Data Peer Advisors, although similar in name to the Data Peer Consultants, offer a different kind of peer support. They help students navigate the academic data science scene at Berkeley: major and minor requirements, courses, clubs, research, campus resources, and so on. As undergraduate students themselves, Peer Advisors are able to share their firsthand experiences and give an insider’s take on what data science at Cal is like.
They offer drop-in hours, monitor Piazza for student posts asking for peer recommendations, and host a Data Science Course Enrollment Night(link is external) every semester. Additionally, Data Peer Advisors speak at panels on Cal Day and Golden Bear Orientation (GBO) to address any questions from prospective data science students.
Data Peer Advisors are selected based on how well their experiences with data science courses/extracurriculars complement the team, their background (e.g., transfer, reentry, underrepresented, or international student), and their chosen domain emphasis.
“But, to me, the most important factor is how much do they want to help their peers,” says Marjorie Ensor, the supervisor of Data Peer Advisors. “I want to feel that they enjoy helping others and are willing to give back to the data science community.“
New peer advisors attend training sessions the week before the start of a semester, where they learn about FERPA (student confidentiality), best note-taking practices, and internal policies for the data science major/minor. There are also weekly meetings where campus partners like the Basic Needs Office and the Path to Care Office provide workshops and specialized training for the Peer Advisors.