The mission of the Peer Advising Group is to create a comfortable community to discuss and address concerns of first and second year PMB graduate students.
We provide ongoing advice as students navigate common and unique issues faced in the transition to graduate school. We facilitate connections with senior PMB graduate students and provide access to the myriad of campus and community resources to help new students face and resolve their concerns in a confidential and personalized manner.
Peer advisers are available via email and in-person. To contact a peer adviser please send an email to any of the peer advisers listed below. We will get back to you right away.
Head Graduate Advisor
The Peer Advising Group currently consists of eight graduate students representing both plant biology and microbiology doctoral programs. The current students are:
Bailey Bonet 3rd Year MB
Tyler Helmann 4th Year PB
Kris Kennedy 2nd Year MB
Carly Grant 5th Year MB
Emma Kovak 4th Year PB
Monika Fischer 5th Year MB
Gordon Pherribo 2nd Year MB
Johan Jaenisch 3rd Year PB
MB=microbiology; PB-plant biology
The group is advised and coordinated by Professors Shauna Somerville and Pat Zambryski, and Graduate Adviser Rocio Sanchez.
The Graduate Student Peer Advising Group is not a replacement for faculty or staff advising, but rather a supplement. While it is important for a student to have a faculty mentor and staff adviser to provide guidance throughout the educational experience and doctoral training, peers can contribute to student success in ways that complement faculty/staff advising services.
The advantages of utilizing peer advising as a component in academic advising models include flexibility in delivery methods, peer-to-peer interaction and development of peer advisers. Peers may be better equipped to address certain aspects of advising than faculty mentors or staff members who serve as advisers. Peer advisers view the institution through a different lens than do faculty/staff and are more familiar with the graduate student experience. Likewise, peers can better relate to students’ concerns, because they likely went through the same experiences. Because of their ability to relate, peer advisers can form personal connections with other students and facilitate peer interactions.
First and second year graduate students will be encouraged to approach the graduate student peer advising group with any issues they would like to discuss. For some concerns, students may feel most comfortable when discussions with Peer Advisers remain confidential and such discussions are welcome. The Peer Advisers have received training in mentoring from Counseling and Psychological Services and are respectful of student confidentiality. However, there may be occasions when a problem arises that the peer adviser is not equipped to deal with. On these occasions, the peer adviser should discuss options with the student, for example, consulting someone inside or outside of the department for additional advice. It is up to the student to decide if it's OK for the peer adviser to share any identifying or situational information with any person being consulted.
Peer advisers should feel free to describe situations (in a general manner in order to get advice) to:
Head graduate advisers
Staff in the PMB Graduate Office
University Health Services
Other peer advisers
Head graduate advisers and staff in the PMB Graduate Office and/or University Health Services are here to support all students, including peer advisers. Peer advisers have a responsibility to report any information regarding potential harm to a student or potential harm to others by a student. If a student talks about harm to self or others the peer adviser should consult with Professors Somerville or Zambryski, or Rocio Sanchez in the PMB Graduate Office. If the danger appears imminent, the peer adviser may consult first with Counseling and Psychological Services.
Benefits and Roles for Peer Advisers
Develop valuable communication skills and confidence speaking in front of others
Peer advisers develop skills such as leadership, time management, and organization
Be recognized as a student leader and positive role model
Gain a greater understanding of PMB and University-wide policies
Serve as a vital resource to your peers and enrich the lives' of others
Enhance your resume and develop important professional skills
Engage in PMB recruitment and retention programs
Provide information about PMB and university requirements, policies, and procedures
Make referrals to a wide cariety of campus services and resources
Provide general information about career services and career options
Participate or lead workshops in PMB
Participate in PMB Orientation Day and Department and/or GGM (Graduate Group in Microbiology) retreat
Respond to student emails
Liaise with PMB, GGM or other campus student groups and departmental committee representatives
Commit to one or two years of peer advising