Are you an Honors student looking for opportunities to enhance your academic experience but are unsure where to start? Are you struggling with finding experiential learning? Meeting with an Honors Peer Mentor is a great place to begin!
The University of Iowa Honors Program strives to provide students with a variety of tools to help them succeed. One of these resources is the Honors Peer Mentors — students in the Honors Program that use their knowledge and personal experience to provide guidance and resources to help other students find opportunities and achieve their academic goals. Being students themselves, Peer Mentors are a great resource for Honors students that are looking for course suggestions, to get involved with research, or to find experiential learning. This year there are twelve Peer Mentors, all with varying majors, areas of interest, and passions.
Caroline Meek is a Peer Mentor majoring in English and creative writing. Meek aims to create a relaxed and inviting environment when she meets with students. “It’s typically a very casual conversation,” she says. “We’re all in college so it is just a nice, fun, and informational meeting where [students] can have their questions answered.”
Charles Mascardo, a Peer Mentor majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in mathematics, uses his experiences in research to help other Honors students find experiential learning opportunities. “Gain perspective from someone who has already experienced it because it gives you an idea of what you should be looking out for and what you should be looking forward to,” Mascardo advises. Both Mascardo and Meek want students to know that Honors Peer Mentors are there to provide support and that they strive to create a relaxed atmosphere in their meetings with students.
Although meeting with a peer mentor who is studying a subject similar to a student’s field of interest can be beneficial, Mascardo feels that “any peer mentor can give valuable information and advice regardless of which major they are in.”
Laura Widman, another Honors Peer Mentor, is majoring in both linguistics with a focus on teaching English as a second language and ethics and public policy. Widman agrees with Mascardo that any peer mentor can help any student, but also asserts that most students seeking guidance from an Honors Peer Mentor would benefit from having a conversation with one with similar interests. Finding opportunities is “easier to do if you are talking to someone who has gone through similar experiences and is looking to do similar things after graduating,” states Widman.
Even moving to a virtual format, the Peer Mentors are available to students through Zoom meetings. Widman emphasizes that “We are here and specifically employed to help you navigate Honors, and make sure you have all the questions you might have about Honors, the Honors process, and experiential learning answered.”
You can schedule an appointment with an Honors Peer Mentor through MyUI.
Reese Bobitt is a second-year student from Forsyth, Illinois, majoring in political science with a minor in environmental policy and planning on the pre-law track. While at the University of Iowa, she hopes to develop her writing and speaking skills in preparation for law school.