AAP Peer Mentors

“The Peer Mentors were extremely supportive and very easy to talk to. They become your friends. They are in the same boat as you, students at UArts.”

All first-year AAP students are matched with a Peer Mentor. Peer Mentors are continuing UArts students who are selected through a competitive application process. Peer Mentors serve as leaders during the AAP Connect Program and stay in touch with each student in their group throughout their first year. They coordinate group social activities, connect new students to the UArts community, and host the Free Wednesday slunches.

Introducing the 2015-16 AAP Peer Mentors!

Sarah Beranbaum '17 (Dance), Stephanie DeFeo '17 (Photography), Amari "AJ" Givens '18 (Graphic Design), Chanel Howard '18 (Dance), Connor O'Neill '18 (Guitar Performance), Lindsay Ronaldson '16 (Vocal Performance), and Austin Snellbaker '17 (Photography)!

2015-16 AAP Peer Mentors & Bios:

Sarah Beranbaum
Junior, Dance

Hello! My name is Sarah Beranbaum. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, and am a junior Dance major at UArts. My favorite fruits are cherries and mangos and I will always say yes to brownies. When I am in Brooklyn, one of my favorite things to do is take the train to Brighton Beach. Since being at UArts, my opinions and ideas have always been appreciated. I love how at school you can bring your own style or views on art and find a place for them to be valued!


David Benjamin De Cristofaro
Junior, Music Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology 

Hello incoming class! My name is David Benjamin De Cristofaro and I am a student in the class of 2017 entering into my third year as part of the Music Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology (MBET) program here at The University of The Arts. Prior to the start of my freshman orientation, I had the opportunity to accept the invitation to participate in the Academic Achievement Program (AAP) & AAP Connect. It greatly enhanced my academic life, and stands out as one of my favorite experiences here as I had the privilege of meeting some of my favorite classmates, friends & faculty through my participation in the program. AAP Connect set me on a course of academic success and involvement on campus that I grew even more in as a Peer Mentor last year and continue to benefit from as a student. I am thrilled to return an AAP Peer Mentor for this year’s incoming class at UArts and am very excited to pass that experience along to our new students!

In my first two years here As a student I participated in the Spring 2014 Emerging Leaders Program training and development program of students (for which I was nominated by peers), was elected to the Spring 2014 MBET Student Advisory Board (Elected by peers) and I have been the humble recipient of The University of the Arts Commuter Student of The Year (2014) and the Liberal Arts Departmental Writing Award (2014). I was also nominated for The University of the Arts Community Impact Award (2015). I also have been active in my involvement and contribution to our UArts community as a member of Students of Creative Action (SOCA) student council board member as well as in my roles with WRTZ UArts Radio, the Rumble Bucket-Drum Ensemble, the University of the Arts Improv Group, and as a member of GRAMMY U and the Philadelphia Chapter of The Recording Academy! This year I was selected as a featured artist in the GRAMMY U In Action campaign (http://on.fb.me/1Do3bsd) and also chosen among students nationwide to participate in an online video conference with the Senior Marketing Manager of The Recording Academy. I have spent my summer writing for Rock on Philly, working as an event coordinator and on support staff for WXPN’s Live @ Lunch concerts with Live Nation and Center City District in Dilworth Park and at the 2015 Xponential Music Festival, and as a staff member at this year’s Firefly Music Festival in Dover, DE. In my free time, I have been recording professional demos here at the School of Music. I owe a tremendous amount of my success both inside the classroom and in making steps forward towards my career to the AAP Program for getting me started off on the right foot here at UArts!


Stephanie DeFeo
Junior, Photography

Hey guys! My name is Stephanie DeFeo, and I am a junior Photography major. I am from Wilmington, Delaware. I enjoy traveling, meeting new people, and adventuring to new places. I also enjoy running, listening to some crazy music, and photographing the people around me. I was introduced to the AAP program my freshman year, and that is where I met my closest friends in Philly. UArts added me to their huge community of creative and aspiring people my freshman year and I cannot wait for you guys to be a part of it too! Feel free to add me on Facebook to ask me any questions or just talk. I cannot wait to meet all of you guys and show you around the city! Welcome Class of 2019!


