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Watson Peer Adviser, RA Goes Extra Mile to Help Others

photograph of Liam AhernLiam Ahern's desire to help students started with a sprint during an interview to become a Watson peer adviser at the end of his freshman year. The double-major in computer science and math keeps running, even as a graduate student.

"I was ambitious at the end of the year," says Liam Ahern. "I had just gotten the (Oneida) RA job. I was told I was being offered the (Watson) job, but I had to make sure I had enough time for it. I literally ran from the office to my resident director's assistant and asked if I could have 10-12 hours a week for Watson. So I ran back and said I could do it. That's how I got the job."

A year later, the computer science and math major had become the head peer adviser at Watson, managing schedules, helping to lead meetings and answering academic questions such as which classes should be taken.

"I like helping people," says the 22-year-old from Carmel in Putnam County. "It's satisfying when someone comes to you with a question and you have the answer."

Ahern spent three years as a resident assistant in College-in-the-Woods' Oneida Hall. He also lived in the residence hall during his freshman year.

Sharon Santobuono, associate director of the Watson School advising office, praised Ahern's work.

"Liam is one of the kindest students I have ever known," she says. "He is a quiet motivator and has done an exceptional job as our lead peer. Liam underestimates his impact on others and will always be remembered for his Irish spirit."

Ahern is continuing at Binghamton through the 4+1 fast-track program. He says he knew he wanted to apply for it when he was a freshman. Ahern is focusing on getting an MBA in management with a concentration in finance and has retired from Oneida Hall service to experience graduate-student life off campus at University Plaza.

"I'm hoping to have a lot of options when I graduate with computer science, math, management and finance," he says. "That will give me four different opportunities."

Ahern hopes that those opportunities include a career in programming or managing software design.

"I knew from my first day here that it was going to be a good experience," he said. "But it turned out to be a better experience and I learned more than I thought I would - not just academically, but socially too."

Last Updated: 11/26/13