Peer Mentors

Training and advising committee

Andreas Quainoo

Andreas Quainoo

Training and advising committee co-chair

Subjects: chemistry, mathematics, physics, engineering
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Major: aeronautical engineering
Year in school: junior
Interests: flight, programming, reading, running
Why I want to be a peer mentor: While many people may not know it, there is not one single technique to learn or study. Adapting yourself to discover and learn the best way to study is vital to college success. I would like to help others find their own unique way to study which they will be comfortable with. I also want to be a peer mentor because I can never really know whether I understand a topic or subject unless I teach it to others. “Teaching is the highest form of understanding.” – attributed to Aristotle.
Career goals: It is my desire to see the development and availability of personal aircraft to many. I therefore intend to work in the aircraft industry to design and build the next generation of personal transports.
Advice: Success in college is not for a select few. Ambition is next to nothing without determination and hard work. Don’t throw in the towel just yet!

Jin Yu Woo

Jin Yu Woo

Training and advising committee co-chair

Subjects: chemistry, mathematics
Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Major: chemical engineering
Year in school: junior
Interests: fitness, running, swimming, movies, traveling
Why I want to be a peer mentor: To apply what I know and learn more via teaching. As I believe, you teach best what you most need to learn.
Advice: We govern and traverse our own paths while teachers merely show the way along.
Quote: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Other peer mentors

David Ajoku

David Ajoku

Subjects: mathematics, physics, engineering
Hometown: Imo, Nigeria
Major: aerospace engineering
Year in school: sophomore
Interests: fitness, cooking—I'm a really good cook, dance, soccer, and drawing
Involvement: WMU Lee Honors College, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society
Why I want to be a peer mentor: People say goals are dreams with deadlines, but more intriguingly they are ambitions revolving around a burning passion. My dreams and goals in life have made me realize that I am a proponent of change who wishes to transform the lives of others in all the possible ways I can. Peer mentoring will give me the opportunity to live this humanitarian dream of mine of helping others discover themselves and other areas of their cognitive potentials, through idea transfer and knowledge sharing. More so, for me it’s not just about teaching but it’s also about learning from others, which I believe will help me grow holistically.
Career goals: I take genuine interest in technological innovation and so I hope to someday develop ideas and initiatives for futuristic air transport systems. Above all, my wish is to positively impact the lives of others with my career in the best way I can.
Advice: Excellence is not by accident and is never an incidence of coincidence. Don’t confuse it; if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. But even when you fail, still remember that you only really fail when you quit trying. Pick yourself up and don’t let the mistakes of yesterday destroy your wonderful today and ruin your great tomorrow. Remember, success has always been easy to measure; it is the distance between one's origin and one's final achievement. Aim to be excellent so that your success will be immeasurable. 
Quote: “Worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere, it is simply the misuse of imagination. It’s like having sight but lacking vision. Quit worrying and begin to dream because dreams do come true only if you dare to dream. ” – Bill Newman

Lucia Alvarez Soto

Lucia Alvarez Soto

Subjects: mathematics, physics, engineering, Spanish
Hometown: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
Year in school: graduate
Major: civil engineering
Interests: Zumba classes, traveling, going to the beach, hanging out with my friends, reading, shopping, surfing the web, and listening music.
Why I want to be a peer mentor: I want to be a peer mentor because it presents to me the opportunity to help others. I enjoy spending time with my students and seeing them succeed. Moreover, I want to be a positive influence in the lives of others; and by mentoring them I can help those people to improve their college experience academically.
Career goals: My goal is to obtain a master’s degree in construction management with a minor in transportation engineering. With this degree I plan to work in the construction industry and hopefully establish myself as successful professional. I would really be interested in working in something related to the development of construction projects, urban planning, and transportation design.
Advice: My advice would be to invest your time wisely while in college. Integrate yourself into the community, make friends, and study. Lastly, one final advice: Be confident, believe in you and in what you can do.
Quotes: "I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions." – Stephen Covey

