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International Students

Mentors

Students with a mentor

The International Student Mentor (ISM) Program at the University of Rochester exists to foster meaningful interactions between current University of Rochester students and incoming international first-year students.

ISMs begin communicating with new international students in the early summer to help them prepare for campus life. Throughout the year, ISMs continue to support students by organizing fun events and serving as a resource for questions about US culture and academics. 

 

What ISMs Do

Over the summer, mentors email their assigned mentees, who are currently at home overseas. These emails contain important dates, information, and reminders about moving in to begin the first year at the University of Rochester.

Feel free to email other international students assigned to your ISM and ask questions you may have about the University, the local community, or the United States in general.

All ISMs will assist international students move in to their residence halls. The first day also offers a chance to meet and bond with ISMs and fellow new students. 

Throughout the year, ISMs plan group dinners and other fun or helpful group events. ISMs will also periodically check in by email to make sure your first year is going well.

As a group, ISMs coordinate events for the greater University community. We hope that all their mentees will attend these events to show their support!

Contacting Mentors

Please feel free to contact any of the mentors if you find something in common after reading their biographies below. All of the mentors are available to answer your questions, but you will be specifically assigned to one ISM.

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Agustin Diaz Herrero

Class of 2020

International Relations

Senior ISM

My name is Agustin Diaz Herrero. I'm from Mexico and Spain. I grew up in Mexico City and have been a Scout for 12 years. I love baseball and also enjoy watching a funny TV show. I believe laughter is the best thing we have to make this world Ever Better, so I'm always down to do something new and fun.

My Advice:

  1. Be open to new things. The people you're about to meet have amazing stories and are passionate about things you probably don't know existed (they will probably make you try them too!). Being open will definitely make your experience unforgettable.
  2. Remember that learning also happens outside of the classroom. Rochester is much more than just classes. The learning experience you're about to live goes way beyond the classroom. Every day you'll learn new things without noticing.
  3. Don't forget there's always people there for you. The most important thing for you to know in this first year is that you are not alone. There is a lot of people whose job is to make sure you're feeling well. Do not hesitate to contact them if you ever feel the need.


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Aanya Myrie-Silburn

Class of 2020

Political Science

Lead ISM

Hi, my name is Aanya Myrie-Silburn and I am a Senior here at the University of Rochester! I am majoring in Political Science, with a minor in Digital Media Studies and Audio and Music Engineering. I am from New York City, which is incredibly culturally diverse. I feel so lucky to have been able to promote multiculturalism on this campus by being an ISM for the last two years and founding the first multicultural sorority at the University of Rochester. I am excited to meet all of our International Students and introduce you to U of R culture, which is essentially just being your unique and amazing selves!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to make friends from different backgrounds!
  2. Prioritize your health: physical, emotional, and mental all included!
  3. If you have a problem, there is almost definitely a campus resource to solve it. Don't be afraid to ask for help!


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Selina Xu

Class of 2021

Biochemistry

Lead ISM

Hello everyone, welcome to the University of Rochester! I'm Selina, a rising junior majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Music. I grew up in Hong Kong and am also currently living in San Diego, California. Besides being an ISM, I am also the president of the Hong Kong Student Association (HKSA), a member of the Wind Symphony, and a TA for Orgo lab this coming semester. In my free time, I enjoy watching a variety of TV shows, as well as hanging out with my friends and exploring nearby restaurants (definitely ask me for restaurant recommendations). This is my second year as an ISM, and I can't wait to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Stay healthy! Don't pull an all-nighter when you are not that type of person.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask when you are confused - you will always be able to get help if you try reaching out.
  3. Join clubs/organizations! This is a great opportunity meeting people and getting involved on campus.


