Meet the Peer Advisory Team

As current UMBC-Shady Grove students, members of the UMBC Peer Advisory Team (PAT) serve as a critical point of contact in the successful and seamless transition of students transferring to UMBC-Shady Grove from other institutions. PAT members undergo extensive leadership development and work closely with UMBC-Shady Grove administrative staff, faculty, and current students to reach out, serve, and create meaningful connections with prospective students through a variety of formal and informal recruitment and retention events. We are proud to be UMBC!

Connect with us!

Hyojin Choi: Psychology and Social Work

An interesting personal fact about yourself …

I used to be a nursing major, and I did an internship at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Also I am an avid tennis fan 🙂

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?                             

I chose UMBC-Shady Grove in order to stay close to home, and because of the smaller class sizes. It allows me to get to the know my classmates more, develop friendships with them; and it allows for a more personal relationship with professors.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?       

None, this is my first.

What are your plans following graduation?                           

I would like to take a year off after I graduate and work in the field as a social worker, as well as hopefully find some time to travel to places I have not been to before. I would like to travel to New York City because I have only been there a handful of times, and I don’t remember it too well. I would also like to go to Puerto Rico, as well as just travelling around DC more. Also I would like to learn tennis.

What is your advice for prospective students?               

Try and do as many classes on campus as possible (If it is possible to). The campus is beautiful, and it really helps to have that in-person connection with other people.

Nichel Griffin: Social Work

An interesting personal fact about yourself …

I am a Puppy Parent to an 8-month-old Yellow Labrador Retriever named Mark, he is a Service Dog in Training (SDiT) for Warrior Canine Connection (WCC). I have nine brothers and sisters.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?                             

I chose UMBC- Shady Grove because they have a great Social Work Program. The campus is close and the classes are smaller. This past year I have been able to connect with students who are also Social Work majors like myself, which has been nice. I have made some friends with a dynamic group of people. We all bring a different view to the table. The professors take the time to get to know you and they ask questions to engage you.

What internships and/or extracurricular activities have you been involved with at UMBC-Shady Grove?       

I am the Vice President of the Social Work Board, I did an 8-week internship with the Housing Opportunity Commission of Montgomery County Academy (HOCMC).

What are your plans following graduation?                           

Get my master’s and hopefully be working with an agency, hospital, or school.

What is your advice for prospective students?               

Do not be afraid to ask questions.

Ludivine Kom Liapoe: Social Work

An interesting personal fact about yourself …

I am trilingual (English, French, ASL). I love people. I am a full extrovert. Being around others makes me happy. It makes me who I am.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

UMBC-Shady Grove is a great place to be. It gives me a chance to make friends because Shady Grove is a small campus. UMBC main Campus is a huge place.

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

Zeta Sigma

What are your plans following graduation?

After graduation, I plan to work in my career field as a social worker.

What is your advice for prospective students?

I advise prospective students to CONSULT with your academic coach about the classes you are taking. Some classes from your previous school might transfer and you would have the possibility of graduating earlier than expected. I also urge them to start taking 200 level classes in psyc/socy/etc as soon as you are able because then you will be able to only need to focus on your social work classes mostly. Whatever minor you decide to pick, pick it before heading for your BA and always work hard to succeed! NEVER GIVE UP and Remember, the SKY IS YOUR LIMIT!!!

Rebecca M. Lowe: Social Work

An interesting personal fact about yourself …

I like to think I was brave enough to be a returning student after deciding to choose another path and it’s been a joy.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

Nationally known educational rigor, diverse population, strong student support and a beautiful campus! A culture of committing to SUCCESS for all.

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

Writing Fellow & now the Peer Advisory Team

What are your plans following graduation?

I aim to marry social work, sociology, and environmental justice into climate change activism. I am not sure what that will look like but I know the opportunities are there.

What is your advice for prospective students?

The nature of the diverse population at UMBC-Shady Grove ensures that whatever level of experience you want with a university can be found on this campus. I would go so far as to say that UMBC is a good fit for most students whatever their life circumstances.

