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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 spring 2021, please complete this Google Form by Friday, February 12 at 12:00PM (noon) US Central Time. We will use your answers to get a better idea of where your specific interests lie, so we can make an appropriate 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 your chosen mentor, 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

Caitlyn Anonuevo

Caitlyn AnonuevoCaitlyn's Bio: Hello everyone! My name is Caitlyn Añonuevo, and I am a current senior in MCB with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. I am currently on the pre-medicine track, and my college experience at UIUC has helped solidify my decision to pursue this career path. I am a Carle volunteer, and I was fortunate enough to work in both the CVICU and Pediatric departments. In addition to volunteering, I am a Beckwith personal assistant for two patients with Cerebral Palsy. Both of these experiences have emphasized the importance of ensuring quality care for patients without impeding on their independence. This year I have also taken on responsibilities in the Philippine Student Association as one of the FACT Co-Coordinators. FACT stands for Filipino Americans Coming Together, and it is an annual, student-led conference that welcomes diversity in the AAPI community and beyond. With the help of my co-chair, we hope to smoothly transition this event online and serve as active agents for cultural change. I will also be serving as the president of the American Medical Women's Association where we encourage women to pursue careers in STEM and advocate for equity in all respects. In my free time, I like to binge-watch Netflix and spend time with friends on campus. I am always down to eat good food, whether it be AYCE sushi or tacos from a local taco truck (My current record for eating tacos in one sitting is 15). To counter these cravings, I enjoy exercising, specifically lifting weights at the gym. Although it is bittersweet, I am looking forward to making the most of this last year in MCB and at UIUC!

Karen Back

Karen BackKaren's Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Karen Back and I'm a junior triple majoring in the MCB Honors Concentration, Chemistry, and Psychology on a pre-medicine track. I’m also considering pursuing a minor in Business since that is a big interest of mine outside of science! I am the Outreach Director on the executive board of the Bioscience Journal Club here at Illinois which is an awesome organization to join if you’re interested in current advances in medicine or scientific research papers! I am also a member of the Illini Medical Screening Society, an organization in which students provide 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 also perform undergraduate research in Dr. Mary Schuler’s laboratory. I really enjoyed my experience tutoring a high school student in biology and would love to share my insight with you too! In my free time I love to dance, exercise, go on adventures with friends, and garden! If you ever need a workout partner or fresh tomatoes then I got your back! In the realm of medicine, I’m super interested in both anesthesiology and cosmetic surgery. If these are fields of interests for you as well then it would be awesome to talk about them over lunch or coffee. I know some hidden gems on campus! I can’t wait to meet you!

Evan Dray

Evan DrayEvan's Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Evan Dray and I am from Peoria, IL. I am a Junior 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.

Abby Garcia

Abby GarciaAbby's Bio: Hi! My name is Abby and I am a December 2020 graduate with a major in MCB and minor in Chemistry. I was a transfer student from the University of Tampa. I love to bake, watch movies, and I am trying to learn Korean. I plan to pursue a career in BioPharmaceuticals, and hope to work as part of a Research and Development team. I have worked as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Andrew Leakey, Plant Biology, and Dr. Joseph Spencer, Entomology. Please feel free to reach out if you are thinking of pursuing industry, getting involved in research, curious about graduating early, or anything else you can think of! I look forward to hearing from you!

Aaron Gephart

Aaron GephartAaron's Bio:Hello, everybody! My name is Aaron Gephart and I recently graduated with a degree in MCB. I will be attending medical school in the fall, but as of right now, I still have not decided where I will be attending. Currently, I am an research assistant in Dr. Sosnoff’s Motor Control Research Lab and a member of Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity. I attended South Elgin High School and worked as a CNA at Saint Joseph Hospital in Elgin as my way of giving back to the community. Some fun facts about myself: I have been to over 100 concerts ranging from Travis Scott to Queen and I have traveled to over 30 countries in my life. I enjoy going to the gym, having movie nights with my friends, watching anime, and I am currently on the quest to find the best, most underrated restaurant in Urbana/Champaign. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about: the pre-med track, how to study for classes, college life, and anything else that comes to mind!

Joshua Gille

Richard MoragaJoshua's Bio: Hey guys! My name is Joshua (Josh) Gille and I am currently a junior 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

Olivia's Bio: 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!

Neil Kelekar

Neil KelekarNeil's Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Neil Kelekar and I am a senior studying MCB and minoring in Chemistry. I am originally from a northwest suburb of Illinois called Palatine and, though it took some time to get adjusted to life on campus, I have really cherished all my time here at the University. I aspire to become a physician in the future and am on a pre-med track. Outside of class, I am a Student Leader in Carle Hospital’s Volunteering Program and affiliated with STEM Illinois as a pre-med scholar in residence, and I really enjoy the opportunity to help and serve my community in any capacity. In my free time, I really enjoy watching soccer and spending time with my friends listening to music or exploring some of the scenic places on campus like the Japan House or our beautiful quads. You can most probably find me on campus at Grainger Library studying or keening waiting on my take-out order on Green Street. Please feel free to contact me with any questions related to coursework, campus navigation, or the pre-med track. Thank you for your time and the opportunity to help you in your MCB journey.

