Meet the Mentors
Meet the 2017-18 iLEAD mentors!
*Mentors ordered alphabetically by preferred first name*
The five executive board members will also be serving as mentors.
Adriana made the trip from San José, Costa Rica to Nashville and is now a sophomore studying Biomedical engineering. She was part of the iLEAD community as a mentee when she first came to Vanderbilt, and is looking forward to being part of the process to welcome the new international students. She wants to make them feel welcomed on campus and facilitate their integration into the Vanderbilt community. Outside of classes, Adriana loves watching Tennis, snacking on the famous Rand cookies and listening to her favorite bands, including Coldplay and Muse. She also likes discovering new artists to listen to and Nashville is the best place to be for that – there are concerts in town nearly every weekend! Adriana is also part of the Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students (VAHS) in which she helps organize different Latino cultural events for the student body to enjoy. She is looking forward to meeting and welcoming all the new international students who will join us soon!
Alexandra calls Nanjing, China her home and came to Vanderbilt to study both Human and Organizational Development (HOD) and Economics. As a sophomore, it hasn’t been that long since Alexandra had to experience the cultural transition to the US. She hopes that in her iLEAD mentor role she can help international students better accommodate to Vanderbilt and the new environment. During her freshman year she found information fairs on campus, which there are no shortage of, to be helpful as she could find out more about the opportunities on campus. Alexandra’s hobbies include horse riding (especially as part of Vanderbilt’s equestrian team), painting, and cooking. When grabbing a bite to eat with friends, she loves just about anything (except bananas!) including Thai, Japanese, Indian, and American foods. Alexandra is looking forward to meeting the new students in the fall and welcoming her mentees to campus.
Azi is one of this year’s graduate iLEAD mentors and she came to Vanderbilt from Iran to study Biomedical Science. Being from outside of the US, she knows that getting used to life in the US can be a fun journey but one with obstacles. She wants to help pave the road to success for her international student mentees and would like to be their friend and support them during their years at Vanderbilt. Azi is also a part of Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science (VSVS) and when she is not busy in class or with extracurriculars, loves watching movies, shopping, and listening to Persian tunes. Her favorite foods include anything that is made of meat like kebabs! She loves action and adventure and would prefer a vacation full of adrenaline rushes like bungee jumping and riding roller coasters. Coming to Vanderbilt was a dream for Azi and she is excited to meet the new international students to help guide them during their first semester.
Corrine is a sophomore from Shanghai, China and is studying in a variety of disciplines including Medicine, Health, and Society, Child Studies, and German, all while on a pre-law track. She recommends new students explore the library resources and writing studio as they have helped her with her many writing assignments. Aside from her classes, Corrine is a part of the Undergraduate Honor Council and Project Sunshine. She loves Japanese cuisine and American comfort food and her ideal vacation would be any place by the sea! Like many of her international student peers, Corrine had to go through a cultural transition as she settled down in Nashville. She noticed the intercultural tensions that occurred in her own experiences and realized how important communication was in living in a multicultural community. She has grown empathetic to students who have to go through that process and thus wants to be a helping hand for the incoming international students. She wants to promote a mutual understanding of other cultures within the international student community and help new students embrace Vanderbilt as their new home.
Daniel is a sophomore from Aiyura, Papua New Guinea, majoring in Human and Organizational Development (HOD) and Asian Studies with a minor in Mathematics. He wanted to return to iLEAD as a mentor because of his positive experience as a mentee during his freshman year. Daniel got to meet many other students that he wouldn’t have otherwise met and appreciated the open environment where he could discuss his concerns with other students who could understand. While meeting many new people and trying to make friends can be intimidating and slightly awkward, Daniel can only look back on those memories and laugh now that he has become accustomed to Vanderbilt and the community. iLEAD was a great first resource and contact for Daniel and he hopes he can be of help to his mentees. He is also the Cultural Advocacy Director and Treasurer for the International Student Council and is part of the Lanterns team – an initiative designed by the Multicultural Leadership Council to integrate domestic and international students via storytelling. Daniel has enjoyed the club sports opportunities on campus and is on the men’s volleyball team. In his free time, he is usually reading philosophy or relaxing with origami. His favorite cuisines is Indian and there are no shortage of great Indian restaurants near campus!
