Peer Mentors

helenaHelena Colindres, San Francisco, California

I use the personal pronouns she/her and hers, and am a second generation Salvadorian! I am a double-degree student studying classical voice and comparative American studies. I chose these two majors because I have loved to sing since I can remember and because I wanted to major in something that focused on the experiences of disenfranchised people in the United States.

I will be a third/second-year student at Oberlin because I am a transfer student who had two AA degrees from City College of San Francisco in Latin American and Latino/a studies as well as social and behavioral sciences before attending Oberlin. As a transfer student in the conservatory, I was treated much like other first-year students so I can share that experience. I can also help with the application process if you are interested in adding another degree in either division because I went through that process in my second semester. I chose to attend Oberlin because of its social justice history as well as the fact that it shares a campus with a world-renowned music conservatory. Those are two of my passions in one place. I also wanted to come here because it is a small private school that didn't have any Greek life, is one of the most sustainable campuses in the country, and is only undergrad.

I like to sing, dance, talk about social injustices and inequalities, watch Netflix and Hulu, and eat! I took part in the step team on campus called Umoja, am in the process of putting together a gospel/ spiritual choir with a friend on campus. I am a member of the Oberlin College Choir and took part in the Opera.

I lived in Africana Heritage House last year and this year, I will be living in Baldwin Cottage, the women and trans housing on campus. I can tell you about the different program houses. During my first year, I loved attending Abusua and La Alianza Latinx events. Being a double- degree student can be very academically demanding, but I found an accepting and inclusive environment on campus especially through the program housing and POC-centered programing.

I also am looking forward to putting together events with other mentors in the program. I love talking to people and am definitely an extrovert. You can almost always contact me by phone.

Something cool about me is that I have been a National Park Ranger on Alcatraz for the past two years. It has helped me to articulate my thoughts better, present information in a more objective way, and form cohesive statements in front of large groups of people in a short time. It also helped me to become a better people person. I often focused on the 19-month Indigenous occupation while working on the island as opposed to the U.S. military and federal penitentiary history. Feel free to ask me about any of that!

The biggest advice that I can give a first year at Oberlin is to get a planner! They have them for free on campus! There are going to be so many events on campus that you will want to attend. So many, that you're going to be disappointed sometimes that you didn't get to go to all of them but writing down all the things you want to do is extremely helpful, especially when it comes to knowing the deadlines for papers and exams, when juries take place, and also for knowing when concerts happen! You can get involved with social activism, music, Harry Potter-themed clubs, sustainability, sports, pretty much anything that you can think of, Oberlin has it. We can explore your interests together and find the perfect clubs and activities for you to have the best 4(+) years of your life!

ryan Ryan Dearon, Chicago, Illinois

I heard about Oberlin via my high school voice teacher. I was initially attracted to the conservatory, but then decided to apply to both college and the conservatory. I am now a double-degree student, majoring in English with an Africana studies concentration and Voice Performance. I am cochair of the Oberlin College Black Musicians' Guild and a member of the Oberlin College Student Chapter of the National Association of Singing. I am also a tour guide. I am working on creating awesome group programs for all mentors to enjoy in spring 2018. I love e-mails, so send me a message. Fun fact: I am a cyclops.

victoria sas Victoria Ellington, Washington, D.C.

I am a fifth-year double-degree student currently pursuing degrees in vocal performance and religion. I am studying voice with Timothy Lefebvre. I am comfortable in the realms of opera, musical theater, gospel, jazz, straight theater, and everything in between. Most recently, I have been seen as Lady in Blue in for colored girls … , and as La Fée in the Oberlin Opera Theater production of Cendrillon. I also won the 2017 George Shirley Vocal Arts Competition. I hope to continue performing after school and would like to teach music to kids.

I have enjoyed being able to experience many different cultural experiences through music. I chose Oberlin because of the strong music program and loved that it gave me the option to pursue a liberal arts college experience and get the music training I needed. I love the community here. As a double-degree student and former RA, I understand how the college works. As a peer mentor, I hope to share my knowledge of Oberlin to be able to inspire, motivate, and help effectively equip new students. I want my mentees to feel comfortable around campus and have the knowledge to get the things that they need. I want my mentees to feel like they can talk to me, hang out, and have fun.

I am not big on emails but will adapt if needed. I prefer text messages and in-person contact. I hope that you enjoy your time at Oberlin and feel welcomed enough to call it home. Oberlin has a lot to offer. Once and Obie, you will always be an Obie.

danielDaniel (Danny) Huerta, Chicago, Illinois
I am a rising third year studying music and history with a concentration in musical pedagogy. I proudly wear and celebrate my Mexican heritage whenever possible and utilize Oberlin as a way to both teach and learn.

Oberlin came to me via word of mouth from friends who either currently attend or have already graduated. It brought me great joy when students were happy to talk about both their loves and dislikes about Oberlin. That’s one of the reasons why I picked Oberlin.

I chose my majors because ultimately I plan to teach in Chicago and a liberal arts education, with a social justice environment, can lead to a great mix in my curriculum. I am a true believer in a liberal arts education. I enjoy seeing the intersectionality of different subjects and how I can bring together two different disciplines and find common ground.

I am active in the Oberlin Men's Rugby Team, Oberlin Marching Band, and often set up study spaces for students around campus. AS a peer mentor, I plan to bring in wisdom from many sources. This can be viewed in many ways. We use each other as support. I will not have an answer for everything, but I will never say I can't help you. I will try my hardest to seek an answer in a timely manner. Whether it is I connect you with an on-campus resource, or introduce you to someone I know who can help you better. In addition, I want to set up events where students can come together as a unit on a project. I view people coming together as a way to enhance experiences.

