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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 2021, please watch for the application form which will be posted here in 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.

Student Mentor Profiles

Karen Back

Karen BackHey guys! My name is Karen Back and I'm a senior triple majoring in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Honors Concentration, Chemistry, and Psychology, and minoring in Business on a pre-medicine track. In the realm of medicine, I’m interested in going into either plastic surgery or anesthesiology. I'm the Outreach Director on the executive board of the Bioscience Journal Club, in which we study modern advances in medicine through discussion of scientific research papers. I am also a member of the Illini Medical Screening Society, an organization in which we provide free health screenings for the Urbana-Champaign community, as well as the American Medical Women’s Association, a society for women in the STEM field. I'm also involved in the Gift of Life Organization, Student Organ Donation Advocates, the Avicenna Community Health Center Student Initiative, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I volunteer with McKinley Health Center as a member of the Special Populations Student Health Concerns Committee, as well as the Sexual Health Peers. I also enjoy teaching, and have been an LA for Physics 102 here at UIUC and tutor high school students in Advanced Placement Biology. I perform undergraduate research on anti-tumor formation cancer drugs in Dr. Schuler’s laboratory. This past summer, I spent my time interning at Rush Hospital in the Cancer Center. In my free time I love to dance, go on adventures with friends, and volunteer at my local library! I can’t wait to meet you!

Fiza Bukhari

Fiza BukhariHey everyone! My name is Fiza and I'm a senior majoring in MCB with an English minor on the pre-med track. Currently on campus I'm the assistant chief-editor of the Brain Matters neuroscience journal and am president of the Avicenna Community Health Center RSO. I'm also an intake volunteer at the Avicenna free clinic off-campus and am involved in the IMSS (Illini Medical Screening Society). During my sophomore and junior years I conducted research in Dr. Mahoney's lab of Veterinary Medicine. Furthermore, I've worked a couple of jobs on campus such as writing for the UIUC Admissions Blog and helping out at the Chemistry Learning Center. In my free time, I love hanging out with friends, going to the gym, listening to podcasts/audiobooks, and watching reruns of Friends and The Office. I'm also constantly exploring new sushi and ice cream places! I came into college knowing I wanted to be pre-med but have definitely had doubts along the way, especially as an underclassman. Since the MCB major is quite rigorous, it has pushed me to find what study strategies work for me, manage my time, and maintain a growth mindset in both academic settings and my personal life. If it wasn't for the university's resources and the MCB school's support then I wouldn't have progressed as much as I have since freshman year. I know how daunting transitioning into and navigating university life can be and believe my experience is worth sharing. Don't be shy to reach out with questions, concerns, or if you need guidance about your college journey - I'd love to help!

Angela Cabrera

Angela CabreraHi all! My name is Angela Cabrera and I am currently a sophomore 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!

Evan Dray

Evan DrayHi everyone! My name is Evan Dray and I am from Peoria, IL. I am a senior double majoring in Chemistry and MCB Honors, and I am involved with several organizations on campus including music and research. I play the saxophone in the Campus and University Bands and was a member of the Marching Illini my freshman year. As for research, I work in Dr. McKim’s lab in the Department of Animal Sciences. I am currently drafting my undergraduate thesis focusing on the effect of psychological stress and sepsis on the immune system. We are interested in how stress and sepsis change the stromal cell microenvironment of the bone marrow and how these changes mediate an immune response. The school of MCB here at UIUC is amazing and there are so many really cool opportunities. Feel free to contact me with any questions about courses, great MCB related co-curricular activities, study strategies, or anything else.

Joshua Gille

Richard MoragaHey guys! My name is Joshua (Josh) Gille and I am currently a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and minoring in Chemistry. I started out on the pre-med track but switched to the pre-dental track after shadowing both professions. I am a member of Phi Delta Theta social fraternity, where I previously served as the Scholarship Chair and currently serve as the COVID-19 Chair. I am also a member of Delta Delta Sigma pre-dental fraternity, where we help each other with the preparation process for dental school. I was somewhat reserved before my college career, but these two organizations have really helped me become more open and outgoing! I have also volunteered for a number of organizations and have shadowed several dentists. In my free time, I like to hang out with friends, work out, and watch sports. If you guys have any questions about the pre-health track or anything regarding the MCB major, I would be happy to help out!

Olivia Gough

Olivia Gough

Hi! I’m Olivia and I am a senior in the MCB Honors concentration and am planning minors in Business, Chemistry, and Psychology. Outside of class, I work at a research lab investigating HIV structure and work as a barista. I enjoy reading, working out, and going for walks with my friends. I currently also work as an LAS Honors peer mentor, LAS 122 intern, and a biology peer advisor. I am currently pre-med and interested in immunology and endocrinology. My main goal in life is to experience as much as possible, so as love to travel and make new connections with other people!

