Skip to main content

Meet the Mentors

Our UPAL peer mentors are undergrads who understand the Northwestern academic landscape and are committed to helping other students navigate it successfully. Meet the team below.

Cristian Carpio

Cristian Carpio

Biology, Class of 2024

"I want to work with other students through ASLA to empower them with the productivity, time, and stress-management skills that I did not have coming into NU. As a first-gen/low-income student at NU, I am now in a position where I feel I understand many of the struggles and gaps that occur with adjusting to a college curriculum. I aspire to close this gap, especially for students with a similar experience to mine, but ultimately to create a welcoming and productive environment for all. "

Fun fact:  I've spent three days in a Buddhist Monastery in Thailand.

Best advice you've received: My academic advisor once told me that failure was inherent to learning. Once I expected to fail, I did not shun myself when asking for help and actively sought it after exhausting my own resources.

Logan Fosu

Logan Fosu

Cognitive Sciences & International Studies, Class of 2024

"I want to work with other students through ASLA because for a while, I thought that my academic success solely depended on myself/my performance. But there are such great forces at play — one of them being having a great support system and knowing how to navigate the academic world, which ASLA is amazing at providing. Thus, I wanted to be a part of providing that for other students."

Favorite place to study on campus: It would have to be one of the quiet zones in Main, especially a great window spot that looks out onto the courtyard.

Best advice you've received: Think about yourself 10 years from now, especially in high stress and/or seemingly disappointing moments (i.e., will 30-year-old me really care about or even remember that C in my first-year Econ class?)

Haley Handelman

Haley Handelman

Psychology, Class of 2024

"I went through hiccups and road bumps adjusting to college, and I want to help create a warm and supportive atmosphere for other students who are in that same boat. I love working with others and I'm excited to meet new people."

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: How genuinely supportive most professors are. They want you to go to their office hours!

Best advice you've received: Comparison is the thief of joy.

Favorite thing about Northwestern: The wonderful friends I have met

Brennan Jackson

Brennan Jackson

Mathematics, Class of 2024

"I find making a difference in students' lives one of the most rewarding feelings! Also it's great to meet new people who you go to school with."

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: That being a first-year can be difficult. Not everything turns out the way you expect, and that's okay.

Favorite place to study on campus: Probably Main. There's so many different spots you can go to.

Favorite thing about Northwestern:  In my experience, the professors are genuinely eager to help students. They make me feel welcome and excited about learning.

Kabeer Kishore

Kabeer Kishore

Cognitive Science and Statistics, Class of 2023

"Guiding my peers through life and academics is a passion of mine, and being able to provide that help to so many more people is fulfilling."

What I wish I'd known as a first year:  That ASLA was a resource available for me to use! I wish someone had told me the things I tell my peer mentees now.

Favorite place to study on campus: I would have to go for Core in Main (which is where the ASLA office is located!)

Best advice you've received:  In my first year, a TA gave this piece of advice on a paper I wrote, and it stuck with me: "You're not doing assignments for the benefit of the professor or me, but for yourself."

Duke (Po-Ting) Lin

Duke (Po-Ting) Lin

Economics & Mathematics, Class of 2025

"I hope to work with other students through ASLA because I believe working together is the best way to deal with the academic and mental challenges that will inevitably arise throughout our college years. As someone who regularly consulted with my professors, advisors, and peers for advice, I am eager to act as a mentor and share my own experiences with other students!"

Favorite thing about Northwestern: My friends, peers, coworkers, professors, advisors, and everyone (including the security guard I see every night coming back to my dorm) I have met so far.

Best advice you’ve received: Take a break to give yourself a round of applause and a moment of self-appreciation for the accomplishments you have achieved so far!

Sophia Moreno

Sophia Moreno

Neuroscience & Global Health, Class of 2024

"I was in UPAL a couple of quarters ago, and I felt that it helped me gain confidence in using Northwestern's resources and made me realize that I'm not alone in my struggles."

What I wish I'd known as a first year:  That going to office hours isn't as scary as it seems and is more helpful than you can imagine.

Favorite place to study: Periodicals!

Samantha Olson

Samantha Olson

Learning & Organizational Change and Psychology, Class of 2024

"I love being able to meet new Northwestern students and feel like I have a place on campus."

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student:  Don't be afraid to explore Northwestern and try out new classes, clubs, and events.

Favorite Evanston restaurant:  La Cocinita and Cozy Noodle

Favorite thing about Northwestern:  The people. I've made so many good friends and met so many amazing professors and mentors.

Elise Pakiela

Elise Pakiela

Theater & Entrepreneurship, Class of 2024

"I am excited about working with other students through ASLA because I am able to see my peers grow and succeed over the course of the quarter." 

What I wish I'd known as a first year:  It is very important to balance all aspects of your well-being because they are interconnected. Within such a fast-paced environment, your academic and extracurricular success will be fueled by a lifestyle that is healthy and sustainable.

Favorite place to study on campus:  University Library

Best advice you've received: It is okay to take breaks; you do not always have to be working. 

Inka Rzezinowska

Inka Rzezinowska

Computer Science (WCAS), Class of 2024

"ASLA helped me so much when I was struggling, and it helped open my eyes to the way other students were feeling. I want to do the same, and help in any way to prevent a student from feeling the way I did or help them in the way that they need it. "

What I wish I'd known as a first year:  I wish I had known that my goals won't be the same as other people's, and that it's perfectly OK. It doesn't mean I'm worth less or that I don't deserve to be here, but just that I am my own person.

Favorite place to study on campus:  Pancoe Auditorium or an empty classroom.

Best advice you've received: Excellence is not perfection.

Teddy Wongkar

Teddy Wongkar

Economics & International Studies, Class of 2023

"College can be a confusing and challenging time for many people, and I have only gotten this far thanks to the help and support I have received. It is time for me to give back to the community and lend a helping hand!"

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: I wish that I had taken time to reflect on my priorities and the goals I wanted to achieve during my time in college.

Favorite place to study on campus:  Mudd study rooms, Shepard Hall, and Main periodicals

Best advice you've received: Stop, take a breath, and look at the big picture.



Binhao Wu

Binhao Wu

Learning & Organizational Change & Psychology, Class of 2025

"I wish to pass on the lessons I learned through my time at Northwestern to other students. Connecting with other students through ASLA is also a great way to engage with and give back to the community."

What I wish I'd known as a first year:  That I didn't need to have my major and my career figured out, and that there is no need to stress about finding a set career path or a path to "success."

Favorite thing about Northwestern:  The Lakefill