All encouraged to make use of Peer Academic Leaders program

Western's Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) are an eclectic group of students working in the Exploratory Center to provide peer-to-peer academic advising and professional development training.

Each of the four PALs, Robert Wagner, Brian Cole, Talitha Beattie and Dawid Konieczek, have had their own experiences and challenges, such as being an international student, studying abroad, spending a year with the National Student Exchange (NSE) or not knowing what to pursue in college.

The PALs are able to provide an exceptional level of personal connection to their advisees due to their recent experiences with similar challenges.

“[The PALs program] is not just what we provide, but how we provide it,” said Robert Wagner, Senior PAL Coordinator. “There is no other resource on campus that allows peer-to-peer connection when speaking to a student about their future.”

As the number of NSE members, international students and students studying abroad grows, the PALs office in the Exploratory Center— room 115 on the ground level of the Savage Library—has become an increasingly relevant campus resource.  In addition to serving these students, they are also working diligently to keep up with the rising demand for resume reviewing. Over 300 resumes were reviewed in their office last semester alone.

Despite having an often daunting workload, the PALs are committed to maintaining a personal connection with the people who come for help, embodying Western’s commitment to a personalized education.

“We aren’t here just to advise … we genuinely like getting to know students,” said Dawid Konieczek, International Student Mentor.

Any student interested in becoming a PAL for the 2017-2018 academic year is strongly encouraged to email

Story and Photos by Peter Noon 

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 3:30pm