Peer Mentors and Group Leaders

Senior Peer Mentors

Domenica DeMeyere

Domenica DeMeyere

Subjects: intro biology, intro psychology, holistics
Hometown: Brighton, Mich.
Major: speech-language pathology
Minor: statistics and data analysis
Year in school: junior
Interests: volunteering, hanging out with friends, running, drawing, trying new things, going on adventures
Why I want to be a peer mentor: The transition you have to make into becoming a college student is difficult and sometimes overwhelming. It is nice to know that there is someone who have been in same situation and experienced some of the things students are going through. This job allows me the opportunity to guide and reach out to others, and I hope that through this program I will be able to help students have a smoother transition and feel more comfortable and confident in facing the situations that arise throughout their first year.
Career goals: After completion of a master's degree in speech-language pathology, I hope to be working in a hospital with stroke patients, in aiding them to recover the ability to speak or communicate.
Advice: College is a lot of hard work, but that should never be intimidating. View that as a new challenge to grow and change. As long as you maintain a balance between work and play, this will be a positive experience you will carry for the rest of your life.
Quote: "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time." – Thomas Edison

Marilyn Laski

Marilyn Laski

Subjects:  psychology, sociology, gender and women's studies
Hometown: Saginaw, Mich. 
Major: behavioral science
Minor: sociology
Year in school: junior
Interests: traveling, watching movies, camping, and listening to music
Why I want to be a peer mentor: More often than not individuals with a nontraditional background are overlooked. Without a solid foundation or support system, even the most promising students can struggle academically and emotionally in college. I know that there are multiple paths in life and we all deserve the same opportunities.
Career goals: After completing my bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, my goal is to go to graduate school. I hope to work as a mental health counselor to some capacity.
Advice: If you are struggling do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not struggle in silence; there will always be people willing to support you. Even when it feels like it’s you against the world, be your best friend, not your worst enemy.
Quote: “Most great people have attained their greatest success just beyond their greatest failure.” – Napoleon Hill

Annette Calvario Perales

Annette Perales

Subjects: psychology, sociology, criminal justice, Spanish, holistics, intro social work
Hometown: Walla Walla, Wash.
Program of study: Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision
Degrees earned: B.S. in psychology, M.A. in clinical mental health counseling
Interests: hiking, exploring, cooking, dancing, concerts, meditation
Why I want to be a peer mentor: Transitioning to college is a challenging and exciting process. Being in the helping profession has led me to explore various different roles where I can continue to help others grow to their fullest potential. As a mentor, I think it’s important to recognize that mentoring is beyond the title. It is work I am passionate about – helping students grow and strive in academia.
Career goals: After completing my doctoral degree, I hope to obtain a position as an educator to train future counselors. I would also like to have a private practice, counseling children and adolescents.
Advice: College can get hectic. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, physically, mentally, spiritually. 
Quote: “Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.” – Frida Kahlo

Peer mentors

Ashlee Lambert

Ashlee Lambert

Subjects:  intro mathematics, intro biology, philosophy
Hometown: Flint, Mich. 
Major: interpersonal communication
Minor: non-profit leadership
Year in school: junior
Interests: playing trumpet, working out, serving God, volunteering, going on adventures, playing volleyball, spreading happiness, learning, painting, laughing
Why I want to be a peer mentor: College is difficult, especially for underprivileged students. Too many students drop out because of their circumstances and lack of support. I want to support students in reaching their full potential, during their college journey, by assisting them as we grow and overcome adversity together.
Career goals: Upon completing graduate school and Bible college, I aspire to start a non-profit organization that prepares high school students for college academically, socially, spiritually, and financially. Eventually, I hope to become a professional speaker and educator as well.
Advice: Do not allow anyone to hinder you from achieving success, not even yourself. Create a mindset that eliminates fear, self-doubt, preconceptions, and hatred from your life. Become open-minded, but define your beliefs, values, goals, etc. and STICK to them. Lastly, do not limit yourself to money and a good GPA; learning is a never-ending process that will greatly contribute to your success.
Quote: "To be successful you must be willing to, at any moment, sacrifice what you are for what you will become." – Eric Thomas

