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Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program
Melissa AlbizuriCourse: Understanding Native AmericaInstructor: Dahlberg
My name is Melissa Albizuri. I was born and raised in Silicon Valley, California but have been in HTX for the past four and a half years. I am currently a senior and will be awarded my B.S. in Criminal Justice with a minor in Sociology December 2020. I started my journey in higher education at Lone Star College where I earned my A.A. in the Field of Criminal Justice. With that being said, I am a proud transfer student who is a part of the Accelerated Transfer Academy where I served as Co-Chair 2019-2020 of the Student Advisory Committee. I was fortunate to have various mentors throughout my education and believe mentorships and connections have made my own journey a complete joy. This is one of the main reasons I have chosen to be a mentor myself-- I know firsthand it helps in many ways. I am looking forward to helping other students during my final semester at UHD. My goals after graduation are to apply to law school and work in programs such as the Innocence.
Karla AlmendarezCourse: Social and Behavioral Sciences Instructor: Cortez
My name is Karla Almendarez, I was born in Mexico, but have been living in Houston since I was seven years old. I’m currently finishing my third year here at UHD and will be considered a senior by fall 2020. I’m a student in the social work program and will hopefully minor in Spanish. I first heard about the Peer Mentoring Program during my freshman orientation and immediately signed up for it since I knew that it would help to make my college transition easier, especially as a first-generation student. Having a mentor during first year in college helped me in many ways and was also the main reason why I decided to become a mentor myself. I have been working as a peer mentor since fall 2018 and hope to continue until I graduate. Joining the Peer Mentoring Program has been a great way to help both freshman and transfer students. It has also helped me to develop leadership skills and form new connections. Some of the activities I’ve taken a part on have been attending the Gator Gala, becoming the vice-president of the Social Work Student Community Advocacy Network, better known as SWSCAN, and joining the social work honor society, Phi Alpha. I have also accomplished to be on the Dean’s list since fall 2017.
My goals after graduation are to attend the University of Houston and work towards my master’s degree. After graduating from UH, I plan to become a licensed social worker.
Francisco CampuzanoGTF Program
Hi! My name is Francisco Campuzano and I am a Gator Success Center Peer Mentor. I am currently a sophomore at the University of Houston-Downtown and I am working toward my Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. With my degree, I will work with Artificial Intelligence and become a Machine Learning Software Engineer. I chose to become a peer mentor because I have a passion for helping people out in any way that I can. I hope I can work and meet some of you incoming freshman soon!
Laura CondeCourse: Powers and Perils of the InternetInstructor: Creighton
My name is Laura Conde and I was born in Cartagena, Colombia. I moved to the United States when I was 3 years old. This is my last semester and I will hopefully graduate in fall 2020. As a freshman I was a participant in the mentoring program and owe much of my success to my mentors. I had just moved to Houston from Pennsylvania so there was so much I did not know about college or the Texas environment. My mentor accustomed me to this new environment and taught me how to do well in difficult subjects. My mentor’s great work inspired me to do the same for my mentees. I will be working with Dr. Creighton for the “Powers and Perils of the Internet” seminar course and look forward to bonding with my mentees through here. I am in Scholars Academy, The Honors Program, vice president of The Chemistry Club and a former Research Leader in Cyclic Voltammetry or Chemistry/ Electrochemistry field. I have been to many research conferences and I am a candidate to have my research published in the UHD Journal. I have tutored for Organic Chemistry and General Biology. My goal after graduation is to go to medical school.
Angelica EscobarCourse: Classical Music Experience
My name is Angelica Escobar and am currently a rising senior here at the University of Houston-Downtown. I am a biology major with expected minors in chemistry and microbiology by spring 2021. Additionally, I have had experience in the optical industry as an optician and currently working in the healthcare field where I will be receiving my CPR/HIPPA certification soon. I am also a member and an ambassador for the Scholars Academy Program, as well as a peer mentor at the Gator Success Center. With my acquired leadership positions, I understand the importance of being approachable and determined to reach a common goal. Hence, for that reason, being a peer mentor allows me to demonstrate such qualities in order to help guide students on the path of success.