Raghad Photo

Raghad Al Taleb

Class of 2022

Majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Mentor

Hi everyone! I’m a sophomore from Saudi Arabia majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Business. I love travelling; I have been to over 10 countries. Having been exposed to so many cultures taught me many skills that I would like to pass on to the incoming international students at the University of Rochester. I’m part of the Meridian Society and part of the UR Cheer team. I am honored to be the guiding hand to lead new students in the community and I can’t wait to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Get involved! It’s the best way to make friends and experience college in the US.
  2. Explore! And start with the city of Rochester. There are many beautiful sights that everyone must visit; a lot of history has taken place in this mesmerizing city.
  3. Reach out! Utilize the amazing resources that the campus offers you to get adjusted and always ask for help when you need


Keisha Barrera

Class of 2022

Majoring in Biology with minor in Psychology

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Keisha Barrera and I am a rising sophomore at the University of Rochester. I am Nigerian and Colombian although I was born and raised in Nigeria. I have also lived in California and Oregon, and I’m excited to be living in NY. Even though moving around can be difficult, I have enjoyed every moment of it and cherish all the memories I have made. I'm super excited to be helping make the transition easier for incoming students. On campus, I am involved with PASA, SALSEROS, and Students Helping Honduras. Next academic year I will also be a Peer Career Advisor at the Greene Center. In my free time I enjoy watching sitcoms and horror movies. I enjoy hiking and drawing as well. I’m looking forward to meeting all of you and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

My Advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I know it can be scary and overwhelming, but trying out different clubs is a great way to meet new people and discover things you love.
  2. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and utilize the resources on campus.
  3. Have fun! Although school work should be prioritized, you should still make time to relax and enjoy yourself. The year goes by really quickly.


Claudine Daneri

Class of 2021

Majoring in Financial Economics

Mentor

Hello Everyone! My name is Claudine Daneri and I was born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I am a rising junior majoring in Financial Economics and minoring in Mathematics. I love to hang out with my friends, talk about controversial topics and watch a lot of FBI related Netflix series. Here at the university, I am a member of the Undergraduate Finance and Economics Council and I work as an office assistant for The Office of Minority Student Affairs (OMSA). I very much look forward to meeting you all and please shoot me an email if you have any questions!

My Advice:

  1. Make use of all the resources here on Campus! It is an opportunity for you to get to know the people that can guide you and consequently help you to grow as a student.
  2. Never, never be afraid to ask questions even if they seem pretty trivial.
  3. Take advantage of the professors' Office Hours. It is a great opportunity for you to get to know them and demonstrate your interest for the class. Moreover, you can receive a more in-depth view of the things that are really necessary to know to do great in the class.


Gilbert Giri

Class of 2021

Majoring in Computational Biology

Mentor

Hey there! I'm Gilbert and I'm a rising junior from Nepal. I'm majoring in computational biology and minoring in mathematics. I'm an avid drinker (of coffee) so you can find me most of the time in Starbucks. I'm a part of the badminton club here and I also love playing basketball. Additionally, I will be a lab TA and study group leader for CSC 161 and I'm also a CETL tutor. I love spending time outside when it's not snowing and I look forward to meeting and going around with you all.

My Advice:

  1. College can be overwhelming at times, especially when you are starting it, so feel free to reach out to your advisers, professors, mentors or friends if you need help with anything. There are here to help!
  2. Even though education might be the first priority for almost all of you, make sure you make some time to do fun activities and go around the city while you can (Winter is coming!).
  3. Most of the opportunities you will hear about will be through emails so DO NOT skip them.


Khoa Hoang

Class of 2021

Majoring in Molecular Genetics

Mentor

Congratulations and welcome to U of R! My name is Khoa. I’m a junior majoring in Molecular Genetics and minoring in Computer Science and Chemistry. My academic interests are about the connections between different disciplines such as the application of computer science in genetics or the field of biotechnology and synthetic biology. I have been TA for several biology and chemistry courses, which have been a very meaningful experience. Outside of academics, I enjoy playing guitar, several classical pieces as well as to accompany singing. I love thinking and exploring new ideas so whenever having free time, I like reading and watching documents about philosophy and psychology. If you want to chat, find me at Carlson library.

My Advice:

  1. Stay focused. It’s time to figure out what you want to pursue and who you want to become in the future. Have a goal and follow it. Your effort will pay off.
  2. Start networking. Talk to faculties and staff on campus to develop meaningful and long-term connections.
  3. Find a balance! Make friends, join clubs, get involved, and explore Rochester.


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Naomi Hollo

Class of 2019, Take 5 2020

Epidemiology

Mentor

Hiya! My name's Naomi and I’m from a town right outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I’m studying epidemiology, French and pursuing a Take 5 in medieval English history. When I’m not in class or working at my job in Saunders Research Building, I enjoy exercising with the club water polo team, cooking and hanging with my friends. This is my fourth year as an ISM and I look forward so much to meeting you all!