Alexis Lenderman

Alexis Lenderman

Subjects: business, intro mathematics, Spanish
Hometown: Flint, Mich. 
Majors: entrepreneurship, global and international studies
Minors: nonprofit leadership, political science
Year in school: senior
Interests: traveling, reading, learning something new every day
Why I want to be a peer mentor: Since I transferred to Western, I have always wanted to be a peer mentor to help other students not go through the same struggles that I did. Being also in the Seita Scholars Program and TRiO has helped provide guidance, support, and structure to college. I would like to help provide that for other students as well.
Career goals: I plan to continue my education at Georgetown University, studying international development. After that, I would like a career with the United Nations working on human rights issues and humanitarianism. 
Advice: Find different ways of using your voice and initiative to get the most out of your education. That means going to office hours, tutoring, reaching out when needed, and getting involved to meet other people. 
Quote: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." – John Quincy Adams

Arizsia Staton

Arizsia Staton

Subjects: intro biology, intro chemistry, intro mathematics
Hometown: Saginaw, Mich.
Majors: acting and biomedical sciences
Year in school: junior
Interests: Some of my interests are theatre, the study of life, crocheting, volleyball, reading, DIY arts and crafts, and movie-going.
Why I want to be a peer mentor: Reflecting on my educational journey, I’ve realized how important mentorship, leadership, and guidance are in the life of a student. Not only will I be able to help students improve and grow academically, mentally, and socially, but I  will also become a more well-rounded leader and individual. I look forward to helping students be the best they can be and make the most out of their college experience.
Career goals: Upon receiving my B.F.A., I plan to pursue my acting career in film and television and pursue graduate school for theatre in order to teach it as well. Also, I plan to open a nonprofit fine arts rehabilitation organization for delinquent youth in my hometown.
Advice: You are your own individual, and you must live your own life. No matter who or what the obstacle, do what makes YOU happy.
Quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” – Kevin Durant

Nautika Tyler

Nautika Tyler

Subjects:  business, intro mathematics
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Mich. 
Major: accountacy
Minor: business
Year in school: senior
Interests: Basketball, laughing, working out, romance movies, relaxing, adventures, and listening to music.
Why I want to be a peer mentor: It is easy to come into college and feel overwhelmed with life. I want to work with students to let them know that they can get over all obstacles in their way. Sometimes we forget to breathe and see the beauty in college. As a peer mentor I want students to know that they are not alone and together we can get through and enjoy every part of their college journey.
Career goals: Once achieving my bachelor’s degree, I plan to continue school to receive my CPA. I am working on becoming an accountant for a professional sports team.
Advice: It is okay to be different, and you should not let other people’s opinions keep you from doing what you enjoy. You never know what could come from those moments.
Quote: “Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden

Awilma Ventura

Awilma Ventura

Subjects: mathematics, physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, Spanish
Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Undergraduate degree: B.S. in mechanical engineering with an emphasis on aerospace; minors in mathematics and management
Graduate program: M.S. in manufacturing engineering
Year in school: graduate
Interests: learning, watching movies, traveling, musicals, dancing
Why I want to be a peer mentor: I want to help other students be successful and take advantage of the opportunities and resources that are available for them.
Career goals: After completing my master’s in manufacturing engineering, I would like to work in airplane manufacturing or work with composite materials for different applications.
Advice: Keep balance in life and make the most of every moment. School can be hard sometimes, but you can always learn from every experience.
Quote: “Success is not the absence of failure; it's the persistence through failure.” – Aisha Tyler

