Peer Navigators: Meet Brittany Smith

Name & Hometown:  Brittany Smith – I grew up in Great Falls, Virginia

Undergraduate Degree:  I graduated in 2018 from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelors of Science in Cellular, Molecular, and Physiological Biology with minors in Psychology and Chemistry.

Hobbies:  working out, reading, relaxing with friends, and taking walks with my dog, Pippin!

What is your role in Peer Navigators?
My role as a Peer Navigator is to be an active listener and support the first year medical students in their transition into medical school through hosting events, being a support system, and hosting events centered around clinical skills and mental health awareness.

Why did you get involved?
As a first year, being able to talk to other more experienced medical students was crucial to my overall success and learning the ropes of CUSOM! I love being a mentor and resource for classes coming behind me because it enables me to express any knowledge, tips, and tricks I learned that would have helped me through to the incoming class. Medical school is one of the hardest experiences many of us have gone through; although family and friends are important aspects of a support system, Peer Navigators are able to empathize directly with the first years as well as use our training to support and guide them.

What are some of the most valuable ways you think Peer Navigators serve the student body?  (to the mentors and mentees)
The accessibility of Peer Navigators to the first year class is incredibly valuable. Reaching out to professors and staff can be intimidating; knowing you can contact another student at any time for questions or guidance takes some of the stress and anxiety out of asking for help!

The Class of 2024 Peer Navigators organized a Mock OSCE session for the first time before the first years Formative OSCE to give them a space to practice their skills with second year students who have done this dozens of times. Many students told us that having an experienced Standardized Patient and Grader was incredibly helpful because they received personalized feedback on their performance. We had an amazing turn out for this event!

What would you want fellow students or future students to know?
I want them to know that Peer Navigators are members of the second year class who CHOSE to apply for these positions; we truly want to help YOU as much as possible in any way we can! Having a friendly face to talk to about everything that is going on during medical school is a wonderful resource to have during your time here at CUSOM. No matter if it’s just a hello during a study break or a conversation about how to adjust to medical school we are here for you because we are dedicated to helping you succeed!

We are always open to suggestions for events, discussion topics, or anything else you believe the first year class can benefit from! The Peer Navigators are always willing to adapt to the needs and interests of the first year class, we just need to hear from you first!Pe