Biology Peer Instruction Program

Established in 2008, the Biology Peer Instruction Program has created a community of learners. Undergraduates gain a deeper understanding of biological concepts and master their communication and leadership skills. They often discover a passion for teaching and many go on to pursue prestigious professional programs in science, medicine, and education. To learn more about this program see this story published in Nevada Today.

Our Peer Instructors hold the following roles in introductory biology (BIOL 190A, BIOL 189A) and genetics (BIOL 300):

  • Discussion Leaders: These peer instructors are trained during weekly meetings to lead discussions among small groups of students. Weekly discussions cover topics aligned with the lecture content and include learning activities like small group problem-solving, reenacting biological processes, and educational games.
  • Learning Assistants (LAs): The LAs provide active learning help in lectures during instant response question sessions. Each LA is trained in pedagogy and is usually assigned to a specific group of students in the lecture hall.
  • Peer Mentors: A select few peer instructors become Peer Mentors who help maintain the high quality of instruction by observing discussions and providing feedback to the leaders.

How to get involved in the Biology Peer Instruction Program

To qualify, students must successfully complete the course they plan to assist with. You can request and submit the application form to Dr. Elena Pravosudova at or Dr. Pamela Sandstrom at Successful applicants will enroll in 1-credit BIOL 495 (CO14, Peer Leadership in Biology) or BIOL 491 (independent study).