First-Year Journey: Geralyn Timm '23 Pursues Neuroscience and Behavior at Notre Dame

Author: Shannon Rooney


Geralyn Timm '23 comes from a small town in Iowa. A high-achieving student from a young age, she wanted an education that broadened her perspective and experience in life. She wanted to expose her mind and heart to new ideas and people, to research the subjects she loved, to set big goals and achieve them. She wanted the kind of education only provided at the nation's top schools.

So as a high school student, Timm began to plan for her future.

She started by excelling in her science courses. She is naturally inclined toward science, so she worked hard, getting good grades, and learning as much as she could. Then, when she realized she would need some Advanced Placement (AP) credits on her transcript, Timm found a way to take the necessary courses online. Her Madrid, Iowa high school didn't offer any AP courses at all, so Timm also carved a path for younger students who, like her, were looking for AP opportunities.

One of Timm's favorite AP courses was psychology. "I had some background in the sciences from my classes, but my high school didn't offer psychology. I was always interested in it," says Timm. She took the AP psych course and loved the interdisciplinary nature of the field.

When she applied to Notre Dame in the fall of her senior year, she declared an intended major in neuroscience and behavior through the College of Science

Meanwhile, Timm was busy winning pageant competitions. One of her main extracurriculars as a high school student, Timm began competing in pageants in Iowa around the age of 12. She found the competitions fun, made friends with all the girls she competed with, and honed her interview and public speaking skills. In 2018, she was named Miss Iowa Teen by the National American Miss organization. 

If that doesn't convince you of the breadth of Timm's talents, maybe this will: She wrote one of her college essays about restoring a 1979 half-red, half-brown Chevy pickup truck with her dad, saying "I almost cried from excitement when I first saw it." 

Geralyn Timm '23 (left) with friends at Notre Dame Stadium

Timm grew up helping her dad fix tractors in the shop on their rural property. But it was his turn to help her when the family brought her new truck home.

"We spent hours rebuilding the motor, installing a new drive shaft, patching the rusted holes, and painting every inch of the body gunmetal gray," says Timm.

Now, each time she drives the truck, she remembers that special time spent working with her dad. 

As a first-year student at Notre Dame, Timm remains undaunted in the face of big challenges. She took 20 credit hours in her first semester, joined the Notre Dame Neuroscience Club and the Equestrian team, and is part of the Notre Dame Scholars' Program.

She's also determined to pursue research. In fact, undergraduate research opportunities are what first attracted Timm to Notre Dame. "I'm interested in the biological research but also the social science research and Notre Dame kind of had all of those options," she says. 

Timm appreciates the experiential learning she has already taken part in thanks to her biological sciences lab. She says it's unique that, as a first-year student, she is able to conduct research, through a class, that has a practical application. Timm wants to continue that hands-on learning in the next three years and looks forward to taking on research both on campus and through study abroad.

Watch Timm's video above to get her perspective on academics and extracurriculars at Notre Dame.

Learn More 

Check out the previous First-Year Journey.

Check out other First-Year Journeys: 

First-Year Journey: Q&A with Austin Wyman '23, Psychology Major and Ballet Folklorico Dancer

First-Year Journey: Rocco Campanelli '23 on Thinking in New Ways at Notre Dame

First-Year Journey: Alexis Lopez ’23 Explores the Importance of Stories

First-year Journey: Jack Davies ’23 Explores Rocket Science and Music

First-Year Journey: Sam Al-Bahish Finds Global Opportunities at Notre Dame

First-Year Journey: Isabella Garcia ’23 Explores Political Science and Comedy Writing at Notre Dame

First-year Journey: Hayden Mascarenhas ’23 on Following Your Curiosity at Notre Dame

First-year Journey: Grace Rozembajgier ’23 Finds Connection through the American Studies Major and the Notre Dame Community

First-Year Journey: William Geoffroy ’23 Pursues a Foundation in Science and Ethics at Notre Dame

First-Year Journey: Intended Finance Major Sydney Kendall '23 Finds Her Academic Fit

First-Year Journey: Connor Martin ’23 Pairs Engineering and Service at Notre Dame

First-Year Journey: Caroline Pla ’23 Explores Sports Marketing and Literature in Her First Semester

First-Year Journey: Brandon Chou ’23 Discerns a Medical Career at Notre Dame