Denise is in her senior year at Vanderbilt and has been studying in one of the interdisciplinary programs on campus called Medicine, Health, and Society. Coming from Rwanda, Africa, Denise experienced a big change when she came to the US but has fallen in love with the the beautiful campus and community she is part of at Vanderbilt. When she is not in class, she loves grabbing a bite to eat and having meaningful conversations with friends. Her hobbies include reading books, watching TV shows, and dancing. She is also a part of the campus’ African Student Union which promotes awareness of African history and culture! Aside from the ISSS office and iLEAD program, Denise recommends all students to check out the Writing Studio. She also encourages students to visit the new Center for Student Wellbeing. Being a college student is definitely stressful, and learning how to keep a healthy lifestyle is important – the Center for Student Wellbeing offers a variety of student services that can help achieve that! As an international student, Denise understands that it can be tough to get used to a new way of living and studying and wants to be a friend to her mentees that they can rely on.
Fernando Mendez Campos
Fernando is a sophomore from Monterrey, Mexico and is pursuing studies in Engineering and Computer Science. He loves interacting with other international students and learning from people who come from different backgrounds – things he hadn’t experienced much in the US before coming to Vanderbilt. Being Mexican, he enjoys eating food from home but also enjoys Chinese and Italian cuisine. You may catch him playing a game of soccer with friends or listening to his favorite artists including Coldplay, One Republic, or Bastille. Fernando is always looking for new international artists to listen to as he loves discovering music in different languages. Like many other students, he decided to join Alternative Spring Break (ASB) and made a week-long trip to DC – this has been one of his fondest memories at Vanderbilt thus far. Fernando was grateful for the opportunity to explore a new city and also continuously learn about issues that matter to him. He is looking forward to meeting his mentees soon!
Harrison has become a familiar face to the international community since he works in the ISSS office. Having transitioned from a childhood in Shanghai, China to a high school career in St. Louis, Missouri, he has experienced and thus understands the obstacles international students face while adapting to life and culture in the US. In his own words, serving the international community has become a serendipitous passion he discovered to embrace, and as a second-year iLEAD mentor he looks forward to continuing this passion of his. Harrison is majoring in Mechanical Engineering with minors in Computer Science and Engineering Management. In addition he partakes active roles in Vandy_LAN, Global Ambassadores, and the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Lab. When taking a break from his various commitments, Harrison likes to experiment in the kitchen, evident from his Instagram, and to craft his own espresso. A romantic at his best, he pictures his ideal trip with a loved one, counting stars till Lucifer awakes and watching the sunset replace the moon. That’s right, he loves quoting lyrics, especially those of Ed Sheeran.
James is from Detroit, Michigan and is in his last year here at Vanderbilt. Currently, James is studying Molecular and Cellular Biology along with Corporate Strategy. In addition to his academics, he is a part of Vanderbilt Students Volunteer for Science, Project: Bridges, Alternative Spring Break, and Alternative Winter Break. Being in Nashville, there are many great food options, including James’ favorite Hattie B’s hot chicken – a staple of the city! He loves to play tennis and his dream vacation would be to a faraway tropical island. He is looking forward to meeting the international students and making them feel welcome on campus.
Jedrek is a Higher Education Administration graduate student at Vanderbilt from San Diego, California. As a returnee from teaching abroad in Taiwan for two years, he knows that adjusting to a foreign country can be a challenge. He realizes the importance of having a mentor to guide you through the process so you can settle down quickly. When he is not in class or working for Residential Education as a graduate staff member, Jedrek enjoys yoga, playing tennis, running, baking, or eating at the best Mexican restaurants in town. He loves to travel as well and would recommend for those who are looking for their next international travel destinations Morocco, Turkey, and Hungary. He likes exploring places where there aren’t that many tourists. Jedrek would recommend his mentees utilize their RA as a resource to help them get adjusted to campus. To his graduate student mentees, he hopes that they join the organizations hosted by their school as it is a great way to meet other students (and get free food!).
