diahan southard

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After getting bitten by the DNA bug as a high school student, Diahan went on to study at Brigham Young University where she earned a bachelors degree in microbiology. she worked before and after graduation for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, one of the first efforts to create a correlated genetic and genealogical database.

Growing up with the budding genetic genealogy industry lead her to her current position at Your DNA Guide, where she provides personalized, interactive experiences to assist individuals and families in interpreting their genetic results in the context of their genealogical information. That means she can take you step by step through any kind of DNA test in a way that you will understand, and even enjoy!

Diahan has been pleased to lecture in many areas including both national and local conferences, from hundreds to handfuls. You will walk away from an interaction with her feeling like she is fun, upbeat, and full of energy. You might also be surprised to leave feeling that you really can do this DNA thing! This is because she has a passion for genetic genealogy, a genuine love for people, and a gift for making the technical understandable.

Diahan is the author of several quick guides on genetic genealogy, a regular contributor to Genealogy Gems, featured writer for Family Tree Magazine, regular contributor to Genealogy Today, as well as many other small writing engagements.

While she truly enjoys enlightening minds of genealogists everywhere about the merits of DNA testing in genealogy, her greatest DNA contribution is her three children. It is to them that she devotes the majority of her time and energies as they are ages 14, 11, and 9. For this reason she feels it is a true gift that she is can be a stay at home mom, and a work from home business woman. Of course this would never be possible without the unwavering support of her tall and handsome husband who holds down the fort in south Florida as she travels and lectures across the country.

You can follow Diahan on Twitter at @DNAdiahan.

The best way to contact her is via email at guide@yourDNAguide.com

She can also be reached by phone at (724) 484-3344.

 

Christi Jacobsen

Christi Jacobsen knew when she was in high school that she wanted to go into genetics so she started working in a genetics lab her senior year. She then attended Brigham Young University.  While she was a student she worked for Dr. Scott Woodward as a lab assistant on ancient DNA studies and helped collect samples for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.

She graduated with her B.S. in Molecular Biology in 2003 and started working for Sorenson Genomics.  At Sorenson Genomics she helped develop genetic tests for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, African Ancestry, Relative Genetics, and Gene Tree.

Starting in 2008 She took some time off to raise her two girls. Even though she wasn’t working full time she continued to stay in touch with Diahan, helped her at conferences, and presented on genetic genealogy.

For the last year, Christi has been helping people with their genetic genealogy.  She enjoys helping people discover more about themselves through their personal genetics. When she isn’t geeking out over DNA test results she likes hiking, mountain biking, and traveling with her family.

 

Katie Ritchie

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Katie has always gravitated to science and chose her field of study at an early age.  She has an B.S. in Microbiology.  During college at Brigham Young University, Katie worked for Dr. Scott Woodward forerunner in the field of genetic genealogy.  During this time the beginnings of what would later become known as The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, the first entity to use DNA for genealogical purposes, was started.  Katie, like Diahan and Christi, was there from the beginning of this amazing field!  She worked for in the field for 10 years, through her time at BYU, and through the lifespan of the Foundation until it sold in 2012 to Ancestry. After which Katie took time off to spend full-time with her kids. 

Katie enjoyed the diverse hats she was able to wear over the years working in a growing company from the start.  She dabble in sample collection, DNA extraction, laboratory work, web developer, interacting with users, DNA marker development specifically for Y-chromosome and mtDNA testing, sample quality control, coordinating samples for additional testing, supervising sample storage, and ending with overseeing all analysis of genetic test results and ensuring they were accurately stored in the database.  

For a time, Katie was in charge of what was then called "Special Cases," which is essentially what testing companies like Ancestry, LivingDNA, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA and MyHeritage all do today.  Genealogists with specific questions that could be answered with genetic information came to SMGF.  Katie oversaw the whole process, from sending the sample collection kit to the parcitipant, to getting the samples tested in the lab, to interpreting the results, and finally writing a report to send to the genealogist.  She enjoyed it so much and was sad when the Foundation grew too large to continue its work in Special Cases.  She is excited to help you with your Special Case!