aspects, would all be satisfied by a career in genetic counseling. 


Dillon Davis ( grew up in the Atlanta area and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology.  While at UGA, he worked with Dr. Walter Schmidt investigating the topology of Ras Converting Enzyme (Rce1p) in S. cerevisiae and earned authorship on a paper published in Biochemistry.  After graduation, he worked at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, GA as a patient transporter and volunteered at St. Mary’s Hospice House. Both experiences gave great insight into patient care. In 2015, He moved back to Atlanta where he continued to work as a patient transporter at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital and began to volunteer at Northside Hospital’s Hereditary Cancer Program where he gained substantial exposure to clinical genetic counseling.  He also thoroughly enjoyed his experience at Jacobs Ladder Neurodevelopmental School and Therapy Center as a neurodevelopmental teacher working with children with a variety of genetic disorders and intellectual disabilities.  Outside of genetic counseling, Dillon enjoys hanging out with friends as well as playing and watching sports, especially basketball, football, and hockey.  


Janette diMonda ( grew up in Marietta, Georgia before attending college at the University of Georgia, where she received a bachelor’s degree in biology. She became interested in genetic counseling in high school by speaking to a family friend who was in the field. While at UGA, she tailored her classes to gain more exposure to genetics, and spent time working as a lab assistant in a soybean molecular breeding lab. Here, she learned about genetic analysis by performing techniques such as PCR and DNA/RNA extraction, and by using advanced software to analyze DNA. She also worked on the Properties Crew for the Redcoat Marching Band, where she primarily served as an assistant to the feature fire twirler. She regularly volunteered with Hospice Compassus, Clarke County Mentor Program, and the Athens Area Homeless Shelter. Most summers in between her years at UGA were spent as a camp counselor at a nature camp in Roswell, Georgia. The most rewarding extracurricular activity she experienced was the online therapy chat room 7 Cups of Tea. As a certified listener, she counseled over 50 users suffering from problems such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, gender/sexual identity issues, relationship/family conflicts, and more. Before leaving UGA, she helped write a grant application for a project in the Emory Vaccine Lab involving a high-resolution sequencing software targeting HLA genes for the purpose of bone marrow transplantation. Janette is excited to combine her passion for science with her interest in the helping profession during her training as a genetic counselor. In her free time, she enjoys drawing, hiking, and longboarding. 


Rebecca Hicks ( is from Dallas, TX. She graduated from The George Washington University in 2013 with a B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology. Rebecca was active on campus and off, participating in GWU’s Women’s Leadership Program and working in two very different research labs: one focused on the effect of women’s self-objectification on health related behaviors, while the other studied neurocognitive outcomes of children born preterm. Her interest in counseling and advocacy developed early in her undergraduate tenure through volunteer crisis counseling at the DC Rape Crisis Center. After graduation, Rebecca was awarded a post-baccalaureate research fellowship at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in the Unit on Genetics of Puberty and Reproduction. While at the NIH, she served primarily as a research coordinator for several studies investigating the genetic basis of inherited reproductive disorders. It was in this position where Rebecca first learned about the field of genetic counseling and where she combined her passion for advocacy and patient care with her growing interest in medical genetics. After the fellowship, she diversified her experience in public health as a research assistant for a bio-statistical consulting firm assessing patient safety in clinical trials. To gain further exposure to the field of genetic counseling, she also shadowed a number of genetic counselors in the Washington, D.C. area and learned more about their evolving roles as health care professionals. Rebecca enjoys brunching, spending time with friends and family, and catching up on Netflix.


Rachel Logan Rachel Logan grew up in Mundelein, Illinois.  She graduated from Purdue University in 2015 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences - Health and Disease and minors in Psychology and Forensic Science. During her time at Purdue University, she was a teaching assistant for two undergraduate biological sciences laboratory courses and a leader in the new international student orientation program. During her summer as a research assistant in a Microbiology-Immunology lab at Northwestern University, she had the opportunity to shadow the genetic counseling staff in the genetics clinic at Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital. This experience was pivotal in her decision to pursue a career in genetic counseling. In the following two years, Rachel worked as a pregnancy counselor in two CareNet pregnancy resource centers. She spent a year as a paraprofessional working with middle and high school students with special needs. She served the Rockford, Illinois community as a Sexual Assault Advocate. Her most valuable experience when preparing for graduate study and a career as a genetic counselor was working as a Genetic Counselor Assistant at Rockford Health System. Rachel enjoys spending her free time gardening, trying new foods, and spending time with her two house rabbits.