Richmond EtmuseCourse: Strangers Among Us: The Microbiota
My name is Richmond Etumuse. I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, but moved to Houston when I was 16 years old. I am currently a junior here at the University of Houston-Downtown, majoring in Biological science with a minor in Psychology. I have been a mentee for two years now and throughout these years, I have been able to learn skills that have helped me grow both academically and in many other areas of my life. After hearing about the Peer Mentoring Program during my freshman orientation, I immediately signed up for it, because I knew it would contribute to laying a solid foundation for a successful college experience. Having a mentor during my freshman and sophomore years markedly helped me navigate the challenging college path and was one of the reasons I applied to become a peer mentor for the 2020/2021 academic session. I have always had a passion to help others who may be struggling in any way, shape, or form. I have been a member of the Scholars Academy since 2018, and this has also polished my leadership and organizational skills as I have been more exposed to a lot of stem related activities that have tremendously impacted my life. My career plan is focused on becoming a physician, and hence post-graduation, I plan to apply to medical school to continue in this journey.
Marianna Galvan-SainzCourse: Cold Case Investigations for Criminal JusticeInstructor: Gilmore
My name is Marianna Galvan-Sainz. I am a junior under the college of public service here at the University of Houston- Downtown. By the fall of 2021 I will graduate with my bachelors in Bilingual Education Early Childhood through 6th grade. I am a first generation student. Upon applying to college I wanted to make sure I had the best university experience but like every college student my first year at UHD was challenging. Although I knew the types of organizations, clubs, and resources UHD had to offer I was timorous. It wasn’t until my 2 year at UHD wear I decided to join the chemistry club, and our very own Mariachi, Mariachi Los Caimanes. Being part of a University that is not only resourceful but diverse helped me become a leader that leads by example. Litzy Rodriguez a current peer mentor acknowledge my leadership and encouraged me to become a peer mentor under the Gator Success program. I am aware of how difficult the college experience can be but it is also enthralling when lead by individuals who want to see others succeed. The University of Houston- Downtown has built so many opportunities for many. With the partnership of UH Main. I was given the opportunity to become a research assistant under their Cognitive Lab. An opportunity I never thought I would receive. As a student at UHD I’ve made so many accomplishments from the start. From spring 2019 till now. I have been on the Dean’s List under the college of public service. These are accomplishments that I will carry for the rest of my life. After graduating I’ll carry UHD in my heart. My goals after graduation are to continue my studies and receive my masters of Communications of Sciences and Disorders at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas followed by a doctorates degree in the same field. I don’t know where the future will take me but I know that a gator I will always be.
John GarciaCourse: Applying Core Math to Social SituationsInstructor: Beane
My name is John Garcia, currently a senior at UHD. I am majoring in philosophy and currently finishing up two minors, math and physics. I was not a great student in high school and decided that everything will change in college. However, I had no one I knew at UHD and I did not know how to study properly. Gladly, I found the courage to communicate with others and work hard for my grades. When I changed my major from computer science to philosophy, I felt much more at peace and found it easier to do what I needed to do.
I decided to be a part of the peer mentoring program for 3 years because I want to help students do the things I had to do alone. Being a part of this program has taught me a lot from the mentees I have had. I only hope that my former mentees feel the same way. I might not know everything, but at least you won’t be alone in finding answers.
UHD has given my so many opportunities to do what I want. I am a part of an eSports team at UHD. I have also been to Philadelphia and Chicago to present some of my papers to other students and professors from the country. After UHD, I plan on pursuing a doctorate degree in logic and hopefully continue to help students learn and navigate college.
Lorena GutierrezCourse: Business and Computer Applications
My name is Lorena Gutierrez, I am currently finishing my third year here at UHD and I will be considered a senior after fall 2020. I am majoring in Management Information Systems. I first heard about the Peer Mentoring Program during my freshman orientation. Being a first-generation college student I believe it would be helpful to have someone to rely upon as I transition from high school to college. Having a mentor during my first year of college was essential and valuable to me. I was more willing to step out of my comfort zone, start conversations, and ask questions. Which inspired me to become a mentor and hopefully help and influence others in similar ways. As a mentor, I have learned to be organized, manage my time, and work on my leadership skills. This would be my second semester as a Peer Mentor and working at the Gator Success Center. I plan to continue working as a Peer Mentor until graduation. I believe that there is still much to learn from being a mentor and working alongside the Gator Success Center.
Riley HardwickCourse: Guns in America
My name is Riley Hardwick and I am pursuing my Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in safety management with a minor in sustainability at the University of Houston Downtown. I was first introduced to the peer mentorship program by a friend who worked as a peer mentor. After hearing about the support, dedication, effort, and efficacy offered by this program, I resolved to join such a distinguished team. During my first year at UHD, I was accepted into the prestigious Scholars Academy, and though the program offered a remarkable amount of support and guidance, I still struggled to manage my course load and my extracurricular. I can only imagine the clarity and guidance a peer mentor would have given me, had I known about this program at the time. I know the struggle that is being a freshman student on scholarships, working two jobs, and juggling a full course load. I was lucky to finish my freshman term on the Dean’s list, but higher education should not be a struggle. With the assistance of the peer mentorship program, it does not have to be. This semester, I will be attending the class Guns in America instructed by Professor Cavanaugh as a peer mentor. My goal this semester is to serve as an aide for students that are struggling in any way by providing assistance, advice, and resources when necessary, ultimately guiding my peers into academic success.
