New Student Orientation is led by Gwen Schimek, Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Student Life.

Along with four Orientation Leaders -- Emily Andrulis, Rachel Foster, Kyra Koehler, and Justin Pruitt, they work with 28 peer advocates, who lead incoming students through New Student Orientation during the week prior to classes starting.  As new students work individually and in groups with a PA, this is the individual with whom students will have the most contact beginning in August and until the academic year begins. 

What is a PA?

The NSO team is composed of 28 Peer Advocates (PAs), four Orientation Leaders, and several professional staff members from the Student Life staff.

The PAs help you by facilitating your small group, getting to know you, helping you meet other new students, and showing you how to get involved on campus. Their primary goal is to help you make a successful transition to Cornell. Your peer group will meet several times each day during NSO. Your PA will continue to plan activities for you throughout the first three blocks to make sure that you are connected to services, resources, and friends.

How does a student become a Peer Advocate?

PA candidates go through a highly selective interview process during the spring semester. Ideal PAs have a positive attitude, are dependable, communicate effectively, and work well with a team. Your PAs are the best Cornell has to offer. They are personable and responsible community members.  Learn more about the PA process here