Lawrence Cuneaz

Lawrence Cuneaz

Subjects: mathematics, computer science, physics
Hometown: Royal Oak, Mich.
Major: applied mathematics
Minor: computer science
Year in school: junior
Interests: weight lifting, billiards, riding go-karts, and volunteering
Why I want to be a peer mentor: I enjoy seeing satisfaction in students' eyes after solving a problem. I want to help students knock down barriers so they see that with hard work anything is achievable.
Career goals: I plan to go to graduate school and become a professor of mathematics, sculpting the minds of the future.
Advice: Do not be afraid to ask for help. Successful students are not students that completely understand a concept when it is first presented; successful students build their understanding by asking questions and seeking help.
Quote: "Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." – Albert Einstein

Farhana Ikmal Hisham

Farhana Ikmal Hisham

Subjects: biology, psychology
Hometown: Shah Alam, Malaysia
Major: biomedical science, psychology
Year in school: Senior
Interests: PC/console gaming, reading, cats, working out, baking, online shopping, thrifting, and 8-ball pool.
Involvement: Lee Honors College, Malaysian Students' Association, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and Golden Key Honor Society.
Why I want to be a peer mentor: Adjusting to university life is hard, and students often show their stress through their grades. Having lived through the ordeal of adjustment, I want to help others through this tough period. It is also a great opportunity to meet new people and impact their lives in a positive way.
Career goals: I aim to attend a high-ranking medical school and one day become a surgeon. I also aim to publish an article in a peer-reviewed journal before I graduate from medical school. Lastly, I aim to invest a minimum of $50,000 in the stock market by the age of 30.
Advice: Pay very, very close attention to the lecture; if you manage to understand the information in lecture, you won't have to put in too many extra hours to study outside of class. Practice, practice, practice, especially if the class is math-heavy. Office hours should be your best friend so you can be your instructor's best friend. Be skeptical of everything you read; if you learn something new, get another perspective of it through the Internet or another book. Seeing a subject from all angles helps you to understand in better.
Quote: "You can never be overdressed or overeducated." – Oscar Wilde

Maria Kelley

Subjects: Spanish, biology, chemistry
Hometown: Okemos, Mich.
Major: Spanish and biomedical science
Year in school: senior 
Interests: running, traveling, relaxing, and trying new foods
Why I want to be a peer mentor: I believe that learning a subject is a positive experience that can truly enrich one's career. Therefore, as a peer mentor, I aim to help students in mastering a subject so that they can continue on to accomplish their goals for the future. It brings me joy to have fellow students do well in their academics, and if I can help with any obstacles that come their way then it will be easier for not only them to succeed in class and in their goals but for me to do so as well. Teaching is learning.
Career goals: I plan to graduate from WMU and then enroll in a medical school so that I can fulfill my dream of becoming a doctor. Hopefully I will specialize in dermatology.
Advice: Write lists of what needs to be done for the day so that you can focus on one task at a time. 
Quote: "When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps." — Confucius