Imadh Khan

Imadh KhanImadh's Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Imadh Khan. I’m a junior majoring in MCB and minoring in religion, and am on the pre-med track. On campus, I’m involved in the Muslim Student Association, MCB Leaders, and am the president of Illini Thaakat Foundation, a non-profit that raises funds for international educational purposes. Outside of these commitments, I really enjoy spending my time tutoring through a variety of routes, including high school students from my hometown and local CU middle schoolers. I think tutoring appeals to me because it provides the opportunity to help others understand topics that I too once struggled with. 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 student orgs, 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 KilikeviciusLaura's Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Laura and I'm a junior 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 KimEthan's Bio:Hello! I’m Ethan and I am a Junior 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!

Michael Kim

Michael KimMichael's Bio: Hi everyone, my name is Michael, and I am a senior majoring in MCB and Chemistry (but not Biochemistry as many ask). I am a big outdoors guy, so I love fitness, sports (volleyball, spikeball, disc golf, and ultimate frisbee), fishing and hiking! My current career track is pre-medicine and I hope to one day become a medical missionary who serves in second and third world countries. The RSO's CU Impact and the Christian Healthcare Student Association (CHSA) has helped me shape and define my future plans, as well as push me to work my way towards them. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'd love to have a conversation], whether we are talking about the best way to cook a piece of chicken thigh to your favorite fortnite drop spots (and of course about MCB too). Looking forward to meeting many of you!

Ethan Kuruc

Ethan KurucEthan's bio: Hey, I'm Ethan! I am a Senior, majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. When I was a freshman, I was initially undecided with what I wanted to learn in college and what classes I wanted to take. After being conflicted with my interests in the social sciences, I decided to look back on what I enjoyed back in high school--biology. MCB ended up being one of the best decisions I could have made, as I found that the fundamental science I was required to learn was indispensable in understanding all sorts of phenomenon around me. MCB exposed me to people with strong drives, volunteering experiences I would otherwise would have not have had, and rigorous classes that forced me to become a better student. I eventually became involved in a variety of extracurriculars and jobs with these people, as well as maintaining previous interests of mine. When I'm not worried about academics and running Model United Nations, I am following the latest news and music in hip hop, hanging out with my friends, and working out.

Alfredo Martinez-Ruiz

Alfredo Martinez-RuizAlfredo's Bio: Hello! My name is Alfredo Martinez-Ruiz and I am a junior majoring in MCB with double minors in Chemistry and Spanish. I came into college knowing that I wanted to be pre-med and so I sought the many resources that this great institution has to offer! After getting involved in undergraduate research in Dr. Das Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology lab, I became enamored with the scientific processes that I got hands-on experience with while learning about them simultaneously in my courses – in my opinion, this has caused me to have a well-rounded academic experience that I deem invaluable and totally recommend! Apart from my research work, I am involved with a few RSO’s on campus, the first being Beta Psi Omega – a professional biology fraternity founded on helping students help themselves where I currently serve as the organization’s academic chair. Additionally, I am a part of MEDLIFE, a global and local movement to bring equal healthcare access and awareness to developing nations around the globe – that being said, I am proud to say that I will be serving as vice-president of this amazing organization that has taught me so much about the disparities that exist in healthcare around the world. Yet, I would have to admit that the greatest deciding factor as to whether or not the pre-med track is for me was my volunteer work. My time at the intensive care unit at Carle hospital and Avicenna - a free community clinic serving the underserved and uninsured - have made me realize that I enjoy being of service to others – especially if it is to improve their health and their lives for the better! Outside of school, I am an avid coffee drinker so I can assure you we will be drinking coffee together at some point! 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, and to close off, I love jamming out to my favorite songs on long mindless drives! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me – I am more than willing to help!

Blashko Milenkovski

Blashko MilenkovskiBlashko's Bio: Hi everyone, I’m Blashko. I am currently a senior majoring in MCB and German Business and Commercial Studies. I am pre-med and hoping to become a physician in the future. I am involved in a couple of things on campus. I am currently an active member and the Health Professions Chair of Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity. I hold the executive board position of Service within the Doctors Without Borders RSO. I am also a Student Leader for the Obstetrics Floor at Carle Foundation Hospital as well as a Physics 101 Learning Assistant. On top of all of this I also work as a Pharmacy Technician at the Walgreens on the corner of Neil and Kirby here in Champaign. My German Business and Commercial Studies Major came out of my love for learning languages. I have been studying German for about 9 years now so what better way to solidify this knowledge than to get a degree as well. A fun fact about me is that I actually was born and raised in another country. I come from Macedonia and I lived there for about 15 years before immigrating to the US. I love spending time with my friends, enjoying food from newly discovered restaurants as well as binge-watching TV shows on any and every streaming platform. I know how hard the transition to college can be so if you need some advice, guidance or in general just someone to talk to feel free to reach out to me.

