Feature Friday: Meet Our Peer Research Advisors (Ashley, Josey and Olivia)

Posted on: March 5, 2021

Peer Research Advisors (PRAs) are student employees in JMU Libraries who are trained to help their peers in the College of Business with the rigorous research required to create a business plan for COB 300 and other assignments. In this week’s Feature Friday story, meet our amazing PRAs: Ashley Doyle, Josey Foreman and Olivia Vanhoy.

The Peer Research Advisors

Pictured left to right are senior in Management Ashley Doyle, graduate student in Accounting Josey Foreman, and senior in Computer Information Systems Olivia Vanhoy.

With almost 24% of undergraduates choosing a major in the College of Business, most folks in the JMU community have probably heard the terms, “Business Analytics,” “COB 241,” or perhaps the most famous: “COB 300.” These are courses within the College of Business (COB) – notoriously difficult courses. With business classes comes need for assistance, and that’s when the Libraries step in and offer helpful expertise. This help often comes in the form of Business Librarian Elizabeth Price, though more frequently it comes from knowledgeable and talented students who are tasked with providing such assistance.

The big “COB 300” (a.k.a., Integrative Business – management, finance, operations and marketing) project requires students to create a team-built business plan for a fictional business. It is the one of the most comprehensive and difficult projects in the major, completed over an entire semester and taken by every single business student. A project like this requires plenty of research and planning, and that’s where the PRAs come in! As student employees within the JMU Libraries, Ashley, Josey, and Olivia consult with business students preparing for projects like these and especially about navigating the Libraries’ vast resources.

In order to succeed in COB 300 and other courses, students are encouraged (and sometimes required) to seek out the expertise of Libraries staff. These staff include Business Librarian Elizabeth Price and our knowledgeable and talented student employees, called Peer Research Advisors, who are trained to assist Business students with research assignments.

It’s not all about COB 300! The PRAs provide business students with research help in other classes as well. Success in business requires knowledge of existing industries, trends, and more. For a novice researcher, it can be incredibly overwhelming to sift through the expanse of resources at JMU students’ fingertips. A senior Computer Information Systems major, Olivia says it best: “As peer research advisers, we are able to ease their nerves by showing them all the information and databases the library has to help complete their project. With a peer-to-peer environment, students feel more comfortable, after all, we have been in their shoes.”

We are so grateful for our student employees! We could not provide this level of research support to over 1,000 Business students each year without the help of our PRAs.

Get to know our Peer Research Advisors!

Our Peer Research Advisors this year are Ashley Doyle, Josey Foreman and Olivia Vanhoy.

Q: What excites you most about your work right now?

AD: It is exciting to work with the Business Librarian in building research tools that will continue to help future business students.
JF: Hearing students business plan proposal ideas excites me most about my work. Typically these ideas come from an experience or struggle they’ve had and their desire to solve the issue.
OV: I am most excited about all the improvements we have made to the peer researcher experience since I started. I am excited to share our program with other colleges at the American Library Association Webinar in March.

Q: What is your favorite local restaurant or attraction?

AD: Cuban Burger is my favorite local restaurant. It has great food and a convenient location downtown.
JF: My favorite local restaurant is Bella Luna. Be sure to ask for their house-made hot sauce!
OV: I love going to downtown Harrisonburg, but one of my favorites is Clementine. I love going there for brunch on the weekends!

Q: What would you like everyone at JMU to know about you?

AD: I love to try new things! This year I am working on teaching myself the ukulele.
JF: That I love skydiving!
OV: By far one of the best experiences of my college years has been studying abroad in Belgium. I recommend studying abroad at some point to everyone!

If you are a business student and are interested in meeting with any of our PRAs, you can Make an Appointment right now!

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