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Pursuing all of which women is capable

How an introduction to genetics in high school biology inspired one alumna’s career. 

It’s a busy day in the lab as Monalyn Umali Salvador ’02 leads her team of genetic counselors, all responsible for analyzing, at a granular level, genetic mutations in patients’ lab work.

​​Among geneticists, less than half are women, but Monalyn is living out the Sisters of St. Joseph motto “All of which women is capable,” a phrase she often finds herself returning to. She is a Senior Manager of Reporting, Oncology at Ambry Genetics where women actually make up half of the senior leadership alone.

Monalyn’s advice for women considering the field of genetics: “There are so many different avenues and subspecialties within this profession,” she said. “Do what you love and are passionate about and although it might not be perfect at first—as you continue on your path, you will find your niche. Just keep moving towards what you love, and the enjoyment and money will follow.”

It was high school biology that first inspired her to pursue genetics. “I remember learning genetics in Ms. Gillbert’s class and loving it,” she said.

“I loved everything Carondelet had to offer,” Monalyn explained. “I loved the community and the way the school pushed their students to be the best they can be. I had so many opportunities to develop my leadership skills and find my voice as a woman. I am so thankful for these skills and I have used these skills throughout my life and career.”

Now, she is thankful to be in a role that pairs her leadership skills with her clinical experience. “We look at what the science and the research show us and interpret results, often that’s providing an answer for the cause of cancer in a patient’s family,” explained Monalyn. “There are numerous variables to consider when interpreting a genetic test result, and it’s our job to do the work for the clinician so they can drive medical management of their patients.”

As she looks forward both personally and professionally, Monalyn shared that she’d like to continue in a leadership role, helping make a larger impact on my community and for patients. She also has a daughter and hopes to send her to Carondelet to experience the traditions and growth she did.


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