Pablo Avila, MA

about pablo



I live in New York City. Originally from Lima, Peru, I moved to New York City at the age of twenty-one. I am a Community College graduate with a BA in Psychology and an MA degree in Educational Psychology both from Hunter College in the City University of New York. I am pursuing my doctoral degree in Higher and Postsecondary Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

I am a higher education professional and my portfolio covers four main areas—peer mentoring programming, faculty development, student leadership and professional development, and data design and assessment for program outcomes. I presently work at the Center for Teaching and Learning at LaGuardia Community College as the First Year Program and Assessment Coordinator.

My interest in education dates back to my days in high school when I wanted to become an English teacher. Over the years, my professional and educational experiences have shaped and expanded my vocation to higher education. Over the last 7 years at LaGuardia, I have been engaged in multiple initiatives aimed to promote student success particularly around first year programming. Having had the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from Student and Academic Affairs, I’ve been part of a wide range of projects with faculty, staff, and student mentors alike. These experiences spurred my interest and led me to pursue a doctoral degree in the Higher and Postsecondary Education program at Teachers College in Columbia University. Building off my early training in psychology coupled with my professional experience, I want to strengthen and deepen my theoretical understanding of the higher education enterprise, translate this to research-driven processes and findings, and promote policies and practices conducive to student success.



The four areas of my work




peer mentoring

The bulk of my work is around peer mentoring first-year college students. I manage a team of 40 peer mentors that work with faculty teaching a first year seminar course across 8 disciplines at the College. My responsibilities include day-to-day management, training design and delivery, and program evaluation.

faculty development

My work also involves working with faculty who teach the first year seminar and capstone courses. My goal is to create spaces for integration, collaboration, feedback, and environments conducive to developing pedagogical tools for teaching and learning in and outside the classroom.


leadership development

Student development is part of my portfolio. I am actively engaged in promoting the professional development of both peer mentors and students. Currently, I work on bridging two peer mentoring programs and in developing collaborative work. Additionally, I am involved in a leadership development program for current students.

data & assessment

Numbers make a difference. I currently manage the student satisfaction survey data administered to students who take the first year seminar course. Moreover, I work on developing additional data collection sources for assessment purposes for two peer mentoring programs. My work involves both qualitative and quantitative data.



My professional development



I am a doctoral student in the Higher and Postsecondary Education (HPSE) program at Teachers College in Columbia University. My program prepares future scholars and higher education practitioners to become critical thinkers and active members of the community. Our training involves an in-depth look at higher education as an enterprise, considering the many layers involved and impact such as the student, the organization, and the society. Being part of this program allows me to deepen my knowledge on how higher education functions in our society and the mechanisms to make it both accessible and effective. Some courses to highlight thus far include Purposes and Policies in Higher Education and College & University Administration and Organization.