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MCB Undergraduate Peer Mentoring Program

The School of MCB offers incoming freshmen in biology the opportunity to be matched with an upperclassman in MCB who will work with you on your acclimation to the university. Our peer mentors are MCB Leaders, MCB Peer Advising Interns and MCB Honors students who are successful juniors or seniors in the major. These students have been vetted through the MCB Advising Program. You can talk to your mentor about courses, career goals, research, campus activities and organizations and anything that might help you better navigate campus. Please note, this mentorship is not intended to replace your academic advisor, but instead to provide you with a friendly, knowledgeable face on campus.

If you are interested in being matched with an undergraduate peer mentor for fall 2022, please watch for an application form here in late July or early August. We will use your answers from the application to get a better idea of where your specific interests lie, so we can make an appropriate mentorship match. On the application, you may select up to 3 MCB mentors of interest. Please look over the mentor bios below before filling out the application form. In the event that we are not able to match you with one of your chosen mentors, we will provide alternative options based on your responses. After you have been matched with a mentor, you will be introduced through email and you may begin to set up mentoring sessions. While we suggest that you meet with your mentor once or twice a month, you are welcome to contact each other as frequently as you like.

Anneliese Paton

Anneliese PatonHi everyone! My name is Anneliese and I am a senior majoring in the MCB Honors Concentration and minoring in Music Performance. I am currently on the pre-med track hoping to pursue an MD/MPH dual degree. I am currently involved in research with Dr. Spinella's lab where we are looking at the molecular mechanisms of cancer therapeutics and chemoresistance in testicular cancer. Outside of the classroom, I am involved in a lot of activities on campus including: Block I/Illini Pride which is the group that organizes the card stunts at the Illini football games; Alpha Phi Omega, a volunteer service fraternity; Beta Psi Omega, a professional biology fraternity; and Alpha Xi Delta social sorority where I currently serve as the President and have previously been very involved in philanthropy events. I am also a UIUC Wellness Ambassador where I was able to assist the University in COVID-19 compliance efforts over the past year and worked at the COVID-19 vaccine clinic at CRCE. Off campus, I work part-time at Carle Hospital as a patient care assistant where I provide one-on-one bedside safety assistance to patients and worked this past year as a clinical laboratory technician in the COVID-19 testing labs for IDPH. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends, going to the gym, and traveling. I also love going to and watching sport events, especially the Illini, but am also a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan! So, if you're looking for someone to watch a game with, let me know! Feel free to contact me with any questions related to coursework or campus life. I'm looking forward to meeting you!

Will Reiser

Will ReiserHello everyone! My name is Will Reiser. I am a senior majoring in the MCB Honors Concentration. As a fourth generation Illini, I bleed orange and blue! I am on the pre-M.D.-Ph.D. track, and I hope to focus on translational medicine in my future career, utilizing the ‚"benchtop to bedside‚" mentality. On campus, I am a Block I Executive Chair, as well as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Brooke's virology lab. In the lab, I work with the Influenza A viral cycle as well as bioinformatics. I love learning new things, and I enjoy broadening my horizons in many different topics, from coding to playing the piano. I enjoy playing and watching (Illini) sports and just being outside in the sun. I love to travel across the country and try new foods. I love providing any advice I can give to freshmen to help in any way I can! I am always free to talk about anything from class schedules and the MCB curriculum to Illini sports to the latest Grey's Anatomy episode. I look forward to meeting many of you, and please feel free to reach out!

Arman Sandhu

Arman SandhuHey everyone! My name is Arman, and I will be a senior majoring in MCB and minoring in Disability Studies on the pre-med track. On campus, I do research with Dr. Laura Rice in a Kinesiology lab where I am working on qualitative analysis of a program called iROLL where we help disabled individuals with skills to aid their use of wheelchairs. I also work as a personal assistant for residents at Beckwith Residential where I help disabled residents with activities of daily living, something I really enjoy since I have become close friends with most of the residents there. I will be co-director of the Pharmacy Department at the local free health clinic Avicenna, where we provide care to underinsured and uninsured people in the area. To continue the theme of giving back to my community, I am also on the executive board of IMSS, an RSO where we give free health screenings to the local uninsured population. I have been involved at Carle for a few semesters now and am currently volunteering in the sports medicine clinic but have also volunteered in the COVID clinic and interned at eye department as well. Fun fact about myself is that I am the 6th person in my family to come to UIUC and the 5th to do MCB. My cousins and I have all had different career paths so I would say I can help with advice for a bunch of different career goals. In my free time I enjoy watching and playing various sports (basketball>football sorry), lifting weights, and watching Netflix. Can't wait to meet with you guys!

