Freshmen Peer Mentoring Program

Freshmen Peer MentoringFor English and Film Studies Students

Registration Events Mentors Apply to Be a Mentor
A student talks with recent graduate Colin Baker about majoring in Film Studies

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 English and Film Studies Academic Advisor, Dr. Kathleen Lacey, 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


First-year students interested in the peer mentoring program should enroll in ENGL 298 during the fall. Contact Dr. Kathleen Lacey ( 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
  • Learn about and practice strategies for a sucessful high school-to-college transition, including identifying campus resources
  • Discuss academic concerns in a supportive environment
  • 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 30, 2019
2:30 - 3:20 p.m.
Andrews Hall 117

Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones and Sing, Uburied, Sing

Thursday, October 17, 2019
7:00 pm
Sheldon Museum of Art

English & Film Studies Advising Night

Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Study with ESAB

Friday, December 6, 2019
Andrew Hall 117

End-of-Semester Celebration

Friday, December 13, 2019
2:30 - 3:20 p.m.
Andrews Hall 117

Other events of interest

We also recommend these other fantastic events happening this year:

Department Welcome


Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Preparing for Graduate School: Application Ins & Outs

Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Bailey Library (Andrews Hall 229)

Humanities on the Edge Presents Annie McClanahan

Thursday, September 5, 2019
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Sheldon Museum of Art

Jennine Capo Crucet: My Time Among the Whites

Thursday, September 17, 2019
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Wick Alumni Center

Humanities on the Edge Presents Claire Colbrook

Thursday, October 31, 2019
5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
Sheldon Museum of Art

View all department events

Be a Peer Mentor

The Department of English Student Advisory Board (ESAB) program is designed to mentor, promote, and represent undergraduate English and Film Studies students in the English department. Advisory Board members assist the English and Film Studies Academic Advisor and Undergraduate Chair with recruitment and retention activities hosted by the University, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of English. Students who participate in the English Student Advisory Board will develop personal leadership, mentorship, and communication skills and will have the opportunity to represent the Department of English and the University in a professional capacity.

We will be seeking several new mentors for the 2020-2021 school year! Applications will open in November.

Application Information

Questions about ESAB and the mentoring program? Contact Kathleen Lacey, Academic Advisor for English and Film Studies, at, or drop by her office in Andrews 201B.

Meet the 2020-21 English Student Advisory Board

Faculty Coordinator

Kathleen Lacey, Ph.D.

Dr. Lacey is the undergraduate English and Film Studies academic advisor. Originally from Wisconsin, she came to the University of Nebraska in 2008 after earning a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and MA & MFAs from Minnesota State University, Mankato. She received her PhD in English from UNL in 2017. Her interests include twentieth and twenty-first century American literature with a concentrations in African American women's writing, narratives of girlhood, and the intersection of medicine and literature by women of color. She has taught courses in composition, literature, popular culture, women's and gender studies, and humanities in medicine. She currently teaches ENGL 298/398, the mentorship course for English and Film Studies majors, and ENGL 300: Professional Practices for English Majors.

Advisory Board Members

Mitchell Evans

Mitchell Evans

Mitchell is currently a senior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is currently studying English with minors in Psychology and Women's & Gender Studies. 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 was LGBT Literature and Film, taught by one of his favorite professors, Dr. 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 will be Mitch’s third year 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 senior English major with a minor in Japanese. She's 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 enjoy Nebraska football! Some of Olivia’s favorite English classes so far include Science Fiction (ENGL 206), British Authors >1800 (ENGL 230) and all of the fiction writing courses. Olivia also has some experience abroad - she spent her spring 2019 semester studying in Japan! 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 pass down the wisdom cultivated by her elders for generations.

Olivia is excited to be a mentor for her third year in a row! When it’s studying time, she loves to reserve the study rooms in Love Library's Learning Commons. They’re surprisingly sound-proof (no headphones needed to jam out to your favorite tunes) and the whiteboard space is perfect for planning out a project, essay, or story idea.

Vanessa Tym

Vanessa Tym

Vanessa is from Bristol, Wisconsin studying English with minors in Theatre 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 will be Vanessa’s third year 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!

Mikie Brown

Mikie Brown

Mikie is a senior English major from Overland Park, Kansas double minoring in Spanish and religious studies. Previously, Mikie has written for the DailyER and interned at Prairie Schooner. She also spent last summer studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain and has recently retired from a two-year RA gig in Abel Hall. This fall, she will be interning with NY-based agency HG Literary. Mikie can usually be found with a London Fog in hand, playing her guitar, binge-watching Schitt’s Creek or geeking-out over musical theater. After graduation, Mikie hopes to complete an MFA and/or work in publishing (there’s still a lot of self-discovery to be done, right?). Her first three years at UNL have proved completely invaluable and rewarding, and she can’t wait to introduce a new group of students to all the opportunities and connections the English department has to offer.

This will be Mikie’s first year as a mentor and she couldn't be more excited. Her favorite spot on campus is the mezzanine in Love Library (she’d be happy to give you a tour).

Sarah Kee

Sarah Kee

Sarah is currently a junior English major with minors in Spanish and Mathematics. She is from Omaha, Nebraska and came to the university her freshman year to study Chemistry before switching to English. So far, her favorite class that she has taken has been British Authors before 1800 with Dr. Julia Schleck. She is also a member of the Honors Program, Creative Commons, and an editor for Laurus. After graduation, Sarah plans on pursuing a career in the publishing industry. This past semester, Sarah worked as an editorial intern for Prairie Schooner. When Sarah isn’t in class, she’s either studying, at work, or hanging out with her friends. Sarah loves reading, drinking coffee, playing sand volleyball, and watching Netflix. As a mentor, she is very excited to work with incoming students by sharing her own story and helping them discover their own interests. Sarah also can’t wait to bond over books and her love for this department.