I am very open to communication methods. Ideally my phone and or e-mail is preferred, but I will adjust to your needs. I hope you are entirely honest with the person you know you are. Reflect on what is best needed in order for you to succeed.

michaelMichael Kennedy, Chicago, Illinois

I am an incoming senior who came to Oberlin as a Posse scholar but was undecided for a significant portion of my first two years. Being undecided is not a bad thing! If you go at your first two years with purpose, you'll have graduation and major requirements taken care of in no time.

I'm a history major pursuing minors in both politics and Africana studies. I have first-hand experience with the social sciences and a bit of the humanities at Oberlin, including religion and some film courses. I'm also the incoming co-chair of Oberlin's Student Labor Action Coalition, a group that is working to build solidarity among the college's employees and students, as well encourage active resistance to racism, sexism, imperialism, and other forms of oppression. This has included working with the Free Ohio Movement against prison labor and unjust conditions and the Lorain Ohio Immigrants Rights Association. I can definitely lead you to several outlets of student activism at Oberlin as well as in Greater Northeast Ohio. I also play the guitar for fun.

I'm flexible in my schedule and mentor/mentee relationship, however, I really think it would be beneficial to meet regularly, at least earlier in the semester. One of the things that made the biggest difference for me was having a mentor who I'd meet with regularly and who would just let me talk about any troubles I was having. Though they didn't always have a solution, just having someone to talk to and who could relate to the experience took a huge weight off my shoulders. I'll do my best to be there whenever you need me—via text or email, at the least.

If we're paired up for next year, expect consistent emails with tons of information about events/ registration information/ free food. To clarify, that means information about free food, not free food itself! No matter who you're paired up with, please reach out , even to say hi.

Fun Fact: I went to high school with Chance the Rapper and got to jam with him for three minutes.

ceceCeCe Longo, Upstate, New York

Life is an adventure. That is why they’re excited for their second year at Oberlin, where they will be a member of PRSM, serve on the Student Discipline Board, and be a peer mentor. CeCe decided to search for a school focused on interactions between professors and students. CeCe is looking forward to sharing their love of all things Obie with the first-years of Kahn Hall, where they will be an RA.

CeCe is a Bonner Scholar, who works within the community to assist those in need. CeCe can also be found throwing heavy things for fun as a member of the NCAC DIII Championship Women’s Track Team. As a politics and history double major, with a German minor, CeCe never shies away from a challenge or conversation.

As a peer mentor, they hope to help guide first-year throughout the transition to Oberlin, most notably how to navigate Oberlin as a first-generation or Pell Grant student. They communicate best through e-mail and text. If not you can stop by their room during office hours, where they can be found dancing around while listening to Spotify. One piece of advice: memorize your T-number as soon as possible. They look forward to meeting everyone!

Dom SasOlwadamilare (Dom) Ogunjimi, Dolton, Illinois

I'm a premed biochemistry major from Dolton, IL. I write for the Synapse, the undergraduate-run science magazine. I chose Oberlin because of how it celebrates diversity and differences. I would like to see community among my mentees next year as well as comfort in navigating various spaces within Oberlin. I tend to communicate best over emails or texts.Something unique about me is that I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I got to college. I would advice everyone to beware the womb chairs."

jennyJenny Pham, Chicago, Illinois

As I was investigating colleges, Oberlin specifically caught my eye because of its unique history with political change and its mission toward sustainability with the town. I was fortunate to be matched with Oberlin through the Posse Foundation scholarship program, where I am a first-generation college student and a Posse Scholar. I'm also very proud to be a Vietnamese/Chinese/black woman!

My major is environmental studies with a focus of food and agriculture studies. My minor is comparative American studies. I'm also a co-chair in Oberlin College Taiko, which is a collegiate Japanese drumming ensemble group.

As a Peer Mentor, I want to be able to provide any necessary help to new students, whether it’s selecting classes that they would like to take or talking about their concerns as a first-generation college student. In order to do that, I want to build up a bond with new students not only as a mentor, but also as a friend.

You can contact me via call, text, email, or Facebook. My favorite hobbies include cooking, arts and crafts, and playing Taiko. Things I'm absolutely obsessed with is Steven Universe, Avatar the Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra, and Pokémon.

My advice to you is to not worry about what expectations are of you and listen to what your heart tells you. It took me three years to realize that and I'm a much happier person because of that. Give love and love yourself. Don't be afraid to take some risks because those risks might bring you something that you will cherish for the rest of your life.

Remind yourself that it is okay not to be perfect.

ShuShucheng Zhou (Shu), Hunan, China

I am , a second-year politics major (possibly minor in economics). I am an international student. I first came to the United States when I was 16 and went to three different high schools in Kansas, Boston, and Cambridge, MA. I chose Oberlin because I wanted to have a liberal arts college experience, studying and living with a community. In my leisure time, I hang out with my friends, read books (not for class!), run (a marathon runner to be), cook, travel, and just enjoy life.

I applied to be a Peer Mentor because of how much I have benefited from the mentorship I received my first year. The transition to college can be challenging. I look forward to hearing your first-year experience and helping you in any possible way I can.

I am communicative, outgoing, and open-minded. Whenever you have questions about the college, life or study, feel free to approach me. We can have meals/coffee/hang out together and talk it through. I can share my experiences and thoughts on any topics, give you my suggestions, and connect you to campus resources that might be helpful. I hope to be someone who you feel comfortable to be with while giving you the support you need.

Don’t worry too much about college. A situation may come out unexpectedly and get solved while you go through it. It is the process that matters. Maybe you can think of personal principles or set up good goals you want to achieve in college (for the first week, first month, first semester, etc.), so you don't get too overwhelmed in the new environment.