The Peer Leader program is run through the Center for First Year Experience. Upper classman are trained to lead Learning Communities, which are groups of 10-20 students with similar academic interests who are enrolled in the same first semester classes.
As a CEAS Peer Leader, I had a unique opportunity to connect with and mentor first year engineering students as they transition to college begin to learn what it means to be an engineer. I was responsible for a Learning Community class of about 15 students. We met twice a week. I created a lesson plan for each class, focusing on key strategies and resources my students could use to succeed at college. I was able to tailor my weekly plans to meet the needs of my students so that they could all succeed in their first semester.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a peer leader was watching my class grow as the semester went on. Seeing them adjust to the college environment and develop a bond with each other was incredible. I was able to connect with students individually to talk to them about goals and help them through any issues they encountered.
An additional aspect of the Peer Leader program was weekly meetings with other Peer Leaders to discuss strategies on how to be effective mentors and facilitators while balancing a more friendly, welcoming environment for our students. The training and meetings helped me to explore my own leadership potential. Talking to the other Peer Leaders helped broaden my experience, and hearing their ideas and advice was invaluable to me as a first time Peer Leader.