Class of 2023

Front L>R: Irania Santaliz Moreno, Freddy-May AbiSamra; Back L>R: Sadie Friedrich, Cecilia Gordillo Casero

Freddy-May AbiSamra

Freddy-May AbiSamra was born and raised in New Orleans. In addition to an interest in biology, they always had a love of performing arts and moved to Chicago to pursue theatre, earning a B.A. in Comedy Writing & Performance at Columbia College Chicago. Their proudest accomplishment in Chicago was founding and co-producing “Resilient”, a variety show centering and benefiting survivors of sexual violence. Freddy-May worked as a stage manager for the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health bringing theatre-based participatory sex education to students around Illinois. They are also a perennial camp counselor, having worked at a multitude of summer programs, most recently as a music instructor and counselor at the Williams Syndrome Association Teen Camp. Freddy-May is excited to pursue their passion for counseling and science, and looks forward to empowering patients to make the best choices for themselves. They are passionate about making space and giving power to marginalized people, destigmatizing illness and disability, and dismantling tradition. In their free time, they paint, play board games, and have long, philosophical discussions with their senior cat, Lucille. 

Sadie Friedrich

Sadie Friedrich grew up in St. Louis, Missouri with her mom and four siblings. She is a first-generation college student and attended Missouri State University, graduating cum laude in December 2018 with her BS in Biology with an emphasis in Microbiology and Biotechnology and a minor in Chemistry. During her time at MSU, Sadie enjoyed her membership in Alpha Sigma Alpha, served as the Director of Sexual Assault Awareness for the group Fraternity and Sorority Leaders for Social Awareness, completed the Distinction in Public Affairs Program, and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. She attended Northwestern University’s week-long Summer Internship in Genetic Counseling and solidified her passion for the field. She also worked as a victim advocate and housing case manager at House of Hope, a domestic violence organization. After graduation, Sadie moved back to St. Louis and spent her time working for Youth in Need’s Street Outreach Program as a case manager for youth experiencing homelessness in St. Louis City and County. She also co-facilitates the St. Louis County Youth Action Board, advocating for youth voice and involvement in decision-making and policy in youth homeless services. Some of her hobbies include reading, spending time outdoors (especially backpacking), and cooking and baking foods from various cuisines.   

Cecilia Gordillo Casero

Cecilia Gordillo Casero was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She then moved to New Orleans, where she earned her BS from Tulane University in Cellular and Molecular Biology as well as Psychology. During her time at Tulane, she was a member of Chi Omega and spent the summers working as a camp counselor back in Puerto Rico. She first heard about genetic counseling during her last semester at Tulane and, upon graduating, she relocated to Florida and focused on gaining and strengthening skills that she knew would help her succeed in the field. Apart from having the opportunity to shadow and speak with different genetic counselors in Florida, she spent the last three years working as a genetic counseling assistant at USF Health in Tampa. It was during this time that she further understood the impact genetic testing and counseling have on patients/families. She spent her last year in Florida volunteering at the Guardian ad Litem Program, where she was an advocate for children in the foster care system. Since Cecilia is a native Spanish speaker, she is passionate about working directly with Hispanic/Latino communities as a way to increase genetic counseling accessibility. When she’s not studying, Cecilia enjoys reading, spending time with family/friends, trying out different food spots in St. Louis, and listening to true crime podcasts.  

Irania Santaliz Moreno 

Irania Santaliz Moreno grew up in a beautifully quaint little town named Rincon on the west coast of Puerto Rico. She attended the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus in where she earned a Bachelor’s of Arts and Sciences degree in Psychology at the age of 19. After graduation she decided to move to Italy and work at a charming local hotel in Florence with people from all over the world. She then moved to Miami, FL where she worked as a family case manager in a non-profit school for children from low-income immigrant families. Wanting to provide guidance to the families she encountered with children that had genetic conditions she decided to head back home to apply to graduate school for a Genetic Counseling degree. One month after her arrival Hurricane Maria hit the island. As a consequence, she spent the next year working for FEMA advocating for families in crisis that had lost everything. Irania was accepted to a NIH-sponsored program for post-baccalaureate training in Genetics and Genomics Research in the McDonnell Genome Institute at WashU and while pursuing it fell in love with the University. She is a movie and series aficionado, loves to read and paint. She enjoys dancing and singing but does not have the same abilities she once did. She is definitely a right-brain soul but is defiantly trying to pursue her left-brain side. Genetic counseling seems to be the marriage of both sides and she is ecstatic to be part of it.