Maaz Haji

Haji MaazHi there! My name is Maaz Haji, and I am a senior, pre-medical student majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology in the Honors Concentration here at the university. I currently serve as the Chapter President of MEDLIFE UIUC, a service-based RSO on campus that focuses on medicine, education, and development in local and global communities. I love working with students, and so you can find me at Lincoln Hall working as an Intern at the Life + Career Design Lab for LAS! We help students in everything from career wayfinding, studying abroad, leadership opportunities, and even resume reviews! In terms of research, I work in Dr. Mei's Lab in the Department of Comparative Biosciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Our research focuses on better understanding the mechanisms involved in the Wnt signaling pathway and their role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis. One of my most rewarding volunteering experiences includes spending time with hospice patients in several nursing homes in Champaign. In my free time, I love learning card magic, binge-watching tv shows, and trying out new foods! A fun fact about myself is that I once spent an entire summer semester of college speaking in a British accent!

Imadh Khan

Imadh KhanHi everyone! My name is Imadh Khan. I'm a senior majoring in MCB on the pre-med track. On campus, I'm involved in the Muslim Student Association, MCB Leaders, and plan on TA-ing or tutoring this school year. I also volunteer for Paper Airplanes, meaning I work with Middle Eastern refugees by teaching them English with the goal of enhancing their job and educational opportunities. In my free time, I love doing anything tennis-related. That can mean waking up at 3 am to watch the Australian Open, or spending my evening at Club Tennis practice. I also enjoy going on hikes with my family, going to the gym with friends, and reading a good book. If you have any questions about club sports, being pre-med, or anything else that comes to mind feel free to reach out to me! I understand how intimidating it can be to be a freshman.

Laura Kilikevicius

Laura KilikeviciusHi everyone! My name is Laura and I'm a senior MCB major with a food science minor. I work with honey bees in Dr. Gene Robinson's lab as a research assistant, and am planning on attending graduate school post graduation. I'm really interested in food and fragrance chemistry and human genetics and love learning more about them. On campus, I am the Chief-Editor of the 'Brain Matters' neuroscience journal and am on the executive board for the Undergraduate Neuroscience Society, so if you're interested in writing or neuroscience I'd love to chat! I am also an Orientation Leader on campus and a member of the bioscience journal club as well! In my free time, I like to try new recipes and explore new places around campus. I look forward to meeting you, and if you have questions about research, joining a lab, freshman year, or anything MCB please feel free to reach out!

Ethan Kim

Ethan KimHello! I’m Ethan and I am a senior majoring in MCB. I am on the pre-med track, however, I plan to do research for at least a year to gain professional experience prior to applying to medical school to receive an MD. I am a member of Beta Psi Omega (Professional Biology Fraternity), Aquaponics Club, Carle Volunteers RSO, and I am a Carle Foundation Hospital Student Leader. I am also an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Thanh (Helen) Huong Nguyen’s Civil and Environmental Engineering lab, where I work with various viral pathogens commonly found in water. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, volunteering, playing video games, trying new foods, and spending time with my German Shepard named Kona. My strengths include my empathetic nature as well as my resilience. Some of my interests include the stock market, improving my time management skills, and the human body as a whole. My transition from high school to college proved to be difficult for me initially, so I hope to provide advice and answer any questions to underclassmen that may need guidance!

Alfredo Martinez-Ruiz

Alfredo Martinez-RuizHi! My name is Alfredo Martinez-Ruiz and I am a senior majoring in MCB Honors with double minors in Chemistry and Spanish, while also being on the pre-med track! On campus, I have been able to work in Dr. Mary Schuler’s Cell and Developmental Biology lab as a researcher elucidating the metabolic mechanisms of various iridoid oxidases in Camptotheca acuminata. Additionally, though the global pandemic made the experience virtual, I also interned at Johns Hopkins Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine program – which was not only relevant to the nature of the Covid-19 virus and its health impacts, but also very rewarding in the research experiences, medical conversations, and networking opportunities that came along with it! Apart from my research work, I am a part of various RSOs and community organizations on campus, the first being MEDLIFE which is a global and local movement to bring equal healthcare access and awareness to developing nations around the globe; this will now be my fourth year as part of the RSO in which I have served as vice-president and service-learning trip director. Second, I am a member of Beta Psi Omega, a professional biology fraternity on campus aimed at helping students help themselves! When it comes to volunteer work, I have devoted almost three years to Carle Hospital – through which I will now be serving as a student leader – as well as Avicenna – a free community clinic serving the underserved and uninsured, and finally, the Champaign Refugee Center where I have been able to put my Spanish skills to good use as an interpreter! Outside of school, I love to explore new cuisines by cooking and eating out, but mostly through cooking because I find it more enjoyable to do so! I am also very keen to exploring the outdoors and new places on campus. I try to stay physically active quite often, but work and school can get in the way of that sometimes, but to close off, please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have – I can remember being in your shoes once, and I am more than happy to guide you in any way that I can!

