Peer Academic Leaders (PALs)

The Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) are a diverse group of high-achieving upperclassmen who can help you navigate your academic career. They can assist you in learning about all the programs of study offered at Western, help you make a course schedule, offer academic support and connect you to all the resources and opportunities on Western's campus. Meet our 2018-2019 PALs!

Visit us in the Exploratory Center, Library 121 (bottom floor)
Open Monday-Thursday 3-7 p.m.
Contact us at 970.943.2153 or

McKenna Griffin, PAL Coordinator


I'm a junior from Montrose, Colo studying Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Med/Cell & Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry. I love the outdoors, skiing and would like to travel Europe one day. I chose Western for the small campus community, personalized classroom experience with professors and the endless opportunities on campus. After graduation, I plan on attending a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) Medical School where I aspire to become a pediatric neurologist. I believe in being a lifelong learner and I want to be remembered as a pillar in my community.

Aneta Konieczek


I'm an international student-athlete from Poland majoring in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. My interests include running, dancing, learning and travelling. I love helping others and sharing my experiences with them. In the future, I want to be a professional runner and have my own business. As a Peer Academic Leader, I would love to help other students with their struggles and assist them in deciding what they want to do with their lives.

Hunter Koperweis


I grew up in a small beach town in New Jersey called Ocean Township. I'm a senior with a double major in Environment & Sustainability and Business Administration and a minor in Spanish. I chose Western because of the close proximity to nature and the ski resort. I love rock climbing, hiking, camping, skiing and anything that has to do with being outdoors. I've traveled to four continents and hope to see them all in the future. After I graduate, I hope to work with a nonprofit in Colorado that focuses on regenerative environmental practices. After a year or two of working within my degree, I hope to teach English in Chile. 

Angelo Minisini


I'm a junior from Centennial, Colo majoring in Accounting and Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. I came to Western for athletics and am a member of the NCAA track team. I enjoy playing sports and listening to music. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in finance. I look forward to my remaining time at Western and my future following graduation.

Emily Eads


I'm a sophomore from Aurora, Colo. majoring in English and Politics & Government with an emphasis in Pre-Law. I chose Western after falling in love with the surroundings, friendly community and challenging academics. In my free time, I enjoy skiing, fishing, listening to music and adventuring around the valley.  I love my dogs. After I graduate, I plan to attend law school and work towards my Juris Doctorate.

Tjade Schmidt


I'm a junior from Windsor, Colo. pursuing a degree in Chemistry with an emphasis in Biochemistry. I love the outdoors and exploring the surrounding areas with my husband. I found Western trying to get away from the busyness of the front range and have found a smaller community that I can engage in. The past few years attending school at Western has allowed me to become more connected with the community members in the Gunnison Valley. I've been a Supplemental Instructor and teachers assistant with the school. Through the small community atmosphere at Western, I've found passion for helping people around me. 

Ingrid Alvarez


I was born in Texas but grew up in Aurora, Colo. I'm a senior pursuing a double major in Accounting and Business Administration with a minor in Sociology. I came to Western after being recruited to play NCAA soccer, and it didn't take long until I fell in love with the small town feel and the beauty of our community. My favorite thing to do is lay in bed on a rainy day and watch Netflix. After graduation, I plan on getting a Master of Business Administration and becoming a certified public accountant.

Kirsten Companik


I'm a junior from Tempe, Ariz. studying Politics & Government with an emphasis in Pre-Law and Sociology. I came to Western to play for the NCAA women's volleyball team, but I soon found my favorite part of Western is the amazing opportunities it provides through small class sizes and personable faculty. I hope to work for the federal government after completing law school.

2018-2019 PALs

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