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Our Richard R. Ferrante Friend of the Genetic Counseling Program Award, S. Robert
Young Outstanding Genetic Counselor Award, School of Medicine Distinguished Alumni
Award and Victoria A. Vincent Clinical Supervision Award help us recognize individuals
who have made a significant impact on the field of genetic counseling and the USC
Genetic Counseling Program.
Friend of the Genetic Counseling Program Award
Richard R. Ferrante, PhD
Richard R. Ferrante, PhD, former Director of Disability Resources for the University
of South Carolina School of Medicine, was the first recipient of the Friend of the
Genetic Counseling Program Award. In 1983, he urged the genetics faculty to develop
the program and has served as primary faculty in the classroom and on thesis committees
ever since. His stalwart support led us to name the award in his honor.
Our 2021 Friend of the Program is Gene Palmer, Media Specialist for the UofSC School
of Medicine Dean's Conference Center. Gene directs the videoconferencing and multimedia
needs for the UofSC Genetic Counseling Program. Gene is graciously relied upon to
troubleshoot, facilitate and implement the necessary technilogical components to support
both students and faculty. He has been a friend of the program for almost a decade
and with his help this past year, we were able to successfully navigate the virtual
classroom brought on by the pandemic. Thank you Gene for all of your help over the
Stephanie Meredith, MA
Stephanie Meredith is the executive director of Lettercase, which produces high quality materials for health care providers to share with prospective
parents of children with Down Syndrome and other trisomies. She is the author of "Understanding
a Down Syndrome Diagnosis" and similar resources for other genetic conditions. She
offers presentations and training nationwide about bridging relationships between
patient advocacy groups and medical professionals.
David Everman, MD
Dr. David Everman is a clinical geneticist with the Greenwood Genetic Center. Dr.
Everman served as our medical director from 2011 to 2021 and is an invaluable guest
lecturer for several of our program's courses. He is also involved in clinical and
basic science research on the genetic basis of human limb malformations and in the
supervision and education of medical genetics residents, pediatric residents and medical
G. Shashidar Pai, MD
Dr. Pai was honored for sharing our original vision to create a southeastern genetic
counseling training program. He served as our first medical director for many years. He
currently serves on our Advisory Board where his experience and perspectives strengthen
the Program and guide our growth into the future.
Courtney Truluck and family were trailblazers, the very first family to undergo cancer
genetic testing in Columbia over twenty years ago. By sharing her story with the Palmetto
Health Foundation in 2016, Courtney raised awareness for the impact of cancer genetic
counseling throughout our community.
Roz McConnaughy was recognized for investing her medical librarian expertise in the
program as she guides faculty and students in integrating the latest evidence base
in thesis research and clinical practice.
Lydia Matesic, PhD
USC Associate Professor of Biology, Dr. Matesic, was honored in 2015. Dr. Matesic
challenges our students to understand the edge of genomic research technologies and
where research is leading our clinical practice.
C. Thomas Caskey, MD
C. Thomas Caskey was the 2014 honoree, having created the impetus to launch the USC
Genetic Counseling Fall Symposium with his 2013 avante-garde keynote address, "Counseling
Faculty of the Greenwood Genetic Center
The faculty of the Greenwood Genetic Center have provided lecture, laboratory and
clinical expertise to our students’ development since the inception of the program
in 1985. The award was presented by Dr. Ferrante himself at the May 2013 Greenwood
Genetics Center case conference, at which time we recognized the significant contributions
of the center and especially of Doctors Skinner, Stevenson and Everman for their consistent
support of genetic counselor education.
Professors Rich Goodwin (Cell Biology) and Erica Blanck (Anatomy)
Professors Goodwin and Blanck were honored in 2012 for their commitment to genetic
counseling education. These professors, along with others from our basic science faculty,
provide foundational education in human development in a four credit, two semester
course for first year students. They go above and beyond for us every year.
Ken Corning, MS '93 and Angie Lichty, MS '99
Special Friends of the Program, Ken Corning and Angie Lichty, were recognized in 2011
for their teaching expertise which has become integral to the education of genetic
counselors. Ken and Angie develop students’ pediatric genetic counseling skills through
classroom instruction, interactive workshops and clinical rotations.
Ruth K. Abramson, PhD
The 2010 honoree Ruth K. Abramson, PhD, has taught psychiatric genetics to our students
since the program's inception. Dr. Abramson developed the S.C. Huntington Disease
Testing and Counseling Program more than 30 years ago, serving the families of South
Carolina in this special area of medicine.
Director of Public Policy for the National Down Syndrome Society was honored in 2009,
for her engagement in conversations and support of master of science thesis research
as we have worked together to build greater understanding between the genetics and
Down syndrome advocacy communities.
Wendell H. McKenzie, PhD
We recognized Wendell H. McKenzie, PhD., Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus in
Genetics from North Carolina State University upon his retirement in 2008. Dr. McKenzie
has lit the genetics enthusiasm of many undergraduate students over his career.
Richard R. Ferrante, PhD
Richard R. Ferrante, PhD, former Director of Disability Resources for the University
of South Carolina School of Medicine. In 1983, Richard urged the genetics faculty
to develop the program and has served as primary faculty in the classroom and on thesis
committees ever since.
