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

Amaal Ahmed Alexandra Burbick Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue

Amaal Ahmed
Hilliard, OH
Motivation to excel: Anytime I need a push, I think about my parents who sacrificed so much for me and my little siblings. However, I think my greatest motivator is myself. I am happy with where I am and each passing day is a reminder that I am one day closer to reaching my own goals.

Alexandra Burbick
Loveland, OH
Biomedical Engineering
How to make friends: During my first year, I made friends through different classes and clubs. I also made sure to meet people who were mutual friends of others that I knew before coming to Ohio State.

Thaliyah Cools-Lartigue
Fairborn, OH
Most surprising thing about Ohio State: How many people are willing to help you with anything. There is always someone willing to answer your questions and give you the answers you need. It is extremely wonderful to have so many faculty, staff and even peers that can aide you in any possible situation.

Quenaysha Copes Courtney Dunn Kenneth Harvey

Quenaysha Copes
Euclid, OH
Political Science
Recommended campus resource: Your academic advisor. As someone who was unsure about her major, I got well acquainted with my academic advisor. You should get to know yours, too! They are here to support you and ensure that you're on the path to success. It’s nice knowing someone has your back!

Courtney Dunn
Solon, OH
International Studies
Favorite spot on campus: I feel most at home on the South Oval. Seeing the Ohio Union, a constant flow of students and the beauty of the greenery makes me feel at peace.

Kenneth Harvey
Centerburg, OH
Welding Engineering
Motivation to excel: How amazed and excited my parents are that I'm here. They never had the opportunity to go to college, so to them, Ohio State is a magical place. Anytime I feel burnt out, I know I can send them a photo of the stadium and say “I walk by this every day!” and they’ll get so excited.

Timothy Hinton Shen Huang Ahniya Jones

Timothy Hinton
Lorain, OH
How to make friends: Explore things you want to try and the friends will come. I was part of an early arrival program, and that gave me 45 familiar faces on campus and some of my closest friends. Just put yourself out there and get involved right away.

Shen Huang
Powell, OH
Psychology, Social Work
Recommended campus resource: Your academic advisor. I turned to mine when I had questions or was anxious about my career options. Depending on your college, you can schedule an appointment online or via email.

Ahniya Jones
Toledo, OH
English, Sociology
A transformational Ohio State experience: Instead of going home for spring break my first year, I participated in an alternative spring break service trip. We worked to fight food insecurity in Washington, D.C., and I came back to campus reminded why I'm in college, why I chose my major, and why it's important to fight for underserved communities.

Allison Kennebeck Amit Khanna Keji Latio

Allison Kennebeck
Cincinnati, OH
Advice for new students: Don't overthink whether or not you belong here. You do. You earned it. The first semester is going to be tough, and it's OK to struggle. Don't mistake normal challenges for a sign that you're not good enough to be at Ohio State.

Amit Khanna
Liberty Township, OH
Recommended campus resource: Your professors' office hours. If you go regularly and talk to your professors, you'll be more motivated to succeed and earn better grades.

Keji Latio
Canal Winchester, OH
Respiratory Therapy
How to make friends: Being part of a learning community, surrounded by people with similar values, made it a bit easier for me to make new friends — but I still had to put myself out there! Hang out in common spaces and chat with people around you, and don't be afraid to get involved in your dorm and around campus.

Mackenzie Leatherman Lauryn Lewis Paco Lopez

Mackenzie Leatherman
Honolulu, HI
Social Work
Advice for new students: Don't compare yourself or your journey to others. Sometimes it may feel like everyone has it together except you, but everyone struggles with something. Everyone's journey is different, so just focus on your own and work to reach your goals.

Lauryn Lewis
Reynoldsburg, OH
Favorite spot on campus: Denney Hall, home to the English department. The professors and students there are super accepting of different identities, and it's easy to find someone who shares my love for reading.