Giao HoCourse: Strangers Among Us: The Microbiota
My name is Giao Ho, I was born and grow up in Vietnam. I have lived in the United States for 6 years. I am currently a member of Scholar of Academy. I am a junior and majoring in Applied Statistics with Secondary Mathematics Teacher Certification at University of Houston-Downtown. After getting my undergraduate degree, my goal is to become a high school math teacher. Since I was young, I am interested in play with number and love to play teaching game with my friend. I really enjoy spending time to help my friend doing homework and feels joyful when they called my “teacher”. This is a reason why I am interesting to become a Peer Mentor. I want to be a role model to a new colleges student and helping them adopting to the University environment. I first hear about the Peer Mentoring Program from my friend and decided sign up to become a Peer Mentor because I know the transitions between High School and College was not easy for income freshman especially as a First- generation student. I wanted to be a part of Peer Mentor to makes a difference in the lives of the new students who may feel lost, isolated, and stressed with the challenges of being a college student. I want to have a chance to make a positive impact on someone’s life because it is priceless experience. I believe joining a Peer Mentor Program not only helping a new income freshman but also help me gain more knowledge, experiment for my teaching path, and involving my leadership skills.
Janetra HurstCourse: Urban Legends
My name is Janetra Hurst. I am a Senior here at the University of Houston-Downtown. My major is Sociology and I am double minoring in Communication and Psychology. During my years of attending UHD, I have participated in the Gator Gala, speech competitions, UHDiRadio, and Black Student Association. I’ve also been on the Dean’s List since my freshman year. I have peer mentored for 3 years and I really enjoy helping my peers accomplish many goals. Currently, I am a peer mentor in Dr. Cuevas Urban Legends class and I tend to emphasis the importance of time management skills and organization techniques. I find it fulfilling that peer mentoring fosters growth and support at the university by supporting students in the transition to tertiary education. We enhance a sense of belongingness, improving students’ satisfaction, engagement, and retention rate. Since this will be my final year, I hope to further my education and mentoring skills by becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I really enjoy helping my community and seeing people succeed!
Aneeka KhanStudent Group
My name is Aneeka Khan, and I’m originally from Peshawar, Pakistan, and have been living in the US for the past 7 years. I’m half Russian and half Pakistan which allowed me to be multilingual, acquiring fluency in the following languages: Russian, Pashto, Urdu, and English. In the fall of 2020, I will be a senior majoring in Biological & Physical Sciences (BPS) with a minor in Psychology. I’m a part of a STEM honor society on campus known as the Scholars Academy through which I gained meaningful mentorship and guidance from not only my faculty but also my peers. Being a part of the Scholar's Academy allowed me to make meaningful relationships with my faculty and peers, gained career knowledge and skills, became well versed with UHD resources, and finally made some lifelong friendships. The reason I want to become a Gator Peer Mentor is to provide guidance and mentorship to freshman students because I understand it is easier and more relatable to get college advice from a peer rather than a professor. I was the first in my family to go to college in the US, so getting any mentorship and advice was vital to my success. I have had the opportunity to take advantage of all the various student leadership UHD provides, and I plan on motivating my mentees to do the same by providing the information and resources. Some of the activities I have been a part of are being an ambassador for Scholars Academy, a service-learning mentor for UHD Bio 1 lab, a supplemental instructor for Bio 1, and volunteering in Ecuador with UHD students. Some of my club memberships include senator at large for the College of Science & Technology, American Student Dental Association member, and a social media coordinator for UHD Chemistry Club. My peers and faculty encouraged me to take advantage of every opportunity despite encountering failure and that’s the type of mentorship I plan on providing by leading through example.
Mariela LopezCourse: Fairy TalesInstructor: Thomas
Mariela Lopez is a senior majoring in Urban Education with an English second language supplemental. She is a member of the Bilingual Education Student Organization, better known as BESO, and is a member of Young Life. After graduating, she plans to earn her Master of Arts in teaching degree from UHD. After hearing about the Gator Peer Mentoring Program from classmates, she knew this would be a great opportunity to grow her leadership skills, connect with other students, and help mentees succeed at UHD.