My Advice:

  1. Join a couple clubs to meet new friends and explore new interests!
  2. Ask for help. College is a huge adjustment and can feel overwhelming so reach out if you need something.
  3. Explore Rochester! The city has many cool neighborhoods with interesting restaurants and activities that can really round out the college experience


Nandini Joshi

Class of 2022

Majoring in Economics

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Nandini and I am from Mumbai, India. However, I have spent most of my life living in other countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, and Indonesia. I am a sophomore this year, and I am majoring in Economics and considering a minor in Business. I am completing clusters in Introduction to Spanish Studies and Earth and The Environment. Some of the other activities I am involved in on campus are Club Softball, Association for the Development of Interest in the Indian Subcontinent (ADITI), and I am a D’Lion in the First-Year Quad. I look forward to meeting all of you in the fall, and feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

My Advice:

  1. Take time to leave campus and explore the city (including malls, museums, and restaurants). Don’t let the cold discourage you!
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask peers, upperclassmen, and faculty members for help during your time at the university. Everyone here is really friendly and supportive.
  3. Be open-minded and try things that you would never have the opportunity to back home. This will also help you make a lot of friends with different interests.


Madina Mentor

Madina Jumabaeva

Class of 2020

Majoring in Microbiology

Mentor

Hi! My name is Madina and I’m a rising senior majoring in Microbiology. I am from Uzbekistan but live in Seattle, Washington. My family moved a lot that I changed schools 6 times, so I lived in Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, and in the US, Ohio and Washington. Here at the UofR, I am part of Shotokan Karate Club, Charles Drew Pre-Health Society, American Society for Microbiology, SUBS, NSCS and Circle K International. I conduct research in Jarvinen-Seppo Lab at URMC. I also work in the Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology Clinical Research Site as a Clinical Research Technical Assistant. This will be my second year as an ISM and I look forward to a fun year with the incoming class of 2023!

My Advice:

  1. Be open-minded and explore. It is important to attend events and meet new people in the beginning of the semester when you have time. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.
  2. Learn about different clubs at activities fair and join ones you are interested, or just would like to learn more about. Go to clubs' general interest meeting and see if you like it. It’s a great way to meet people with same interests as you.
  3. Have a set schedule/planner to keep track of things you need to do. It helps you to get things organized: both school work, appointments and events. Having an outline (i.e google calendar) for the day will help you get done with all the assignments and studying and leave time to relax.


Saurabh Joshi

Class of 2022

Majoring in Chemical Engineering

Mentor

Hi everyone and welcome to the University of Rochester! My name is Saurabh Joshi but if that is hard to pronounce I also go by just Sorbz. I am from Mumbai, India but spent a lot of my life living outside India. Rather, I moved around a lot and lived in Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, and India. At the UofR I am majoring in chemical engineering and have yet to decide on my clusters. I did, however, take some very interesting political science courses and am considering clustering in it. At the UofR I took part in a couple of really interesting clubs ranging from Chem-E cars to Baja to club baseball. Additionally, I love being outdoors and going on hikes and am also an avid golfer. I am really excited to be an ISM mentor this year and really look forward to meeting all of you!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to try something new while you're in college. This can be a new activity or even a new course, but if you never try you'll never know whether or not you actually like it. I feel the UofR is a really safe place for everyone to try new things and I hope you take the time to explore everything the University has to offer.
  2. The winters here can get very cold. I think the most common word that you'll hear during winter is "layers". It is so important to layer up to make sure you are warm and protected from the cold Rochester Winters!
  3. Find a way to balance your time while you are at college. I feel it is important to study hard but it's equally important to block out time in the week where you can just destress by going out with friends or going to the gym.


Krishni Kumaresan

Class of 2021

Majoring in Cell and Developmental Biology

Mentor

Hi! My name is Krishni and I am from Plainsboro (near Princeton University!) New Jersey, but my family is from Sri Lanka. I am majoring in Cell and Developmental Biology with a minor in Chemistry and clusters in Psychology and Philosophy. On campus, I am involved in the Hindu Students Association, Partners in Reading, Habitat for Humanity and I am going to be a Genetics (BIO 198P) Lab TA! I used to do independent research at URMC and was a workshop leader for CHM 131 and 132. Outside of school, I love to travel, find the best places to eat, go to museums, cook, and hang out with my friends! I can't wait to meet all of you and help you discover all the resources that UR has to offer!