Abdullah Mubarik

Abdullah MubarikAbdullah's Bio: Hello everyone! My name is Abdullah Mubarik. I am a sophomore 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 NaolhuBritney's Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Britney and I am a junior majoring in MCB Honors on the Pre-Med track. On campus, I enjoy researching bacterial toxin delivery in Dr. Wilson’s research 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, and Lao Student Association. Outside of school, I love to travel, hike, try new foods, play the piano, binge watch Stranger Things, play Animal Crossing, and practice calligraphy! The peer mentoring experience is truly incredible and has helped me connect with upperclassmen when I was a freshman and I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions regarding MCB, extracurricular activities, pre-med, and the college experience!

Allison Narlock

Allison NarlockAllison's Bio:I am a senior in MCB Honors, looking forward to continuing my education with a PhD after I graduate. Sometimes I feel my blood runs orange and blue, but my undergraduate journey began at West Texas A&M University and I transferred to UIUC at the beginning of my sophomore year. I currently do research in Dr. Rachel Whitaker's lab where I work with archaea. In my free time, I am the quality control lead for Illinois Biodiesel Initiative, a student research organization on campus. IBI works to produce biodiesel from used vegetable oil from the dinning halls. I also enjoy dancing and crocheting to help relieve the stress of college. I was an RA for 3 semesters so I love to help out incoming/new UIUC students navigate their first campus experiences.

Ishani Patel

Ishani PatelIshani's Bio: Hi, I’m Ishani! I am a Junior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology Honors and minoring in Chemistry! I am currently on a pre-med track and am looking to start a non-for-profit organization someday to educate people about cardiovascular disease! I am currently an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Vivan Tang’s Cell Biology Lab. I am also conducting research with Dr. Neha Gothe on assessing the awareness of cardiovascular disease among people of different ethnicities in the state of Illinois. In terms of extracurriculars, I am a part of Phi Eta Sigma Honors Society, Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity, the REACT program, and the Indian Student Association. Some fun facts about myself are that I love to cook. Italian dishes are my specialty. I love having movie nights with my friends and going to new restaurants to try new things! I’m also very passionate about giving back to the community and that’s why I spend two days a week volunteering or helping out at the food bank! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about classes, college life, or the pre-med track. I am more than happy to help!

Jill Patel

Jill PatelJill's Bio: Hi everyone! My name is Jill Patel and I am currently a Junior, 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!

Ria Ravi

Ria RaviRia's Bio: Hi! 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!

Manisha Reddy

Manisha ReddyManisha's Bio: Hey guys! My name is Manisha and I am currently a Senior majoring in MCB and minoring in Gender and Womens Studies. I came into college knowing that I wanted to be involved in the pre-health field but was still unsure about my career goals. After participating in neurobiological research at Dr. Christian’s lab, I learned to apply the topics I have learned in class and further appreciate the workings of the human body. These extracurriculars and the amazing MCB curriculum solidified my decision to enter the science field but what really pushed me to pursue a career as a doctor were the interactions I had with the underserved community in Champaign-Urbana through organizations like SOAR and Avicenna. My Gender and Womens Studies minor also allowed me to be more aware of real world issues and I was able to apply this knowledge as a volunteer in the Womens Resource Center. Outside of school, I love binge watching Netflix shows, listening to throwback songs, drinking any type of coffee and hanging out with my friends. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions, I know being a freshman can be overwhelming at times so I’m happy to help!

Bianca Savant

Bianca SavantBianca's Bio: Hi everyone! I am a junior 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 SawhneyMuskaan's Bio: Hey everyone! My name is Muskaan Sawhney, an out of state student from SF, California. I am a Junior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology with minors in psychology & chemistry. Coming into college, I was scared and overwhelmed thinking that choosing one career path meant I had to box myself into one category and neglect my other passions. Over time, I've learnt how to combine my passions and tailor a path that’s right for me. I’m currently in the pre-med track, passionate about the intersection of genetics, prevention medicine, and business. I love the rigorous and rewarding coursework of MCB alongside the various hands-on opportunities. I am a research assistant in Dr. Holscher’s Nutrition and Human Microbiome Laboratory, where we research the effects that nutritional changes have on decreasing noncommunicable diseases. I volunteer in the emergency department at Carle Hospital. I am also passionate about business and start-up culture and am an executive manager for Illinois Enactus, a social-entrepreneurship organization, where I can apply my biology background to hands-on business projects that help the local community. I am also the president of 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!