Hadiqa MalikCourse: Strangers Among Us: The MicrobiotaInstructor: Standlee
My name is Hadiqa Malik. I was born in Pakistan but have been living in Houston since I was fourteen years old. I am currently an undergraduate student at The University of Houston-Downtown. My major is in biology and minor in chemistry. My degree is Bachelor of Science in biology pending in 2021. The first time I heard about the peer mentoring program was from one of my closest friends, and she encouraged me to be a peer mentor because of my leadership and time management skills. Since I am a first-generation student, I knew how hard it was to attend college without any mentoring support. Therefore, I decided to be a peer mentor to help other students in making their college transition easier. I have been working as a peer mentor since fall 2017 and received the best Peer mentor award in 2018. This peer mentor program has given me a great opportunity in building new connections and helped me to enhance my personality. Some of my main accomplishments are that I am a part of the Scholars Academy and the National Honors Society. I have also been serving as a social chair of the UHD chemistry club and the VP finance of the UHD Muslim Student Association (MSA). I have received Jones UHD scholarship for the Excellence in Academic Achievement and Welch Scholarship for my research work. I have also accomplished to be on the dean’s list since fall 2018 and have earned UHD engaged Scholar badge. After graduating from UHD, I am planning to apply for medical school.
Cinthia MataCourse: Zombies as Social Thriller
My name is Cinthia Mata, I am about to enter my third year at the University of Houston-Downtown. I am majoring in Spanish and hopefully minor in Criminal Justice. With the Peer Mentoring Program, it allows for individuals to grow in their leadership in order to help and inspire others to do their best. This year will be my first time being a Peer Mentor and I will gladly take this role seriously, contribute to the team and have great amount of responsibility to encourage and help the mentees. This experience will allow me to connect with new individuals in which I’ll be able to learn new skills. I look forward to this new experience.
Jennifer MedinaCourse: Life and Physical Sciences
My name is Jennifer Medina. I am a junior at UHD. I will be graduating in fall 2022. My major is Urban Education with a minor in Spanish. I am President for Kappa Delta Chi Sorority at UHD. I am part of the Honors Program, in which I am also a mentor. I am in the process of joining BESO (Bilingual Education Student Organization) and Kappa Delta Pi, which is the International Honor Society in Education. This is my first semester as a Peer Mentor for the Gator Success Center. The seminar class I am mentoring is UHD 1303-Freshman Seminar-Life and Physical Sciences. I am very excited for this opportunity and to help new students with their transition to college. We are in a time when things can be more challenging, and if I can make it easier for someone, then it is very worth it.
Nidda MianCourse: American History
My name is Nidda Mian, I’m currently a junior here at UHD, majoring in Biology. I first found out about the Peer Mentoring Program during my freshman seminar class. I found it to be very interesting and was inspired by my own peer mentor to become one and joined the next fall. I love how the program helps first time college students navigate the whole university experience and are there for any questions or concerns they have and may not want to ask a professor. I think it’s a great way to connect with someone who has already gone through the experience and has tips for you to make yours better. I have gained so much leadership experience, how to communicate better and meet so many new people, building lifelong connections, in addition I was also invited to the Gator Gala for excellence as a freshman as well. I have now been part of the program since fall of 2019, and hope to be a part of helping every year till I graduate. Other programs I am part of on campus are, as a member of Sigma Alpha Pi, and the Vice President of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA). Off campus I run a non-Profit organization, with my friends. Upon Graduation I hope to go to Medical School and become a physician, hoping to be either an Ophthalmologist or Dermatologist as of right now. I am here to help, don’t be afraid to reach out!
Timoteo Alan ModrowCourse: Nature and Needs of Gifted and Talented StudentsInstructor: Fugate
Timoteo Alan Modrow is a senior at the University of Houston Downtown pursuing a B.S in Political Science and a B.A in Communication Studies. Modrow currently serves as the Student Body President for the second largest university in the fourth largest city in the U.S. He also serves in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee and in the Mayors Student Leadership Alliance. He has been able to serve as a freshman and Transfer Orientation Gator Crew member, the UHD Mascot, and countless other organizations. Modrow has been able to serve in multiple committees on campus such as the Presidential Search Committee, COIVD-19 Workgroup, Student Access Committee, Administration & Infrastructure Committee, Graduation and Retention Committee, Strategic Planning Committee, University Curriculum Committee, Orientation Sub- Committee, FTIC Sub-Committee, Freshman Seminar Sub- Committee and a few others. Modrow has a deep passion for serving and helping student navigate higher education. He hopes to help student become acclimated for to UHD and find their new forever home as gators. Although he is involved in a lot he has always and will make time for his mentees. He will be assisting as a Peer Mentor for Nature and Needs of Gifted and Talented Students with Professor Fugate.
