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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.

Rebecca Ayiku

Rebecca Ayiku

Human Development & Psychological Services, Class of 2022

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: Don’t be afraid to reach out! There are so many amazing advisors, staff, and friends who genuinely care about your success and well-being. No one can help you if they don’t know what you need. Step out of your comfort zone and speak up. You don’t have to struggle alone! It WILL be rough, but you WILL get through it!!

Fun Fact: I was born in Ghana and lived in Israel for a year before coming to the U.S.

Favorite Sweet/Savory Treat: Snickers/Kit Kat

Best piece of advice I've ever received: My mom always tells me, “Do your best and leave the rest to God.” Remembering this when I’ve done all that I can truly does bring me peace and hope.

Emma Eder

Emma Eder

Mathematics and philosophy, Class of 2021

What I wish I'd known as a first year: Surround yourself both with people who will challenge you and people who will support you.  Get to know your classmates—start a conversation with those sitting around you.  Make group chats and coordinate study groups.  You will learn as much from your peers as you will from your professors.

Favorite place to study on campus: My Slivka suite lounge.  Hopefully my apartment this year will become my new favorite study place.

Fun Fact: I studied abroad in New Zealand for 6 weeks before I got sent home when COVID hit.

Best piece of advice you've ever received: The path to success is not linear!  I have faced unexpected challenges throughout the past couple years, and what has guided me through were a growth mindset and resilience.  I wish I knew not to be so hard on myself when life didn’t go as planned.

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 Northwestern: 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

Symone Jackson

Symone Jackson

Neuroscience & Human Development & Psychological Services

What I wish I'd known as a first year:  Don’t be afraid to seek help from your professors or TAs; they want to see you succeed. Also, try to find people in your classes to form study groups with, because it can help you stay motivated and understand the material better.

Favorite Sweet/Savory Treat: Butter Pecan ice cream

Favorite show right now: Lovecraft Country

Best piece of advice you've ever received:  Embrace your journey; it is much more important to notice your growth through uncomfortable experiences, instead of focusing on the severity of your failures. Our failures do not determine our worth, but only guide us towards a better direction to achieve our goals.

Shira Nash

Shira Nash

Sociology & International Studies, Class of 2023

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: As a first year, I wish I had known how to take advantage of the advising system. They truly are there to help, and no question is a "stupid question." Towards the end of my winter quarter, I realized that academic advisors, NCA, UPAL, and several other programs are key tools to unlock a successful and fruitful Wildcat education.

Favorite thing about Northwestern: I love the sense of school spirit and pride. It is definitely something I didn't have in high school that I searched for when looking for the perfect college fit.

Favorite restaurant in Evanston: 10Q Chicken, hands down. 

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: Even when others go low, you go high. 

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 Northwestern: 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 I’ve ever received: Work hard, play hard.

Emamoke Oshobe

Emamoke Oshobe

Biological Sciences, Class of 2021

What I wish I'd known as a first year:  It may seem like everyone has everything together, but in reality, it’s all an act. Go at your own pace and focus on your own journey.

Favorite place to study on campus:  Anywhere in Main, as long as I’m with good company

Fun Fact: I love to sing

Favorite show right now: Umbrella Academy

Molly Pribble

Molly Pribble

Computer Science, Class of 2022

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: Don’t worry about how well you do academically compared to other people. Just do your best work and know that you belong at NU. 

Favorite restaurant in Evanston: Mumbai Indian Grill or Colectivo

Favorite tv series right now: I’m more of a movie person. My favorite movies are probably Forrest Gump and Inception.

Best piece of advice I've ever received: Don’t stress about things that are out of your control.

Kranti Ramalla

Kranti Ramalla

Legal Studies & Global Health, Class of 2022

What I wish I'd known as a first year: I wish I had known the value of taking classes completely out of my comfort zone. I took one in spring quarter, and it ended up being one of my favorite classes.

Favorite thing about Northwestern: Unlimited amounts of opportunities and experiences.

Fun Fact: I am ambidextrous.

Best piece of advice you've ever received: Change is never easy, but always possible.

Imani Sumbi

Imani Sumbi

Journalism, Class of 2022

What I wish I'd known as a first-year student: Don’t feel like you have to try everything at once. There may be a million things you want to do at Northwestern and not enough time to do them all in your first year. Take your time, take on only what you can handle, and don’t worry about missing out.

My biggest academic challenge: I am both a slow reader and a frequent procrastinator, which, as you can imagine, is a dangerous combination.

Favorite thing about Northwestern: You can find so many hidden gems on campus if you know where to look for them.

Fun fact: My name means “faith” in Swahili.