Meet the Honors Student Staff: Peer Advisors
By Mahidhar Sai Lakkavaram
At Commonwealth Honors College (CHC), we have a variety of student staff teams that are dedicated to helping you make the most of your experience here. This series on Honors student staff will highlight all their different functions and how you can make use of these resources, and potentially join them in the future!
They sit at the front desk in the advising center, and can assist with any advising-related questions, in person, over the phone or peers [at] honors [dot] umass [dot] edu (via email).
“I wanted to become a peer advisor because I saw the job as an excellent way to help other students while also helping myself better understand the CHC curriculum.” said John Ferreira, a current peer advisor. “After freshman year, I could tell that the CHC curriculum included a lot of moving parts, and I thought that by becoming a peer advisor, I could learn all about the resources available to CHC students and share that information with other students.”
John’s favorite part about his job is working with students from various majors and learning about all the “incredible” things they do: “It gives me perspective on all majors and what their undergraduate experience looks like.”
“Sometimes there are many students that come in with questions about their schedule, meeting CHC requirements, or transferring into CHC,” said Caroline Tran, another peer advisor. Caroline explained that the peer advisors’ work differs day-to-day, and she applied for the role since she’s passionate about being a mentor to underclassmen: “I think it's a very valuable position because I'm able to see the behind the scenes of how advising operates and be a big part of students’ success.”
Caroline’s favorite part of her job is the “relaxed and welcoming environment.” She’s never afraid to ask questions or admit she doesn't know something. “Everyone pitches in and helps out,” she said.
The Bloom Honors Advising Center is located on the 2nd floor of the Commonwealth Honors College building and peer advisors are available to you (just walk in-no appointment necessary from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also contact them via peers [at] honors [dot] umass [dot] edu (email).
Elizabeth Powers is a peer advising coordinator, which is a leadership position within CHC Peer Advising: “My advice for incoming students is to take advantage of as many opportunities on campus as possible when you get to school. You can always drop some commitments over time but trying out a bunch of different things will help you find your people and your place.”
Elizabeth is fond of the collaborations she can do with the other departments in her job. She also explained that the peer advisors and the academic advisors work effectively as a team, and are good at problem solving and working on new initiatives.
“[The peer advisors] are the kindest, goofiest group of people I have met at UMass—if you're a CHC student or thinking about applying into CHC, definitely come to the Bloom Honors Advising Center to talk with a peer advisor, you won't regret it,” she said.
New student staff members are usually hired in the spring to start working in the following year, though this isn’t definitive. Nancy Chomitz, assistant director of advising, coordinates the peer advisors — so nchomitz [at] umass [dot] edu (reach out to her) if you have any questions! Other student staff positions open up through the year as well, keep checking the CHC Newsletter and the website to find out more.