My Advice:

  1. Always ask for help! There are so many resources at this university and so many people you can talk to about any problem you might have. One of my favorite things about this school is how kind everyone is! I have learned a lot by reaching out to professors, upperclassmen, and other faculty.
  2. I know school can be a lot of work and can cause loads of stress, but always find time for yourself. Join a club or do an activity that can put your mind at ease. Taking breaks is super important! :)
  3. Stay on top of your school work from the very beginning. Trust me, you will thank yourself later.


Elise Lia

Class of 2020

Majoring in History and Classics

Mentor

Hello! I am Elise Lia and I am currently a rising senior studying History and Classics. I am from Niagara Falls, NY and live about ten minutes from the falls (I can actually see Canada from my house!). Even though I grew up in the States, my studies have taken me across Europe to London and Rome. On campus, I am currently the Chief Learning Officer of Kappa Alpha Theta and the Vice President of the Undergraduate History Council. If I have any free time you could find me being a total nerd; playing video games, reading, or watching movies. I am so excited to meet all of you this Fall!

My Advice:

  1. Don't be afraid to ask for help from people! There are so many different resources on campus including your professors and they all would be happy to help and guide you in the right direction.
  2. Try and join an organization on campus that interests you. There are over 300 organizations on campus that do so many different events within the campus community so don't be afraid to try some out. There are also plenty of leadership opportunities as well so if you love working with one group feel free to get even more involved!
  3. Take some time for yourself and stay positive! Take things at your own pace, you have four years to do whatever you may like on campus so take a break when you need it. Do what you want to do and don't let anyone hold you back!


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Jorge Matute

Class of 2021

Majoring in Microbiology

Mentor

Hey there! Welcome to the YellowJackets family! My name is Jorge Matute and I am a rising Junior majoring in Microbiology on a Pre-Med track with minors in Psychology and Spanish. I am originally from Juticalpa, Honduras but have been living in New Jersey for the past three years. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my friends, biking, hiking, and exploring Rochester, specially its restaurants like Red Fern, Good Luck and D’mangu!! (You should check them out!) On campus, I’m a member of the D’lions organization, Students Helping Honduras, and SUBS. I’m also a research assistant at the URMC. I can’t wait to meet all of you guys and feel free to email me if you have any questions!

My Advice:

  1. Don’t limit your friend group to people from your same country. Interacting and diversifying your friend group with people from different countries and cultures can help you gain different values and perspectives on several things.
  2. Plan ahead for your semester. Make sure you have the syllabus for each course you're taking, and highlight all of the most challenging components like major class projects, midterms, and final exams. Show up to class. A lot of professors base their exams mostly on material covered in lectures rather than textbook material. Missing classes can mean missing out on important information for understanding of class and preparation for midterms.
  3. Take advantage of your resources. CETL, OMSA, the Career Center and many other resources are available for you to use them at your benefit and the best of all is that they are FREE! Seek out for help at any time when you feel like you need it.


Neeraja Menon

Class of 2022

Majoring in Financial Economics and Business

Mentor

Hi everybody! My name is Neeraja Menon and I am from India, although I grew up in Singapore. I am a first-year hoping to double-major in Financial Economics and Business with a Statistics minor! Additionally, I am a member of University of Rochester's Vocal Point, the only all-female a capella group on campus, and the Association for Development of Interest in The Indian Subcontinent (ADITI), and will be joining Rochester Rangoli, a South Asian dance group! I enjoy singing, reading, hiking and photography, and I love meeting new people. I look forward to connecting with all of you this coming fall!

My Advice:

  1. Never be afraid to try new things, but at the same time, you should never feel pressured to do anything you don't want to do!
  2. Make good use of the multitude of resources that University of Rochester offers you, academic or otherwise, and don't hesitate to reach out for any help! Moving to college may seem daunting and stressful, and we are here to make that transition more comfortable and fun for you!
  3. Be involved on campus and make friends! Finding a balance between academics and the stress of being in college might take a while, and it's good to have people around you to make college feel like home.


