What is a Peer Mentor?

Peer Mentors serve to support and encourage student success, specifically new and first or second year students. Peer Mentors help students throughout the academic year through one-on-one and group meetings. Peer Mentors will be a knowledgeable guide for students, someone who can provide access to ideas, study tips, resources and ultimately a role model and advocate!

View Student Center Information and Hours

Responsibilities of a Peer Mentor

  • Serve as an enthusiastic, positive role model and resource to help students succeed.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with and provide assistance for students (focus on a smooth transition, acclimation, and a sense of belonging).
  • Plan / attend various events for students such as career exploration, skills training, and study tips.
  • Help facilitate and encourage student attendance to the above referenced events.

Meet your Peer Mentors for 2020-2021

Nichole Shaw
Nichole is obtaining a double major in Journalism and English, graduating Spring 2021. When asked to describe why she chose Journalism she told us, "I chose Journalism because I want to tell truthful stories about people whose voices are often unheard or ignored at large in the media."  Nichole has engaged in multiple journalism avenues. She is the Editorial Lead for Off-Kilter Media and the Executive Editor of VERVE Magazine (under the student organization Ed on Campus). She is the co-editor at NURU, the Iowa publication under the National Association for Black Journalists. Nichole served as vice chair on The DI’s Board and was the Communications Director for Quill and Scroll, an international honor society for high school journalists, and in January, she will get the exciting chance to report for The New York Times!

Nichole excels at reporting, editing, audio storytelling / podcasting and knows basic InDesign and web design to assist with online portfolios, for example.  If Nichole could tell students a couple of key tips, she would say, "First: get involved and don't be afraid to put yourself out there. The connections you make through student organizations, common study spaces, and meeting with professors/instructors during office hours are invaluable and will create a strong network for you. Second: take care of yourself! There can be a lot of pressure to always say yes to everything and overload your day. Try your best to set limits and boundaries for yourself. Eat well. Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night. Find hobbies that can provide a nice break from academic pressure."

John Chenowith
John is majoring in Journalism and minoring in Military Science and Cinema, graduating Spring 2021. When asked to describe why he chose Journalism he said, "In high school I enjoyed writing, creating videos in my free time, and I caught myself always checking the news. I combined my interests and decided that journalism would be the best fit, and I’m glad I chose to major in it." John's experience with journalism started his senior year of high school he and a friend decided to run his school's TV news broadcast that aired in classrooms every Friday. He is now entering his fourth year working at Daily Iowan TV as a news reporter, news anchor, and now producer. Last Fall, he was able to attend the CSIS Journalism Bootcamp in Washington D.C. with other UI journalists and helped create a documentary style video about a Ugandan social movement. This semester John is also participating on the SJMC brand engagement team.

John is great at multi-media and broadcast journalism. He knows Adobe video and audio editing software as well as the basics of Photoshop to edit photos. If John could tell students two pieces of advice, he would say, "You need to get involved with journalism activities outside of the classroom. I would recommend the Daily Iowan as the best place to start, but there are plenty of other clubs and organizations on campus that are journalism focused. Like any other area of study, experience helps land you that internship or future job.  The second thing I would tell you is that you need to use your SJMC resources from the beginning of your UI journey. Get to know your professors. I regret not doing it sooner. Professors and faculty are here to help you succeed, and they want you to. Don't be shy, go to office hours, pick their brains, and get the most out of your experience here that you can, because it goes by fast!"​​​​

Olivia Williams
Olivia is studying Journalism and theatre arts, graduating Spring 2021. Olivia has a multitude of passions when it comes to journalism; she loves writing stories that challenge people's thoughts on life (and even journalism) , being on camera and engaging with people. Olivia currently works as a Resident Assistant on campus, an anchor/reporter at the Daily Iowan TV as well as this role as Peer Mentor for SJMC. She recently just finished a journalism bootcamp with The Center for Strategic and International Studies where she wrote and did research on gender disparities and water insecurity in developing countries.

Olivia's advice for incoming people: "One, Remember that your value does not come from your resume and/or experience. Engage in things (journalistically) that you enjoy and that ignite your passion. You are not your resume. Two, you are absolutely part of the story. If you're doing the work, you're involved and part of the narrative. You created it!  Three, bravery and curiosity are key. That doesn't come from any source or expert, it comes from you. Don't do things because you think it sounds intelligent or because you think a professor will tell you 'that's good work'. If there is something you find interesting that others don't, EXPLORE IT!"

Nichole Shaw

Nichole Shaw

Journalism and English, Spring '21

John Chenowith

John Chenowith

Journalism, Spring '21

Olivia Williams

Olivia Williams

Journalism and Theatre Arts, Spring '21