Franck Monte Nkouedjeu: Translational Life Science Technology

An interesting personal fact about yourself …

I am a multilingual person (English, French, Fulbé and Medumba) hope to learn more language in the future like Spanish, German (which I do have some basic), and Swahili. I love cooking and playing video games.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

I choose UMBC-Shady Grove because it is a small beautiful campus with small classes. Also, for me it was better to be inside a small community where I could interact with everyone. One more thing that made me choose this campus is that it is a quiet place and a good place to learn. The TLST program is very sweet because it is adapted to the professional world and in research. Also, UMBC-Shady Grove provides a lot of opportunities and you can easily get in touch with the staff and faculty members who are ready to help.

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

This is my first semester at UMBC-Shady Grove and I get involved as a Peer Advisory Team (PAT) member this semester. Also, I am a member of the Biotech Club.

What are your plans following graduation?

Following graduation, my plans are to get inside the Air Force as a reserve and then apply for a graduate school to pursue a Master degree in Biotechnology and after that I will work to achieve a Ph.D. in biotechnology and environmental Sciences, as well as looking to get involved inside research on cancer cells.

What is your advice for prospective students?

Never be afraid to copy the good example. Get involved in the activity that you want and like. Always ask help if you are stuck somewhere because people are going to be there for you. Always ask question even those question seems to be stupid. Also, make sure to do things based on your priority.

Shay Redmond: History and Political Science

An interesting personal fact about yourself …

I like collecting different eye glasses. I have about 12 pairs.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

I chose UMBC-Shady Grove because it is a welcoming friendly community, and because it offers the college campus experience in Montgomery County.

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

Part of the student advisory council for Councilman Sidney Katz (October 2021-April 2022).

What are your plans following graduation?

I plan to continue my education by either going to graduate school or law school.

What is your advice for prospective students?

Don’t be afraid to speak with professors in the departments you would like to major in. They are very helpful in getting you started and on the right track.

Leigh Robertson: History

An interesting personal fact about yourself …

I’ve been a choral singer for going on nine years! I started in high school and haven’t looked back since. It has led to some awesome opportunities, including singing in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It’s a difficult activity to do virtually so I’m sadly not singing with any group right now but am looking forward to getting back to it somehow once it’s safe again.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

I’ve had a pretty unwieldy undergraduate career, which has included transferring three times. I found out about UMBC-Shady Grove when Dr. Nolan, the History program director, came to speak at a history class I was in at Montgomery College. Logistically, it was a great option because of how close the Shady Grove campus is to my house and it was also affordable. When I visited an Open House, I appreciated how genuine everyone was – an impression that’s only gotten truer as I meet more students, professors, and staff here. A student community of all transfers is rare to come across and I’ve found it to be invaluable.

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

The Peer Advisory Team is the only extracurricular I’m involved in currently. When I transferred here in Fall 2020 I really wanted to dedicate myself to my classes, especially since I’ve never taken online classes before. I love the collaboration and camaraderie of my history and public history cohorts, which are small enough that we often have multiple classes together. I haven’t had an internship here either but am excited by the internship experiences I’ve heard about from others and I feel confident that the support here from professors and other school resources will help me find opportunities.

Outside of UMBC-Shady Grove, I work at an accounting firm and am involved in the Rockville Rainbow Collective, an organization that prepares and delivers meals to local LGBTQ+ people of color.

What are your plans following graduation?

I don’t have any specific plans for after graduation right now, beyond wanting to do something that I think is important. One thing I love about history is that it and the skills you develop studying it lend themselves to many different applications and paths. I learned last semester that there are a fair number of archaeology opportunities in Maryland, which piqued my interest! I’m also fascinated by archives, so those would be two internship ideas for me to think about.

What is your advice for prospective students?

Something that has held me back for too long is not asking questions out of fear of seeming unintelligent. It can be intimidating to be vulnerable, but being genuine is the only way to go beyond where you are. This doesn’t just apply to schoolwork but to pretty much everything. It’s an ongoing struggle to resist repressive instincts, but it helps me to continually remind myself of the kind of person I want to be. On a less emotional note, I’d definitely recommend keeping a planner if you don’t already – I’m the kind of person who needs to write everything down!