Jiayi came to Nashville from Shanghai, China is studying both Anthropology and Geology. She loves exploring different archaeological sites, as she did when she traveled to Mexico for spring break! Her hobbies include reading and playing musical instruments. Jiayi is involved in the Japanese Cultural Foundation on campus and says her most treasured memory has been taking part in the Asian New Year Festival showcase as a dancer. She loves Southeastern Asian cuisine and her favorite genres of music are J-pop, new age, and alternative rock. Additionally, Jiayi is also a member of the First Friends organization, which is run by the ISSS office that promotes cross-cultural exchange through friendship, and Project Safe. She is looking forward to meeting her new mentees and the other international students in the fall and improving the international student community on campus.
Jingwei is a senior at Vanderbilt from Hangzhou, China and she is studying Biological Science and Math. Outside of her studies, she is involved with Project Bridges, which has the mission of empowering ministries to transform communities. Additionally, she also works with Harmonies for the Elderly and Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science (VSVS) where she can contribute to the Vanderbilt and Nashville communities. When she has free time, Jingwei likes to work out, watch TV shows, and listen to her favorite songs like “Closer” by the Chainsmokers. She is excited to meet her mentees this fall and welcome them to the Vanderbilt community.
Kevin is a sophomore from Dallas, Texas and is studying Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt. When he is not busy with classes, he enjoys playing basketball, playing video games (competitively), binge watching his favorite TV series, and listening to his favorite songs. Like a handful of our mentors, Kevin is also a part of Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science (VSVS) and is a floor representative for his dorm floor as part of the Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG). Since he is pursuing Biological Sciences, Kevin also took opportunity to shadow a physician at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center through the Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) Pre-Health Society. His favorite cuisines include Mexican, Chinese, and Thai which are all well-represented in the Nashville restaurant scene. His main recommendation to new students would be to visit the Writing Studio to get help on brainstorming and composing essays – some of his professors even gave him extra credit for visiting! Kevin is excited to meet his mentees and he hopes they won’t hesitate to reach out to him as he is friendly and approachable.
Kunal made the move to Nashville from New Delhi, India and is now a sophomore majoring in Civil Engineering with minors in German and Computer Science. Being from a different country, Kunal understands what it is like to have to adjust to culture and life in the US. Accessing resources on campus like the ISSS office, the student recreation center, and the student health center helped in his transition to US college life. He sees the iLEAD mentor position as his responsibility to contribute to campus and to help the international students have a memorable freshman year. When he is not in classes, you may find him working at campus dining, researching for the School of Engineering, or volunteering in Nashville area schools as part of Vanderbilt Students Volunteer for Science. Kunal enjoys photography, playing the drums, gaming, biking, and listening to music from country music to hip hop! He is looking forward to meeting the students and wants them to know that he is there to answer any questions about life at Vanderbilt.
Lucy is in her second year at Vanderbilt and made the trip to Nashville from Shenyang, China. She hopes to build friendships with the new students and guide her mentees through any difficulties they may encounter. Even as a math major, she has a passion for science and is part of the Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science (VSVS) organization on campus. Besides VSVS, she has loved the experiences she has had both through Alternate Spring Break (ASB) and the Vanderbilt University Chinese Association (VUCA). In her spare time, she loves catching up on her favorite shows like How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, and White Collar. Her favorite spots to grab food are any of the Chinese places near campus (especially if they have good kung pao chicken or steamed dumplings!), Kissam for their famous breakfast spread, or Bamboo bistro for a pho and bubble tea. Aside from the Writing Studio, English Language Center (ELC), and ISSS, she highly recommends her mentees check out the Career Center for resume and interview help. Whether it be getting together for a meal or cheering on the Vanderbilt Basketball team, Lucy is looking forward to showing her mentees everything that makes Vanderbilt her home.
