Whitney Hunter

whitney hunter

Whitney7past alumni Whitney Hunter






Since high school, Whitney Hunter was interested in genetics. At UNH, she took as many genetics courses as possible but wanted more experience. "One day, I emailed Professor Hrabak to ask if she had any openings in her lab. I was so excited when I got an interview and was able to do research in genetics."

Whitney's undergraduate research project explored the role of a protein phosphatase in a plant's ability to respond to gravity. Part of her research took place  in the UNH Confocal Imaging Center where she learned to use the confocal microscope to track the accumulation of a plant hormone during gravity sensing. Whitney also mastered other skills like plant genotyping using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and experimental design.

"Techniques like PCR that I learned about in my classes, and used while working in Dr. Hrabak's lab, have been so helpful in my training to be a genetic counselor.  As a genetic counselor, I will be ordering tests for patients and need to understand how the tests work in order to know which ones to order and so that I can explain it to patients if they ask.  I was ahead of the game because I already knew the concepts and techniques behind many of the tests from my time at UNH" 

"Another advantage of working in a lab was the opportunity to read papers from scientific journals and learn how to interpret them. My genetic counseling program requires us to read papers and then explain the results to classmates. I picked up oral presentation skills in some of my advanced classes and from talking about my research during Dr. Hrabak's lab meetings."

Whitney found that UNH offered so many ways to get involved which helped her to build a strong resume for professional school applications. Whitney was involved in Alpha Phi Omega, the community service organization, intramural sports, and many other campus activities.

Whitney's advice for students interested in a career in Genetic Counseling or other genetics-related careers is to take advantage of the variety of Genetics courses offered at UNH, become actively involved in a lab, and job-shadow a genetic counselor or a professional in your career of interest to get a better feel for what they do. 

More information on Genetic Counseling as a career.