A double scoop of adventure

The day before freshmen in genetics embark on their first day of classes at Iowa State, they head to academic adviser Dr. Lois Girton’s house for ice cream. But this get-together isn’t just about hot fudge and sprinkles. It’s about students getting to know each other -- and campus. Because there’s one trick Dr. Girton uses that really helps students acquaint themselves with their new community -- they have to use CyRide to get to her house.

With fun events like this, it’s no surprise Dr. Girton won an Outstanding Peer Mentor Supervisor Award. This award honored her supervision of peer mentors in the Genetics -- The Secret of Life learning community. Said Dr. Girton about receiving the award, “I was surprised, but pleased, as there is little pressure or reward for students to take the time to nominate someone for an award. Doing so speaks well for the peer mentors.”

And winning this award speaks well for Dr. Girton’s efforts in helping students feel welcome as they start their Iowa State adventure. Here is what one student said about the ice cream social at Dr. Girton’s house on the learning community’s discussion website, “I had been looking forward to meeting the other freshman genetics majors as well as the peer mentors. I think the ice cream social was a great way to kick off the semester and allow everyone to meet in a social environment. I look forward to being a part of the genetics learning community.”

That’s just the reaction Dr. Girton hopes to get by holding get-togethers like the ice cream social. It’s events like these outside of the classroom that help make students feel right at home at Iowa State. Said Dr. Girton, “The opportunity for students to interact with like-minded students and socialize during activities provides them with both a sense of belonging and support.”

And no matter their major, when students come to Iowa State they can expect to receive this support by the bowlful.

Learn more about Iowa State learning communities.