First Year Experience

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First Year Experience Peer Leaders

Meet the Peer Leaders   |   About the Peer Leader position   |    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

Aaron Hughes Abby Cumming-Vukovic Adam Haikal

Aaron Hughes
Highland, OH
Advice for new students: My advice for incoming students is to be yourself and be willing to make connections. Stay confident and find where you fit in up here at Columbus. Most importantly, keep your head up because we need the bad days to have the good days. Just remember, you’re not alone at OSU!

Abby Cumming-Vukovic
Westerville, OH
Public Affairs
Quick fact: Adriatico’s Pizza is the best food on campus by far. Maybe it’s because I was raised on it, but always ask for extra sauce. A lot of events on campus will have Adriatico’s Pizza for free!

Adam Haikal 
Columbus, OH
Computer Science Engineering
Study tip: My biggest study tip is to utilize office hours, emails, and TA’s (teaching assistants). Communication is key, and your professors do want you to succeed. Using your school email to notify professors of issues and going to office hours can change an outcome from “dealing with it” to working it out.

Alex Jolly Annie DiClemente Bethany Juarez

Alex Jolly
Jackson, OH
Public Affairs and Geography
Getting involved: A meaningful extracurricular I got involved with my freshman year was Community Connectors at OSU or CCOSU. CCOSU raises money to help new Americans. Between learning about the mentorship
program to help children adjust to America and actively fundraising to help get toiletries and clothes among other things for these families. CCOSU has been a way for me to connect and contribute to the Columbus community.

Annie DiClemente
Garnet Valley, PA
Social Work
Why Ohio State: I came to Ohio State because of their amazing campus programs as well as the advanced major programs that we have here. I also came for the beautiful campus and to meet a diverse range of people!

Bethany Juarez
West Jefferson, OH
Quick facts: My favorite place to study is the 11th floor on Thompson. It has amazing views, and it feels homey compared to other places on campus. When it gets hotter outside, I definitely recommend to head over to the Knowlton rooftop garden to have some time alone and ground yourself.

Burgos Emily Leach Fikere Amare

East Hartford, CT
Jazz Studies — Performance
Why Ohio State: I originally found Ohio State through the marching band when I was going into high school and looking into what marching band could be like in college. I was immediately inspired by TBDBITL and would look into Ohio State as a whole. From Brutus to the number of opportunities provided here, I felt that Ohio State was the best fit for me.

Emily Leach
London, OH
Study tips: A study tip I recommend is to
focus on the professor first and worry
about the notes later. I used to worry so much about writing everything the professor said down that I wasn't retaining anything. A way to study that I find useful is to listen to the professor during lecture and maybe take a few abbreviated notes of things you found most interesting, difficult, or important and then after class write down everything you can remember. 

If you feel as though you missed something, look back at slides, textbooks, lecture recordings (if provided) or the abbreviated notes you did take and revise. Or go to the professor's office hours and ask them directly so they can clarify. This technique is called active recall and it will help students a lot, especially if they are in heavy science classes with a lot of technical information.

Fikere Amare
Columbus, OH
Health Science
Getting involved: I have personally found connection in the clubs and organizations that I have joined, specifically E2OSU. It’s an Ethiopian and Eritrean culture group. This club helped me feel at home because I got to connect with people similar to me.

Ian Stewart Jonah Clark Jordan McCarthy

Ian Stewart
Milford, OH
Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability
Quick fact: I feel most at home in a random study spot in the Timashev Family Music Building on the third floor. I have spent hour after hour studying there with various people, so I feel attached to the spot. It's something about the warm light and the way that the sun will shine right onto me working in the afternoon that makes me feel at home. 

The ambient musical instruments and vocal practice in the background makes me feel more at home, since in my life, I always have music playing in the background.

Jonah Clark
Santa Rita, Guam
Health Science
Getting involved: My biggest piece of advice would be to join clubs for things you enjoy. It can be very difficult to make friends in class, especially if the class sizes are very large. Doing an activity in which you regularly see and collaborate with other students will quickly help you make friends and find a community.

