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Mary-Frances Garber

Mary-Frances Garber '86

Major: Biological science with a concentration in molecular genetics
Company: National Society of Genetic Counselors
Title: Genetic Counselor
Field of Work: Medicine

What do you do?

Counsel/support individuals or families regarding their genetic histories. Provide emotional support and encouragement.

How did you become interested in your field?

Wanted to work in genetics, face to face with patients.

What, if any, additional education (degree, discipline, institution) have you earned?

MS in human genetics from Sarah Lawrence College.

What skills are vital for success in your field?

Interpersonal skills, empathy, knowledge of genetic conditions, listening skills, understanding stages of grief, dealing with loss, being a good communicator.

What experiences, internships, study, or previous jobs helped you get to your current position?

My training at Sarah Lawrence was stellar. Summer internship in 1987 at Brigham and Women's learning about birth defects, high-risk OB. Years of working in high-risk OB gave me the confidence to create my private practice focusing on supporting families.

What advice do you have for current students interested in your field?

Try to find a mentor to learn from. Volunteer in a genetic counseling setting to show interest.