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Peer Research Assistants

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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!

Location & Hours:

  • Sunday - Thursday, 5-9 PM, Frost Library Reference Desk

Caelen McQuilkin

Class Year: 2024E
Major: English & American Studies

About Me:

My name is Caelen McQuilkin (she/her pronouns), and I’m a second semester junior here at Amherst, majoring in English and American Studies! I’m really excited to work as a PRA because I think the resources and information and knowledge that we have in the library here can be really valuable to the amazing research and work that so many people here are doing. I hope to use the job to uplift and help my peers in communicating and learning about topics that matter to them.

Aminah Oba

Class year: 2024E
Major: Biology
About Me: 

Hi! My name is Aminah Oba (she/her). I’m a junior and a biology major here at Amherst College. I was interested in becoming a Peer Research Assistant because I have been involved in research since the beginning of my freshman year, both in the classroom and as a research assistant for labs. During my involvement I have mainly had other students who guided me through the process. It not only helped me become comfortable with doing research independently but also provided me with a community that I felt comfortable to seek when I needed help. I thought it would be a rewarding experience to help pass along the things that I’ve learned to other students who may feel intimidated by the process!

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! 

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!


Bebe Leistyna