Question • Understand • Explore • Serve • Transform
First Year Leadership and College Transition Experience
QUEST is an opportunity for first-year students to start a journey of self-discovery and personal leadership development, while gaining the confidence that will support a successful student experience. Trained peer mentors will guide small groups through the process during the fall semester.
This selective program is open to 105 students who demonstrate an interest in learning about leadership and who show a desire to thrive through engagement in the UD community.
Applications for 2024 will open in spring 2024!
Email Matthew Creasy with questions.
Participants will engage in activities both on and off campus. They’ll hear from keynote speakers, Marlon Smith and Tom Krieglestein. A day trip to Sandy Hill camp will include outdoor activities, such as ropes courses, boat races and an evening bonfire. Participants also socialize with other first-year students, join leadership workshops, identify values, set goals, perform community service and more. The full schedule will be released when the application opens!
- Identify a set of personal values
- Create a list of SMART goals for the fall semester
- Identify their personal leadership style
- Learn to work effectively as part of a diverse team
- Articulate concepts of various leadership models
- Learn to face fears, take risks and confront challenges
- Identify tools for success at UD
- Foster connections among fellow first-year students, peer mentors and staff
- Engage in experiences that contribute to an understanding of what it means to be a respectful and contributing member of an inclusive community that values human worth
- Identify personal goals and learn how personal awareness and decision-making can impact one’s ability to achieve success.
- Understand that developing as a leader is a process that involves self-awareness, relationships, skills and service to others and transformation
2023 QUEST Student Coordinators
Hi, everyone! My name is Mackenzie Dabbs (she/her/hers) and I am a senior Honors Nursing major from Ellicott City, Maryland. On campus, I am in Tier 4 and am an ambassador of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, in the sorority Alpha Dela Pi, in the Honors society Order of Omega, and in the Student Nurses Organization. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends, working out, listening to music (especially throwbacks), and going to the beach. QUEST truly helped me have such a smooth transition into college and gave me the opportunity to build great friendships. I was able to learn so much about my leadership strengths and the qualities I value in life. I am so excited to be a QUEST Student Coordinator this year and can’t wait to meet you all and help create a great experience!
Hey, everyone, my name is Damon Peruso (he/him/his) and I am a senior Organizational and Community Leadership major with a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. I am originally from Edgewater, NJ, and am so excited to be a QUEST Student Coordinator!! Outside of the classroom, you can usually find me at Graham Hall, where I serve as the Vice President of the Biden School Student Association, inside the Writing Center, where I work as an Oral Communication Consultant, or at the turf fields behind the Little Bob, where I play on the Club Ultimate Frisbee team. My time in the Blue Hen Leadership Program has been nothing short of spectacular. This program has allowed me to meet and develop multiple wonderful relationships and experience amazing opportunities that are offered nowhere else. I am completing Tier 4 this upcoming semester and cannot wait to create amazing memories with you all throughout QUEST!
2023 QUEST Peer Mentors
My name is Natalie Baysinger (she/her/hers) and I am a Junior from Ellicott City, MD. I am a Public Policy major with minors in Women and Gender Studies and Statistical Data Analytics! I’m also a Community Engagement Scholar and a World Scholar. When I’m not studying, you can often find me relaxing in the sun outside, with my friends in a dining hall, or in Perkins enjoying the games! QUEST gave me a safe space, amazing friends, and so much growth! I hope to bring all of you the loads of laughter and joy, and the growth that this opportunity offers. If I could offer you a piece of advice for the transition to college and UD, I would just say to appreciate every moment you’ve got, and use this chance to your advantage to become that person you’ve always wanted to be.
Hi everyone! My name is Jasmin Bioteau (she/her/hers) and I am from Abington, Pennsylvania, which is about one hour from UD. I am an honors junior chemistry and spanish major. On campus I am involved in American Chemical Society (ACS), University of Delaware Alternative Breaks (UDaB), and, of course, the Blue Hen Leadership Program. My favorite pastimes are reading, running, and spending an absurd amount of time eating dinner in CR with my friends. BHLP has been a great experience for me. I met some of my best friends through QUEST. I am excited to meet you all and watch you grow as leaders!