Umar Mutwafy

Class of 2022

Majoring in Mechanical Engineering

Mentor

Hey!! My name is Umar Mutwafy, a rising sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I was born in Uganda but grew up in Kenya. Before coming to Rochester, I spent two years doing the International Baccalaureate in Swaziland at the United World College of Southern Africa. Apart from being an International Student Mentor, I am a member of the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) and I enjoy playing rugby though I am still recovering from an ankle injury. All of you should be proud and excited to come to University of Rochester, and I am very excited to meet you all.

My Advice:

  1. Please branch out and try out new activities, food, talk to different people and even take fun classes (this is a liberal arts school). The university has many clubs, sports and other opportunities to meet new people and have fun.
  2. On the academic front, you will have tough days, but this is okay, it’s all part of the experience and you will get through it. Just take time to breathe when things get tough.
  3. Take care of yourselves, when things get hard use your friends, your International Student Mentor and the various resources the university has put in place to assist you.


Divya Naidu

Class of 2021

Majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology

Mentor

Hi everyone! My name is Divya Naidu and I will be a junior majoring in both Neuroscience and Psychology and minoring in Chemistry. I’m from just outside Rochester and have lived here most of my life. On campus, I am part of GlobeMed, the BCS/Neuroscience Undergraduate Council, and I work as a LEAP tutor for elementary kids in the Rochester City School District. I also work in a neuroscience research lab at URMC and volunteer at Highland Hospital. I love listening to podcasts, finding new places to eat in Rochester, and playing tennis. I can’t wait to get to know all of you!

My Advice:

  1. Stay up to date with what you’re learning in all your classes. During lecture, take note of what concepts are difficult and make sure you devote more time to understanding those concepts. This will save a lot of stress and prevent cramming and trying to learn too much material right before an exam. Make use of office hours with your professor and teaching assistants. They’re great resources and willing to help you!
  2. Take time to have fun! Definitely check out different places off campus. The bus goes to places like College Town, the public market, and also the movie theatre on certain days. It’s really easy to get off campus and see more of what Rochester has to offer.
  3. Make sure you have plenty of winter clothes and things like a hat, gloves, scarf and waterproof winter boots. It gets really cold and windy in Rochester and covering your face and hands will really help when walking to class. On especially cold days, wearing two pairs of socks is a good way to keep your feet warm.


Nicholas Ndahiro

Class of 2022

Majoring in Data Science and Economics

Mentor

Hey everyone! My name is Nicholas Ndahiro and I am a soon to be sophomore here at the University of Rochester. I’m from a little country know as Rwanda found right in the heart of the African continent. I am pursuing a degree in data sciences, with a minor in economics. When I’m not in class or at the library, I enjoy playing soccer, spending time outdoors, and watching movies.

My Advice:

  1. Branch out and explore new interests. Take advantage of the numerous opportunities here at the U of R. Join a new clubs and make new friends.
  2. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Starting life in college can feel overwhelming at times and we’ve all been there, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need anything.
  3. Don’t forget to sleep! Take care of yourself and you’ll only better your U of R experience.


Arantza Romero

Class of 2020

Majoring in Chemical Engineering

Mentor

My name is Arantza Romero. I am class of 2020 majoring in chemical engineering. My email address is aromerob@u.rochester.edu. Born in Mexico City and raised in Atlanta, GA, I have the perspective from two worlds. I like to learn new languages. As of now I speak Spanish and French additional to English, but I have also been learning random words in Chinese, Korean, Arabic, and Swahili. My advice is to meet as many people as possible first year. It's beautiful how everyone is so ready to make new friends and learn about everyone's unique experience. Take some time during the first year to define your interests and find something that will keep you motivated for the next four years.


Jade Seguchi

Class of 2022

Majoring in International Relations

Mentor

Hello everyone! My name’s Jade and I am from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I am a rising sophomore majoring in International Relations with a minor in Business. On campus, I am involved with UofR’s UNICEF chapter and Club Tennis. I love the sport, so if you ever want to hit, talk to me! I also adore traveling and learning more about other countries and places. I am very excited to meet you all!