Sarah McGowan

Sarah McGowanHi, y'all! I'm Sarah, a junior 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 junior 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!


Britney Naolhu

Brittney NaolhuHi everyone! My name is Britney and I am a senior majoring in MCB Honors on the Pre-Med track. On campus, I enjoy researching bacterial toxin delivery in Dr. Wilson’s microbiology lab, filling magnets with liquid nitrogen in the NMR lab, and peer advising MCB students during express advising! In addition, I am involved in Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity, Carle Student Leaders, Carle RSO, Alpha Phi Gamma National Sorority Inc., and Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center. I had the opportunity to intern at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in the Dermatology Department working on a clinical project and shadowing physicians. Outside of school, I love to travel, hike, try new foods, play the piano, and listen to travel tunes! My biggest advice to any freshman is to live life to your fullest, so don't be afraid to try new things. Work hard in school but value the other little things in life. The peer mentoring experience is truly incredible and has helped me connect with upperclassmen when I was a freshman. I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions regarding MCB, extracurricular activities, pre-med, and the college experience!

Ivie Osagiede

Ivie OsagiedeHi there! My name is Ivie Osagiede and I am a senior majoring in MCB and minoring in French and Chemistry. It's hard to believe I'm already a senior in college--time moves so fast! Since I began my journey at Illinois, I've become involved in three RSOs: Illini Democrats, African Cultural Association, and Phi Delta Epsilon Pre-Medical Fraternity. I'm currently serving as the secretary of said fraternity! (As you might have gathered, I am a pre-medical student.) I'm grateful to UIUC for the way it has fostered my passion for teaching and helping others. Specifically, this university has given me the opportunity to serve as both an OMSA tutor and a teaching assistant for Chemistry 101. In both positions, I work to promote younger students' understanding of introductory biology and chemistry. I highly recommend anyone who has mastered a school subject to pursue one of these positions! Not only do you get to help others improve their grades, but you grow your own comprehension of the subject as well. 10/10 experience! Here's a fun fact: in all my years of living, I have never learned how to whistle. Help wanted! Finally, to all underrepresented students in MCB, please reach out! I'm here to support you."

Jill Patel

Jill PatelJill's Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Jill Patel and I am currently a senior, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I am currently on the pre-med path with a focus on the MD track. On-campus, I am an Undergraduate Researcher in Dr. Christian’s Lab as well as a board member of MEDLIFE, an international organization focused on providing Medicine, Education, and Development to low-income families around the world. Aside from that, I am a volunteer in the Emergency Department of the Carle Foundation Hospital and have been involved in the Illinois Leadership Center. Additionally, volunteering with organizations such as SOAR Tutoring has allowed me to directly experience the positive impact my mentorship can have on elementary school students. The rigorous MCB curriculum and a variety of on-campus activities really inspired me to enter the medical field and be on the frontlines of hospitals as an actively practicing physician. Outside of the academic environment, I am a huge Chipotle fan and love watching movies and TV shows on Netflix. Likewise, I have recently developed a keen interest in the finance and business world. Furthermore, Tennis is one of my favorite sports and I used to play in my high school tennis team. Lastly, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions regarding specific classes, developing effective study strategies, transition to college, and anything else!

Anneliese Paton

Anneliese PatonHi everyone! My name is Anneliese and I am a junior 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!

Ria Ravi

Ria RaviHi! My name is Ria Ravi and I am a Senior in the MCB Honors Program here at UIUC. I am currently on the Pre-Med track and hope to pursue a career in either Pediatrics or Gynecology in the near future! On campus, I am involved in an a cappella group, The Illinois RipChords—I always like to tell folks that I live in a little Pitch Perfect movie as a member of the music community here! I also am on the Philanthropy Committee of a Pre-Health frat here on campus, Alpha Epsilon Delta, and volunteer in OB Services at Carle Hospital. My involvement in volunteering and the frat keep me in the loop with my pre-med track and I always learn something new about the field every week! I recently joined a Microbiology lab run by Dr. Steven R Blanke, and already have acquired so many new skills (problem solving, critical analysis) and a vast range of knowledge in the area of research. As a mentor, I am very approachable and am passionate about sharing what I know and what I’ve learned so far as a student here. I look forward to guiding my mentees and supporting them through their undergrad journey until my time on campus ends!