Samantha MosleyCourse: Theater
My name is Samantha Mosley, but I go by “Sam.” I am a senior in classification, majoring in Criminal Justice (minoring in Communication). I have been a Houstonian by way of Lake Charles, La., for over a decade. I love being a UHD Gator and am involved in a host of programs and organizations on campus. In addition to being a new Gator Peer Mentor, I am the President for the Pre-Law Association, as well as the Black Student Association. I am also a member of the Student Disciplinary Committee. As I am also very passionate about civic engagement, I’ve been in SGA for about a year and was recently accepted into the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Engagement at UT-Austin's Texas Civic Ambassador Program (2020-21 Cohort). I am also a former Guardian Ad Litem (Child Advocate) for Harris County.
I’m looking forward to serving as a GPM because I want to encourage students to be tenacious in their quest to attain higher education. I’m excited to serve as a viable resource for students from different walks of life to achieve successful outcomes and ultimately strong alumni. My fall seminar course is with Professor Fedell (Theater).
Praise OderindeCourse: Biology of Women
My name is Praise Oderinde, a junior majoring in Biology (Class of 2022). I was born and brought up in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to the United States in 2015. I admired, valued, and benefited greatly from the work of my peer mentor when I was a freshman, so I quickly yielded the call to be a Peer Mentor in my sophomore year. My Peer Mentor (Hadiqa Malik), helped me navigate college, transition smoothly, and showed me the necessary resources I need to succeed here, at UHD. I plan to do the same and more for every student I have the privilege to mentor: to impact the lives of all students I come across, positively in any way possible. I have been part of this great gator family since fall 2019 and hope to continue till I graduate. I am a member of Scholars Academy; Alpha Lambda Delta, an honor society for first-year students; the secretary of American Medical Student Association (AMSA); an official of UHD Lighthouse Fellowship, Vice President-Public Relations of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) UHD Chapter, and a Supplemental Instruction Leader. I have also had the honor to be a recipient of the Gator Academic Excellence Award and Dean’s list since fall 2018 to date. While I plan to minor in Spanish, I aspire to attend medical school to be a Cardiothoracic or Trauma Surgeon after my undergraduate degree. I value diversity and curiosity. I am also always happy to help.
Riley OwensCourse: Communications
Hello, my name is Riley Owens, I am currently a Junior at the University of Houston-Downtown. I am a Communications Major specializing in Public Relations and minoring in Psychology. I work on campus as a Peer Mentor at the Gator Success Center while also Interning at the UHD iRadio program. Listening and helping others is my passion and so it is my desire to earn my Doctorate in Psychology and have a career as a Clinical Psychologist.
Karen Palma-RamosCourse: Freshman Seminar-Life and Physical Sciences
My name is Karen Palma-Ramos and I am a proud DACA recipient. I was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua in Mexico but came to Houston, TX at nine months old. I’m currently a senior here at UHD, and will be graduating December 2020. As a first-generation college student, I have witnessed firsthand the value an education holds. It is for this exact reason that I will be working as an elementary school teacher upon my graduation. My goals after graduation are to attend law school and specialize in immigration law. As previously stated, I find great value in the power of knowledge and have been on the Dean’s List since fall 2018 when I transferred to UHD. I am a first time Peer Mentor and hope to provide insight and guidance to other students navigating college for the first time. I am also a proud member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education, and will be seeking membership this fall in BESO, the Bilingual Education Student Organization as well as Kappa Delta Chi Sorority Inc. I am also an avid activist and hold membership in LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, United We Dream DACA Defense Organization, and the Black Lives Matter movement. My personal heroes include Nelson Mandela, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. My interests include languages (I currently speak 4), Harry Potter, New Girl as well as competitive cooking shows. I hope to be a great asset to the incoming Gators. Welcome to UHD!
Sharon PhillipsCourse: Social and Behavioral Sciences
My name is Sharon Phillips and I am a native Texan, and proud mother of two wonderful adult children. I was born in Port Arthur, Texas but, I have resided in Houston for the past 22 years. I am currently fully employed as a Territory Manager for Interceramic Tile & Stone Gallery since moving to Houston in 1998. I am a senior at UHD attending school online and taking night classes, and will graduate in the spring of 2021, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Human Resources. I am currently on the UHD Dean’s list, and an active member of the International Psychology Honor Society (PSI CHI). I have been mentoring for the past 10 years, students in Foster Elementary school through Dream Academy, Westfield High School through Junior Achievement, and our church youth group. In my free time I enjoy gardening, painting, and Yoga, and of course spending time with my family and friends. After graduation, I plan on seeking employment as a Talent Acquisition Recruiter in the Oil & Gas Industry.
