Peer Academic Leaders

Who are we?

Peer Academic Leaders (PALs) are a diverse group of undergraduate students with a goal to help students better understand the Common Curriculum, utilize academic resources, and navigate academic challenges.

PALs work directly with students in their Residential Commons, empowering them to take ownership of their collegiate careers through mentorship and educational programming.

Get to know the Peer Academic Leader serving your residential community.



Bonita Davis

Bonita Davis (She/Her)

  • Hometown: Lawton, OK
  • Major: Computer Science and Data Science

"The resources that I have discovered throughout my time here at SMU have been so helpful, and I am excited to encourage other students to utilize these resources for their success on the Hilltop!"

Hannah Ashby

Hannah Ashby (She/ Her)

  • Hometown: Los Altos, CA
  • Majors: Psychology

SMU has so much to offer and as a Peer Academic Leader, I hope to be able to help students learn more about their resources and help them along on their college journey."

Julia Knowles

Julia Knowles

  • Hometown: Dallas, TX
  • Major: Political Science

" I'm excited about helping new students learn the ropes of being a college student and how to succeed using the many resources SMU has to offer." 

Kauai Wilson

Kauai Wilson (She/ Her)

  • Hometown: Flower Mound, TX
  • Major: Mechanical Engineering

I’m pleased to be a Peer Academic Leader because I enjoy making people’s lives easier, while hopefully brightening their day. SMU puts a lot of effort to ensure mustangs both new and returning understand what steps to take." 

Mansi Gupta

Mansi Gupta (She/ Her)

  • Hometown: Frisco, TX
  • Major: CCPA, Human Rights, Political Science

 I want to assist students with any worries they have about navigating their academic life at SMU and provide support so they can perform to the best of their abilities." 

Meighan Ashford

Meighan Ashford (She/ Her)

  • Hometown: Keller, TX
  • Major: Fashion Media and Journalism

SMU allows each student the opportunity the chance of finding their unique place and spot where they get the chance to express just how special they are, and I can’t wait to profess that in what I am about to do for these students." 

Radha Chitgopkar (she/her)

  • Hometown: Plano, TX
  • Major: Biology and Data Science

"I am excited to help students navigate their academic life at SMU and explore the many resources that SMU has to offer. At SMU, each student is able to excel, blaze their own path, and explore exciting opportunities that foster innovation and growth. The constant interaction with bright minds and an encouraging environment makes SMU a great place to thrive."

Ruth Kinyua

Ruth Kinyua (She/ Her)

  • Hometown: Dallas, TX
  • Major: Biochemistry and Spanish

I am most excited about working closely with students to help them adjust and excel at SMU rather than feeling puzzled alone! What makes SMU unique is the university's drive to enhance diversity and inclusion on-campus via cultural events and check-ins."

Titus McGowan

Titus McGowan (He/ Him)

  • Hometown: Sachse, TX
  • Major: Biological Sciences and Spanish

This commitment to innovation and collaboration creates an environment that fosters creativity and critical thinking, making it an ideal place for Peer Academic Leaders like me to thrive and make a difference."