Freshmen Peer Mentoring Program

Freshmen Peer Mentoring For English and Film Studies Students

Registration Events Mentors

The Department of English freshmen mentoring program is a joint effort between the English Undergraduate Advising Office staff and the English Student Advisory Board (ESAB). All first-year English and Film Studies majors at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are eligible. Students interested in registering for the program should contact the faculty coordinator, Dr. Robert Lipscomb, at This undergraduate mentoring program centers on the philosophy that peer mentoring for first-year English and Film Studies majors promotes success in college by encouraging participation in academic activities and engagement in the department’s mission of imaginative reasoning.

Download the brochure


Students interested in the peer mentoring program should enroll in ENGL 298 and contact Robert Lipscomb ( Contact the ESAB faculty advisor, Dr. Robert Lipscomb (, with questions about enrollment.


By being part of our peer mentoring program, you will have the opportunity to build strong relationships with faculty and with your fellow English and Film Studies students and learn about ways to contribute to the intellectual life and creative activities of the department.

Upon successful completion of the freshmen mentoring program, first-year English and Film Studies majors will:

  • Get to know successful peers in the English and Film Studies programs
  • Attend events to help crystalize goals related to departmental scholarships, internships, research, and professional development
  • Obtain advice on recommended courses for the spring semester
  • Learn about faculty research interests and publications in order to identify potential future mentors
  • Have fun participating in department events

Peer Mentoring Events

First-year students enrolled in ENGL 298 and the English Freshmen mentoring program are required to attend four fall events:

Freshmen Welcome

Friday, August 24, 2018
2:30 - 3:20 p.m.
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist and Difficult Women

Thursday, October 4
7:00 pm
Nebraska Union Centennial Room

Freshmen Advising for Spring

Wednesday, October 24, 2018
3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

End-of-Semester Celebration

Friday, November 30, 2018
2:30 - 3:20 p.m.
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Other events of interest

We also recommend these other fantastic events happening this year:

Department Welcome

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

11:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Preparing for Graduate School: Application Ins & Outs

September (date TBA)
12:30 - 1:30 p.m.
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Humanities on the Edge Presents Kent A. Ono

Thursday, October 11, 2018
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Sheldon Museum of Art

Study with the ESAB

Friday, December 7, 2018
3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Knoll Lecture: Rigoberto Gonzales

Tuesday, March 12, 2018
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Poet and Pulitzer Prizewinner Natasha Trethewey

Thursday, April 4, 2018
7:00 p.m.
Location TBD

View all department events

Meet the 2018-19 English Student Advisory Board

Faculty Coordinator

Faculty coordinator, Robert Lipscomb

Robert Lipscomb, Ph.D.

Dr. Lipscomb is a lecturer in literature and critical theory. Originally from Texas, he came to the University of Nebraska in 2011 after earning a BA and MA from the University of Texas at Arlington. His interests include twentieth and twenty-first century literature and critical theory with an emphasis on queer theory. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Lipscomb has invested in working with undergraduates in English. He is the recipient of the Chancellor’s award for Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT community and has earned University and college teaching awards. He is proud to support this exceptional group of undergraduate mentors.

Advisory Board Members

Hailey Fischer

Hailey Fischer

Hailey is a senior English and Film Studies double major and Business minor from Loveland, Colorado. Two classes that helped define her major decision and career aspirations were English 239 Film Directors with Professor Gwendolyn Foster and English 355 The Editing and Publishing Industry with Dr. Beverly Rilett. Some of her faculty mentors are Kelly Payne, Dr. Beverly Rilett, and Prairie Schooner managing editor Ashley Strosnider. This will be Hailey’s third year as a mentor, and she is really looking forward to meeting incoming English and Film Studies students as she enjoys helping them feel at home in Andrews and on campus. Hailey has interned for the Heritage Room for Nebraska Authors and Prairie Schooner. This summer she will intern for Brandt and Hochman Literary Agents in New York City. She plans to pursue a career in publishing after graduation, but her back-up plan is to become Batman.

This year marks Hailey’s third year as a mentor. Hailey can almost always be found studying and working around the Department of English’s home, Andrews Hall.

