First Year Experience

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First Year Experience Peer Leaders

Meet the Peer Leaders   |   About the Peer Leader position   |   Apply to be a Peer Leader   |    FAQs   |    Contact your Peer Leader

First Year Experience Peer Leaders support all new students beginning with orientation through the end of the first year at Ohio State. Peer leaders focus year-round on outreach and relationship development, expanding the mission of First Year Experience to holistically impact all new students as they progress through their first year. Students in this role use their knowledge and perspective as experienced peers to connect new students to the people, resources and information essential for success in the first year. Peer leaders are significant in shaping first-year students’ transition, motivation and satisfaction, which contributes to students’ persistence to the second year and beyond.

Meet the Peer Leaders

Aniket Vaishampayan Anna Heckscher Annali Perez

Aniket Vaishampayan
he/him
Pune, India
Economics; International Studies
Asking for help: A lot of social science classes have discussion questions or essays that are often seen as broad and vague. I struggled with trying to understand what the expectations were and how to accomplish open-ended tasks. Working with CSTW, the Writing Center, helped me navigate and interpret these questions. The most important thing I realized is that asking for help as soon as you need it, rather than later, takes some pressure of your shoulders in the long run.

Anna Heckscher
she/her
Upper Arlington, OH
New Media and Communication Technology
Advice for new students: The most important piece of advice I would give to new students is don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help!

Annali Perez
she/her
LaGrange, OH
Public Health; Sociology
Motivation: I stay motivated to excel at Ohio State because there are so many opportunities on campus and off-campus. Even during the pandemic, there are many opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities and meet new people. I continue to persist in my academics and involvements to gain more opportunities.

Annie Warrens Ariana Winbush Braelyn Gerchak

Annie Warrens
she/her
Jackson, OH
Agriscience Education
Making friends: In my first year at Ohio State, I made friends by getting involved in student organizations. I stuck to what I was comfortable with and that led me to meet a lot of amazing people equally as passionate as me about the things I love.

Ariana Winbush
she/her
Newark, OH
English
Study tip: Office hours! I know it may seem intimidating at first, but I promise it's not. Your professors want to help you. Once you get past the first few times, it's smooth sailing there on out. One thing I recommend for studying is not doing it all at one time. It is very easy to save all the studying for the night before. But it is so much easier if you do a little bit at a time in the days leading up to your test. This way you can spend the night before reviewing a little, and you can get to bed earlier. This has helped me tremendously. Not only do I retain more information, but I am less stressed about exams.

Braelyn Gerchak
she/her
Olmstead Falls, OH
Anthropology
Advice for new students: College is the time to grow as a student, but also as an individual. Take time for yourself and try new things that have interested you, but maybe you were too afraid to try before. Everyone is in the same boat-- we are all trying to figure ourselves out and find experiences, so don't be afraid to jump head-first into something new.

Chasity Knight Emily Oakley Hannah Keen

Chasity Knight
she/her
Dayton, OH
Neuroscience
Making friends: I made friends my first year by connecting with people before I even got on campus. There are so many social media pages made to introduce incoming freshmen and help them meet new people. This allowed me to meet people who maybe had the same major, career path, or general interests as me.

Emily Oakley
she/her
Naperville, IL
Neuroscience
Feeling at home on campus: I feel most at home on campus at Thompson Library. Thompson is the first place I toured on campus that made me undoubtedly want to go to Ohio State because I could visualize myself studying for hours with the amazing views the library offers - and I have done just that! My roommate turned 19 at Thompson library on a night that we stayed there studying until midnight, I have gotten recognized by the staff at Berry Cafe, and Thompson feels as close to home as my residence hall room.

Hannah Keen
she/her
Ridgewood, NJ
Health Sciences
Study tip: Use the iPads, especially the app Notability. You can download lecture slides, write on them, and even record the lecture on the same document.

Haylea Page John Dixon JuJuan Davis

Haylea Page
she/her
Chillicothe, OH
Speech and Hearing Sciences
Ohio State surprises: The thing that has surprised me most about Ohio State is that it really shows how much they support their students. I have encountered amazing people that all want the best for me which has been life changing.

John Dixon
he/him
Columbus, OH
Science Education
Favorite study spot: No better place to study than a hammock on the Oval.

JuJuan Davis
he/him
Cincinnati, OH
Accounting
Making friends: An extracurricular activity I got involved in that was meaningful was The Black Student Association. I made some great connections with people and lifelong friendships. I made friends by going to different events and talking to people.

Kamryn Sullivan Lulu Montes Mackenzie Siesel

Kam Sullivan
she/her, they/them
Hampton, VA
Biomedical Engineering
Advice for new students: One piece of advice I would tell incoming students is if you’re ever afraid of something, put your foot in the door and go one step at a time.

