First Year Experience

CofC Podcast, All News

The College's First Year Experience (FYE) program encourages students to believe they're capable of great things and helps them discover where want to be on their life path.

On this episode of Speaking of … College of Charleston, Jennifer Bradley, director of the Center for Excellence in Peer Education at the College of Charleston, talks about the College’s First Year Experience program with FYE director Jen Wright and FYE peer facilitator Gabriella Gibson.

“We challenge students in a supportive environment,” says Wright. “Our goal is to help them really challenge themselves, challenge their beliefs, challenge their knowledge, challenge their capacity for things. We want them to really fall down and struggle with things, but know that it’s OK to do so, that we’re there to support them, we’re there to make sure that they get the help that they need. We encourage students to believe that they’re capable of great things, that they’re going to find their way to where they want to be on their life path.”

Featured on this Episode:

Jen Cole Wright is a professor of psychology and director of the First Year Experience at the College of Charleston. As director of this vibrant program, she recruits talented faculty to teach first year seminars and learning communities. Wright teaches introductory courses in psychology and lifespan development, but her passion lies in courses on the psychology of human conflict and social change – teaching courses like Psychology of War and Conflict; Psychology of Oppression, Resistance and Regeneration; and Psychology of Social Change. She has been teaching in the First Year Experience program since 2009, teaching both seminars and learning communities with other faculty across campus. She has been a faculty fellow in both the Honors College and the Center for Sustainable Development.

Jennifer Bradley Smuniewski is the director of the Center for Excellence in Peer Education (CEPE) at the College of Charleston, supervising the FYE peer facilitators and assisting other offices on campus with creating and maintaining their peer education programs. She served as the associate director for CEPE for many years and also worked in the main office of the Office for the Academic Experience, now the Office for Student Success, providing direct support to the associate vice president for the academic experience.
She has a bachelor of arts in organizational communication from Clemson University and a master of education in counseling and student affairs from The Citadel Graduate College.

Gabriella Gibson is a senior at the College of Charleston and will graduate with a bachelor of science in sociology with a minor in psychology. San Diego–born and East Coast–raised, she has a passion for helping others and hopes to open a private practice in acceptance and commitment therapy. She enjoys traveling around the world, discovering new music and the arts.

Resources in This Episode:
First Year Experience
Be a Peer Facilitator
Spring 2024 Classes
Faculty Invited to Get Creative With First Year Experience Courses
First Year Experience Classes Offer Transformational Opportunities

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