Zainab Saleh

Zainab Saleh

Zainab is a senior Pre-Law English major and a Psychology minor. When it came to choosing English as her major, Chicano/Chicana Literature (taught by Dr. Amelia Montes at the time) convinced her that English is her passion. Learning about ethnicity through literature is something Zainab is passionate about and hopes to use when mentoring freshmen. Dr. Kelly Payne has been a mentor throughout the course of her junior year, allowing her to serve as the Spring 2018 English Advising Intern. Zainab is currently continuing her love for English as the student worker for the English Advising Office. She is looking forward to finishing her senior year English studies and finding out which law school she will be attending. She hopes to attend law school in the fall of 2019 to become an immigration or family lawyer. In her free time, Zainab enjoys reading and watching Grey’s Anatomy (for the seventh time). She also looks forward to welcoming English and Film Studies students into the department!

This fall will be Zainab’s second semester as a mentor. Zainab’s favorite place to study on campus is outside of Love Library under the trees. Close to Andrews Hall, the green area serves as a quiet space to get work done.

Kelsey Conrad

Kelsey Conrad

Kelsey is a junior from Papillion, Nebraska majoring in English with minors in Digital Humanities and French. She loves reading and writing, and after graduation she hopes to work as a literary agent. Her favorite book is The Princess Bride, and she firmly believes that coffee deserves to be recognized as its own food group. So far, her favorite class that she has taken has been Being Human in a Digital Age. Kelsey thinks the best way to experience college is to be as involved as possible. She has edited with Laurus, interned with the Heritage Room, played trumpet for Big Red Express and the Cornhusker Marching Band, and she is also in Kappa Kappa Psi. Kelsey feels lucky to have several mentors from the Department of English who can point her toward ways to gain experience. She is excited to work with first-year students who are looking to make the most of their time at the University of Nebraska!

This fall will be Kelsey’s second semester as a mentor. Kelsey’s favorite study spot happens to be in the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center. There’s a great view of the Green Space and comfy chairs all around.

Lee Kenny

Lee Kenny

Lee is a senior English and Psychology major with a minor in Math. She hopes to pursue a career in helping disadvantaged youth, whether through teaching, writing, or social work. She stays busy serving as the Vice President of Operations for Kappa Delta, working at the Writing Center, copy-editing at the Daily Nebraskan, volunteering with the Writers Lincoln Initiative with Mark of Honor, and loving leadership as a senior counselor for NHRI. In her free time, she loves to watch Parks and Recreation. Her friends describe her as “a weird combination between Leslie Knope and April Ludgate.” Her favorite classes have been Composition and Rhetoric classes taught by Katie McWain and Dr. Shari Stenberg. She encourages all students to get to know their professors, because her professors have given her many opportunities and taught her to love fields of English she had not even considered! As a peer mentor, she is excited to form relationships with students in the department and encourage learning to accomplish her favorite part of the Department of English mission statement — “we help students develop their capacities in imaginative reasoning so that in their lives as citizens of the world and members of their local communities they can discern connections and synthesize across seemingly incommensurable ideas or beliefs.”

This fall will be Lee’s third semester as a mentor.

Alexandria Ahlers-Prince

Alexandria Ahlers-Prince

Alex is a senior this year, finishing up with both of her English and Film Studies majors, as well as a minor in Business. After graduating, Alex is considering pursuing careers in the Non-Profit realm, particularly organizations focusing on film. She came to the University of Nebraska knowing she wanted an English degree. It was after taking Intro to Film in her sophomore year that she felt a double major would suit her best. In her free time, Alex enjoys watching films and reading books from her never-ending to watch/read list, as well as traveling whenever she gets a chance. She is very excited to be able to work with freshmen as they begin their college career.

This fall will be Alex’s first semester as a mentor. Alex’s favorite study spot is the second floor of Love Library. It is a quiet space that has comfy chairs to help students feel productive.

Mitchell Evans

Mitchell Evans

Mitchell is currently a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently studying English with a minor in Psychology. He is from Grand Island, Nebraska and came to the university his freshman year to study Education, but switched to English the second semester of his freshman year so that he could foster his love for English. One of his favorite classes is LGBT Literature and Film, taught by one of his favorite professors, Robert Lipscomb. After graduation, Mitchell plans on working either in the journalism field or for a publishing house. When he isn’t in class, he’s either at work, in the library, or at an event somewhere in Lincoln. His hobbies include being at the rec center, reading, listening to or practicing music, and watching Netflix. Mitchell likes to surround himself with people who are as enthusiastic about literature as he is!

This fall will be Mitch’s first semester as a mentor. Mitch’s favorite study spot is in Love Library South. The busy environment and Dunkin’ Donuts is a popular study spot for many students.

