Maggie Palmiero

Maggie Palmiero

My name is Maggie Palmiero. I am a second year Master of Science in Psychological Science (MSPS) student, and I work closely with both my advisor, Dr. Chris Fraley, and the director of the MSPS program, Dr. Caroline Tancredy. Over the past year and a half, I have conducted original research addressing the potential for bias in retrospective reports of adult romantic attachment. Though I am passionate about conducting research, I am also committed to community building.

My own path to graduate school was not an easy one, and it is my goal to create a culture of peer mentorship that provides opportunities for individualized guidance for undergraduates. Structures within such a culture will allow undergraduate students to gain the experiences necessary to make informed decisions about their futures. To this end, my fellow MSPS cohort members and I have worked to build a new resource in the psychology department: The Psychology Peer Mentorship program, which consists of drop-in office hours, by-appointment ad hoc mentorship, mentor-mentee matching for students seeking long-term mentorship (and prospective mentors seeking certification through the graduate school), and specialized computer coding support for psychological science.

The Psychology Peer Mentorship program would not be possible without the unique and invaluable contributions of each member of our team. Each member participated in the brainstorming, planning, and execution of the community building work we have, and will continue to, engage in as members of the psychology department. Among these contributions, I would like to use this space to highlight the exceptional work of two of my peers. The Peer Mentorship Office Hours website, created by Kristina Howell, both details the services we offer, and allows students to schedule meetings with mentors with whom their interests and needs align. The entirety of the Coding Support materials and resources have been designed and incorporated by Yinuo (Nora) Peng.

Every person who hopes to conduct research, or to attend graduate school has a unique background and skillset. They therefore have unique needs. It would not be reasonable to expect institution-level or even department-level programming to consider and accommodate students whose needs are so diverse. A mentor, however, can take the situation of an individual mentee into consideration – even if their interaction starts and ends within a 1-hour appointment. Our goal in the Peer Mentorship program is to provide easy, in-house, peer-led guidance to students.  

The significance of the “peer” component of this project is the level of comfort we hope students will feel in seeking out our services. I speak from experience when I say that it can be incredibly intimidating to approach a professor, researcher, or administrator as an undergraduate. This is especially true for students who are new to psychology, have little or no research experience, or are unfamiliar with the norms of academia that we take for granted. For some students, we will be a non-intimidating resource to help them close the distance between their level of experience and the level necessary to pursue their goals. For others, we will be advocates as they seek experience and knowledge beyond what is made immediately available to undergraduates in the psychology department.  

My cohort is committed to these community building efforts for several reasons. We value our community here in the psychology department at UIUC and hope to contribute to its future. We are all former undergraduates, and we remember the hurdles we crossed to arrive at graduate school. Some of us know the immense value of mentor relationships because we have had mentors of our own – others because we did not receive the mentorship we now aim to provide. It is our belief that community in academia is built through mentorship – that the success of the individual, department, and institution hinges on the availability of guidance and support networks, and that the best science is conducted by expanding access to research training to an ever more diverse set of students. These are the goals our mentorship initiatives advance. 

More information can be found on our website.

If you are a graduate student interested in volunteering with us next year, or if you are an undergraduate student interested the services the Psychology Peer Mentorship program offers, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at 



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