Lulu Montes
she/her
Akron, OH
Social Work
Meaningful exracurriculars: A meaningful extracurricular activity I got involved with during my first year was the OSQ* Program. I developed a sense of self-love and expression of my queer identity. That mentorship experience was amazing because I was paired with the best mentor ever! It has influenced my dedication of cultivating relationships through informal and formal mentoring because everyone feels a little lost here and there. It is so helpful to have someone on your side to trust and talk to.

Mackenzie Siesel
she/her
Aliso Viejo, CA
Neuroscience
Making friends: My first friends I made at Ohio State actually came from my orientation group and I later met some of my best friends at an ice cream social in my residence hall. You get so many chances to meet people through clubs, classes, and sports events.

Maddie Tome Maxwel Pace Molly Teller

Maddie Tome
she/her
Medina, OH
Political Science
Why Ohio State?: I decided to come to Ohio State because I am originally from Medina, OH, which was most definitely a white-picket-fence community with little diversity. With going to Ohio State, I was able to be exposed to so many different people and cultures which I never had the opportunity to truly do before. The campus is filled with people from almost every facet of various cultures, races, ethnicities, etc., and I found that amazing.

Maxwel Pace
he/him
Columbus, OH
Mechanical Engineering
Why Ohio State?: I decided to come to Ohio State because of the environment of excellence and acceptance here. Ever since I started taking classes here, I have been pushed to achieve greater things and to be open to meeting new people. Being in this atmosphere helps me to be better every day.

Molly Teller
she/her
Blacksburg, VA
English
Feeling at home on campus: I feel at home on the oval. It's definitely one of the most well-known spots on campus, but many of my arts classes take place outside on the oval, I do work with friends there once it's warm enough, and it's a peaceful spot on walks back from late nights at Thompson. It's just somewhere that I feel comfortable and able to actually take a breath and appreciate where I am.

Paulina Rodriguez-Diaz Quentin Walker Raul Olvera

Paulina Rodriguez-Diaz
she/hers
Aguascalientes, Mexico
Chinese; International Business
Campus resources: The most helpful resource I used in my first year was office hours. No matter how small or insignificant you may think a question is, going to office hours will help you so much. You get one-on-one time with your professor or TA and they get to know you a little better.

Quentin Walker
he/him
Liberty Township, OH
Biomedical Engineering
Making friends: When I was making friends, I recognized that everyone who is a first-year student is looking to make friends, so I put myself out there and I was able to make some good connections. I also made some good friends through extracurriculars and my classes.

Raul Olvera
he/him
Delaware, OH
Public Health
Motivation: People with high motors and big dreams are always waiting to be met. Befriending these sorts of people constantly reminds me that I should always strive for big goals and work hard towards achieving them.

Rhazariah McFall Rhys Brown Shannon Dixon

Rhazariah McFall
she/her
Shaker Heights, OH
Comparative Cultural Studies; Sociology
Advice for new students: The most important piece of advice I would give to new students is it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, lost, uncomfortable, etc. This is a big transition and everything isn’t going to fall perfectly into place no matter how much we wish it. It’s something I had to come to terms with and I feel it’s helped me be nicer to myself and more understanding of others.

Rhys Brown
he/him
Fairfield, OH
Biology
Feeling at home on campus: From my perspective of life, I've learned that home is where you decide to make it and the great bonds that I've had the opportunity to forge with friends on campus allow me to feel at home when I'm with them.

Shannon Dixon
she/her
Melbourne, FL
Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Study tip: A study tip all students should know is how you most effectively study! Through a lot of trial and error I have learned how I best learn material and who else learns the same way I do. Whereas some people like to work alone, I've found that I study and accomplish more when working in groups. Learning this about myself has helped me immensely in studying for exams and quizzes. I also think its important to recognize when you need external help in a course. After I failed my first organic chemistry test I realized that I needed help in understanding the course material as what I was currently doing was not helping. This inspired me to reach out to a friend and ask for tutoring help. With this help I was able to end the course with a much higher grade than I would have gotten on my own. Being comfortable recognizing you can not always do everything on your own and asking for help is an essential for the difficult courses here at Ohio State!

Sophie Turner Sumaya Yusuf Zack Kingseed

Sophie Turner
she/her
Columbus, OH
Special Education
Advice for new students: You have nothing to prove. No one is going to give you a medal for sacrificing the most or having the heaviest work load. Don't take on extra work or commitments just to show the world that you can. Enjoy yourself and find balance

Sumaya Yusuf
she/her
Omaha, NE
Psychology
Preparing for transition: Something I wished I had done to prepare for my transition to Ohio state is to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Ohio State pushes for you to grow and learn about yourself and the world we live in. The process isn’t always comfortable, but it is a beautiful process with life changing results.

Zack Kingseed
he/him
Pittsburgh, PA
Aerospace engineering
Advice for new students: I talked to advisors a lot and this helped me pick a major path and schedule classes. You can schedule advising through the university website, I definitely recommend talking to your advisor at least once. Make a calendar of assignments and tests, it really helps to see what needs to be done. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. It can be intimidating being in a new environment, but realize that everyone is in the same boat as you.