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Genetics and Bioinformatic Learning Community

Genetics and Bioinformatics Learning Community


Incoming freshmen majoring in Genetics or Bioinformatics are automatically enrolled in the learning community. The learning community strives to create a sense of community and a supportive environment where all students can thrive.


  • Components include:

    • GEN 110 orientation course covering campus resources, academic plans, success plans, and career exploration through alumni interviews.

    • Peer mentors are upperclassman in either major who assist with the orientation course, plan learning community events, and also serve as additional mentors and support for students.

    • Peer mentors plan weekly social activities for students such as movie and game nights.

    • Reserved seats in classes enables students to have the same homework assignments and tests, assisting with the formation of study groups and academic success.

  • Fall courses with reserved sections for learning community members include:

    • GEN 110, Genetics Orientation

    • CHEM 177 and 177L, General Chemistry I with Laboratory

    • BIOL 212 and 212L, Principles of Biology II with Laboratory

    • ENGL 250, Written, Oral, Visual, and Electronic Composition (biology themed)

    • Note: Students in the first year Honors program take ENGL 250H instead of ENGL 250

    • MATH 160, Survey of Calculus

  • Spring semester students choose their own courses. BIOL 423 lab seats are reserved for learning community students interested in a hands on opportunity to perform gene editing in zebrafish! Most students take advantage of this unique opportunity!

2022-23 Genetics Peer Mentors


  • Fall activities typically include a welcome event, field games day, peer mentor meetings, movie nights, game nights, pumpkin carving at Reiman Gardens, Halloween themed movie night, craft nights and other activities selected by the peer mentors.

  • Fall Service learning activities currently involve volunteering with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Students prepare by attending a presentation on cystic fibrosis by a CF health care provider or genetic counselor.

  • Spring activities may include a check-in event with peer mentors, Iowa State Center events, graduate and professional program panels, career panels, and social events.