Peer Success Specialist Reflects on Her Own Successes
Riley Moberly, a junior Honors College student majoring in biology and psychology pre-med, is one of the Honors College’s Peer Success Specialists for the 2021 Spring Semester. Peer success specialists are accomplished upperclassmen who meet individually with students to help them identify and attain their goals. Riley first considered the position in the fall of 2020 when Brittany Thomas, one of the academic advisors in the Honors College, emailed Riley about a referral she had received suggesting Riley as a strong candidate for the position. Before applying, Riley remembers being struck by the serious responsibilities involved with the job. She notes, “I knew that if I was selected for the position[,] I would be meeting with students and serving as a role model. So, I wanted to be sure that this was a position I could see myself succeeding in so that the students looking for support were going to get it.” After careful consideration, Riley decided to apply for the peer success specialist position, and she has enjoyed the role so much that she is returning as a peer success specialist this semester.
Much of Riley’s effectiveness as a peer success specialist comes from her past leadership experiences. In her time at Kent State, Riley took the Peer Leader Training course, which she credits for providing her with the necessary skills to thrive as a peer success specialist. Riley also has been a Student Success Leader (SSL) for two consecutive years, which afforded her hands-on leadership experience and prepared her to be an effective peer success specialist. As an SSL, Riley partners with a faculty member teaching a First Year Experience course. Throughout the year, an SSL will help the first-year students successfully adjust to college life and provide them with helpful resources. This background as an SSL, Riley says, prepared her to share helpful anecdotes and become aware of campus resources in her role as a peer success specialist.
As a peer success specialist, Riley most enjoys developing positive relationships with her students. Whether a student’s goal is academic, social, or personal, Riley says, “It is so rewarding to see the pride that my students have in themselves when they know they are becoming the student that they want to become.” This ability to impact her peers is even more rewarding for Riley when she thinks of how success often takes time to achieve. “[M]eaningful results do not happen overnight,” Riley notes, and she says that focusing on her relationships with her students allows her not to be discouraged if reaching a student’s goal is difficult.
When asked, Riley says that any student considering a meeting with a peer success specialist should not be afraid to make an appointment. She adds, “there is absolutely nothing to lose by meeting with a [peer] success specialist. The fact that they are even considering meeting with a [peer] success specialist shows their commitment to achieving their goals.” Knowing how to begin the process of naming and reaching goals can be difficult, and Riley encourages her fellow students to utilize the Peer Success Specialist program. If you are interested in meeting with a peer success specialist, you first must complete Success Coaching, a program led by Pamela Jones to help students succeed on campus. This success coaching course encompasses the peer success specialist program as one of its resources, so after completing success coaching with Jones, students are then able to be paired with a peer success specialist.
Riley also adds that her students are not the only ones positively impacted by her work; she herself has benefitted from the program. Not only has the position allowed her to become more confident in her leadership skills, but Riley also says that being a peer success specialist helps her reflect on her own past successes at Kent State. “As a junior,” Riley explains, “I am focused on what comes next and often times forget to look back at how far I have come. Some of the issues that students want to discuss are things that I also struggled with when I began my college journey and looking back helps me to realize the growth that I have made.” This awareness of how much she has overcome in the past allows Riley to maintain an optimistic attitude towards any current struggles.
Riley appreciates the opportunity to assist other students, and she encourages any student struggling with their personal goals to complete success coaching with Jones and meet with a peer success specialist.
For more information on becoming a Peer Success Specialist, please contact Academic Program Coordinator for University College, Pamela Jones. For questions about completing the Success Training program and meeting with a Peer Success Specialist, please contact the Success Specialist Academic Program Coordinator Pamela Jones.
PHOTO CAPTION 1: Outside view of the John Elliot Center for Architecture and Environmental Design.
PHOTO CAPTION 2: Riley Moberly, Honors College junior and Peer Success Specialist, wearing a mask in her Kent State residence hall.
Media Contact: Stephanie Moskal, firstname.lastname@example.org, 330-672-2312