Ileana Matta is from San Diego, CA and graduated from UC Irvine in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in Developmental and Cell Biology. As an undergraduate, she conducted research exploring metamorphosis regulation in Drosophila melanogaster and worked as a teacher assistant at the UC Irvine Early Childhood Education Center. After graduation, she worked in a diabetes research lab at UC San Diego, where she led a biobank project and prepared human pancreatic islet cells for next-generation sequencing. She eventually joined the UC San Diego Family Cancer Genetics team as their Genetic Counseling Assistant, the first GCA in the program’s history. Simultaneously, Ileana felt a calling to serve the community by becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), where she served as an advocate for a child in the foster care system. Ileana has also volunteered as a science career speaker in her community and is eager to bring awareness of the genetic counseling field to underrepresented groups. She thrives on finding the best answers for people in need that are not only grounded in science, but also in compassion and empathy.