My Advice:

  1. Talk to people from different backgrounds! Take advantage of the diverse community you are a part of now: make new friends and expand your knowledge.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make use of the resources available around campus, including the professors, TAs, and students - we have all been in your shoes and would gladly help you.
  3. Be prepared for the winter! Wear layers and use the tunnels, they are going to be your best friend during the colder times.


Ruoming Sha

Class of 2022

Majoring in Data Science and Business

Mentor

Hello everyone and welcome to the University of Rochester! My name is Ruoming Sha, and I’m doubling majoring in data science and business, with a minor in music. I am originally from Nanjing, China, but I went to a boarding school in Charlottesville, Virginia. Outside of the classroom, I play club softball, and work on my own start-up website. You can catch me playing squash in the gym, or spending some quality time (not really) in Gleason library. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you!

My Advice:

  1. You can borrow phone chargers, calculators at the Q&I desk in libraries.
  2. Don’t skip classes if you can. Even if you feel like the lectures are not helpful, there’s most defiantly some information you need.
  3. Eat well, drink lots of water, and exercise! Rochester can be tough in the winter with snow all over the campus, so find your own sunshine.


Prajita Shrestha

Class of 2022

Majoring in Epidemiology and Finance

Mentor

Hi y'all. I am Prajita. I was born and raised in the capital of Nepal. I like watching shows on Netflix (with the subscription that I don't have) and traveling (with the money that I don't have). I am always up for some spontaneous fun; I just need a gentle push (very very gentle). If I see you on campus, I'll 100% shout out your name. Hope you guys won't hate me for that. On a formal note, my extracurriculars include Student Alumni Ambassador, Social Media Coordinator for International Student Mentors, International Student Mentor, Business Manager for Rochester Rangoli, Teaching Assistant for PH103 for Fall 2019, Member of the Medallion Program, Member of Student Helping Honduras, Office Assistant for the Office of International Admissions, and a Host for the Office of Admissions. I am also involved in two different research internships at Saunders’ Research Building. One of the internships is related to Health Economics whereas the other one is related to Public and Community Health.

My Advice:

  1. Always be humble about the many opportunities you will receive here at the UofR.
  2. Respect your peers' life stories and experiences and expect the same from them.
  3. Get involved as much as possible because doing so will expose you to many more opportunities. It's a vicious cycle! But don't forget to know your limits!


Michelle Sandoval Siman

Class of 2022

Majoring in Business Administration

Mentor

Hey ‘Jackets! My name is Michelle though most people call me Michi. I am majoring in Business here at the U of R. I am originally from El Salvador where I attended a French School. I love singing, jamming to Disney movies and hanging out with my friends! On campus, I am the Publicity Director for the club Off Broadway On Campus and I am also involved in Habitat for Humanity and Hall Council. I am very excited to meet all of you!

My Advice:

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak to others on those first days. Remember, everyone is on the same boat as you are, looking to meet new people and make new friends. So just put on that dashing smile of yours and go for it!
  2. Get involved in the organizations here on campus! It’s a great way to meet people and a nice way to take a break from academics.
  3. Everyone goes through tough times during their first year. But you’re lucky enough to be attending a college with an incredibly supportive community. There are resources you can use and people all around you who are here for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them.


Andrew Thankson

Class of 2022

Computer Science Major with minors in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Philosophy.

Mentor

Hi, My name is Andrew. I am a rising sophomore at the University of Rochester. I am originally from Ghana and I moved to the US for the first time college and I must say it has been an awesome experience so far. There have definitely been ups and downs as there are to everything but overall it's been one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. On campus, I'm involved with UR Ecoreps (an initiative that promotes environmental sustainability in first-year dorms), I'm an Office Assistant at the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences dean's office, a member of the Pan-African Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers and also the Philosophy Council. Next academic year, I am going to be a first-year fellow for Tiernan 1 and also an ISM. I enjoy getting to know people and love sharing and learning from others' experiences so feel free to contact me if you ever want to talk.