Hi everyone! My name is Danielle Blachar (she/her/hers) and I am a sophomore from West Chester, New York. I’m majoring in Elementary Education with a concentration in ESL and minoring in Organizational and Community Leadership. Here at UD, I’m in the Honors College, the Access:Ability Scholars program, and Tier 2 of the Blue Hen Leadership Program (BHLP). Outside of BHLP, I’m involved on campus with UD Alternative Breaks, UDance Dance Marathon, Blue Hen Ambassadors, Hillel, Diversity Enrichment Leaders, and so much more. I love having picnics on the green with my friends, listening to music, and watching the sun set. Participating in QUEST was the highlight of my first year on campus and the relationships I established made my transition to college so much smoother. I am so excited to be part of this experience with the incoming group of QUESTers, and I can’t wait to get to know all of you!
Hey everyone, my name is Connor Coyne (he/him/his) and I am a sophomore Biomedical Engineering major from Baltimore, Maryland. At UD, apart from being involved in Tier 2 of the Blue Hen Leadership Program (BHLP), I am involved with the AMT club, UDANCE, and the Men’s rugby team. When I’m not studying or doing homework most of my free time is spent at practice, but I also enjoy getting dinner with friends and throwing around a baseball or a football on a nice day. QUEST gave me an amazing opportunity to meet new people and get a feeling of the UD campus before the semester started, all while developing some new leadership skills along the way. BHLP has so much to offer and is such a valuable program to become connected with. I’m excited to meet you and help kick start your UD experience!
Hi! My name is Grace Donaher (She/Her/Hers) and I am so excited to be one of your Peer Mentors! I am from Southern Chester County, Pennsylvania and I’m currently a sophomore Computer Science major with a minor in Mathematics. Additionally, I have gotten involved throughout campus in the Blue Hen Leadership Program, Grand Challenges Scholars, and Undergraduate Research in the Speech Language Acquisitions & Multilingualism Lab. In my free time, I like to spend time with friends and family, watch Netflix, go to the gym, listen to music, and play piano. Deciding to join QUEST was such an amazing part of my freshman year as it allowed me to make new friends, learn more about campus, develop my leadership skills, and find my place at UD. I can’t wait to meet all of you and be a part of your QUEST experience!
Hello! I’m Erin Fitzgerald (she/her/hers), I’m from Wilmington, DE. I’m a sophomore Human Services (Pre-Social Work/Counseling) major with minors in Medical Social Services and Domestic Violence Prevention Services and a member of the Blue Hen Leadership Program family! I am also a Peer Support Specialist at Sean’s House, a part of UDance and Greek Life here on campus.
In my free time, you can find me in a coffee shop (Brew Haha is my fave), the gym, or out and about with my friends on the Green/Main St. BHLP has been an amazing experience for me! QUEST made the transition to college so much better, because I met so many amazing people, including my best friend who was in my PM group, and now we’re roommates! I can’t wait to meet you all and I am so happy to be a part of your QUEST experience!
Hi Everyone! My name is Malika Iyer (she/her/hers) and I am so excited to be one of your Peer Mentors! I am a junior Computer Science major in the Honors College. I am an international student who currently lives in Nigeria, but is originally from India. I am a returning PM who has been involved at UD as an Honors Community Fellow, doing undergraduate research, Alternative Breaks, Tier 3 of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, and so much more. In my free time, I love watching TV shows and movies with my friends, eating on main street, playing and singing with my ukulele and exploring new places. Doing the QUEST program my first year was one of the best decisions I ever made because I made life-long friends and mentors in the process, and I can’t wait to help create the same experience for you all too!
Hey everyone! My name is Gabriel Ma (he/him/his) and I am a Junior Biomedical Engineering major with a minor in Biological Sciences on the pre-medical track. I am from Wallingford, Pennsylvania. At UD I am involved in BME undergraduate research at Star Campus, Tier 3 of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, Honors Engaging in Neighborhood Services, Ultimate Frisbee, and Site Leader for UD Alternative Breaks. During my free time, I enjoy blasting music in the car with friends, playing different genres of songs on the guitar, volunteering at community service projects, and binge-watching YouTube and TikTok. Doing QUEST my first year was one of the best decisions as I not only developed key leadership skills, but also met some of my best friends. I am so excited to be a returning Peer Mentor and help you all begin your 4-year journey at UD!
My name is Richard Oboryshko (he/him/his). I am a sophomore English and History double major. Beyond the classroom, I am interested in theatre, reading, and writing. I tend to read non-fiction, although I am also a big fan of historical fiction. I typically write fiction – specifically, short stories – but I journal as well. I am a member of Tier 2 of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, and I am super excited to be a peer mentor! I am exceptionally glad you are interested in QUEST. My experience with this program was excellent because I felt there was a proportionate return on my commitment, and I am willing to bet that you will feel the same way. I can’t wait to see how you will grow as a leader and as an individual over the course of your first semester!