Minh Nguyen

Minh Nguyen

Subjects: physics, mathematics, engineering
Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Major: construction engineering
Year in school: junior
Interests: Vietnamese martial art, swimming, soccer, fitness, drawing, and cooking
Involvement: Association of Vietnamese Students and Lee Honors College
Why I want to be a peer mentor: Respect, responsibility, honesty, balance, organization, and excellence are the six core values for a good person that I have been taught since my freshman year in high school. However, knowing and understanding are two different stories. For all those years, I always stayed close to these values, and indeed they take me to achievements. I am not saying that I already own these values for myself, but by living with them, for sure I will get to understand them a little more every day. The more you give, the more you earn. For years, I have been living and studying in America, I have learned and grown up so much, and now it is the time for me to give something back to the community that has been giving me so much. With my sustained knowledge, I want to help other students not only understand the difficult subjects, but also to know the ways to understand the subjects themselves.
Career goals: After I get my bachelor's degree in construction engineering from WMU, I am planning to continue with my MBA and master's degree in structural engineering in Europe. Within five years, I will get a job at a top engineering firm in Germany.
Advice: Successful people are not the people who are smarter or have more talents. They are the people who never stop learning and following their dreams. In fact, most importantly, they are not frightened by failures. They are the risk-takers who hunger for success because they know that failures are going to teach them the lessons that no one else can teach them. Success does not come free for anyone. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” — Steve Jobs
Quote: “Everything in life is possible. There is only one question for you to ask yourself; Do you want it bad enough?” — Diep Ngoc Suong (This is my grandma, one of the top successful businesswomen in Vietnam. She is still working at the age of 70.)

Saria Saleem

Saria Saleem

Subjects: Spanish, psychology, biology, chemistry, and statistics
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Major: biomedical science and Spanish
Year in school: junior
Interests: I love spending time with my friends and family, shopping, camping, and drawing.
Why I want to be a peer mentor: As I mentor I hope to teach students better and more efficient ways to learn the subject material to prepare themselves for not just their upcoming assignments but future career/life opportunities. Also, I want to help the students develop skills and become better at handling college life and future careers in a way that is personal to them. I believe as a mentor I can gain a more practical understanding of my knowledge, which will help me achieve my goal of a well-rounded and experience rich Medical Student with excellent leadership skills in the near future.
Career goals: I am currently seeking a bachelor's degree in biomedical science and Spanish as a premedical student at Western Michigan University. Later, I plan on going to medical school to complete my education and build a good career.
Advice: Life is a learning process and we are constantly learning new details about ourselves and our surroundings. Therefore, I encourage the students to seek help from their mentors in figuring out how to face the upcoming challenges in their lives and how to achieve their goals with success.
Quote: "In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” — Phil Collins

Silmang Sene

Silmang Sene

Subjects: mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, and French
Hometown: Dakar, Senegal
Major: aerospace engineering
Year in school: junior
Interests: movies, flight simulators, soccer, video games, hanging out with friends, and swimming
Why I want to be a peer mentor: Most of the time, students have problems finding a particular method of studying that suits them for a particular subject. First of all, being a peer mentor will give me a chance to help others, to share my knowledge about a particular subject, and to share my experience about college. In addition, mentoring gives me the opportunity to enhance my leadership skills by mentoring different students from different cultural backgrounds and improve my organizational skills. It will allow me to meet new people with whom I can share ideas and learn from. Also, as a peer mentor, I would like to help students find their own ways to study and to be successful in college. Finally, this program will give me the chance to have a positive impact on other people's life. 
Career goals: I am planning on working in a lot of areas in my field but I would love to do more research and find new says to improve aircraft safety. I would like to participate in projects that focus on the development of aeronautics in my country. Also, I want to get a degree in management.
Advice: College can be a lot of fun but one has to find the right balance in order to achieve his or her goal. Also, when you feel overwhelmed by school, you need to prioritize instead of trying to get everything done at the same time. 
Quote: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Reiko Watanuki

Reiko Watanuki

Subjects: Japanese and sociology
Hometown: Ehime, Japan
Program: Master of Social Work
Year in school: graduate
Interests: I love listening to music, watching TV, shopping, hanging out with my friends, and traveling.
Why I want to be a peer mentor: Helping students achieve their goals and succeed is a passion of mine. Being a peer mentor will also help develop my communication and leadership skills, as well as understand American college students.
Career goals: My biggest interest in social work is child and youth welfare. My professional plan after graduation is working with youth who face a lot of serious social problems, such as mental illness, juvenile delinquency, drugs, school violence, and suicide. I want to protect them from bad situations and give them a brighter future. 
Advice: Enjoy everything that happens in your life, even your studies.
Quote: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela