Personal Genome Learning Center

Meet an Undergrad in the Personal Genome Learning Center: Hannah Ericson

Research Description:

Dr. McAllister is primarily focused on outreach with the Personal Genome Learning Center. This center focuses on the usage of genetics in society, especially specialized DNA kits. One of the group’s main tasks is a monthly meeting of a club called the DNA Interest Group. This group is open to the public and is held in the Iowa City Public Library. Each month, the learning center decides on a topic they would like to discuss at this monthly meeting. Last year, they had an event called Doggy DNA, which discusses DNA kits for dogs and how to interpret the information. The learning center is open to any student interested in genetics. It is recommended for students to get involved during their first meeting in the fall because the group fills up fast!

When did Hannah start in the group?

Fall 2016


Biology with a concentration in genetics and biotechnology.

Background before Hannah joined this group:

"I started as a freshman and had not taken any biology courses."

Why Hannah chose this group?

"I was frustrated during my first semester because I wanted to get involved in genetics, but I couldn’t start taking courses that revolve around genetics. I also reached out to Dr. McAllister at an event and a few weeks later, he emailed me about the Personal Genome Learning Center."

What Hannah has done in the group:

"I've had a large involvement in the group. One of the main tasks I've helped with is planning material for the group meetings. The group also must keep up-to-date in developments in personal genomics. Currently, the group is preparing for their big event during DNA Day. I am also working with the company, 23andMe."

What Hannah wants to do in the future:

"Because I'm only a sophomore, I'm not really sure what I want to do but at the moment, I'm interested in doing research."

Advice Hannah would give for someone looking to get more involved in biology:

"I think everyone should get involved in the Personal Genome Learning Center. It’s great for someone looking to learn about genetics without the lecture feel."