Outstanding Genetic Counselor Award
S. Robert Young, PhD
Each spring, the Genetic Counseling Program faculty select one member of the graduating
class for the Outstanding Genetic Counselor Award, named for our founding director
Dr. S. Robert Young. This graduate has performed in an exemplary manner in every facet
of their professional education: in academic coursework, clinical rotations, interactions
with faculty, service learning and as a representative of the Genetic Counseling Program.
We always find it difficult to select just one.
Aubrey excelled in the classroom and in her fieldwork during her graduate career.
She was a LEND trainee and completed her certification in Preparing Future Faculty
- always propelling herself forward both academically and professionally. She is continuing
her passion for medical genetics as a pediatric and adult genetic counselor with the
Greenwood Genetic Center in Charleston, SC.
2020 Meg Wilkes
2019 Caitlyn Mitchell
2018 Lauren Desrosier
2017 Rachel Hickey
2016 Molly Snyder and Natasha Rudy
2015 Devon Haynes
2014 Brittanie Morris
2013 Ginger Edwardsen
2012 Vruti Mehta and Audra Bettinelli
2011 Madison Foster
2010 Ravin Winfrey
2009 Sally Cunningham Harris
2008 Peggy Walker
2007 Holly Hardin Zimmerman
2006 Christina Barger
2005 Bridget Aufmuth
2004 Anne Baughman Bandholz
2003 Lindsay Allen Metcalf
2002 Stephanie Nix
2001 Elizabeth Cook Dempsey
2000 Mary Ann Whalen Campion
1999 Amy Giordano Shealy
1998 Lori Terry
1997 Melissa Bennett
1996 Jennifer Sullivan Sareela
1995 Sonja Eubanks
1994 Lara Berg
1993 Jill Fischer
1992 Debera Harris Zvejnieks
Distinguished Alumni Award
The Genetic Counseling Program has always recognized our success as a program comes
from the accomplishments of our very active alumni. Since 2001, the School of Medicine
has honored an outstanding alum each year, welcoming them to the School of Medicine
Black Tie-White Coat Gala and the Dean’s Awards Dinner in the spring, and inviting
the alum to visit with program faculty and students, often as a special guest lecturer.
We are proud of our graduates!
Ginger Hocutt MS, CGC
Ginger Hocutt, MS, CGC, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology in
2009 and earned her Master of Genetics in 2011 from North Carolina State University.
She furthered her education by attaining a master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from
the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia in 2013. She was honored
with the S. Robert Young Outstanding Genetic Counselor award, named in honor of the
program’s founding director and presented to a graduate who performed in an exemplary
manner in every facet of their professional education.
Hocutt is a clinical instructor in the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the
University of North Carolina School of Medicine, providing reproductive genetic counseling
services for a variety of indications including preconception, advanced maternal age,
mosaic embryos, family and pregnancy history concerns, and ultrasound anomalies.
She serves as a co-lead supervisor for genetic counseling trainees for the University
of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of South Carolina genetic counseling
training programs. She is also the genetic counselor liaison for the UNC Fetal Care
2020 Kate Wilson (2007)
2019 Holly H. Zimmerman (2007)
2018 Debbie Zvejnieks (1992)
2017 Emily Ellen Hardisty (2001)
2016 Libby Malphrus (2001)
2015 Peggy Walker (2008)
2014 Katie Berrier Sheets (2009)
2013 Cam Brasington (1988)
2012 Kerry Crandall (1988)
2011 Mary Ann Campion (2000)
2010 Jennifer Sullivan (1996)
2009 Melissa Bennett (1998)
2008 Courtney Rowell Tate (2000)
2007 Holly Peay (1997)
2006 Sonja Eubanks (1996)
2005 Vicki Vincent (1987)
2004 Christine Miller (1989)
2002 Jill Fischer (1993)
2001 Cam Brasington (1988)
Genetic Counselor Supervision Award
Victoria A. Vincent, MS, CGC
Named in honor of Vicki Vincent, MS, CGC who graduated in the inaugural class of the
Genetic Counseling Program and serves on faculty as a teacher, mentor and clinical
supervisor for over 30 years. This award honors a genetic counselor that serves as
an exemplary clinical rotation supervisor. The honoree is nominated by the graduating
genetic counselors annually and awarded to an individual who exhibits the qualities
of an ideal supervisor: "providing balanced feedback, cultivating the critical thinking
process, building confidence, allowing autonomy with respect for student opinion and
fostering a collegial relationship."
Shandrea Foster MS, CGC
Shandrea is recognized as the 2021 outstanding supervisor for her ability to connect
with her supervisees. She is described as enstilling confidence and providing ample
opportunity for feedback and growth. As a 2018 graduate from the Program, we are
excited and fortunate to have Shandrea back in Columbia working as a cancer genetic
counselor and sharing her knowledge and experience!
2020 Jessica Davis
2019 Alexandra H. Bailey
2018 Sally Shields
2017 Vicki Vincent (1987)
Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.