Amelia Steinlein

Amelia SteinleinAmelia's Bio: Hey guys! My name is Amelia but most of my friends know me as Ji Ji! I am currently a Sophomore majoring in MCB and minoring in Psychology. Entering freshman year, I knew I loved biology but did not know what I wanted to do with it. I was in between taking a MD or PhD route. After my first year, I realized that I wanted to stay in academia and pursue a PhD. I plan on getting involved with research on campus and studying abroad! One of my biggest hobbies is traveling. I have lived in four different countries and have traveled all around the world. In the future, I would love the opportunity to teach biology internationally because I enjoy experiencing new cultures. Some of my other hobbies include watching Netflix/DisneyPlus, TikTok (lol), clothes shopping, and cooking! On campus, I am an active brother of a service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, which allows me to discover more of the Champaign-Urbana area. I am also in a professional biology fraternity, Beta Psi Omega, which gives me the opportunity to be surrounded by a diverse group of biology students. I consider myself an easy going and friendly person. Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions! I know transitioning to college can be a difficult but exciting time :)

Tina Targia

Tina TargiaTina's Bio: Hey all, I’m Tina! I am currently a junior majoring Molecular and Cellular Biology. I hope to attend grad school and pursue a career as a forensic analyst for the FBI. I have been a part of the Illinois Women’s Rugby Football Club when I was a freshman and have worked my way on to the executive board. I am also a Resident Advisor for Private Certified Housing which has been an awesome experience! I am also a Chemistry TA this year and super excited to help students with the subject and material!

Zeena Thakkar

Zeena ThakkarZeena's Bio: Hi everyone! I am a junior 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!

Brian Tibble

Brian TibbleBrian's Bio: Hey everyone! My name is Brian Tibble and I am a Senior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology Honors on the pre-med track. As a student at the University of Illinois, there are many opportunities for you to get involved in extracurriculars that interest you. I am an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Claudio Grosman’s lab in the department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. I enjoy teaching as a Chemistry Merit Teaching Assistant. I have been a Teaching Assistant for CHEM 101 and CHEM 102, and a Learning Assistant for Physics 102 labs. I am an MCB Peer Advising Intern, so feel free to ask me any questions about picking classes, how to study for classes, interesting gen eds, college life, etc. I am a volunteer for Carle Hospital, and I am a youth basketball coach for the Champaign Park District. In my free time I enjoy working out, whether it’s playing basketball, lifting, or going on a run. I love sports and watching TV shows, which is a great conversation starter with me. Feel free to ask me any questions, I love the opportunity to help others and understand how difficult it could be to adjust to a big school like this.

Jingyi Yang

Jingyi YangJingyi's Bio: Hi everyone! I am Jingyi Yang, and my friends call me Jamie. I am a senior majoring in MCB, and minoring in Classical Civilization and Chemistry. Fun fact about me: I can use a letter-size paper to build a 6'6" tall paper tower without glue. I am currently on the pre-dental track and serve as the vice-president of the UIUC's Pre-dental's club. I also serve as the Physics Lab Assistant for Phys101 and 211, the orientation leader for international students, and the health education staff at McKinley Health Center. As an undergraduate research assistant in Dr.Engeseth food science lab, I work on the factors that affect the lettuce crunchiness. Outside school, I love to build model warships and Gundam, write Chinese calligraphy, and play tennis. I know it will be a little overwhelming at first, especially some MCB courses are hard, but MCB is the warmest family that will prepare you and let you grow in this valuable four years. Students who major in MCB are all bright and ambitious who like to share and help. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about: being a pre-dental student at UIUC, accommodating the campus (as an international student), finding interesting classes/minors, cooking the authentic Kung Pao chicken, or anything you are curious. I'm happy to help!

Eileen Zheng

Eileen ZhengEileen's Bio: Hey there! My name is Eileen Zheng, a junior this year in MCB and on the pre-med track, hoping to finish with minors in East Asian Languages and Cultures, Art + Design, and Chemistry. Outside of academics, I’m involved with the pre-med fraternity Phi Delta Epsilon, the board of UNICEF@UIUC and the REACT program, Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at Carle Foundation Hospital (ER), and working as an MCB Peer Advisor. Although science and medicine take a special priority in my life, I also have a profound fascination with cultures and the arts (as you can probably see from my minors). My hobbies include reading, watching movies, going to performances/exhibitions, hiking, and intense levels of eating and sleeping. Feel free to come to me about any questions regarding MCB, the pre-med track, or campus life. We can chit-chat over some good food, coffee/bubble tea or most definitely both!