Peer Advisors for Veteran Education, or PAVE, is a program that pairs incoming veteran and military students with trained current students who have also served. PAVE helps military-connected students find their way around the university, identifying resources both on and off campus. And because our PAVE peer advisors understand the military experience, they can help identify and assist in challenges these new students face and provide ongoing support as they adjust to the university.

Your 2021/2022 PAVE Peer Advisors

Arjan Goenaga CastilloArjan Goenaga Castillo

Hello, my name is Arjan and I am a junior studying biochemistry. I served in the army as a chemical specialist, and was stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington, and South Korea. During my transition, I was surprised at how easily one could get overwhelmed with academics. Knowing some resources or having someone to be able to ask questions of can be helpful. I decided to participate in the Peer Advisors for Veteran Education (PAVE) program to be able to help people feel a little bit more comfortable with the daunting new things one might have to learn about being a college student.

I personally like to play PC games and watch anime in my free time. If you ever feel like you need a little help getting situated at the university, feel free to contact me.

Melanie ChenMelanie Chen, mechen@umich.edu

Hi, my name is Melanie and I’m a junior at the University of Michigan, majoring in neuroscience with a biochemistry minor. Prior to college, I served at 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as an intelligence sergeant (35F) and deployed to Incirlik, Turkey in support of CJSOTF-S. Because of my service, I have a painful disability that fuels my drive to learn about nociception (pain) and its mechanisms. It’s also why I decided to join PAVE! I want to find and help people like me who may struggle with going back to school because of the changes the military makes on us. U of M has a fantastic neuro program, but it also has many opportunities like research and student organizations for almost everything. I joined the Cognitive Science Community and Neuroscience Club to meet with other like-minded students, but I am also part of United2Heal, a non-profit organization that donates excess medical supplies to countries in need, and attend Japanese culture events like the Kaiwa Table and Sushi Night for fun with friends. In my free time, I enjoy playing PC and Switch games with my husband and two adorably fat cats. I also love baking, and some of my favorite things to bake are pies and rustic breads.

Dominic PetersenDominic Petersen, dompeter@umich.edu

Hello! I’ve been in the National Guard for over four years now. Serving my first two years in the infantry before contracting into ROTC and transferring to a Field Artillery Forward Support Company. I plan to commission as a Logistics Officer and move down South or out West after BOLC. Being a Sport Management major, I’m involved in the VIP Internship program where I work in the fan experience department of a multitude of University sports. As a first generation college student hours away from home, I faced a number of challenges adapting to the rigorous academics, finding affordable housing, and learning campus. I overcame these obstacles with helping hands across the University of Michigan community and want to give back, exactly why I joined PAVE. If you want to learn more about me or have any questions, feel free to contact me!

Nuobei ZhangNuobei Zhang

Hello, my name is Nuobei and I am a junior studying data science. I served as a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist in the Army at 110th Battalion, Fort Lewis, Washington. During my transition, I received lots of guidance and assistance from the Warrior-Scholar Program, especially with my application essays. I truly appreciated the help I received and was determined to give back to our student-veteran community.

In my free time, I love hiking and exploring new places. One of my life goals is to visit all the national parks in the U.S. I also enjoy playing mobile and Switch games. Beside school work, I am also learning option trading and Spanish, and am working part-time as a mathematics and Chinese tutor.

Last but not least, feel free to contact me and ask me anything from school-related matters to local festivals or events.


PAVE @ Michigan is a collaboration between the PAVE program (administered by the University of Michigan Depression Center) and the Veteran and Military Services Program. To learn more about available services for veterans, military members, and their families, please visit the Depression Center’s website.