Meet the Counselors

2023 STP Summer Counselors Team!!

Meet Paula Perez, peer counselor for STP summer 2023! Paula is a rising junior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience while also serving as an active student leader for multiple campus organizations. When she is not in Fredericksburg, she resides in Shacklefords, Virginia with her family. She has been a member of the Women of Color club at UMW for two years and will be the club’s President during the upcoming school year. Paula is also co-President of Students Educating and Empowering Diversity Organization (SEED) and a member of LSA (Latino Student Association). Her other accolades include being a member of the UMW’s Honors Program and Rappahannock Scholars Program.

It is Paula’s passion to help educate and serve as a mentor for her peers anytime she can. In her words, this summer she will be completing the “STP circle”, as she was once a member of the program and now will have the opportunity to serve as a peer counselor for the second time. According to Paula, during her time in STP she met some amazing people who helped her come out of her shell and learned what it takes to be a successful student at the university, especially being surround by caring advisors and professors. A fun fact about Paula is that during her free time she enjoys reading and growing a variety of different types of plants. She also plans on helping her sister train as much as she can this summer for her upcoming volleyball season.


Meet G’Avoni Croxton, peer counselor for STP summer 2023! G’Avoni is a rising junior majoring in Philosophy: Pre-Law and is a member of the UMW Track & Field team.  He is originally from Warsaw, Virginia living with his parents and two siblings.  One thing G’Avoni loves about where he is from is the “sound of nature” that is not frequently, so easily heard on campus or in the city.  G’Avoni has also been a part of both the UMW Concert and Jazz band during his time at the school.  He believes that it is his campus involvements that have made the college experience more enjoyable and has enhanced his learning experience. In his free time, he likes going on walks throughout campus and downtown with friends, going to the mall, and hanging out in his residence hall with his roommate and suitemates.

G’Avoni is very excited to be a peer counselor this summer because he feels that STP and his peer counselors really helped him settle into what his first year at college was going to be like.  He hopes to bring similar fun and excitement to new STP participants as they learn UMW, as well as provide relevant resources beyond what students may receive from their professors and advisors.  G’Avoni’s favorite memories from his time in STP are his late-night talks with his roommate, whom he met for the first time at STP, and the social activities put on by his counselors.



Meet Jaiden Petrella, peer counselor for STP summer 2023! Jaiden is a rising sophomore majoring in History and Secondary Education and is a member of the UMW softball club team. Outside of campus, she lives in Annandale, Virginia with her parents and younger brother. Prior to UMW, Jaiden played travel and high school softball and volunteered to help coach a 10u softball team. Her love of nature and viewing the world through different lenses led Jaiden to start her photography hobby. Accordingly, she takes pictures for her brother’s football and lacrosse teams during breaks.

Additional experiences that Jaiden brings with her into the counselor role are being a part of Civil Air Patrol, an ROTC program that emphasized the importance of community outreach and leadership. Through Civil Air Patrol, she piloted a Cessna 172P. During Jaiden’s spare time, she hangs out with her family and companion Chloe, a seven-pound Chihuahua.

Meet Quentessa Gaines, peer counselor for STP summer 2023! Quentessa is a rising sophomore majoring in Political Science. She, too, is a part of the UMW Track & Field team and the Woman of Color club. When she is not in Fredericksburg she resides in Warsaw, Virginia with her mother and her siblings. Other campus involvements for Quentessa include the Campus Programming Board and the Rappahannock Scholars Program.

As a participant in STP, Quentessa is looking forward to continuing her experience in the program as a counselor. She dedicates many of the bonds she has built on campus to her time in STP, as she feels it has given her an outlet to meet so many new people.  A fun fact about Quentessa is that during her free time she enjoys art and music.

Meet Chris Benitez, peer counselor for STP summer 2023! Chris is a rising junior majoring in Business Administration and is a member of UMW’s men’s soccer club. Chris has lived in Fredericksburg for the past 9 years and enjoys everything about Fredericksburg and UMW. He resides with his mother, father and 2 younger brothers.

It is Chris’ passion to mentor students whenever he has the opportunity to do so. For that reason, he is excited to also be completing the “STP circle”, as he was a member of last year’s cohort and will now have the chance to serve as a peer counselor. Chris feels that he met some of his closest friends during STP and that the program did much more than help him adjust to life at UMW. When he is not on campus, you can catch Chris at the Fredericksburg Field House playing soccer or at his part-time job, a local restaurant in Downtown Fredericksburg.

Meet Nigeria Ball, peer counselor for STP summer 2023! Nigeria is a rising senior majoring in Philosophy Pre-Law and minoring in Practical Ethics. She prides herself on being highly involved in several organizations on campus. However, one of her top commitments is serving as a student aid for the STP and RSP programs, where she is well-known for being the caretaker and interior decorator for the suite. When she is not in Fredericksburg, Nigeria resides in Northumberland County, Virginia with her mother and her sister.

Nigeria is looking forward to the opportunity to give back to incoming students this summer. Because her time in STP was altered due to Covid, she is thrilled to partake in the in-person experience with the new cohort. During her free time, Nigeria enjoys learning and taking up new crafts that involve hands-on work. Her energy is contagious and she’s excited to meet the new members of the program!