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University 101 Programs

A Ripple Effect: The Story of Three Peer Leaders

Posted on: December 4, 2019


DeAsia Witherspoon and Caroline Porth have never met, but their lives and legacies at the University of South Carolina are connected. We’ll start at the beginning. Six years ago, Caroline served as a University 101 Peer Leader, co-teaching a Capstone section with Maureen Grewe. Caroline knew how difficult the first-semester of college can be, and she wanted to help students find their first friends and connect with the University of South Carolina in a meaningful way. “The bottom line is, it’s about helping people get over the sometimes uncomfortable transition to college…I wanted to be that person who was there for them.”

Caroline was successful in helping her students transition into college. In fact, seven of her students ended up serving as University 101 Peer Leaders themselves. One of those students, Abby Nugent, credits Caroline with inspiring her to become a peer leader. “UofSC has done so much for me, and I wanted to make other students feel as in love with UofSC as I did. U101 was a good way to give back my time and help students in any way I could. I saw that Caroline did that for us, and I wanted to be that helpful older resource for other students.”

“As a freshman, it’s kind of scary to come to college and not have anyone to talk to or not to know anyone. Abby was like a built in mentor, and I wanted to be that person for someone else."

-DeAsia Witherspoon

Abby served as a peer leader in fall 2016 and achieved her goal of being a resource for her students. One of Abby’s students, DeAsia Witherspoon is currently serving as a peer leader and recognizes Abby as one of the biggest factors that led to her success as a first-year student and to her decision to become a peer leader. “As a freshman, it’s kind of scary to come to college and not have anyone to talk to or not to know anyone. Abby was like a built in mentor, and I wanted to be that person for someone else…All it takes is one person to make a difference. All it took was for Abby to believe in me, and here I am, a University 101 Peer Leader.”

Caroline inspired Abby to be a peer leader, Abby inspired DeAsia to be a peer leader, and chances are that DeAsia has a student sitting in her class right now who will one day become a University 101 Peer Leader. Caroline Porth graduated four years ago, but her impact continues to be felt. “It’s easy to forget all of the things you worked on and were passionate about. It’s very cool to see that I started a ripple effect. It makes me proud.”

*Do you have a desire to impact first-year students?
Apply to be a peer leader
 before the January 19 deadline!

*Do you know a student who would make a great peer leader?
Nominate rising juniors or seniors to be peer leaders by January 17!


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