My Advice:

  1. Be open to new experiences. Maybe you’re coming in with a plan for how your next 4 years is going to look like or you don’t really know what you want to study in College. You’ve chosen the right college to be at. The University’s open curriculum is a great way to explore other fields you may not know much about and who knows, you might take a keen interest. This actually happened to me. I took a Philosophy class for the first time as a cluster and now I’m planning on getting a minor because I fell in love with a field I never paid attention to previously. This goes for extra-curricular activities too. Try something new, join a club and learn about new things that you might love.
  2. Ask for help! You might not be used to the idea of asking for help because you might have been very smart in high school and would think you can figure out everything for yourself. You may also be used to getting help but don’t know if you can do that here. The University of Rochester, in my opinion, is one of the most supportive. As a first year, you have so many resources from RA’s, D’Lions and Fellows to Academic resources such as CETL, there are a lot of resources that are instituted to help you grow, use them! All these resources are there to help you thrive, I had to learn this the hard way but I hope you will all take my word for it and actually use these resources because they are very receptive and helpful!
  3. Have fun! You’re here to get an education but you can do that everywhere. I believe what makes the U of R special is the diversity on campus and everyone is just so nice and so enthusiastic. I’d encourage you to meet new people, make friends, and do fun things together. I’m very much looking forward to meeting you all, do say hi to me when you’re on campus!


Panzhen Wu

Class of 2022

Majoring in Music and Mathematics, Minor: Philosophy

Mentor

Welcome to UofR family! My name is Panzhen Wu and please call me Panpan :) I am from Shenzhen, China, a chill place to visit. My great interests are music, math, films, animals, photography, and etc. I have actively participated in Xclusive stepping team, Beat Box Collective, SAVVY, and Society of Physics Student. Besides, I enjoy reaching out to all kinds of unlimitedly available resources offered in and outside of campus. Also, remember to explore other amazing vibes in the City of Rochester. Getting involved creates a sense of belonging while cross-cultural experiences would offer multi-disciplinary perspectives of thoughts. I am in deep love with UofR and I believe you can also feel yourself on this campus.

My Advice:

  1. Embrace yourself. I’ve had some depressed days during the semester. I knew it’s okay to feel not okay during tough days and I realized how much people need others to share their happiness and sadness. I am here to hear your voice.
  2. Create several keywords as the themes of your activities for each semester. For example, I had “Stepping (African American Dance), Vegetarianism, and Children Education” for my first semester, “Christianity, Beat Box, and Song Writing” for my second semester. I am here for the suggestions of inspiring TED talks, Podcasts, books, films, and etc to create your own special and fulfilling experiences.
  3. Commit to your passion. Don’t push yourself too hard in time management and what I believe is activity management. Meeting the people you like and devoting wisdom to the things that are most inspiring to you would be helpful to find yourself. I am here to listen to your thoughts.


Lyrica Yanaway

Class of 2022

Majoring in Mechanical Engineering

Mentor

I am from Connecticut, where I have lived my whole life. I love reading, swimming, traveling, and getting to know new people. On campus, I work for Event Support and am also involved in the D'Lion Organization, Grassroots,Todd Theater, and Sihir Bellydance Ensemble. I'm very excited to be part of the ISM team next year!

My Advice:

  1. Try and say yes to new opportunities as they arise. Even if it is just going to the dining hall with a new group of people, or joining a club you might not have otherwise considered, you never know what you might gain.
  2. Quitting is not a bad thing. It is not worth continue with a class or club that isn't benefiting you. Never be afraid to prioritize you own health and well-being above your other commitments.
  3. There are no rules. You will be given an incredible amount of freedom in college, and it is up to you to do what you like with it. Remember to make good choices and take care of yourself and your friends. The rest is up to you!


Yiyao Zhang (Katrina Zhang)

Class of 2021

Majoring in Applied Math and Business

Mentor

Hi there! My name is Katrina. I come from Jiangxi, a southern province in China. I major in Applied Math & Business (Finance track), will also potentially minor in French. Apart from academic study, I am also the current president of UR Actuarial Club, which is a pre-professional club on campus. In my leisure time, I like to play skateboard, write my own novel, travel, and cook. I also play the ukulele when I am not occupied with other things.

My Advice:

  1. Being happy everyday. You are here to use campus resources forming a better self, making more friend, and enjoying the unique university life.
  2. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Nobody is going to be benefit from restricting himself/herself in a place where they already get used to.
  3. Respect every new thing you meet on this campus. Something you did'n see before does not mean it never exist.