Amari "AJ" Givens
Sophmore, Graphic Design

Welcome income class of 2019! My name is AJ and I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Although I grew up as a dancer, last year I decided to step way out of my comfort zone and switch majors. So as of now, I am a sophomore studying Graphic Design.My all-time favorite food is spaghetti and my favorite thing to binge watch is Dance Moms and anything Justice League related. The main thing I enjoy about UArts is the artsy and passionate vibe that everyone at the university absolutely loves what they're doing. As long as you're positive and go into this experience with an open mind, you'll have a great time!


Chanel Howard
Sophomore, Dance

Greetings incoming class! My name is Chanel Howard and I am a sophomore Dance major at the University of the Arts. I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia where I began dancing at the age of five years old. Not only am I a dancer, but I have been trained in many other areas in the arts community all because of UArts. I love socializing with people and getting to know who they are. Here at UArts, you are entering a whole new world; a world full of people that share the same interests as you. A place where you can be yourself and explore your talents across the entire arts areas! At UArts, you will experience an encouraging environment that is way beyond any of your expectations. My fellow AAP Peer Mentors and I are here to guide you along the way. I am here to support, encourage, and most importantly to be a friend you can depend on. I am always here if you need someone to talk to, so you can add me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or e-mail me. I am beyond excited to meet you all and I hope I can help assist you though your upcoming AMAZING freshman school year! Welcome UArts Class of 2019!


Connor O'Neill
Sophmore, Guitar Performance

My name is Connor O'Neill, and I am a Sophomore Guitar Performance major at UArts. I'm from a small PA town called Sellersville, which is north of Philly. I began playing guitar when I was 10 years old, and have been immersed in music ever since. My favorite music is creative music, and my favorite musicians are multi-faceted artists. I love to read (especially philosophy), and I write in my free time. I also am a lover of photography and shoot film as much as I can. I'm lucky enough to be a part of the UArts community, which embraces the ties between all forms of creative expression. Feel free to add me on Facebook or Instagram (@coneillmusic) if you want a glimpse into my life! I look forward to meeting you all and introducing you into the UArts community as well!


Lindsay Ronaldson
Senior, Vocal Performance

Hello everyone! I am Lindsay Ronaldson, a senior Jazz Vocal Performance major with a minor in Music Education! I am from Aston, Pennsylvania and I am so excited to work with you all this upcoming year! In the past, I have been the International Conversation tutor; I love working with people and I enjoy learning about others. I have a passion for jazz and musical theater as well as voice-over work for animations. I am a strong advocate of community among the arts. I am currently the Artistic Assistant for Vulcan Lyric, an opera and theater company located in right in Center City, Philadelphia and I sing with the Philly Pops Festival Chorus at the Kimmel Center year round. Although I commute, I am ALWAYS accessible on UArts' campus and I am easily reachable at all times. My goal is to promote youth education and spread positivity around Philadelphia through the many realms of art.


Austin Snellbaker
Junior, Photography

Hello Class of 2019! My name is Austin Snellbaker, and I'm a junior Photography major with a minor in Fibers and Textiles. I'm from Red Lion, PA, which is near Lancaster County. I am the beauty guru. I love everything to do with fashion and makeup! So if you are looking for good places to shop, or you need to find Sephora, just let me know!

I have been involved with the AAP since my freshman year. AAP has opened up so many great opportunities such as becoming a Peer Mentor, and it has allowed me to meet so many amazing people here at UArts. Choosing to attend AAP has definitely been one of the greatest decisions I have made coming into college. It has helped me to succeed academically, and it has helped me to overcome many social anxieties. UArts is a place of love and learning. We are a very open community here, and no one is left out. Spread your wings and fly because this is your future. I am so excited to meet you guys! Welcome to UArts Class of 2019!