Skip to main content

Peer Mentors for 2020-21

Melissa Draves

Hometown: Midland, Michigan

Junior in Genetics

What I like about the Genetics major:  My favorite part about the genetics major is how the major can be customized to any interests. I have met people throughout the major that are going into plant genetics, animal genetics, medicine, genetic counseling, forensics, and even dentistry. The major is definitely built to accommodate a wide variety of interests.

Why I chose to be a peer mentor: During my freshman year, the learning community was extremely valuable to me. In addition to meeting some of my best friends in the learning community, my peer mentors offered valuable advice and guidance. I really appreciated their role and I wanted to offer my support to the incoming freshman.

Advice:  Take advantage of every opportunity your freshman year. Joining new clubs, coming to learning community events, and meeting new people will help you succeed.

What I like to do outside of class work: Outside of class, I enjoy participating in Student Government, watching Law & Order, and hammocking on central campus.

Career Goals:  In the future, I would like to pursue a career in the agricultural industry.


Taylor Hays

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

Sophomore in Genetics

Taylor Hays

What I like about the Genetics major: I love the genetics major because of all the different kinds of people you can meet it in. The major offers various career goals from medicine to research to counseling and it is exciting to see the diverse groups of people the major attracts. 

Why I choose to be a peer mentor: I wanted to be a peer mentor because I know how overwhelming your first year can be. I want to help alleviate the worries of incoming freshmen and aid in the creation of a positive community so that students can feel more at home at ISU.

Advice: Force yourself to go outside your comfort zone and take advantage of every single opportunity you’re given; you never know what new interests you’ll uncover or friends you might meet. 

What I like to do outside of class work: Outside of class I enjoy going to ISU fitness classes, watching horror movies and spending time with my cat.

Career goals: In the future, I hope to pursue a career in the medical field.


Emily Sarvis

Hometown: Indianola, Iowa

Junior in Genetics

Emily Sarvis, Genetics Peer mentor

What I like about the Genetics major:  One of my favorite things about the Genetics major is how diverse the community of students is in their interests. I personally know people interested in plant genetics, agricultural genetics, potential genetic counselors, and individuals who would love to work in industry. No matter which path you choose, this major is able to prepare you for these careers. 

Why I chose to be a peer mentor:  I chose to be a peer mentor because as a freshman, the transition into college life and the challenges that came alongside it were intimidating at first. Through the assistance of mentors this transition seemed much more feasible and allowed me to find a home at Iowa State that I could enjoy instead of stressing about certain things. I want to provide this guidance to future students in the Genetics program so that they too can become comfortable in college and have amazing experiences along the way. 

Advice:  Do not be afraid of pushing yourself. Often times we underestimate our potential in certain aspects and this can lead to missed opportunities. 

What I like to do outside of class work: I love to read, explore Ames, and hike. I also love to cook and I am currently working on perfecting some dishes! 

Career Goals: To pursue a master's degree in genetic counseling.  


Grace Schulte

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Senior in Genetics

Grace Schulte

What I like about the Genetics major: I love the strong sense of community that this major has developed. From Genetics Club, to offering opportunities to attend conferences and information sessions together, I have always felt so welcomed and included! I think the members of this major are uniquely close and incredibly supportive of one another. 

Why I chose to be a peer mentor: When I was a freshman, my peer mentors were people I looked up to for guidance and reassurance. They made my transition to college a whole lot easier, and now I want to be that for someone else!

Advice: Reach out to faculty and get your foot in the door! If undergraduate research is something you’re interested in participating in, it’s never too early to start making connections! I know it can seem intimidating but it’s a wonderful way to acclimate yourself. 

What I like to do outside of class work: Outside of class I enjoy baking/cooking, reading mystery novels, hammocking around campus, and snuggling my little dog Rue! 

Career goals: I hope to become a licensed Genetic Counselor! My specific area of interest is neurology.