Peer Advocates in Wellness (PAW)

Peer Advocates in Wellness (PAW) are graduate and undergraduate students who are dedicated to promoting all aspects of well-being, including physical, psychological, spiritual, environmental, and financial wellness. They work with the Wellness Division of the College to provide informative, interactive, and fun programming that advances the well-being of SMC students.

Some of our programs include the Wellness Fair, Send Suicide Packing, Safe Spring Break, Paint Your Mood, and the Stress Management Fair with Pet Therapy.

If you are interested in joining or learning more about PAW, please contact Megan Gallagher ( or Cynthia Cutshall ( If you'd like to apply for the open graduate advisor position (which comes with a stipend), please do so using this  form.

Want to join our mailing list to get meeting notifications and event calendar updates? Join here.





2022-2023 PAW Members

Meet Our Members:

Headshot of Reeya Dharmadhikari

Reeya Dharmadhikari (she/her), Team Lead

My name is Reeya Dharmadhikari. I am a sophomore student at SMC pursuing a double major in Psychology and Music with an emphasis on Psychology. PAW is an opportunity to provide for and give back to our community, ensure that students feel heard, and keep them informed about resources on campus. I was the intern for Counseling and Psychological Services on campus last year and have also worked at the Center for Writing Across the Curriculum and Campus Housing in my time here at SMC. I love singing, going to the gym, and participating in any type of creative activity. I look forward to working with PAW and other student organizations to create fun and informative events for everyone.

Headshot of Caitlin Schweller

Caitlin Schweller (she/her), Social Media Strategist

My name is Caitlin Schweller, and I am a senior at SMC. I am a Kinesiology: Health Promotion major and a Sociology minor. I am interested in PAW because I would like to work in Public Health and I believe that PAW will be a great opportunity to explore this interest of mine within our SMC community. I have worked in the Mission and Ministry Center for the past years with our campus food pantry, the GaelPantry. I will be continuing this work as well as being a Lasallian Animator for the MMC too! I love listening to music, going to concerts, and having paint nights with my friends. I’m really excited for this new adventure! 

Headshot of Carmen Cortez

Carmen Cortez (she/they), Mentee

My name is Carmen Cortez. I'm a 3rd year and a Dance major, TRS minor. I enjoy giving back to my community and working with people who are just as passionate as me about providing wellness education, regarding the many topics that entails. This is why I am interested in PAW. I previously was a Social Justice Advocate for the Intercultural Center, last year, where I planned and led events regarding body image, social anxiety, and mental health. A bit more about me, although I’m not studying child development or education, I quite enjoy working with kids, and whenever home, I assist my mom with her 2nd-grade class.

Headshot of Kellen Steplight

Kellen Steplight (he/him), Mentee

My name is Kellen Steplight, and I am a first year at Saint Mary's College of California. I am a psychology major with no specific concentration at the moment. I am interested in PAW because the therapeutic field interests me and the skills learned in PAW can be used in that career. Along with that, it is an opportunity to meet like-minded people who are also invested in creating a better school environment. I am currently also on the cross country and track team and am a member of the psychology club. I am super excited to help with PAW and help the SMC community.

Headshot of Hana Rose Lizama

Hana Rose Lizama (she/her), Mentee

Hi, my name is Hana. I'm from the island of Guam, and some of my hobbies include going to the beach, going on hikes, photography, and journaling. This is my second year at SMC. I am a Psych major with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. After my four years at Saint Mary's, I plan to move back to my home, become a social worker, and help children with poor mental health or those who come from broken homes. Throughout high school, I was in the Interact Club which hosted many helpful events such as food drives, soup kitchens, and beach cleanups, etc! I'm excited to be a part of PAW because I have always had the drive to help people, and becoming a part of PAW offers me the opportunity to work with others, learn a lot about myself (and others), and advocate for the wellness of everyone. 

Headshot of Aya Banaja

Aya Banaja (she/her), Mentee

My name is Aya Banaja, and I’m a first year student here at Saint Mary’s planning on majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Clinical Counseling. I am passionate about equity topics and on top of being in PAW, I am also a student specialist in the Center for Women & Gender Equity and SCAAR liaison. I’m super excited to begin working alongside the PAW team to connect with more people who want to work towards prioritizing mental health and wellness on our campus.