A Community of Peer Support
More than 300 student mentor roles exist in nearly every space a student would hope to find a friendly face. Not only do students support each other academically as tutors and peer mentors, but they also help each other professionally at the Career Center, and even in moments of crisis as EMTs.
Get to know five student leaders who spend their time empowering, guiding, and helping their friends, classmates, and peers.
“Having someone from the get-go who you can rely on for support really helps you feel welcome.”
Multicultural Peer Mentor
Dean of Students Office
What was your most memorable moment as a multicultural peer mentor?
My first conversation with my mentee was about extracurricular activities. It has been really rewarding to see my mentee’s growth from our first meeting to now. Whenever I run into them down Martin’s Way, it makes me really happy to see how well they’ve fit into our community.”
Why do you think it’s important to have peer support networks at Hamilton?
Having someone from the get-go who you can rely on for support really helps you feel welcome at the school.
A New Place, A Smiling Face
Before Hamilton, Oluwayanmife Adeniran ’26 thought that “mentorship and networking were very transactional and impersonal.” Then he met Jack through the College’s Multicultural Peer Mentoring Project.
“I was a new international student who didn’t know anything about how to mingle with people or how to join clubs,” he said. “Jack encouraged me to get involved with extracurricular activities and befriend people in my classes, which broke me out of my shell and got me to expand my academic circle of friends. I could even call him at 3 a.m. if I needed to.”
His experience as a mentee prompted him to become a mentor himself. In his role, Oluwayanmife supports new international, first-generation, or historically underrepresented students as they embark on their Hamilton journey and transition to college life. There are many ways for him to help new students (and he maintains a spreadsheet with everything a student would need to know), but Oluwayanmife’s focus is on making sure his mentees feel seen, heard, and happy.
“I want them to leave with joy in their heart,” he says.
The peer network shows “the passion Hamilton students have for wanting to help each other succeed.”
Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center (QSR)
What was your most memorable moment as a physics tutor?
[I met with] a student who didn't feel like they had the ability to do well in their math class because ‘they weren't good at math.’ After a couple of sessions, I could tell that the student was feeling more confident and started to like the work they were doing. The student eventually expressed to me how much tutoring helped them not only understand math, but feel more confident in themselves.
In what ways do you support other students as a QSR tutor?
I try my best to support students that come into the QSR by establishing an environment for learning that is specific to that student's learning style. I believe it's important for a tutor to be adaptable with different teaching techniques as students learn differently. I want students to leave the QSR feeling confident and empowered in their academics.
The network of tutors found among the College’s four academic resource centers – Writing Center, Oral Communication Center, Quantitative & Symbolic Reasoning Center, and the Language Center – is vast. During the 2022-23 academic year, 116 peer tutors from the four centers supported nearly 1,600 students, including 94% of the Class of 2026.
The centers are all part of another wide-reaching support system found on campus: ALEX (Advise, Learn, Experience). This coordinated network of on-campus resources and advisors work together to ensure students have access to every opportunity. Even more student mentors work throughout other parts of ALEX, including the Opportunity Programs, Global Learning, the Community Outreach & Opportunity Project, and the Levitt Public Affairs Center.
“People are excited to see others succeed, which is something you don’t see everywhere.”
Student Volunteer EMT
HCEMS; Health Center
What was your most memorable moment as a student volunteer EMT?
Any time that I see a student who's in crisis and struggling and I am able to support them at all just means the world [to me]. Even if they’re not in crisis, taking the time to reassure people is valuable as well. A lot of times, I have to take two sets of vitals in order to see how their trajectory changes, and I get to see how they calm down and their heart rate goes down because of our support.
What do you think our network of peer support says about our student community?
I didn’t apply to big universities where there was a lot of cutthroat energy. I wanted a space where students were not only invested in their own success, but the success of others. Group projects go really well, people are very engaged and invested in doing their best for themselves and each other, [and students] are excited to see others succeed, which is something you don’t see everywhere.
A Judgment-free Zone
Hamilton’s peer support network illustrates the many aspects of the student community found on College Hill. For Peter Dillman ’26, it is “more collaborative than it is competitive,” while Ryley McGovern ’25 believes that the network shows “the passion students at Hamilton have for wanting to help each other succeed.”
Motivated by their personal experiences and their friends’, student mentors lead with compassion and empathy as they work to understand students and their needs.
Olivia Otsuka ’24 says, “[Students have] been in a situation where they’ve gone to other students for support, so we want to pay it forward.”
Peer Tutors By The Numbers
The following statistics are from the 2022-23 academic year.
“Since Hamilton is so small, there is such a community aspect to learning.”
Digital Media Tutor
Library & IT Services
What was your most memorable moment as a peer mentor?
Last spring, there was a class we were supporting. I had taken the class already, so I felt very confident in helping out a certain student. I knew what things I would’ve liked to know, so I used that to guide how I was helping the student.
Why do you think it’s important to have peer support networks at Hamilton?
[Peer mentors] provide a greater sense of comfort and approachability to learning new things. There can be some apprehension or awkwardness with reaching out to professors, but with students it feels a lot more like you’re learning something new together than it does a superior is teaching you. The dynamic is more personable. Since Hamilton is so small, there is such a community aspect to learning. People often know each other or have mutual friends, so it becomes easier to reach out for help. Professors aren’t always here, but students are!
Enhancing the Experience
Peer mentors abound in Burke Library and are available to help with the plethora of resources that LITS offers. Olivia and other digital media tutors provide assistance with 3D design & printing, graphic design, large format posters, VR/AR, audio/podcasting, filmography, and digital and video photography.
LITS data science tutors help with data analysis, identifying data sets, and using languages such as Stata, R, and Python. Students looking to learn about searching databases, formatting citations, using RefWorks for bibliographic management, finding primary sources, and locating scholarly sources to support research and projects can turn to their peers who serve as LITS research tutors.
“Peer networks can be easier and less intimidating for students to interact with.”
Discovery Team Intern
What was your most memorable moment as a discovery team intern?
In a peer advising appointment, an upperclass student came in nervous about not feeling that they had done enough. Through asking them about their experiences and getting them to elaborate on what they had done, they gained a lot of confidence and a lot of that stress was reduced, which was great to see.
What do you want students to leave with after meeting with you?
I want to lower students' stress levels about careers, and also to show them that there are a wider range of possible careers within their interests and desired industries that they can pursue.
Preparing for What’s Next
The Career Center is home to one of the largest student mentoring cohorts on campus with more than 70 student employees who are trained to help students. Students work in two teams: Discovery Team interns help with resume writing, networking, workshops, and coordinating with campus partners, while interns on the Connect Team drive industry-specific career exploration through networking and events, and by developing and maintaining helpful industry resources.