Peer Mentors for 2016-17


"Genetics: The Secret of Life"
Peer Mentors, 2016 - 2017

Raegan Hoefler, Junior in Genetics

Raegan Hoefler

Hometown: New Vienna, IA

Year in Major: Junior

What I like about the Genetics major: My favorite part about being a Genetics major is that all of the people we are associated with, from professors to fellow students, are extremely helpful and kind. It’s nice to walk into a large lecture and see the familiar, smiling faces of the other Genetics students.

Why I chose to be a peer mentor: The activities that I took part in with the Genetics Learning Community and the help I received from the peer mentors when I was a freshman set me up for success here at Iowa State University. I chose to be a peer mentor so I could help in-coming students be successful and feel at home on such a big campus.

Advice: Although grades are very important, don’t forget to spend time making the most out of the opportunities and friendships that you will have at Iowa State.

What I like to do outside of class work: In my free time I enjoy running, biking, sewing, traveling, watching TV, and spending time with my friends and family.

Career Goals:  I hope to attend graduate school and then pursue a career in research related to crop genetics.


Jared Haupt, Junior in Genetics

Jared Haupt

Hometown: Wellsburg, Iowa

Year in Major: Junior

What I like about the Genetics major:  I enjoyed the FRI (Freshman Research Initiative) program in the spring of 2015. Genetics Club is a good way to meet fellow genetics students outside of class, and the study sessions held by peer mentors before big tests are useful as a study aid.

Why I chose to be a peer mentor:  I want to help new students get acquainted with their classes, and Iowa State as a whole. I hope to be a resource for, and an asset to, those who plan double major here at Iowa State.

Advice:  Help centers are actually helpful, especially in more difficult courses.

What I like to do outside of class work: I enjoy socializing with friends and attending ISU basketball games.

Career Goals:  I plan to conduct cancer research with a focus on prevention rather than treatment.


Courtney Smith, Junior in Genetics

Courtney Smith

Hometown: Aurora, IL

Year in Major: Junior

What I like about the Genetics major:  The Genetics major is multi-faceted. I love seeing all the ways different students are adapting their degree to fit their long-term goals. Whether a student wants to pursue agronomy research or medical school, the Genetic major is a terrific first step. Also, being a Genetics major has provided me with the opportunity to do research in a lab on campus; this has been the most rewarding aspect of my college experience so far.

Why I chose to be a peer mentor:  Being a peer mentor is an excellent opportunity to stay involved in the Genetics Learning Community. Also, the position allows me to encourage first-year students and help with them get the most out of their experience at Iowa State.

Advice:  Be open to new opportunities. Take a break from studying and get a meal bundle with friends! Join an intramural broomball team! Iowa State’s community is about more than academics, students should try to experience as much as possible.

What I like to do outside of class work: I spend most of my spare time researching in a lab on campus. Otherwise, I enjoy watching sports (especially hockey) and eating delicious foods.

Career Goals:  I’m planning on pursuing graduate school and continuing to study neuroscience and genetics. Eventually, I would like to go into medical research, focusing on neurodegenerative disease.



Zach Ryder, Sophomore in Genetics

Zach Ryder

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

What I like about the Genetics major:  A lot of people in the major are really friendly and the Learning Community activities are a lot of fun. Genetics Club is another great place to meet people with similar interests and to hear about the research going on around campus.

Why I chose to be a peer mentor:   The peer mentors I had as a freshman were great and I wanted to help new students in a similar way. I want to help make that their start at Iowa State less stressful and more fun.

Advice:  Finding another person or a group to study with makes keeping up with classwork and reviewing material more enjoyable.

What I like to do outside of class work: I like hanging out with friends, watching movies, and reading books.

Career Goals:   I plan on becoming a genetic counselor.