I am interested in the DEI co-chair position because I would like to contribute to SCGC’s efforts to support professional development of its membership in the areas of DEI to increasingly improve services for the diverse patient populations we serve. While I am not an expert in DEI, I have experience working with diverse patient populations and I am passionate about reducing barriers to access to care.
Amanda de Leon
I think I would be a great fit for D.E.I. co-chair within SCGC because I have worked tirelessly to incorporate the initiatives and values of D.E.I. within the work and projects I do as a genetic counselor and even before. As a genetic counselor I have worked to support the Latine genetic counseling community and Spanish speaking patient populations by working with the minority genetics professional network to address gaps that I noticed in my day-to-day care with patients. Currently, I am the regional lead for J.E.D.I. initiatives for Providence genetic counselors in Orange County. The reason that I am interested in the D.E.I. chair position is because I would like to support SCGC as they continue to foster learning and awareness of these values in their community. I think my background working within my role as a genetic counselor in my job and with larger communities will provide insightful perspective.
I’m enthusiastic about serving as SCGC’s Education Co-Chair and am excited to facilitate educational opportunities that empower genetic counselors with the latest knowledge. I possess educational skills from my experiences with giving lectures to students in our local genetic counseling programs and moderating case conferences as part of my involvement with City of Hope’s Intensive Course in Genomic Cancer Risk Assessment. I aim to leverage the skills I’ve gained from these experiences to facilitate continuous learning, promote collaboration, and enhance the overall expertise of our genetic counseling community.
Paloma Candelaria Boeck (she/her) is currently employed as a laboratory genetic counselor at
Fulgent Genetics in El Monte, California. She graduated from the Keck Graduate Institute
program in 2021. Her passions include mentoring genetic counseling students, serving minority
populations, disadvantaged students, and vulnerable populations.
Joan Oliver is a certified and licensed genetic counselor with over 35 years of experience. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, and her Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from the University of California, Irvine. Currently, she is the Regional Director for Genetic Counseling Services for Labcorp in a region including Southern CA, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Hawaii. Joan leads the Labcorp Genetics GC JEDI Taskforce, a group tasked with developing JEDI programming for the genetic counseling groups in LabCorp Genetics in order to increase awareness of topics such as unconscious/implicit bias, microaggressions, and the need for increased diversity within the genetic counseling profession.
In 2010, Joan teamed with Kelly Ormond and Liz Kearney to shepherd the CA Genetic Licensing implementation bill (AB 2300) through its final legislative hurdles; she is proud to hold CA GC license #2. In her personal life, Joan is a mother to a daughter who is a member of many diverse groups, including the Deaf, cerebral palsy, and chronically ill adult communities; this lived experience has opened her eyes and ears in invaluable ways. She is also a former board member of the Estancia and TeWinkle Schools Foundation, which is devoted to making services more equitable across her local school district.
Rebecca LeShay Araujo
I have volunteered on several committees for both the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and the Southern California Genetic Counselors (SCGC), and I always say how much I especially love working with the SCGC. Our SCGC organization and membership are remarkable, accomplishing so much across all of our committees, including not only a wonderful Annual Conference, but also marketing initiatives, membership socials, and more. I loved helping to plan the conference and serving as the Education Chair, and I am excited about the prospect of continuing to solidify our organizational policies, procedures, and revenue streams to ensure sustainability as we continue to transition from a new organization to a more established one. I would be honored to serve as SCGC President Elect, working with our board of directors on developing new events and features to best meet the needs and asks of the membership.
Nydia Santiago Neal
I have had the pleasure of serving as the SCGC DEI&J chair for the past two years. I enjoyed helping develop the community outreach program in collaboration with GCPSN. The program provides genetic counseling presentations to local community colleges and high schools, introducing students to genetic counseling as a career option. A reason I love volunteering for SCGC is that the organization nurtures and encourages creativity. Along with Rebecca LeShay Araujo, the current education chair, we were able to develop and coordinate the SCGC monthly webinar series, something that could have proven difficult with other organizations. I would like to become a co-chair for the education committee as I am interested in expanding the educational needs of our members.
Nydia Santiago Neal, MS, CGC, graduated from California State University, Northridge genetic counseling program in 2009. She has worked in a wide array of settings including industry, prenatal, teaching, and hereditary cancer risk assessment. She enjoys providing genetic counseling services in Spanish, mentoring new and prospective genetic counselors, and working to address DEI&J issues within the genetics community.
Nicole Choy (she/they) is currently employed as a genetic counselor with Kaiser Permanente’s Regional Metabolics Team in Los Angeles, California. They graduated from the Keck Graduate Institute program in 2021. They have a passion for outreach and mentorship of prospective students, with a focus on individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Stacey Wong is a licensed and board-certified genetic counselor with twenty-five years of experience in clinical, research, and laboratory settings. She is currently a clinical genomics scientist on the Gene Team at Ambry Genetics. Prior to joining Ambry, she held various roles at Invitae, Courtagen Life Sciences, Genzyme Genetics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is also a voluntary biocurator with the mitochondrial disease and leukodystrophy VCEPS and GCEP. She holds an MS in Genetic Counseling from California State University Northridge, a Master of Traditional Oriental Medicine from Emperor’s College, and a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology from UCLA.
Lauren S. Siems
Liaison and Relationship Consultant
Lauren Siems is a licensed and certified genetic counselor in the greater Los Angeles area. She has been a Regional Medical Specialist at Myriad Genetics since 2016, partnering with local health care practitioners in the fields of hereditary cancer and prenatal genetics. Prior to joining Myriad, Lauren trained at Northwestern University Graduate Program in Genetic Counseling. She is also a member of NSGC and an alumna of the City of Hope Intensive Course in Genetic Cancer Risk Assessment.
Liaison and Relationship Partner
Hilary Kershberg is a board certified licensed genetic counselor with over 30 years of experience in the profession. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Genetics from UC Berkeley, and her Master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. She has worked as a genetic counselor at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, UC Irvine Medical Center, and at Genzyme Genetics, where she counseled at many of the hospitals in Orange County. She joined Kaiser Permanente in 2007 as the assistant regional manager for the Regional Genetics Department where she supervises about 40 genetic counselors throughout the Southern California region. Her professional volunteer experience includes an appointed member of the NSGC Efficiency subcommittee of the Access and Service Delivery Committee (2018-2021) where she worked on the NSGC Efficiency Toolkit and the Business Case Summit. In addition, she has participated in the Keck Graduate Institute’s Curriculum and Interview Committees.
She began volunteering for the SCGC in 2021, first on the program committee for the AEC, and then as co-chair of the program committee in 2022.
In her personal life, she is a mother to a daughter with special needs, so has served as a volunteer on many committees wearing “that hat”.
The past two years as the SCGC AEC marketing chair and social media content creator have been so much fun and incredibly rewarding. It has been wonderful meeting, collaborating, and networking with so many GC’s in the southern California area. This position has created so much growth within myself and within my profession, so much so that my Kaiser team has been impressed by my skills and I am beginning to create graphics for our local Kaiser region as well.
Working with the marketing team has been such a wonderful experience. I have developed new skill sets that I didn’t even know I had and I am ready to take my position a step further: marketing board member for SCGC. I know that I will have large shoes to fill, but I am excited to keep sharing my ideas and be a leader for the marketing team.