Marm is a graduate student from Ahmedabad, India and he is currently studying Mechanical Engineering here at Vanderbilt. As a mentee, he loved his iLEAD experience, and wants to pass on what he learned to the incoming graduate students and serve as a human point of contact for his mentees. Outside of class, Marm loves to write (his favorite genre is fiction) and read, especially as part of the Vandy Reads book club. He has grown up with Indian classical music and loves to play the flute to classical songs! Marm also loves listening to Dean Martin and Cole Porter amongst other jazz musicians. His ideal vacation would be a long hike in the mountains or cozying up with a book in the afternoon. He is very excited to meet his mentees and welcome them to Vanderbilt!
Mary is from right here in Nashville and is now a sophomore studying in the Medicine, Health, and Society program. She is very excited to meet the new international students and is looking forward to making a welcoming environment for them as they start their journey at Vanderbilt. Mary’s hobbies include reading, napping, and enjoying the game-show Jeopardy and getting overly competitive herself! She is part of the Ingram Scholarship Program, which is given to students who demonstrate an ability to combine service with their professional career. Mary definitely has a sweet tooth as she enjoys many types of chocolate and her favorite cuisine is from the Middle East! Most students have a favorite spot on campus, and for Mary that would be the picturesque Wyatt Center on Peabody Lawn. She loves spending time here with friends and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.
Nancy is a sophomore from China and is studying a combination of Math, French, and Business. When she is not in class, she loves listening to music and says her playlists include a variety of genres. She is an avid swimmer, and even spent a whole month last year swimming! When thinking about her next vacation, Nancy would rather go to a place near the seaside so she can relax on the beach and take in the sun. She loves food from home and even more so if it’s spicy – her favorites include Chinese barbecue and hotpot. Nancy is excited to meet her mentees and the other international students. She wants to share her experiences and stories with them and looks forward to making new international friends this coming fall.
Nii Amar Amarfio
Nii Amar is pursuing his MBA degree here at the Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management and calls Accra, Ghana his home. He realizes how important the ISSS office and international student community are to incoming students as they are the first best friends new international students will make on campus. Because of that, he is excited to meet his mentees and develop meaningful relationships with them while helping them succeed at Vanderbilt. He is looking forward to learning more about the new students and their native cultures. Other than his classes, Nii Amar loves listening to all genres of music, meeting new people and doing graphic design. His favorite foods are anything hot and spicy – perfect for Nashville’s famous hot chicken!
Oscar came to Vanderbilt from Florencia, Colombia and is currently completing his PhD in Chemical and Physical Biology. You may find him jogging around Centennial park, located right by campus, practicing taekwondo, or playing squash. Being from Colombia, Oscar loves the various foods from home and has joined Vanderbilt’s Latin American and Caribbean Student Association (LACS) where he can celebrate his native culture on campus. He loves listening to salsa, rock, country, blues, and reggaeton. Oscar suggests new students use the resources at ISSS and at the Psychological and Counseling Center (PCC) which offers a variety of services to help students improve their mental health practices. Oscar is looking forward to meeting the new international students and helping them transition to American college life so they can be academically successful!
Robyn is a sophomore studying Biology and is from Ann, Arbor Michigan. Despite her US residence, Robyn was able to participate as an iLEAD mentee as she went to high school in South Korea. She wants to greet new international students through iLEAD and help them just as her mentor helped her freshman year. On campus, she is on the executive board for the Korean Undergraduate Student Association which boasts a variety of Korean cultural activities for all students to enjoy. She has also illustrated for the Hustler, Vanderbilt’s student-run newspaper, and has had experience working in a lab. Robyn’s hobbies include painting, sleeping, and eating – her favorite food is lasagna!
Steven Yang Yue Heng
Coming all the way from Singapore, Steven made the move to Vanderbilt and is currently in his second year studying Philosophy and Economics. His music library mainly consists of classical music, but he also enjoys pop and rock. While Nashville has a variety of international cuisines, Steven does miss foods from home including his favorites Nasi Lemak, Roti Prata, and Chicken Rice! Steven has had a great time at Vanderbilt and enjoyed the orientation process that he had to go through when he first arrived. He wants to contribute to that experience by helping new students settle into their life on campus. Aside from the international student orientation, Steven said his residential advisers (RAs) have also been a big help to him and recommends students reach out to them.
