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Sam Anderson

Sam AndersonHometown: Walker, Iowa
Major: Biology
Minor: Genetics

Why did you choose Iowa State University?

The Biology program had the widest variety of courses and resources (and the campus is beautiful!!)

How did you become interested in your major?

I grew up well-exposed to STEM and found that with a thorough foundation in biological sciences, I could translate that to my interests in the natural world and genetics as they evolved

What are your current goals following graduation?

I will be attending Northwestern's Genetic Counseling Graduate Program beginning in Fall of 2022

Internship experiences: Post graduation from Iowa State University, I worked as a Genetic Counseling Assistant, first at PerkinElmer Genomics and then at Mayo Clinic. This exposed me to a wide variety of genetic counseling experiences and solidified my application to graduate programs.

Campus activities: At Iowa State University, I was a B.E.S.T. peer mentor, Biochemistry and Genetics tutor, and served on the officer team of the Biological Sciences club for three of my four years. These experiences shaped my finding the genetic counseling career, as I found I enjoyed one-on-one mentoring, teaching, and collaboration.

Research experiences: I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Kristen Johansen's lab studying gene expression using drosophila as a model organism. During my time here, I learned a lot about technical lab processes, as well as the bigger picture of the scientific method/problem solving.

Study Abroad or National Student Exchange experiences: I participated in the Biology program's summer study abroad to Valencia, Spain. I learned a lot about other cultures and experiences but also developed my own sense of independence from this trip. I also came away with some lifelong friends!

How would you fill in the blank for high school students interested in your field? “You’re going to love studying the sciences at Iowa State because ….”

...Of the sense of community! You will be surrounded by passionate, excited, and helpful people all along your journey!

What has surprised you most about your major?

I was most surprised by the variety of classes I was able to take - I was able to go from my upper-level genetics courses studying epigenetics and then walk to my next class studying the boreal forest. This wide view of biology shaped my interests and always kept me on my toes, and I was really lucky to be able to study all the different aspects of biology that I love.