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Watson peer adviser, RA goes extra mile to help others

By : Eric Coker

Liam Ahern’s desire to help students started with a sprint during an interview to become a Watson peer adviser at the end of his freshman year.

“I was ambitious at the end of the year,” he said. “I had just gotten the (Oneida) RA job. I was told I was being offered the (Watson) job, but I had to make sure I had enough time for it. I literally ran from the office to my resident director’s assistant and asked if I could have 10-12 hours a week for Watson. So I ran back and said I could do it. That’s how I got the job.”

A year later, the computer science and math major became the head peer adviser at Watson, where he manages schedules, helps lead meetings and answers academic questions such as which classes should be taken.

“I like helping people,” said the 22-year-old from Carmel in Putnam County. “It’s satisfying when someone comes to you with a question and you have the answer.”

Ahern has spent three years as a resident assistant in College-in-the-Woods’ Oneida Hall. He also lived in the residence hall during his freshman year.

Oneida Resident Director Meghan Hinkley-Forcier said Ahern has done everything from planning programs to getting people excited about Residential Life events to being sure to wish his fellow students a happy birthday.

“He just does it all,” she said. “He is so genuine and considerate of others.”

Sharon Santobuono, associate director of the Watson School advising office, also praised Ahern’s work over the past three years.

“Liam is one of the kindest students I have ever known,” she said. “He is a quiet motivator and has done an exceptional job as our lead peer. Liam underestimates his impact on others and will always be remembered for his Irish spirit.”

Ahern will continue at the University through the 4+1 fast-track program. He said he knew he wanted to apply for it when he was a freshman. Ahern will focus on getting an MBA in management with a concentration in finance. But he plans to retire from Oneida Hall service and experience graduate-student life off campus at University Plaza.

“I’m hoping to have a lot of options when I graduate with computer science, math, management and finance,” he said. “That will give me four different opportunities.”

Ahern is hopeful that those opportunities include a career in programming or managing software design. He also is considering becoming a math teacher.

“I knew from my first day here that it was going to be a good experience,” he said. “But it turned out to be a better experience and I learned more than I thought I would — not just academically, but socially too.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08