I feel very privileged to have been selected to join UHD Peer mentors because I place a high value on education, and I love to help young people. I plan on assisting the Professor in the Social Psychology Seminar course with the students by providing helpful hints on developing good study habits, and encouraging them to achieve their educational goals along with balancing the course work load and enjoying their college experience.
Sabrina PortillaGTF Program
My name is Sabrina Portilla, and this will be my second year at UHD. I entered the university with an associate's degree that I earned while being in high school, and am currently part of the Greater Texas Foundation Program, The Dateline as a Photographer, and often volunteer here at UHD. I am currently working my way up to majoring in Biological and Physical Sciences and hoping to transfer to MD Anderson. I became interested in the Peer Mentoring Program thanks to my peer mentor in the GTF program, and to the coordinator who advised us to take the opportunity. I decided to follow the Peer Mentoring Program to be able to aid students who enter college struggling in their first year as I did and as a STEM major. I chose to be the Peer Mentor who has both failed and succeeded, gained motivation, improved myself, and reached a new perspective to better aid students. My objective is to perform great as a Mentor, transfer to MD Anderson for a Bachelors in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, and become a Radiologist.
Desiree ReyesCourse: Fairy Tales
Hi! My name is Desiree Reyes, I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I transferred to University of Houston- Downtown in Fall of 2019. I am currently majoring in Psychology and am hoping to graduate in December of 2020. I came across the peer mentoring program when I first transferred as the students apart of the program were there to assist incoming freshmen and transfers. They offered a lot of help and made the process extremely easy for creating schedules and answering questions. It reminded me of a process I was familiar with. I had taken on similar roles through my high school and college career. I enjoy helping others through new environments and processes, I have noticed that it takes a load of stress off of new comers. Therefore, when I was given the opportunity to join, I immediately applied. I know how stressful the transition can be and a support system is important. Through my years I have learned that not everyone has access to these support systems at homes or with friends so being there when you can will make a difference in their lives. Other than the Peer Mentor Program, I have joined NSLS, The National Society of Leadership and Success. I am hoping to strengthen my communication styles and go outside of my comfort zone to be the best that I can for myself, future employers, and coworkers. My goals after graduation are to attend a master’s program and work towards becoming a counselor (specifically for kids).
Reyna RomeroCourse: Zombies as Social ThrillerInstructor: Gilmore
My name is Reyna Romero, I am currently a junior working towards a Bachelor of Science in Biology. I will be graduating as a Gator in the fall of 2021.
I first transferred to UHD in the spring of 2020 and immediately knew I made the best decision by coming here. Everyone on campus was so supportive, uplifting, and really wanted nothing but the best for all of their peers. When I heard about this opportunity I knew I wanted to help others feel welcome to the University the way others did for me.
I have been to a few different schools and I know that getting used to maneuvering the different online school systems, finding your way around campus, finding organizations to participate in that will help build your resume for your future careers--all of it can seem overwhelming. I want to help with the transition and help find resources that could benefit students new to UHD. I will be the Mentor for "Zombies as Social Thrillers" for the fall of 2020.
Aside from being a Peer Mentor, I am also a part of the Scholars Academy and I am currently the Social Coordinator//Professional Development Officer for the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).
After graduating I will become an EMT-B to get hands on patient care experience to help me in my pursuit of a career as a Physician Assistant.
I love meeting new people and building connections, so please do not be afraid to reach out and say hello!
Briana RubioCourse: Criminal Justice and Social Work Disciplines & Careers
My name is Briana Rubio, I was born and raised here in Houston. I am currently finishing my 3rd year at UHD but 4th year in college. I’m a student in the Teacher Education Program and I am majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies 4-8 and will be graduating in the Fall of 2021. My goal after graduation is to start my career in teaching. When transferring to UHD in my 2nd year of college it was a big transition. It took me a while to find myself as a person, get good grades, and make friends. Slowly but surely I am finding my way. I first heard about the Peer Mentoring Program when receiving an email of them advertising to join. I automatically knew I had to jump at the opportunity because I enjoy helping and motivating others to succeed. Some activities I have been a part of so far are interning with UHD in the Summer Community Engagement program, and in the Fall of 2018, I made the Dean’s list. I’m hoping I am able to share my story with the students to connect with them, help them work on themselves, and let them know times can be tough but we can get through this pandemic and semester one step at a time. We are all in this together.
