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Research Guides | Library | Amherst College

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!

Location & Hours:

  • Sundays, 3-5 PM: Science Center Cafe Area & Frost Cafe
  • Mondays, 8-10 PM: Frost Cafe
  • Tuesdays, 8-10 PM: Science Center Cafe Area
  • Wednesdays, 8-10 PM: Frost Cafe

Xiaoduo Chen

About Me:
Class year: 2023
Major: Political Science & Asian Languages and Civilization

Hi, my name is Xiaoduo Chen (she/her) and I’m from Fairview, New Jersey.  I’m currently a senior studying Political Science and Asian Languages and Civilization.  In my spare time, I enjoy walking along the bike trails, curating random Spotify playlists, and brutally failing at cooking. I believe that strong research skills is an essential skill regardless of your specific discipline of study or field you hope to pursue. College is the time to hone in on those skills, especially with all the resources available to help on that path. 

Jiwoo Han

Jiwoo HanAbout Me:
Class year: 2023
Major: Psychology

I wanted to become a PRA because I had mentors in my life who really influenced me, and led me to think about what good mentorship meant. I also feel like the process of research is such a creative and rewarding process. Being a PRA seemed to be a perfect combination of these two components that I highly value in life!

Caelen McQuilkin

About Me:
Class Year: 2024
Major: English & American Studies

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.

Sarabelle Vilfort

Sarabelle Vilfort

About Me:
Class Year: 2023
Major: History and Art History

Hello! My Name is Sarabelle Vilfort. I go by She/Her/Hers pronouns. I am a senior Majoring in History and Art History.

I applied to be a Peer Research Assistant because my experience at Amherst, the research help I got from my professors and the librarians at Frost, has grounded me in many ways. Their guidance helped me navigate my complex and stressful assignments. I applied because I wanted to be a helpful part of the research process for other students.

Aminah Oba

About Me: 
Class year: 2024E
Major: Biology

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!