Alexander Serrano: Psychology

An interesting personal fact about yourself …

I love to travel. Some of the countries I have visited in the past are France, Japan, England, and Colombia. Due to the pandemic, I have not been able to travel recently. Once things improve, I would like to travel to places such as New Zealand and Spain.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

I chose UMBC at USG as I came to enjoy the affordability and convenience offered at Montgomery College. Prior to graduating from MC, I learned that USG had all those great qualities and that UMBC had a great psychology program. For these reasons, I am very glad that I chose to transfer here.

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

As of this semester, I have recently joined the Peer Advisory Team (PAT) and Tau Sigma Honor Society. I look forward to participating in these groups in the future.

What are your plans following graduation?

After graduation, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in counseling psychology.

What is your advice for prospective students?

My advice to students is to try to stay organized throughout the semester. One thing I do after my first week of classes is to gather the syllabuses of all my courses. I then compile a list of all my assignments and their due dates. Afterward, I use this information to fill out a calendar or planner to visualize what my semester will be like. I find this helpful as I am more aware of my assignments and less likely to overlook important dates.

Beatriz Soriano Luna: Psychology and Social Work

An interesting personal fact about yourself…

I like to learn different languages based off of the music I hear. Currently, I’ve been listening to French artists so I’ve been inspired to teach myself French. My goal is to learn at least six different languages (so far, I’m on language number 4)!

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

As a student with a job, I chose UMBC-Shady Grove because they work together to offer me the best of both worlds as a college student and commuter. UMBC offers an exceptional accredited social work program, opportunities to gain experience, and opportunities to network. At the same time, Shady Grove respects their student’s responsibilities, such as jobs or caretaker roles, but also offers opportunities to experience college life by hosting events and offering resources to make it feel like students are living on campus.

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

I have taken advantage of the mentor-mentee ACES program offered at Shady Grove campus, which has taught me about the abundance of resources available. I have also involved myself in volunteer opportunities, such as VITA and PAT. Thanks to UMBC’s social work program, during my upcoming senior year, I will be placed in an internship in the work field for experience.

What are your plans following graduation?

After graduation, I plan to earn my master’s degree and work with the Maryland Department of Human Resources. I eventually want to become a social worker, who advocates for the rights of children in underserved communities around the world.

What is your advice for prospective students?

My advice for prospective students is to reach out with to your professors. Making connections with your professors is important because they can help you succeed in class when you are struggling, and they can offer information about using on-campus resources. They are a good link to the UMBC-Shady Grove campus experience.

My-Trinh Tran: Psychology and Social Work

An interesting personal fact about yourself…

My-Trinh
I’m really crafty! I taught myself how to crochet about 6 years ago, and I’ve been making blankets for families and children for the last 5 years to donate. I’ve also taught myself how to do calligraphy, sew, and cook over the time that we’ve been in quarantine.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

I chose UMBC-USG because it’s close to home and, honestly, makes it easier for me to save money. Money management is a skill that I found that I lacked in, and picking the USG campus versus main campus was a clear choice for me.

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

I have not been involved in any internships or extracurricular activities yet, but I have been thinking about being a USG Ambassador, as well as being a future member of Alpha Phi, the honor society for social work students. I was also looking into SWSA, the Social Work Student Association, so I’m looking forward to learning more about these organizations.

What are your plans following graduation?

After graduation, I plan on working within my field. I currently work at Sheppard Pratt, and hope to continue to be able to stay within this organization. I further hope to be able to continue my education into a Grad Program. I wanted to do Australia, but I’ll settle for UMB.

What is your advice for prospective students?

Time management!!! Coming from a person who transferred from Montgomery College to UMBC, adjustment may be difficult. Balancing work, school, and personal life is difficult. Finding that happy medium or happy spot for all of these things is a skill, but attainable. But this little happy medium will help keep you feeling sane!

Sierra Wynn-Lucas: Psychology and Social Work

An interesting personal fact about yourself…

I lived in Hawaii for three years.

Why did you choose UMBC-Shady Grove?

They have an amazing social work program and great community

In what internships or extracurricular activities have you been involved at UMBC-Shady Grove?

I’m current president of the Student Social Work Association.

What are your plans following graduation?

Straight to my Master’s !

What is your advice for prospective students?

Get involved in what the school has to offer.