Laina Lusk ( is from Mays Landing, New Jersey. She received a BS in neuroscience from Bucknell University in 2013, intending to pursue a PhD in neuropsychology in the future. In preparation, she began working as a research assistant at the Geisinger-Bucknell Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI) to bulk up her neuroscience research skills. However, because of ADMI’s “genetics-first” approach to developmental disorders, she was soon engaged in daily discussions about microarray findings, copy number variants, and genetic disorders that she never knew existed. After reading all she could and gleaning knowledge and enthusiasm about genetic disorders from physicians, genetic counselors, and geneticists, she was soon hooked on genetic syndromes herself. Through ADMI, Laina was able to shadow different genetic counselors, attend several family conferences, and work with children and families affected by genetic disorders. In addition, she volunteered as an advocate through The Women’s Center of Bloomsburg, PA and assisted with their hotline and with activities at the shelter. Outside of work and volunteering, Laina enjoys hiking, movies, dogs, and coffee. She is very excited to be at Emory and looks forward to exploring Atlanta!


Brianna McDaniels ( graduated from Rutgers University in 2016 with a B.S. degree in genetics and a minor in psychology. While at Rutgers, Brianna participated in undergraduate research where she studied the role of oxidative stress in cancer. She used exon deletion analysis and DNA sequencing to analyze the mutations induced in both normal and malignant fibroblasts upon exposure to H2O2. At Rutgers, she also practiced her love for teaching as an Organic Chemistry Teaching Intern. Brianna was a part of Rutgers’ Genetic Counseling Certificate Program where she spent time shadowing both pediatric and cancer genetic counselors at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. Through The Genetic Counseling Certificate Program, she also volunteered on a suicide and crisis prevention hotline for over a year. Her passion for the field of genetic counseling was originally fueled by a personal experience with human disease and her desire to serve as an educator and advocate for families affected by genetic conditions. Through her experience with the Certificate Program at Rutgers, she discovered that becoming a genetic counselor would allow her to explore her love for genetics, her passion for supportive counseling, and her love for teaching simultaneously. She is looking forward to continuing her education at Emory’s Genetic Counseling Training Program!



Roa Sadat ( graduated from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions with a B.S. in Molecular Genetic Technology where she first learned about the field of genetic counseling. After graduation, she worked as a research technician at Baylor College of Medicine on studies ranging from the genetic basis of severe childhood malnutrition to the development of alloimmunity in sickle cell disease. While there she also worked on a project that characterized the biochemical defects associated with missense variants in the aconitase gene. She then moved on to Baylor Miraca Genetics Laboratories, where she worked closely with laboratory genetic counselors. To gain more knowledge about genetic counseling as a career, Roa shadowed genetic counselors in a pediatric and prenatal setting. She also spent time volunteering as a crisis hotline counselor for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Roa is excited to combine her previous experiences with the training she will receive at Emory University and for the opportunity to contribute to the growing field of genetics to create a more informed future about genetic health. In her spare time, she likes to read, run, and spend time with her family.


Karen Wernke ( grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from The Ohio State University in 2016 with a B.S. in Molecular Genetics and minor in Psychology. While at Ohio State, she conducted research investigating the molecular function of GREB1 in estrogen positive breast cancers. While in this lab, she was listed as co-author on a paper published in Molecular Endocrinology. In addition to her lab research, she worked for an Ohio State genetic counselor as a research coordinator on the Ohio State-Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative Study. The study is designed to provide multiple genomic based risks for numerous common diseases. She worked closely with genetic counselors from the Coriell Institute for Medical Research to collect, submit, process, and distribute samples and genetic testing reports to study participants. As a side project, Karen assisted in interviewing participants for a study that aims to reformat an online risk assessment tool, Family Health Link. From her work on these studies, Karen will be listed as co-author on two different papers that are currently pending. In addition to lab research and her genetic counseling internship, Karen volunteered as a hospital advocate for the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio. Her favorite activities include hiking, baking cupcakes, and going to concerts.



Tiffany Yip ( grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from San Jose State University in 2014 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, concentration in Systems Physiology, and a minor in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, she volunteered as a hospital escort for Kaiser Permanente Medical Center and as a domestic violence crisis hotline counselor for the Asian Women's Home. At the shelter, she provided peer counseling, safety planning, and shelter intakes over the phone for survivors of domestic violence. Moreover, Tiffany worked as an undergraduate research assistant for a reproductive physiology lab, in which she assisted with studies regarding the effects of low-level induced inflammation on the reproductive estrous cycles of female mice. After graduation, she worked as a patient services specialist at Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area, where she worked directly with infertility patients and reproductive endocrinologists. More recently, Tiffany was employed as a genetic counselor assistant for the UCSF Cancer Genetics and Prevention Program, in which she provided administrative support for patients, cancer genetic counselors, and the entire practice as a whole. In her free time, Tiffany enjoys spending time with her dog and cheering on the Golden State Warriors.