Hey! My name is Jason Puza and I am a sophomore Biology major on a pre-med track. I’m from Dallas, Pennsylvania, which is a small town about 20 minutes away from Scranton. Besides being a member of tier 2 of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, I am involved in UDANCE, a member of the Making Doctors Club, and a member of the Men’s Rugby Team. When my time isn’t occupied by school and extracurricular activities, I am usually playing video games, reading, hanging out with friends, or watching anything Star Wars related. The QUEST program made the transition to college light years easier, and I am so thankful I was given the opportunity to participate in it. It was an incredible experience, and I can’t wait for you all to experience it!
Hi Everyone! My name is Jalen Rogers and I am a senior majoring in Political Science, Public Policy, and Economics. Growing up in Dover, Delaware, I’ve garnered a passion for the political process which led me to pursue the 4+1 program for a Master of Public Administration. I am involved in a wide-range of organizations across campus, including Tier 4 of the Blue Hen Leadership Program, College Republicans, the Institute for Public Administration, and Greek life. During my free time, I enjoy going camping, watching movies, reading realistic fiction or fantasy novels, and enjoying the company of friends and family. QUEST granted me connections to people and opportunities that have enabled me to get to where I am today. The program helped me learn a lot about myself, while introducing me to some amazing people. I am so excited to meet you and see all that you will accomplish in your time here at UD!
Hi Everyone! My name is Casey Schaeffer and I am super excited to be one of your QUEST Peer mentors this year! I am a sophomore from Yardley, PA majoring in Leadership. On Campus, you can find me playing spike ball or volleyball on the green, traveling within our alternative breaks program, and on our club sailing team. I also serve as the Leadership representative within the Biden School and a member of the Community Engagement Scholars program. I adore listening to music, going to concerts, and hammocking with friends! I am super eager to experience what comes next in the Blue Hen Leadership Program as I am entering tier 2 in the Fall! QUEST has provided me with a sense of family and lifelong friends and truly eased my transition as an incoming freshman. I cannot wait to meet all of you and share laughs, joy, and grow together as people.
My name is Pierce Smith (He/him/his), I am a junior and my major is Human Relations Administration with a minor in Organizational Leadership. I live in Wilmington Delaware, but I was born in Virginia. Some of my passions are Racquetball and Volleyball, I love being active and out in the sun. At any moment I can be found with a deck of cards on me and I am always ready to play a game with anyone! I loved my experience with QUEST as it introduced me to so many people and many of those relationships have lasted through college, as I am even rooming with someone I met through QUEST! My goal as a Peer Mentor is to give my Mentees the awesome experience that QUEST gave me!
Hi, everyone!! My name is Maddy Thompson (she/her/hers), and I’m so excited to be a peer mentor this year! I’m a sophomore from Pittsburgh, PA and an Honors Exercise Science major pursuing minors in Leadership and Spanish for Healthcare. On campus, I’m involved in Tier 2 of the Blue Hen Leadership Program (BHLP), Project Sunshine, and Greek Life. When I’m not studying at ISE lab or the library, you can find me grabbing coffee with friends, going on walks, or listening to music. I love bagels, hugs, and all things pink! My favorite BHLP memory so far has been traveling to Puerto Rico for an Alternative Winter Break Program and forming meaningful connections with new friends there. BHLP has provided me with a safe space to grow as a leader, build confidence, celebrate the little wins in life, and find a family away from home. I can’t wait to meet all of you!
Hello all you beautiful people! My name is Jackson Tomasco (he/him/his) and I am so excited for the opportunity to be a Peer Mentor! I am a junior year nursing student from Fairfax VA and in the future, I aspire to become a flight nurse. On campus I am actively involved in Adaptive Medical Technologies Club, and Men in Nursing. In the Blue Hen Leadership Program (BHLP) I am a Tier 3 member and am super excited for what comes next in BHLP! If I am not in class or studying, which I do quite a lot, you can find me listening to what I call “crunchy” music, spending time talking and laughing with my friends, often at my own jokes, and spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and or laying out or hammocking around campus. I am a diehard Eagles fan but an even bigger fan of you for being interested in QUEST!