Peer Academic Leader (PAL) Program
Front row, left to right: Sophie Hauth, Ariana Carranza, Cindy Espinosa, Sulema Arellano
Back row, left to right: Leena Chen, Nasreen Hussain, Iasha Khan, Maleni Palacios, Jenna Jaquez
Not pictured: Ishrat Aishee, Onyinye Enwereji, Aneeza Asif
The Peer Academic Leader (PAL) Program is sponsored by the Dean of Studies Office. PALs seek to assist first-year, first-generation students with the transition to college through weekly meetings and “advising” sessions. Peer Academic Leaders undergo comprehensive training for this yearlong position, which is open to rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
Here’s what our Buddies shared about their experiences with their PALs:
“As a first-generation student, I was able to resonate with my PAL’s experiences, and I feel like that was the most important thing for me, especially being a first-year at Barnard. The diversity at Barnard is much more different than what it was in my high school, which is partially the reason why Barnard felt intimidating to me at first. However, my weekly meetings with my PAL reassured me that I was not alone in sharing that same sentiment. These meetings gave me valuable insight, from coursework to jobs and even to study habits/study spaces throughout the neighborhood. I definitely recommend this program to other FGLI first-years because it reassures you that you are not alone in the college transition process, which is quite intimidating.”
“The PAL program has afforded me not only a mentor but a friend for years to come. My PAL has helped me in a multitude of ways, from providing emotional and academic support to simply being a great friend. As a first-generation, low-income student, it was incredibly difficult for me to navigate through my first year here at Barnard. However, with the constant guidance and comfort of my PAL, I’ve grown more aware of the different resources I have on campus and unafraid of requesting help. Truly, my first semester here would not have been the same without her.”