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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.

Lauren Chrisman

Lauren Chrisman

Neuroscience, Class of 2020

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: That reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness, in fact, I would argue it’s a sign of strength!

My biggest academic challenge: Adjusting to the rapid pace of the quarter system.

Favorite place to study on campus: The fourth floor stacks in Main!

Favorite Sweet Treat: Chocolate ice cream (preferably with whipped cream)

Sarah Dynia

Sarah Dynia

Neuroscience, Class of 2019

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: That it’s totally okay to struggle and ask for help. Everyone around you may look like they are doing amazing without stressing at all, but no one is stress-free.

My biggest academic challenge: Keeping myself on a timeline to complete things in a timely manner.

Favorite thing about NU: Everyone is very involved and passionate. Once you find someone’s passion, you are guaranteed to have an amazing discussion with them!

Fun fact about me: I have been on a billboard before!

Elise Forst

Elise Forst

Biology, Class of 2021

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: Don’t feel pressured to know your major right away, and make sure to call your parents/people who love you.

My biggest academic challenge: Not procrastinating on homework/studying.

Favorite thing about NU: All the free food given out on the daily.

Fun Fact: I have 10 pet chickens, and I also have owned/rescued 15 parrots.

Favorite Sweet Treat: Watermelon sour patch

Meera Ganesh

Meera Ganesh

Global Health, Class of 2021

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: I wish I knew that in college there is really a niche for everything. If there is something that you'd really like to try or become involved in, there is a club or group of people who are likely interested in the same thing. There is never any pressure to do things just because you feel like other people are doing them. 

My biggest academic challenge: Sometimes I would feel like I had studied all I could for a class but the results didn't reflect the effort I had put in. This can be frustrating at times when you are so accustomed to success in high school. It was an eye-opening experience for me; I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not worth stressing over the grade if you are still learning and growing as a person.

Favorite place to study on campus: In Core during the day because the view of the lake is beautiful.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: Stay Humble, Hustle Hard

Calik Hemmings-Lambert

Calik Hemmings-Lambert

Communication Sciences and Disorders, Class of 2019

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: Flexibility is crucial to sustenance. Week 1 is very different from week 9 and that is okay. Forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes.

My biggest academic challenge:  Completing work in distracting environments. I like silence and sometimes that is hard to find.

Favorite thing about Northwestern: The diversity of research being conducted throughout the school.

Fun Fact: I’m an avid biker. My main mode of transportation when I am home is my motorcycle and I hope to buy/build a MotoGP or Formula 1 team in the future.

Klaudia Konieczny

Klaudia Konieczny

Psychology, Class of 2020

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: I wish that I had been more aware of all the tutoring options that Northwestern provides its students.

My biggest academic challenge: So far, my biggest challenge has been changing my studying habits that I had developed during high school to meet the demands of coursework in college.

Favorite thing about NU: My favorite thing about NU is the diverse students that go to this school. There's a wide range of personalities that makes it easy for you to find friends that will remain by your side.

Favorite tv series right now: All time favorite is Parks and Rec

Emmanuel Ogunlana

Emmanuel Ogunlana

Neuroscience, Class of 2021

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: You don’t have to be afraid of talking to your professors. A great majority of them are actually really nice and want to help you succeed.

My biggest academic challenge: Organic Chemistry

Favorite thing about NU: The Lakefill. Such a great place to unwind, especially at the end of the school year when it gets really nice outside.

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: No matter what, always be the hardest working person in the room. And don’t be afraid to be the hardest player, too.

Yi Qiao

Yi Qiao

Computer Science, Class of 2020

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: For tests, do all the offered practice exams. It really saves lives.

My biggest academic challenge: Laziness and prioritizing, especially when it comes to reading and long homework assignments. I always put things off if they’re not due or quizzed on the next day, and before you know it everything piles up into one giant unmanageable ball of stress. Gradually I’ve been forcing myself to practice good time-management habits so that even if I’m feeling unmotivated, I will automatically start working out of habit.

Favorite place to study on campus: In the lounge area of my dorm or in my room

Favorite restaurant in Evanston: Tapas Barcelona or Mt. Everest

Sofia Salgado

Sofia Salgado

Psychology, Class of 2020

What I wish I’d known as a first-year: How to make the best use of my time, especially summer.

My biggest academic challenge: My greatest academic challenge was getting through German 101-103 during Summer Quarter 2017. I got into this intensive summer course a week and a half into the class, and many thought I would not manage to get through the first part of the course. However, thanks to determination and help from my professors, I got through.

Favorite place to study on campus: I love studying at Kresge! It is such a beautiful building.

Favorite TV series right now: I love watching Shadowhunters, Stitchers, and Game of Thrones.

Rachel Tseng

Rachel Tseng

Neuroscience, Class of 2021

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: Taking care of your wellbeing is as important as doing well in school.

My biggest academic challenge: Being susceptible to overloading responsibilities that I take on because of the wide variety of opportunities available.

Favorite thing about NU:  I have met the most incredible, kind-hearted, and loving people here who have not just become my closest friends, but also my family. 

Favorite tv series right now: Running Man (Korean Variety Show)

Robert Wang

Robert Wang

Sociology, Class of 2021

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: A guideline to American cultural references.

My biggest academic challenge: Not being able to comprehend domestic students’ jokes because of my foreign identity and undermining my own writing because English is not my first language.

Favorite thing about NU: Support from my fellow Wildcats.

Favorite restaurant in Evanston:  The Brothers K CoffeeHouse (literally the best latte)