Jordan McCarthy
Naperville, IL
Political Science and Philosophy
Advice for new students: One thing I wish I did to prepare for my transition to Ohio State is researching extra-curriculars so that I could have an idea of what I wanted to get involved in prior to arriving to campus.

Josh Baum Kayla Kendall Lauren Hilderbrand

Josh Baum
Grove City, OH
Data Analytics
Why Ohio State: I came to Ohio State to both expand my network and develop my knowledge in the analytical field. Through my time thus far at Ohio State, I have been blessed with the ability to do so and much more. This congregation of friends I have amassed are my biggest motivation to excel. Their fortitude and determination inspire me to achieve my most extravagant goals.

Kayla Kendall
Tipp City, OH
Getting involved: My first semester here I was in the Athletic Band, and that was a really fun experience for me! I got to attend so many sports events and I experienced the immense school spirit that the Buckeye community has. It showed me that this really was the place for me and there really is a place for everyone at OSU.

Lauren Hilderbrand
Westerville, OH
Advice for new students: The most important piece of advice I would give to a first-year student is not to be afraid of change. Changing your major. Changing your look. Changing roommates or buildings. Change is a necessary part of growth and a key component of college life is growth.

Linh Le Maeli O'Briant Meadow Gilbert

Linh Le
St. Clairsville, OH
Environmental Science
Study tip: The Pomodoro technique is a study method all students should know. Students should work for some set period of time (ex. 30 minutes) and then take a shorter, timed break (ex. 5 minutes). 

During the break, it is helpful to do something completely different from what you were doing before, like taking a walk. I used this method all the time when I was studying for harder classes like calculus, which helped me feel refreshed and energized for hard topics and exams.

Maeli O'Briant
Powell, OH
Public Policy Analysis
Why Ohio State: I grew up on and around Ohio State's campus, so the university has always been a big part of my life. I chose to go here because I love that it is such a big school with so much to offer: the students and staff with the same appreciation for Ohio State that I have, athletics, a beautiful campus, so many interesting classes to choose from, and its profound sense of community.

Meadow Gilbert
Sandusky, OH
Social work
Advice for new students: I came to Ohio State because it was always a dream of mine, and I truly feel as if I was born to be a Buckeye. The diversity at Ohio State has expanded my experiences and opportunities. There are people who attend Ohio State from all around the globe, and it is unique to meet so many different people with different backgrounds and attend events in relation to their cultures.

Shaima Abdulhafiz Shea Chandler Sophia Wesland

Shaima Abdulhafiz
Columbus, OH
Psychology and Neuroscience
Quick fact: My favorite place to study on campus is the geology library. It's perfect for when you want to study without any distractions!

Shea Chandler
Orrville, OH
Studio Art — Drawing and Painting
Getting involved: A club that I joined is Off The Lake! It's the only student run theatre organization at OSU. It's an amazing organization to join and it is welcoming to all levels of theatre experience, even if you've never done theatre before.

Sophia Wesland
Fargo, ND
Study tip: It is important to find a stop on campus where you can study. I feel most at home and focused in Thompson Library. I love to curl up there either by myself or with friends and study. Getting work done at the Thompson Library makes me feel like a true college student and always puts me in the mood to do homework.

Tessa Oedy Truman Mininger Wynne Poticher

Tessa Oedy
Miller City, OH
Advice for new students: My most important advice for new students is to give yourself a break. During your time at Ohio State, you will feel the pressure of classes, work, and commitments, so it is important to let yourself be imperfect. You will fail, and that is okay. Don't beat yourself up, learn from your mistakes and keep going.

Truman Mininger
Dallas, TX
Political Science
Advice for new students: My most important piece of advice is to stay positive and hopeful. Not everyone immediately finds their place; give it time and allow the Buckeye process to work.

Wynne Poticher 
Willoughby, OH
Psychology and Anthropological Science
Motivation: Something that motivates me to excel at Ohio State is my family. I am a first-generation student, so I am paving the path for my siblings and cousins. I will be the person they can look to for information and questions. I want to succeed not only for myself but for the future generation.