The SIS Peer Advisors work with second-year students. Peer advisors help students pick classes that suit their interests, discuss success strategies for major courses, provide information on academic policies and procedures, and make appropriate referrals to campus resources.
The School of International Service (SIS) Peer Advising Program was created as an additional unit of academic support for SIS undergraduates in the SIS Undergraduate Advising Office. Our Peer Advisors are upperclassman who are dedicated to assisting second year students in their transition to SIS from First-Year Advising. Check out a Year 2 at SIS Academic Plan here.
SIS Peer Advisors have a wide range of internship, thematic, regional, research, and student organization experience. They specialize in providing second-year students with the tools and resources to plan for and attain their academic and professional goals during their time here in SIS.
These upperclassmen exemplify the attributes of an AU Eagle and have been selected on the basis of their academic and professional achievements, their contributions to the SIS and AU community, and their dedication to helping their peers create the best undergraduate experience possible.
What We Do
Peer Advisors assist second year students in their transition to SIS from First-Year Advising through:
- the creation of academic plans
- helping students explore thematic and regional areas
- providing insight on study abroad
- hosting various workshops to prepare student for research, internships, and study abroad
- sharing information on academic policies and procedures
- making appropriate referrals to campus resources
Aarushi Sahejpal is an SIS junior from California. While also pursuing a minor in Data Science, her primary thematic area is The Global Economy with a regional focus in South and Central Asia. Aarushi's interests in internet governance have led her to internships at the Ministry of Education in the Republic of Seychelles and Cisco Systems. Beyond her studies and Peer Advising, she currently works for the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic and as a first-year Resident Assistant. In her free time, Aarushi is drinking coffee or making Spotify playlists.
Kaitlyn Hepburn is an SIS senior from Pennsylvania. Her primary thematic area is Global Inequality and Development and her secondary thematic area is Environmental Sustainability and Global Health. In addition to International Studies with a regional focus in Latin America, Kaitlyn is also double majoring in Spanish Language and Culture, minoring in Public Health, and pursuing a Certificate of Translation in Spanish. Kaitlyn is particularly passionate about Latin America, and has previously studied abroad in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, and most recently in Ecuador and Chile. When Kaitlyn is not studying, she can be found working part time in D.C. or playing rugby as the AU Women’s Rugby team Co-Captain. During her summers, Kaitlyn teaches sports camps to youth living on U.S. Military bases across the U.S. and internationally. In her free time, she enjoys being in nature and outside of the city.
Jake Bodenger is an SIS Transfer Student in his Junior year at American University. Jake transferred to SIS from the Catholic University of America and is originally from Pennsylvania. His thematic areas are Peace Global Security & Conflict Resolution and The Global Economy. Jake is interested in applying these thematic areas to a regional focus in Europe and Eurasia. In his free time Jake is involved in AU club basketball, has interned, and enjoys exploring DC!
Bella Dixon Smith is an SIS senior from the U.K. In addition to SIS, she is pursuing a dual degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies through CAS. Her primary thematic area is Peace, Global Security and Conflict Resolution, and her second is Justice, Ethics and Human Rights, with a regional focus in sub-Saharan Africa. Bella is particularly passionate about violence against women, and human rights abuses that occur during and post conflict. She also works as an AUx Peer instructor, and as a Peer Health Educator through HPAC. She is passionate about ending Human Trafficking and has served as President of AU Students Against Human Trafficking and interned for the Amara Legal Center. She has spent over a year volunteering on the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline. In her free time, she is pursuing a Yoga Teacher Training certificate.