Vanderbilt MGC Class of 2025
Allison Binsfeld is from Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University in 2022 with a bachelor’s of science in biochemistry and a bachelor’s of arts in global health. At Arizona State, she worked in the Environmental Health Engineering Lab, which tracked COVID-19 levels in communities throughout the country via wastewater based epidemiology. She also worked as a math tutor for K-12 students and volunteered for Crisis Text Line.
For Allison’s undergraduate honors thesis, she wrote a children’s book on the genetics of achondroplasia. After graduation, she worked as a genetic counseling assistant for HonorHealth’s Virginia G. Piper Cancer Care Network in Phoenix, Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and traveling.
Madisen Cook is from Sacramento, California, and graduated from the University of California, Davis, in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior. While an undergraduate student, she held an internship at UC Davis’s OB/GYN department and volunteered for a week-long service trip to rural Panama with her club, Global Medical Brigades, to host a free medical and dental clinic. Following graduation, Madisen worked as a teaching assistant and academic coach for adolescents with learning challenges such as ADHD, dyslexia, and autism spectrum disorder. Subsequently, she pursued her passion to help people grow their families at Igenomix, where she worked as a Genetic Counseling Assistant (GCA).
At Igenomix, Madisen conducted a study to categorize the single gene conditions that were referred for preimplantation genetic testing for monogenic conditions (PGT-M) and presented her findings at the National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Conference in 2022. Outside of her role as a GCA, she served as an executive board member with the Genetic Counseling Prospective Student Network. As a first-generation college graduate, Madisen is passionate about locating and providing resources to peers and mentees. In her spare time, Madisen can be found trying local coffee shops, hiking, or enjoying live music.
Makayla Hall grew up in Metamora, Illinois. She graduated from Illinois State University in 2021 with a bachelor of science degree. Her major focus of study was molecular and cellular biology with a minor in chemistry. During her undergraduate studies, she worked as a research assistant in a microbiology laboratory, studying how bacteria respond to changes in their environment.
Since graduation, Makayla has worked as a pediatric hematology/oncology patient care liaison for the St. Jude Hospital affiliate located at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. She continued her passion for genetics and pediatrics by working as a genetic assistant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the pediatric genetics clinic. In her free time, Makayla loves to be outdoors and spend time with her friends and family.
Nathan Hartlove is from Freeland, Maryland, and graduated from Salisbury University in 2022 with a bachelor of science degree in biology with a minor in chemistry. At Salisbury University, Nathan spearheaded a thesis project about the role of voltage-gated potassium channels in cancer metastasis and their potential as therapeutic targets and conducted individual research about pharmacogenomics. Aside from research and classwork, Nathan spent his time at his alma mater as a supplemental instructor and tutor, coached the school’s club soccer team, and volunteered as a crisis counselor through Crisis Text Line. After graduation, Nathan shadowed genetic counselors at the University of Maryland.
As someone affected by a genetic condition, Nathan is excited to learn more about genetics and carries his passion for education to the realm of genetic counseling. In his free time, Nathan enjoys listening to music and going to concerts, working out, and painting.
Lexi McKeown grew up in Laguna Beach, California. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology and again in 2023 with a master’s in education with an emphasis in cultural studies of sport. During her undergraduate studies, she conducted research in neuroscience and epigenetics. She also worked as a patient care assistant in the neurology unit at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
To further her philanthropic contributions, Lexi volunteered extensively with the American Red Cross and Hang Tough Foundation. During her graduate studies, she worked as a graduate tutor for the Athletic Study Center and completed her master’s thesis on the strenuous relationships of body image in collegiate athletes. Throughout her academic career, Lexi competed as a Division I NCAA Beach Volleyball player. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, going to the beach, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.
Vanessa Smith grew up in Frankfort, Illinois, and graduated from Olivet Nazarene University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and minors in Spanish and chemistry. As an undergraduate, she worked as a teaching assistant for the biology and chemistry departments, competed as a collegiate diver, and completed a research thesis in cancer biology through the Honors Program.
After graduation, she taught high school in Chicago before moving to Nashville, Tennessee, and becoming a Newborn Hearing Screener. For the past year, she has been working as a GCA at Gene-Screen Counseling. Her most meaningful experience has been volunteering for and serving on the Board of Trustees for the NBIA Disorders Association, which is what initially inspired her passion for rare disease and genetics and led her to the field. In her free time, she enjoys going to the park and zoo with her two-year-old daughter and husband.
Devan Snyder-Hissong is from Wooster, Ohio, and graduated from Youngstown State University in 2022 with a bachelor’s of science in biology and minors in chemistry and psychology. While at Youngstown, she was a two-year event co-lead for Relay For Life, founder of the Genetics Club, and recipient of the Constellation Award, which recognizes outstanding student leaders across campus. She spent summers working at The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), where she assisted with the winter malting barley breeding project.
After graduation, Devan worked as a permanent substitute high school teacher and junior varsity volleyball coach. Also during this time, she completed the Advocate Genetics Internship Program, where she shadowed and assisted with research in the infertility space of genetic counseling. In her spare time, Devan enjoys cooking, traveling with her husband, and trying new coffee shops.
Olivia Solverson grew up in Western Pennsylvania. She graduated from Clemson University in 2023 with bachelor’s degrees in genetics and psychology and minors in criminal justice and biochemistry. During her undergraduate career, she conducted research on DNA repair mechanisms and on the effects of night shifts on emergency physicians’ wellbeing. She also helped start a chapter of the National Alzheimer’s Buddies at Clemson, was the president of an organization that fundraises for a children’s hospital in the Philippines, served as a peer mentor for freshmen students, and volunteered with the Crisis Text Line.
Prior to graduation, she completed a genetic counseling internship with the Greenwood Genetic Center. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, hiking, photography, and having game nights with friends.