Margaret SeefurthCourse: Mathematics and Social JusticeInstructor: Quander
I am Margaret Seefurth. I am a senior, majoring in Accounting, at UHD with plans to pursue my MBA. I attribute mentorship as one of the key factors to many of my accomplishments, which is why I decided to the Gator Success Center as a peer mentor. Though this is my first year as a Peer Mentor at UHD, I have been a peer mentor in a professional setting as well as through various programs for youth mentorship. This fall, I have been assigned as the mentor for "Mathematics for Social Justice". My goal is to be available for each student and help them realize their potential. I look forward to this opportunity to support my peers on campus.
Agda Rodrigues SouzaCourse: Disciplines in Engineering
My name is Agda Rodrigues Souza, I was born in Brazil and moved to Houston on 2014. I am currently a junior at UHD and I am currently pursuing a degree in Computer Science. My first year at college was very challenging for me hence when I heard about the peer mentor program, I decided to apply because I thought it would be a great opportunity to help new students during their first college year and hopefully have a positive impact in someone’s life. After getting my bachelor’s degree, I intend to get my Master of Security Management from UHD and after getting my master degree I intend on work in the cybersecurity field.
Meheret TadesseCourse: Life and Physical Sciences
My name is Meheret Tadesse (Mercy). I was born and raised in Ethiopia and came to Houston to get my Bachelor of Science at the University of Houston-Downtown. I am currently a junior majoring in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry and I aim to become a successful pharmacist in the pharmaceutical industry. I am a member of the Scholars Academy and the Honors Program. In addition, I am an active participant in student organizations such as the Chemistry Club and the American Medical Student Association. Recently, I did research in the computational chemistry field as part of the Texas Talent Connection Program and individual research in organic and inorganic chemistry. I worked in a team and we presented a poster at the 2018 Capital of Texas Undergraduate Research Conference, 2018 Graduate School and Internship Fair, Student Research Conference, and others. A great addition to my college experience was peer mentoring. When given the opportunity to become a peer mentor, I was grateful as I wanted to share my experience and guide freshman students to navigate their journey at UHD. I hope to develop their growth mindset and help them reach their goals by helping them utilize the tremendous resources and amazing opportunities found at UHD.
Genesis TerrazasCourse: True Crime! Instructor: Barbieri
My name is Genesis Terrazas. I’m currently going into my second year here at UHD and will be considered a senior by fall 2022. I’m majoring in Biological & Physical Sciences and plan to get my pre-requisites for Veterinary School. I am part of UHD Scholars Academy and UHD Greater Texas Foundation Program, which is how I learned about the Peer Mentor Program. Both programs have allowed to me to make connections around UHD, obtain new skills, and gain new opportunities that have helped me gain new knowledge and experiences. Fall 2020 will be my first year as a mentor and I hope to take part of the program until I graduate.
During my freshman year at UHD, I had a mentor for my seminar class. My mentor helped me out in many ways which made my transition to a four-year university easier. As a first-generation student, having a mentor helped in many ways which is why I decided to join the Peer Mentor Program. This fall, I intend to help incoming freshmen with ways they can make their college experience easier and the best one they can get.
Karen ValdezCourse: Communication in the Age of the Internet
My name is Karen Vanessa Valdez, I was born and raised in Houston, Texas. I am about to begin my junior year at UH-D. I came to college with a love for philosophy, but have applied it to my academic career through the lens of an International Business degree, with a minor in English-Spanish translation. I first began mentoring in the fall of 2019 from this love I have of philosophy, and mentoring, in its essence, is the passing down of wisdom. Through my efforts in the mentoring program, I am able to learn about others, and myself simultaneously. In the Peer Mentoring Program, I have worked with freshman students, as well as students on academic probation. The skills I have gained from this position have led me to get my highest achievement in college thus far, an International Business internship I have been doing this summer of 2020 with a company in Uruguay, which I found through a partnership provided by UHD's study abroad office. Other things I have been a part of while at UHD include the Honors Program, The Dean's List, The National Society of Collegiate Scholars Honor Society, The Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, serving as Treasurer for Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Honor Society, Interning with the Bayou Review, making history as UH-D's first regional championship Women’s Soccer Team, and presenting at the Annual Gender Conference. This fall, I plan to assist incoming college students who are entering a whole new college world, while in the midst of one of the most challenging semesters thus far. With my interactions with them, I hope to inspire them to keep aiming high even in a mostly virtual college experience. I will not only show them how to aim high with their goals but mobilize them to be in close reach of those goals. I look forward to this semester!