Paco Lopez
Elyria, OH
International Business, Operations Management
A transformational Ohio State experience: It's hard to pick one. Joining the indoor soccer club team and the Hispanic Business Student Association have helped me fulfill my passions, meet new people and pursue my goals.

Caroline Lux Nick McLaughlin Shruti Nayak

Caroline Lux
Akron, OH
Political Science; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Recommended campus resource: Office hours! I didn't do as well as I wanted on a midterm during my first semester. Admitting to my professor in office hours that I didn't understand something was nerve wracking, but I'm grateful that I didn't let my fear stop me. I did much better on the final!

Nick McLaughlin
Hilliard, OH
Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
Advice for new students: Use a planner. It will make your transition to Ohio State easier. You'll have a lot to keep track of in a given week, and a planner will make it easier. I started using one during my second semester, and I found myself working more efficiently and forgetting less than before.

Shruti Nayak
West Union, OH
Political Science
A transformational Ohio State experience: I joined the mock trial team my first year, and it's been very meaningful to me. It's pushed me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to some amazing people. Some of my favorite Ohio State memories are those of competing alongside my teammates.

Rachel Oakley Bella Parlette Nick Pavelec

Rachel Oakley
Naperville, IL
Advice for new students: Struggling academically is OK. Throughout high school, I never had to ask for help. After my first chemistry exam, I realized college was different. Going to the Dennis Learning Center and attending your professors' office hours are great resources.

Bella Parlette
Nashville, TN
Political Science, Spanish
Most surprising thing about Ohio State: The size! I came from a small high school, so I was a little anxious about navigating such a huge place. It wasn't long, though, until I could find my way around with ease. You don't need to fear Ohio State's size.

Nick Pavelec
Fort Wayne, IN
History, Economics
Recommended campus resource: I got sick a lot during my first year on campus, so the Wilce Student Health Center was a really helpful resource for me. The Student Health Services staff are great.

Alexandra Perry Grace Quigley Cassidi Revere

Alexandra Perry
Carmel, IN
Biology, Zoology
A transformational Ohio State experience: In my first year, I got very involved with the Boxing Club. It gave me a way to get out of my academic mindset for a bit, be with friends, stay fit and have fun. By the end of the year, I was friends with almost everyone in the club and even had a role in organizing it on the event board.

Grace Quigley
Brighton, MI
Biology, Management Information Systems
How to make friends: Coming from out of state, I didn't know a single person at Ohio State. I had to force myself to step out of my comfort zone and make connections and talk to people. I made friends by asking floormates and people in my class to get food or go to residence hall events and to study together. I'm a pretty introverted person, so that was nerve racking.

Cassidi Revere
Huntley, IL
How to make friends: Go to the events planned by your RA in your residence hall! The whole point of these events is to help you connect with the students living in your building. They're fun and free, too!

Kasie Rogers Alexandra Rujawitz Abby Vander Pas

Kasie Rogers
Youngstown, OH
Recommended campus resource: As part of the Young Scholars Program, I was assigned an Academic Success Partner to help my track my progress through my college transition. Like a Peer Leader, my ASP offered me advice and connected me to resources. Try to identify a person like that as soon as possible — building a foundational support system is pivotal to your college transition.

Alexandra Rujawitz
Westlake, OH
Recommended campus resource: The app "Tapingo." You can order from a bunch of campus dining locations and have your food ready for you after class. It's perfect for when you need a coffee after your 8 a.m. lecture.

Abby Vander Pas
Lake Zurich, IL
A transformational Ohio State experience: There are a lot of service organizations on campus, but, as part of Fisher College of Business, I chose to get involved in FisherCares. It's allowed me to explore my interests in non-profit organizations alongside other business students through lectures and hands-on service projects, and it's inspired me to consider different career paths after graduating.

Christian Wynn    

Christian Wynn
Columbus, OH
French, History
A transformational Ohio State experience: Before I joined Mixed Heritage Buckeyes, I never knew other people had similar experiences as me, being a biracial person. It was very exciting to meet people who looked like me and who've had similar experiences.