Vicky came to Vanderbilt to get her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at Peabody College. During her undergraduate career, she worked with the international student community and wanted to find a way to continue doing that at Vanderbilt, especially given her interests in international and multicultural education and student affairs administration. As an international student from Hong Kong, she can understand the struggles of moving to a new country and wants to help new students have a smooth transition to Vanderbilt. Vicky says many of her friends also chose to go abroad for studies, and her dream vacation would be a world trip where she could visit all of them within a year! Having travelled a lot, Vicky has got to experience many different international cuisines and her favorite are Thai, Korean, and Japanese. Lastly, she recommends students check out the English Language Center (ELC) as they provide 1-on-1 writing consultations that are a great alternative to the Writing Studio.
Xiaolu is from Shanghai, China and is a junior at Vanderbilt. She is studying both Mathematics and Economics and is part of organizations on campus like Alternative Winter Break (AWB). Her most treasured memory on campus is her previous AWB trip where she did service and became friends with the incredible people in her group who all had a great impact on her. As getting to know the Vanderbilt community is important to her, she wants to be a helping hand for the new international students. Xiaolu is looking forward to meeting more friends through iLEAD and wants to make Vanderbilt a welcoming community for her mentees. She had a positive orientation experience when she first came to Vanderbilt, and that has inspired her to pay it forward. During her free time, Xiaolu loves playing ultimate Frisbee, and when she can get to the slopes, loves snowboarding. Recently, she has begun teaching herself how to cook and her favorite foods include Asian food and just about anything that is messy to eat!
Yini calls Qingdao, China her home and is currently pursuing graduate studies in Audiology. She has loved the diverse cultural experiences she has gotten from her time at Vanderbilt and wants to make sure her graduate mentees have a smooth transition to Vanderbilt so they can appreciate those experiences as well. Being from a city near the ocean, she would love to travel with her friends to the seaside and make great memories. Yini loves the arts as well and loves to experiment with clay when she has time at home. She also plays the Erhu which is a two-stringed Chinese instrument. Yini’s favorite songs range from Chinese Orchestra pieces to music soundtracks to world pop. She is even a member of the Radial Grooves, a co-ed acapella group from the School of Medicine! When grabbing a bite to eat with friends, she can be spotted at Monell’s of Corner Asia Bistro, but she loves a variety of cuisines including Japanese, Peruvian, and New American. As an iLEAD mentee herself, she is excited to pass on her knowledge to the incoming graduate students.
Yuki came to Vanderbilt from Qingdao, China and is pursuing studies in Special Education, Cognitive Studies, and would like to add on Music as well. She appreciates the diversity and various experiences that international students bring to campus. Yuki was in the iLEAD program as a mentee when she came to Vanderbilt last year, and is excited to share her experiences and stories with her mentees this year. She especially recommends international students check out the Writing Studio and Career Center, which are both popular student resources on campus. In addition to the iLEAD program, Yuki is a Global Ambassadore, a Next Steps Ambassadore, and a member of the Vanderbilt Commodore Orchestra. When planning her next trip, Yuki wants to go to a place where she can completely relax and enjoy desserts! Her favorite music includes classical music, bassoon concertos, and songs by Taiwanese singer Terry Lin.
Zhongtian is a sophomore from Shenzhen, China and is excited to help his mentees adapt to life on campus and in the States. He is studying Math, History, and Computer Science (Stevenson library will become his second home) and is a big fan of old school rock including artists like Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, and the Beatles. Zhongtian’s hobbies include playing basketball, video games, and his guitar. This past spring break, he took part of Alternate Spring Break (ASB) program and had some exciting adventures with his group… including scooping poop! He is excited to welcome his new mentees this coming fall and recommends they check out the English Language Center, which has been of help for many of his writing assignments.