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Genetic Counseling Program teams up with GIMM to create a study app

While brainstorming for her Master of Science in Genetic Counseling capstone project, Farrah Uphoff realized there were very few study resources available for the American Board of Genetic Counseling certification exam she would need to pass in a few months to be able to practice as a genetic counselor. Uphoff’s first step to fixing this problem was researching how students preferred to study. Her research concluded that a smartphone application could be a more modern method of study. 

Uphoff has no background in computer science. Luckily for Uphoff, and genetic counselors across the nation, the Boise State genetic counseling program is all about collaboration. Program director Jennifer Eichmeyer connected with Karen Doty in the Boise State Gaming, Interactive Media and Mobile (GIMM) program to bridge the knowledge gap.

Doty connected Uphoff with four students in the GIMM program who participate in experiential learning for their undergraduate capstone project. In this case, Uphoff served as a “client: working with the GIMM team to deliver products. With help from Cole Rene, Ryan Grogan, Melissa Leifeste and Tri Duc Nguyen, the app’s development was underway. 

Melissa Leifeste and Cole Rene
Melissa Leifeste and Cole Rene in a Zoom meeting with Uphoff
Ryan Grogan
Ryan Grogan meets with Uphoff over Zoom
Farrah Uphoff
Farrah Uphoff meets with GIMM team over Zoom

The significance of a free study app

“This is huge, we don’t really have any formalized studying resources that are free,” Eichmeyer said. “The board exam is required to practice in all states, and standardized tests tend to favor a certain population. The hope for this app is to help all students from all backgrounds pass the exam on their first attempt.

The program needs 80 percent of graduates to pass the exam on their first attempt in order to meet their field’s accreditation standards. With the only available study resources costing hundreds of dollars and the exam itself costing thousands, graduates worry about the financial burdens. This app will help alleviate some of the stress that comes with preparing for the exam by allowing students to study what they need from virtually anywhere at any time, at no cost.

Future of the app

The app has not been published yet, as it awaits legal tests. Fortunately, a second genetic counseling student and a new group of GIMM students have taken up the next stage of testing and finalizing the app. Uphoff hopes that the two programs can continue collaborating to get this app into the hands of graduates preparing for the board exam.