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Peer Research Assistants

What Peer Research Assistants Do

The Library's Peer Research Assistants are Amherst College students who are trained to offer drop-in research support to other students. Peer Research Assistants can help students with getting started on a research paper; navigating library databases to find sources; finding books on a specific topic; formatting citations; and other research-related questions.

Read more about our current team below!

Location & Hours:

  • Sunday, 3pm - 11pm
  • Monday - Thursday, 5 - 9pm 
    Frost Library Reference Desk

Bebe Leistyna

Class year: 2024
Major: Russian & Black Studies
About Me:
Hi, I’m Bebe (she/her), a senior Russian and Black Studies major. My research focuses on the experience of Black people in the Soviet Union and the language of antiracism/raceless. I know firsthand that the research process can be intimidating and want to meet each person where they’re at. I’m especially excited to highlight all the resources we have access to as students. Meeting with a PRA is a collaborative experience and we can all learn from one another. 

Jeffrey Ma

Class year: 2024
Major: History, Asian Languages & Civilizations

About Me:

Hello, I’m Jeffrey (he/him), a senior History and ASLC major. I research issues of ethnic, religious, and national identity in late imperial and modern China. From my own experience with research, I know it can be both extremely intimidating and extremely rewarding. In this position, I hope to help make research more accessible to more students at Amherst.

Madina Oraz

Class year: 2025
Major: Mathematics & Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought
About me:
Hi! My name is Madina Oraz (they/them) and I am from Uralsk, Kazakhstan. The reason I decided to become a Peer Research Assistant is because I believe that everyone is capable of producing great research, regardless of their background! I remember how afraid and lost I was when I got my first paper assigned during my first-year seminar, but thanks to support from my peers and mentors, I am very confident in my research abilities now. Learning more about how our library functions as well as being able to help out fellow students makes this job extremely exciting for me!

Guilherme Santos Rocha

Class year: 2024
Major: Economics & Computer Science
About Me:
I am Guilherme (he/him), Junior, Economics and Computer Science double major. My research focuses, from a public policy perspective, on different aspects of Brazilian education that can impact and improve students' results during school and in their adult lives. I really like to hear about other people's research and to try to think about ways of exploring topics related to any major. Please reach out if you need any support!

Jordan Trice

Class year: 2024
Major: English & Sexuality, Women's, and Gender Studies

About Me: 
 Hi! I’m Jordan (he/him), a senior Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow majoring in English and Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies. My research focuses on the language of sexual violence in American slave narratives and contemporary narratives of slavery. I love research and helping other people work through their own research regardless of the topic or the person’s research experience, so I’m incredibly excited to be working as a Peer Research Assistant! Whether you’re working on an assignment for a class, thinking about or deeply engaged in a thesis, or just have something you’re interested in that you want to know more about, I’m here to help!