University of New Mexico is this month’s Featured Campus! “We are seeing the UNM team blossom. They recruited 3 new Peer Advisors this term and have been quick to begin outreach to student veterans. The Peer Advisors distributed several scholarship opportunities and information about events, and they offered grab and go snacks during the first week of the semester at the Veteran & Military Resource Center on campus. They’re off to a strong start for the spring term,” says PAVE Program Coordinator Riva Szostkowski.
UNM’s PAVE team is led by Veteran Services Coordinators Jesse Preciado and Brandon Lorenzo, and Team Leader Matt McDonald. Along with 7 Peer Advisors, through PAVE they serve a community of around 1200 military-affiliated students, about 800 of which are student veterans.
“PAVE is having a very positive impact here… Our advisors are actively engaged. By working with a Peer Advisor, it’s like the students are getting the ‘cheat codes’ for college,” says Matt.
Peer Advisor Ryan Stairs describes how he was able to help a fellow student vet via tutoring, in the process discovering that a different major was going to be a better fit for that student. Ryan then helped the student switch majors. “I was surprised to find out how much I get out of helping people,” says Ryan.
“Another student vet came to our office a few months after getting out of the military. They felt out of place and were getting ready to drop out. We found out that one of our Peer Advisors was in the same degree program as that student, so we connected them and now they hang out around campus and that student attends events and is doing well,” says Jesse. He adds that “seeing the Peer Advisors’ willingness to be involved and help has been very fulfilling for me.”
“I really like what PAVE stands for. I graduated in 2012 and there wasn’t anything like that then. I really appreciative that something like this exists now and I’m very honored to be a part of it,” says Matt.
Great job, UNM! Keep up the great work.