Paloma Villareal-BandaCourse: Urban LegendsInstructor: Cueva
I have always been interested in learning about the mind and behavior, which led to my decision to major in Psychology. During the time I have been at UHD, I have enjoyed every psychology course I have taken. Unfortunately, I did not participate in any clubs or organizations. I simply went to class and often visited the food court. Towards the end of my freshman year, I decided to apply to student worker jobs in efforts to enhance my college experience. After completing several job applications and interviews, I accepted to work at the UHD president's office. It was a pleasure to meet the staff and it was also an amazing working experience because it allowed me to learn more about the university. After a couple of months working there, I read about an open position as a Gator Peer Mentor and decided to apply for it because I felt that it would be the ideal opportunity to connect with other students and offer assistance on how to succeed in college classes. I now have been a Gator Peer Mentor for a year and I look forward to more. My mentees can expect consistent communication, motivation, and encouragement. I will make sure to guide you towards the path to success during your college career and make the best out of it. Upon receiving my degree at UHD, I plan to attend UH Main for the Clinical Psychology Program.
Isaac WoteCourse: Communication in the Age of the InternetInstructor: Ali
My name is Isaac Wote. I am originally from Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa. I am majoring in Management Information Systems and will be a senior student at the University by fall 2020. I have joined the Gator Success Center as a Peer Mentor to help my junior fellow students in any way I can as I am eagerly interested to see them succeed in college. Currently, I am working for the UN Agency as Operations Assistant. In my spare time, I enjoy playing football and spending time with family and friends. Once graduated, I plan to become a System Analyst and continue with my postgraduate studies.
Esteban YanezCourse: Business and Comp Applications Instructor: Zhou
My name is Esteban Yanez. I belong to the Class of 2021 and am planning to graduate and receive my bachelor's next summer. I am majoring in Political Science and minoring in Business.
Once I was informed about the Peer Mentorship Program, I decided to join because I know the challenges that come with going to university especially for students who are the first in their family to do so, like me. Every student has their path to success, so being a peer mentor will allow me to help them develop the iron mind needed to create new skills and accentuate their current ones. I will help them better understand what it means to have strong emotions about failure and success, then use those same emotions as tools and not let them interfere with their goals and aspirations. This will help them understand how different university is when they have a mind that is not distorted and affected easily by outside influences. When I was a freshman, there were so many thoughts bouncing in my head: What if I fail a class? What if I don't figure out what I'd like to dedicate my time towards? What if I let myself down? Every single one of us are capable of doing what we want as long as we put the work in correctly.
Studying political science and business has taught me leadership and social skills that will benefit those I will be mentoring in the Business and Comp Applications Seminar course. I began my first semester at UHD last fall after many trial and erros at another university and community college. I understood that after many of the hardships I went through, attending UHD was an accomplishment in itself for me. I then gave it the best I could balancing work, my classes, and became 2019-2020 Political Science student of the year, which opened the door for me to help others within this Peer Mentorship Program.
Taiya YoungsCourse: Fairy Tales
My name is Taiya Youngs. I am a born and raised Houstonian. I am expecting to graduate from UHD in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. I have been working as a peer mentor since fall 2019 and hope to continue until I graduate. My primary purpose in becoming a Peer Mentor was to encourage students to get involved on campus and show them that UHD is a great university and can offer just as much as other major universities. Joining the Peer Mentoring Program has been a great way to help both freshman and transfer students while also me to develop leadership skills and form new connections.
I have coordinated and presented at events on campus such as “Black State of Mind” to promote mental health in African American communities and the “Black Women’s Empowerment Brunch” during Black History month last spring. I am also Vice-President of the Black Student Association, President of Active Minds, and Senior Senator for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences-Student Government Association. I have been a Supplemental Instructor for Intro to Psychology and Philosophy since spring 2019. I am also a member of a few Honors Associations, including UHD’s Honors Program, Alpha Lambda Delta, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and more. My goals after graduation are to get my Ph.D. and bridge social work and psychology together. I would like to have community centers with mental health clinics in low-income neighborhoods and have group homes primarily for teens and minorities. I am an advocate for civic engagement and believe in bettering my environment by getting involved first-hand. I have already begun this journey and was named a 2019-2020 Rising Star by the League of Women Voters in Houston. I have been representing UHD well in proceedings such as the HERA conference, and I am hoping to spread this passion to our new Gators.
The Grimm’s Fairy Tale Freshman Seminar is a very enlightening course. I took it as a freshman and left the semester with a completely different outlook regarding things like gender norms and fairy tale storylines. I am looking forward to working alongside Dr. Thomas, and helping the class become the best successful students they can be.
4/1/2021 5:47 AM
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