Amelia (Ji Ji) Steinlein

Amelia SteinleinHey guys! My name is Amelia but most of my friends know me as Ji Ji. I am currently a senior majoring in MCB and minoring in psychology. My activities include being an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Whitaker's Microbiology Lab; this past summer, I worked on a project to isolate lysogens after infection from viruses. I am also the PR chair for Beta Psi Omega, a professional biology fraternity, and an active brother of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. Additionally, I am a member of In Between, a cultural organization for those that feel in between their Asian and American cultures. In my free time I love to cook/bake, watch Netflix/Disney+, go shopping, and spend time with friends. I also enjoy traveling and hope to study abroad in the future! A fun fact about me is that I used to live in Germany! I consider myself a friendly and easy going person so feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions! I know transitioning to college can be a difficult but exciting time. I am happy to help :)

Faisal Zaidi

Faisal ZaidiHey everyone! My name is Faisal Zaidi, and I am a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I am currently on the pre-med track and hope to pursue a career in Cardiology or Neurology in the future. Currently, I conduct research in Dr. Steven Blanke's Microbiology lab. I am the Director of Philanthropy for the Illini Thaakat Foundation, a member of the McKinley Health Center Student Advisory Board, and a volunteer at the Carle Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic. I think the most impactful activity that I have been involved in so far has been my research lab because it trains you to think like a scientist and it requires a completely different way of thinking/problem-solving! In my free time, I love to participate in sports such as basketball and football. I have played intramural flag football and I hope to play intramural basketball in the near future. Besides sports, I love to hang out with my friends and explore different restaurants on campus. I realize coming into college as an MCB major can seem very daunting. I consider myself to be an approachable person, so feel free to reach out to me if you have questions regarding the MCB major, college/career advice, or just anything in general!

Angela Cabrera

Angela CabreraHi all! My name is Angela Cabrera and I am currently a senior on the Pre-Med track, majoring in MCB Honors and minoring in Psychology. I also came from a small highschool, with a graduating class of 23 students! As a freshman, I didn't know if I truly wanted to become a doctor--the whole process was too daunting, especially because I thought I had to navigate through college by myself. However, I was soon relieved to know that I was never alone! I joined many RSO's, found guidance in mentors and advisors, and was welcomed into the supportive MCB community. My courses, campus involvements, and, most importantly, the people I have met in college thus far have shaped my passion for medicine. I am a member of the medical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon, a past board member of the Philippine Student Association, and a member of the Vietnamese Student Association. I currently work as a lab technician in the RIPE Lab at the Crop Transformation Facility, where I have been able to directly apply all the MCB lab techniques that I have learned in my courses. Outside of academics, I love to play video games, hang out with friends, and go skateboarding! In all of my involvements, I have met friends and role-models in MCB who have supported and guided me through my journey as a Pre-Med student, and I would love to do the same for others. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about MCB, extracurriculars, transitioning into a large college from a small highschool, or college in general!

Sarah McGowan

Sarah McGowanHi, y'all! I'm Sarah, a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois. After graduation, I hope to pursue a Master of Science in a Pathologists' Assistant program. I never knew how amazing UIUC was until my first visit when I was a junior in high school; I absolutely fell in love with this place. My excitement grew when I learned about the MCB program here - clear, unique, and fascinating. I couldn't wait to take classes about microbiology, pathology, and immunology. On campus, I'm involved in the Student Alumni Ambassadors and will be on the executive board this school year, helping to plan Homecoming and I Love Illinois Week. I'm also a lab assistant for McCusker lab in the Department of Animal Science, which focuses on neuroimmunology and behavior. I'm very excited to be a part of MCB Leaders beginning this fall. I also work at the Stephens Family YMCA here in Champaign. Outside school, I enjoy being active through weightlifting and long walks around campus. I love exploring different restaurants throughout Chambana with a few favorites including Maize, Cowboy Monkey, Watson's, and Jarlings. I enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes, especially with my InstaPot. I've become a huge Illinois sports fan since coming here, especially football and basketball (Statefarm Center on gameday is my favorite place to be)! I look forward to being back in the stands for all our teams. I'm also into Star Wars, Marvel, and other cinematic universes. If you have any questions about Illinois, MCB, RSOs, research, or anything else, please feel free to reach out! I-L-L!

Abdullah Mubarik

Abdullah MubarikHello everyone! My name is Abdullah Mubarik. I am a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology, on pre-med track. I am a board member of the Muslim Student Association here at UIUC. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, reading books, and playing sports with friends. I am always excited to meet new people and help others in any way I can, so please feel free to reach out!