Olivia Schmitz

Olivia Schmitz

Olivia is a sophomore English major with a minor in Japanese. She is originally from Traverse City, Michigan but has grown up a Cornhusker her whole life. Fiction writing is her passion, but really she just loves anything to do with words and/or stories! In her free time, she loves to watch movies, play video games, hang out with friends, and play tennis. Some of Olivia’s favorite English classes so far include Science Fiction (ENGL 206) and Intro to English Studies (ENGL 200). If she could marry a book, she would marry The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Olivia is super excited to meet new Film Studies and English majors and geek out together.

Vanessa Tym

Vanessa Tym

Vanessa is from Bristol, Wisconsin studying English with three minors in Theatre, History, and Medieval & Renaissance Studies. She knows this was the correct path because when taking English 252, she was allowed to explore her abilities as a writer. “I was told what I was doing correctly and what I could change to further enhance my stories,” she writes. Her English mentor, Gabby, significantly helped her throughout her freshmen year by working with her, getting to know her and getting to know her goals. She looks forward to knowing students who are as passionate as she is about their studies and ambitions in life. She hopes to get to know more individuals and grow herself because of them. During the summer, she works as an actor at the Bristol Renaissance Faire and in her free time, she likes to read and write fiction, watch Netflix, draw, play soccer, or listen to music.

This fall will be Vanessa’s first semester as a mentor. Vanessa’s favorite study spot is on the green in front of the City Union, a place to study on nice Nebraska days!

Simone Droge

Simone Droge

Simone is a third-year student from Madison, SD, majoring in English and History and minoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and Digital Humanities. In the future, she hopes to go to law school. Throughout her time here, she has found a second home in the Department of English. She has had the privilege of learning from several department faculty members who are highly respected in their field and is particularly close with some—including Dr. Shari Stenberg. This past year, she has been working in the Writing Center and this next year she has been given the opportunity to work in the Willa Cather Archives. “Having a mentor was so valuable to me as a first-year student,” she says, “and I am looking forward to mentoring students myself.” During her free time she enjoys going to local coffee shops, binge-watching the first seasons of Netflix series, and going to concerts.

This fall will be Simone’s first semester as a mentor. Simone’s favorite study spot is in the basement of Love Library. The quiet work and study area helps students get their studying done with no distractions. Also, who doesn’t love coffee and a quiet space?

Joseph Ambs

Joseph Ambs

Joseph is an English and Film Studies major in his second year at Nebraska. He is from the small town of Manchester nestled in the rolling hills of Maryland. He loves stories, which is why he is so drawn to reading and film. He loves to travel around and immerse himself in nature. In the summer he often takes 3-or 4-day hikes in the mountains of Pennsylvania. After he graduates, he plans to go to grad school and pick up his master's degree. He is very much looking forward to next year, meeting new people, being exposed to challenging ideas, and of course learning new and interesting things. “If you like film, history, outdoors, or rugby then we will probably be best friends,” he writes.

This fall will be Joseph’s first semester as a mentor. Joseph’s favorite study spot is near the fountain in front of the Nebraska City Union. There’s a great view of the ducks and the water is calming when students are studying!

Cassidy Gillespie

Cassidy Gillespie

Cassidy comes from small town Battle Creek, Nebraska and first attended the University of Nebraska as an undecided student. After realizing that studying English was her true passion, she declared it as her major. She is also pursuing minors in psychology and business. Taking Engl 300 with Kelly Payne really confirmed her decision. The class explored various professional practices and career fields open to majors and shared the stories of past students. As a mentor, she looks forward to sharing her own story to help students explore their interests and develop skills. This summer she is interning abroad in London and can’t wait to experience the city and its culture. In the future she plans on going into publishing, but right now she is focused on exploring more of the amazing opportunities the Department of English has to offer. To no one’s surprise, she enjoys reading (especially YA series) and watch way too much TV (Supernatural). She is also a Marvel movie maniac and can talk about it for hours.

This fall will be Cassidy’s first semester as a mentor. Cassidy’s favorite study spot is the south side wall of Love Library where the bookshelves hide study desks/cubbies that look out onto downtown. “You get your own space, which I think is very relaxing and helps you actually get work done!”

Nina Hjermstad

Nina Hjermstad

Nina was raised in a small town called Louisville, Nebraska. She is an English major and an Art History minor. Her favorite classes include those involving creative writing and critical theory. Throughout her academic career Professor Shari Stenberg and Professor Kelly Payne have been her most supportive faculty mentors, helping her gain recognition for her writing and find opportunities such as speaking at conferences and studying abroad. As a mentor, she hopes to help other students recognize their passions and set goals to achieve during their time at the University of Nebraska. When she's not writing, she's playing roller derby, crocheting something nerdy, or rock climbing at the Outdoor Adventure Center.