Will Reiser

Will ReiserHello everyone! My name is Will Reiser. I am a sophomore 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 junior majoring in MCB and minoring in Disability Studies on the pre-med track. On campus, I do research with Professor Pamela Martinez where my main project is to model infectious diseases and their relationship to COVID-19 over the pandemic. 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 a majority of the residents there. I volunteer at a free health clinic off campus called Avicenna in the Pharmacy Department, where we help patients from all over get medication free of cost. Recently, I have gotten more involved with Carle, as I am now a volunteer in the COVID-clinic and began interning in the eye department at the hospital as well. To continue the theme of giving back to my community, I am also a member of IMSS, an RSO where we give free health screenings to the local uninsured population. Another RSO I am involved with is Sikh Student Association where I will be Vice President for this upcoming school year. A 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!

Bianca Savant

Bianca SavantHi everyone! I am a senior in the MCB Honors Concentration, pursuing a minor in bioengineering. I really enjoy research and am currently working on two projects, on traumatic brain injury and vitamin D's role in COVID-19, in Dr. Catherine Best's lab. Outside of research, I love working with kids. I'm an online tutor and volunteer at the DREAAM House, an afterschool organization for local elementary school students. I am a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-health fraternity, and LAS Leaders, an alumni ambassadors program. Feel free to reach out with any questions about the pre-med track, research, volunteering, RSOs, or just for general advice!

Muskaan Sawhney

Muskaan Sawhney Hi everyone! My name is Muskaan Sawhney, an out of state student from SF, California. I am a senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology with minors in psychology & chemistry. I’m currently in the pre-med track, passionate about the intersection of genetics, prevention medicine, and business. I am a Community Academic Scholar in Dr. Nakamura's lab and a Research Assistant for the Strong Kids Program. I volunteer at Carle Hospital and the Food Assistance Program. I am a part of Illinois Enactus, a social-entrepreneurship organization, where I can apply my biology background to hands-on business projects that help the local community and Delta Kappa Delta, a service sorority that supports children’s education and child abuse prevention. To relax and unwind, I love karaoke, grabbing coffee or boba, or binging netflix. Being a freshman with a rigorous major can be stressful to balance without any guidance! Feel free to reach out to me for advice on classes, career goals, opportunities, study/wellness tips, or just to talk!

Vraj Shah

Vraj ShahHey! My name is Vraj Shah and I am currently a senior in the MCB program. A few of the organizations I am involved in are APO, Udaan, and MCB Leaders. I am also participating in Professor. Best's lab and working as an MCB Prep Staff. I have also been an LAS101 intern in the past! If you have any questions about these organizations, do not hesitate to ask! I hope to become a Physician Assistant in the future and plan to take a gap year after I graduate to accumulate more health care experience. I am a huge basketball fan and can talk about the NBA for hours. A fun fact about me is that I am allergic to kiwis (the fruit, not the people). Up until recently, I have always considered myself a dog person. This has changed as I have adopted a cat and I am now a full-fledged cat person. Her name is Marshmallow but I call her Mars! Being a peer leader is a very rewarding role and I cannot wait to start. If you have any questions, MCB or not, I'd love to help!

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 junior 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 :)

Zeena Thakkar

Zeena ThakkarZeena's Bio: Hi everyone! I am a senior majoring in MCB on the pre-medical track. I’ve always been passionate about pursuing a career in healthcare because the foundation of this field is heavily reliant on the two things I adore the most: biology and working with others! On campus, I am the social chair for the pre-health fraternity Alpha Epsilon Delta and a member of the Golden Zonta Club that is dedicated to minimizing gender discrepancies in society. I also enjoy staying connected with the community in as many ways as I possibly can. In the past, I’ve volunteered for Champaign County Nursing Home, Swann Special Care Center, Champaign Urbana Canteen Run, and recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northern Food Bank. Volunteering has always been meaningful to me, as I’ve been able to develop deep relationships with individuals all around the community. Throughout my summers off campus, I’ve participated in the medical observership program offered at the Kishwaukee Hospital, specifically in the emergency room. This experience allowed me to understand that the healthcare field is much more than meets the eye! Nonetheless, this observership further deepened my passion for the pursuit of a career in the healthcare field. In my free time, I enjoy dancing and recently, I’ve developed an interest in yoga! Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, I’d love to offer as much support as a fellow MCB student!

Nikki Yap

Nikki YapHello! My name is Nikki Yap, I'm a Senior double majoring in MCB and Chemistry. I'm on the Pre-Med track with dreams of going into medical research. I've been incredibly involved on campus with RSOs, work, and research. The RSOs I'm part of range from club sports to cultural organizations to pre-medical preparation. My research experience extends all the way back to the Spring of my freshman year and I have so many great tips for putting yourself out there and how you can go about making your research experience amazing. I love connecting with others and developing lasting friendships and relationships. I would love to get to know you and help you in any way I can, so don't hesitate to reach out! You're part of an amazing major with an even more wonderful community, so I can absolutely guarantee you're in great hands with any of us~

Faisal Zaidi

Faisal ZaidiHey everyone! My name is Faisal Zaidi, and I am a junior 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!