This will be Sarah’s second year as a mentor. Sarah’s favorite study spot is at the Foundry, a coffee shop a couple of blocks off campus. Her advice for incoming students would be to attend department and university events that align with their interests because they are a great way to learn about different topics and meet new people.

Nidhi Polekar

Nidhi Polekar

This is Nidhi's second year as a mentor. She is a "Third Culture Kid (TCK)" born in India who grew up, for most part, in Dubai. She joined UNL as a Political Science major and added English as her second major during her first semester because she couldn’t let go of her love for English. After hearing Dr. Dixon speak about film, she also decided to add a Film Studies major. Her favorite book (s) is Harry Potter (yes, the whole series because she can’t choose just one). She loves reading, writing, watching TV (Supernatural and Game of Thrones), sketching, coffee shops, and going on adventures whether inside books or out in the world. Nidhi's favorite class has been Introduction to English Studies with Dr. Stevenson; that’s where she got to explore her talents as a writer and realize she could write something decent that is not poetry. She is a crazy Marvel fan and can geek out about Iron Man for hours. She can’t wait to meet new people, take on challenges, and explore the passion for English with some awesome people!

Nidhi's favorite spot at the campus is the fountain in front of the Union. The hammocks are perfect for a book on a sunny day, and the running water does the trick for the much needed cooling in the Nebraskan heat. 

Nicholas Harmon

Nicholas Harmon

Nicholas is a junior triple-major with majors in English, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Global Studies and minors in Asian Studies, History, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Japanese, and LGBTQ Studies. They are from Gretna, Nebraska and came to UNL not really knowing what to study but was able to pursue many passions and even discover a few more! Some of Nick’s favorite classes so far include Intro to Women’s Lit (ENGL 215) with Prof. Wabuke, LGBTQ Lit and Film (ENGL 212/312) with Dr. Lipscomb or Dr. Owen, and Intro to Asian American Lit (ENGL 245A) with Dr. Lee. When they’re not studying, Nick is usually out thrifting, watching reality competition shows, or spending too much time crafting the perfect playlist on Spotify. They are hoping to study abroad in Japan in the spring and to watch the Tokyo Olympics in the summer!

This will be Nick’s first year as a mentor. Their favorite study spots on campus include the hammocks outside of the Union and really anywhere in Love Library!

Hannah Morrison

Hannah Morrison

Hannah Morrison is a senior at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, where she is majoring in English and Film Studies and minoring in History, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She is from Gretna, Nebraska and originally had the intent of studying Environmental Studies. In her spare time, Hannah loves to go backpacking, watch movies, write poetry, and occasionally knit. One of her favorite movies is Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation. Some of her favorite classes that she has taken include 21st Century Directors, Introduction to Poetry Writing, and Introduction to English Studies. As a writing tutor for Southeast Community College, Hannah loves to help others develop a love and understanding for writing. After graduating, she hopes to be able to work in editing and publishing and maybe publish some work of her own along the way. This will be her first year as a mentor, and she is excited to begin working with incoming students and building relationships on the basis of shared experiences and through offering advice.

Hannah’s favorite way to spark inspiration is to walk through campus in the fall and both listen and perform at open mics. When not doing this, she can be found exploring new trails and checking into cheap concerts.

Maggie Rieckman

Maggie Rieckman

Maggie Rieckman, Margaret in her old age, is a junior from Clay Center, NE. And no, her hometown does not have a booming pottery business. Maggie is majoring in English and anthropology and minoring in film studies and digital humanities. Her favorite course thus far has been biological anthropology, as it was the course that helped her realize her love of monkeys and other primates (besides humans, ha ha). As a consultant at the Writing Center, an editor for Laurus, and a writer for the DailyER, Maggie appreciates the literary involvements available in the English department and other areas on campus. When she’s not writing a paper for class, Maggie can be found watching Cheers, cutting a rug, or finding an excuse to use her picnic basket. And since she’s an English major, it’s assumed that Maggie likes to read, especially works by Kurt Vonnegut or Donna Tartt. Furthermore, Maggie’s favorite study spot on campus is the space with wooden benches at the top of the stairwell in Bessey. 

This being her first year as a mentor, Maggie is eager to share her experiences and advice regarding the UNL English Department. Her hope is to add members to the Andrews fan club (the building, not dudes named Andrew, though she is sure they are great)!

ESAB Members-at-Large

ESAB Members-at-Large are English or Film Studies majors who are not involved with the mentoring program, but are heavily involved in the English department through participation in recruiting events and department activities.

Molly Beck

Molly Beck

Molly is a junior English major with minors in History and Art History. When she isn’t studying, Molly enjoys creative writing, photography, wandering around bookstores, and hiking. Her favorite book is Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, which she recomends everyone read at some point in their lives. Although Molly isn't quite sure what she wants to do after graduating, she would like whatever she ends up doing to be writing-focused.

This is Molly’s first year as a member-at-large. She came to UNL as a transfer student her sophomore year and immediately felt at home in the English department. Her goal is to help ensure incoming students feel similarly, while introducing them to all of the amazing aspects of the English department.