Group leaders

Ashwathy "Ash" Balakrishnan

Ashwathy Balakrishnan

Subjects: business, intro statistics
Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
Major: health informatics management
Minors: business analytics, general business
Year in school: junior
Interests: Vedanta studies, working out, traveling
Why I want to be a group leader: I believe that everyone in life needs help to be successful in life, and I want to take this opportunity as a group leader to be a catalyst in the success of WMU students.
Career goals: My ultimate goal is to develop a secure software that enables everyone in the world to have access to their personal health records electronically from any part of the world.
Advice: Always be open and unapologetic about any questions you may have, and you should greatly increase your likelihood for success. 
Quote: “You gain knowledge from teachers and textbooks. But wisdom you attain when your intellect reflects, contemplates upon the knowledge acquired.” – A. Parthasarathy

Magali Carrillo

Magali Carrillo

Subjects: intro biology, intro chemistry, intro mathematics, anthropology, gender and women's studies
Hometown: Dowagiac, Mich. 
Major: pre-nursing
Year in school: sophomore
Interests: Spending time with friends and family, listening to music, dancing, trying new things, makeup, and Netflix.
Why I want to be a group leader: I believe everyone should have someone in their lives that can help guide them when they need the most help, both academically and personally. This job allows me to accomplish this and to help students reach their full potential while here at WMU.
Career goals: After getting into the nursing program here at WMU, I hope to receive my B.S.N. and work at Bronson Children's Hospital. I later hope to get certified and specialize to become a NICU nurse.
Advice: Take advantage of all the opportunities WMU has to offer you. Don't be afraid of change!
Quote: “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly.” – Frida Kahlo

Reeta Chandler

Reeta Chandler

Subjects: psychology, intro biology, intro chemistry
Hometown: Muskegon, Mich. 
Major: behavioral science
Minors: biological sciences, data analysis
Year in school: senior
Interests: running, bike riding, hiking, traveling, hanging out with friends, reading, cooking, volunteering, spreading awareness about mental health, learning, painting, watching movies, neuroscience
Why I want to be a group leader: Success occurs in many ways. I believe everybody has something to teach someone, no matter what their differences are. Being a group leader gives me the opportunity to share my unique tools on how to improve and succeed in a difficult or unfamiliar setting.
Career goals: After graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I will continue my education to receive my master’s degree in cognitive neuroscience. My end goal is to obtain a doctoral degree. I hope to conduct research and/or become a professor during my career development.
Advice: Your success does not have to be measured in big steps. Little achievements go a long way! Ask for help if you need it; a lot of hands make light work.
Quote: “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” – Jim Rohn

Shelby Lixie

Shelby Lixie

Subjects: business, communication
Hometown:  Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Major: food and consumer package goods marketing
Minors: communication studies, general business
Year in school: junior
Interests: spending time with friends & family, exercising, baking, and traveling
Why I want to be a group leader: I want to help give students the tools they need to succeed. Without a doubt, most college students face some sort of difficulties throughout their college experience. I want to show students that they can achieve their goals through hard work and developing effective planning skills. In addition to this, I look forward to obtaining new friendships while acquiring skills of leadership along the way.
Career goals: My goal is to eventually work my way up to a management position in a Fortune 100 company.
Advice: College is the time to develop your character and discover new interests. It is important to take advantage of all of the amazing opportunities that Western Michigan University offers to become the absolute best version of yourself.
Quote: "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results." – Willie Nelson

Bionca Stewart

Bionca Stewart

Subjects: psychology, Chinese, gender and women's studies, communication
Hometown: Warren, Mich. 
Major: behavioral analysis
Minor: Chinese
Year in school: junior
Interests: socializing, cooking, reading, listening to music, politics, and traveling 
Why I want to be a group leader: I love working with people and this is a perfect opportunity to do so. I’m looking forward to learning and working with everyone in the program.
Career goals: I only have one career goal in life and that is whatever I decided to do with my career, the work that I accomplish will do the most good to as many people as I can possibly reach.
Advice: Do not be afraid of change, and do not become heavy-hearted or angered when someone criticizes you. Accept criticism and learn from it because that's the only way you can grow professionally. 
Quote: “Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou