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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

The Brandeis Roosevelt Fellows:

Published: November 9, 2007
Section: News

Roosevelt Fellows are peer academic advisors who assist first year students with areas such as class selection and any other general academic questions pertaining to first years. They get paid a stipend of 500 dollars annually for their services.

At the end of Spring semester, an email is sent out to the Brandeis community from Academic Services regarding applications to become a Roosevelt Fellow. Next in the process comes an interview with members of Academic Services and current Roosevelt Fellows and finally, training over the summer takes place prior to orientation for first years.

Matt Rogers 08 described his motives for becoming a Roosevelt Fellow as being that he wanted to give back a little bit to the community.

Rogers described how Roosevelt Fellows hold office hours in Academic Services and run events with academic themes and reach out to try to help out the first year class to get the most out of their academic experience.

Knowing that[hes] helped someone else is a rewarding aspect of the job for Rogers.

From his experience, Rogers has learned listening skills, something which is valuable in the workplace. He also has learned how to make people feel more comfortable with you through his meetings and training.

Rogers explained how recently, the Fellows have been helping a lot of students with course selection figuring out their schedules for next semester…incorporating all the requirements.

Narmeen Ghulamali 09 began working with the Roosevelt Fellows this semester and explained her reasons for becoming involved with the program.

In my first year, I took help from my Roosevelt Fellow, and I thought that its a good way to interact with first year students and help them with academic questions, she said.

Ghulamali explained how this years program is different from previous ones in that now, each first year student is assigned to a specific Roosevelt Fellow whose role it is to offer guidance.

General questions asked by first year students are ones regarding receiving a W in a class or students prospects of getting into medical school if they get one C on their transcripts.

Her experience thus far has taught Ghulamali listening skills, a lot of patience, [and the concept of] being there for the advisee.

Describing the most rewarding aspect of the job, Ghulamuli cited the experience of witnessing your advisee doing well at Brandeis and having their questions answered.

The job of a Roosevelt Fellow requires that they know something from all areas of study, a reality that is challenging just to know what you have to answer, and just sending people in the right direction.

Ghulamali described the Roosevelt Fellow program as a very rewarding one and she would suggest all the rising juniors and seniors to at least give a thought about it and be a part of it.

It is also the first year of being a Roosevelt Fellow for Katie Broderick 08. Broderick explained why she became a Roosevelt Fellow in saying, during my senior year, I wanted to have more of a connection with the beginning because for me its the end. So I thought it would be a great way to make it full circle and have a stronger connection with the future of Brandeis and what going to happen after I leave.

Broderick described the experience as one which enables you to meet people that you wouldnt have met otherwise, and its a great way to get in contact with first years which I think there isnt enough of. Theyre kind of an insulated group and they shouldnt be.

Broderick also mentioned how being a Roosevelt Fellow has taught her a lot of things about academics that I never knew. For example, she learned how students can register for a gym class and another course simultaneously during round one of registration.

Meeting with first years and giving them perspective is rewarding to Broderick, who described how the pressure parents put on their children to take certain classes is not always whats best for that individual student. Sometimes, its whats important to youyoure giving it your best shot. And I think just giving them that perspective and seeing them [feel better], its really rewarding to see that.

Broderick described the difficult aspect of having to ask personal questions such as how someone did on a test, a practice which sometimes feels weird and uncomfortable to her.

Yet she explained how this experience has taught her the skill of asking people specific questions to get at what the actual problem is and how someone actually feels about the issue, and if that is the real issue.

Meeting with students can sometimes pose the uncertainty of whether or not you will be able to recognize them, a problem which Broderick amusedly recalled. She once met with a girl, unsure of whether she would be able to recognize her at their meeting spot. But the girl ended up being on her Frisbee team, a fact which she didnt know until she saw the girl and realized she was the one she was meeting with.

Broderick mentioned the big bond between Roosevelt Fellows that people dont really know about and described the fun-loving silly atmosphere of some of their meetings.

Not being able to give someone an answer would be one of the difficult aspects of the job to Broderick.

Rachel Friedman 08 cited similar reasons as her other Roosevelt Fellows in wanting to become involved in the program. My Roosevelt Fellow helped me my first year from the moment I started registering for classes before I was even at Brandeis, so I wanted to be part of it. She is also a counselor at the Queer Resource Center and love[s] working with people and talking to people one on one.

Helping students ge[t] through their problems or concerns is rewarding to Friedman, as is reaching out to students. She explained how it is very difficult to reach out as a first year and explained how the Roosevelt Fellows want to let people know that its not a bad thing to come to us. Were not going to pressure you to come to us. You tell us even the simplest concern and well help talk you through it. Were not going to tell you to do something.

Friedman would like to be a high school teacher and her experience has helped her with working with students and just being able to talk to all different types of people and kind of meet them where theyre at.

Friedman explained how even though it is their first year, many students ask her questions, worrying about their major. She said, Id love to tell them dont think about it at all, but if youre a science major sometimes you have to start thinking about it. She added that sometimes if you feel like youre taking all these classes that you really hate maybe that shouldnt be your major. I think thats a great piece of advicebecause in the end, it doesnt really matter what minor you had when you were in college.

Friedman said that being a Roosevelt Fellow is a lot of fun and definitely is very rewarding, and you get to work with a great group of people.