Nov 7, 2018 - Education

23andMe Genetics Club at the University of Iowa

Thao Do and Hannah

By: Thao Do, Ph.D.

College professors and students across the country are starting Genetics Club at their universities to educate and engage their peers and local community about genetics.

Thao Do, PhD, and University of Iowa student Hannah Ericson earlier this year  for a live broadcast from 23andMe headquarters.

One sophomore student, Hannah Ericson, from the University of Iowa visited the 23andMe headquarters this year and shared her  personal experiences in leading and participating in a club at the University of Iowa with Thao Do, 23andMe’s Education and Academia Manager, during the broadcast of 23andMe Live.


The club is part of what is called the Personal Genome Learning Center (PGLC), which was started by Professor Bryant McAllister, an associate professor at the University of Iowa.  Prof. McAllister created the center because he wanted to inspire students to actively engage with their learning outside of the classroom through community outreach events. The students know that understanding the science of genetics will be ever more important in the future.


“I think definitely it’ll come to a point where genetics is influencing everything in our daily lives from the food we’re eating to the clothes we’re wearing and even the medicine we’re being given,” said Hannah. “That’s why I think it’s so important that we help educate other people about genetics, so they have a basic understanding of what’s going on because it’s going to be so important in the future.”


To that end the student group  gets together each week and supports programming for a monthly community meeting of the DNA Interest Group – Iowa City. Topics might include genealogy, human trait variations, the societal impact of commercial DNA testings, and even doggy DNA! The group also hosts fun genetics events like the annual Festival of Genetics around National DNA Day, April 25.


The PGLC is also participating in the 23andMe Genetics Club. Participation in the 23andMe Genetics Club is free and the mission is to inspire and support students to have conversations about genetics and its potential impact in society.


As part of the 23andMe Genetics Club, college students and educators are invited to participate in free educational opportunities throughout the year, like the movie screening of Thank You for Coming and a live Q&A session with the director Sara Lamm. The PGLC will be screening the movie at the November meeting of the DNA Interest Group, Iowa City.


If you are an active college student or educator at an accredited U.S. institutions, join the 23andMe Genetics Club to participate in fun educational events. No purchase necessary.


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