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Introducing our Peer Mentors of the Year 2021/22

By Newcastle University

We’re so proud of the work our Peer Mentors have done this year to help our new students feel welcome.

We recently gave our first-year students the opportunity to nominate their Peer Mentor for the award of Peer Mentor of the Year.

We’re very proud of our three winners, Millie Samways, Marina Davidescu, and Hope Norman. 

We asked our winners all about what it’s like to be a Peer Mentor…


Millie Samways (Oral & Dental Health Sciences)

millie samways

Why did you decide to become a Peer Mentor?

Moving to university, especially during Covid, was a huge change. Moving away from home, becoming independent and doing your own shopping can become very overwhelming. I decided to become a Peer Mentor to help alleviate some of the anxiety around coming to university and to be an approachable friendly face. I mainly wanted to help people through my experience and answer any questions, no matter how small or silly they seemed.


What can a mentee expect from a Peer Mentor?

A mentee can expect someone who has experienced the transition to university and wants to help other people with theirs. They will be a familiar face who is willing to answer any questions, help with any problems and mainly just alleviate some anxiety around the unknown experience of moving away from home, starting the course and becoming more independent.


Marina Davidescu (Chemical Engineering)

marina davidescu

What do you do as a Peer Mentor?

As a Peer Mentor, I set up meetings with my mentees every month to ensure their well-being and to discuss with them their struggles with the material and the modules in general. I explain the things that they did not understand and give them subject advice from books and exercises I received in my first year of studying.

What was it like being nominated for and winning Peer Mentor of the Year?

Even being selected as one of the finalists for Peer Mentor of the year was a huge honour and I was overjoyed when I found out. One of my major objectives for the year was to assist as many Stage 1 students as possible and to be named Peer Mentor of the year, I believe I have accomplished this goal.

Furthermore, it's an honour to have touched and impacted students' lives by making their first semester at university simpler and being involved in their lives in the first place.


Hope Norman (English Literature)

hope norman

What transferrable skills have you developed as a result of becoming a Peer Mentor?

Balancing university, society committee and Peer Mentor responsibilities has really improved my ability to organise my time effectively. I feel this year I have really branched out my comfort zone and enriched my university experience as much as possible.


What would you say to someone thinking about becoming a Peer Mentor?

Do it! It may be daunting at first but like anything that appears challenging, the result is really rewarding. Knowing I have helped a small group of students settle into university is a really rewarding prospect. One word of advice - communication is key, not only for offering advice and support but also organising meetings through emails and group chats. Checking in with your mentees is really important in building trust. It is vital to establish a relationship built on excellent communication.


You can find out more about what it's like to be a Peer Mentor and how to apply here