Mentor Bios

Mentors are dedicated students who specifically want to support entering Hispanic/Latino students.  The group is very diverse, representing people of many Latin American and Hispanic nationalities, many ethnicities and linguistic backgrounds.

2015-16 Peer Mentors


Familia Bio’s

Manuel’s Familia

Peer MentorAlexis Chaet
Cultural background: My family is split between Lima, Peru and the east-coast USA. I was born in the sunshine state but have spent most my time growing up here in Virginia. I have a big family with seven siblings in total. Holidays usually entail many dozens of papas rellenas and many hungry mouths.
Major and Academic Interest: I am a Human Biology major and could not be more happy with my decision. I am interested in disparities in healthcare access and health literacy, especially within the Latino population here in the US. The Hispanic population is growing at an incredible rate (somos el futuro!), but changes in the healthcare system to accommodate this new body of patients are slow.
Career Aspiration: I am interested in combining a career in medicine and public health. While working at a policy-level to make systemic changes in public health law is very appealing to me, I feel more drawn to working directly with people. Before med school I plan to spend a year in Latin America gaining more experience in public health.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I have always been drawn to the world of endurance sports, and have been a part of the Triathlon Club community since first year. The rural outskirts of Cville have some stunning views on the bike! I am very involved in global health here at UVa, and am part of the Center for Global Health Student Advisory Board. We work to organize global health film showings, round table discussions, book clubs, promotion of research grant opportunities, and the annual UVa Global Health Week!
Tip to First Year Self: Hmm....I would say do not let fear of the unknown hold you back. Put yourself out there! Go to a Salsa Club practice if you have always wanted to learn how to dance, or sit in on a Rubics Cube competition if you have never seen someone complete a cube blindfolded! Have fun and go outside your comfort zone!
Favorite TV Shows: Orange is the New Black has been a recent favorite ;)
Fun Fact: I have been learning for some time now how to unicycle. It is more difficult than it looks.

Peer MentorAlejandro Vargas
Cultural Background:
Born and raised in the great and magnificent city of Bogotá, Colombia. I lived there for 11 years and four days, and then I blessed this country with my breathtaking presence on the day of August 28, 2007. I moved to Naples, Florida, which is where I currently live with my wonderful mom, and my brother Tote.
Major and Academic Interest:
I am majoring in Civil Engineering, and planning on having a minor in Engineering Business. I love buildings and bridges and roads and dams and aqueducts and airports and tunnels.
Career Aspirations: Once I get my degree, I would love to work with an international engineering firm.
I am part of the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers (SHPE), PMP,  Phi Sigma Kappa, and a member of Club Tennis. In my free time, I like to work out, play tennis, kick some major gluteus in FIFA, and on a sunny day I like to run as if la migra was chasing me.
Tip to First Year Self: Be open to explore and try different things.
Fun Fact: So, for 18 years of my life I lived without knowing that I actually had a twin.I was actually born with the amazing Kevin Avalo. Apparently, at birth we were separated and he was shipped off to El Salvador. For the first three years of his life, El Salvador nurtured him and showed him the garrobero ways. At age 3, he was led by a coyote to the land of the free, dodging la migra, and swimming across El Rio Grande. It was here where he met his parents. They took him in open arms, and raised him. When I got to UVA, I was randomly paired with the one and only lost twin of my life. Te amo Kevin.

Peer MentorAlfredo Preciado
Cultural Background: Born and raised in Panama, I have lived 19 years of my life in this country along with my father's and mother's side of the family. Now as a college student this has been the first time I ever live outside my motherland. Nevertheless, I feel I have been able to adapt to this new environment seamlessly in terms of the university community.
Major and Academic Interest: I am currently a student in the Engineering School (E - School) aspiring to study (now applying) into the Systems Engineering major. One of the main reasons I decided to study engineering is due to my father, an industrial engineer, whom which I am very close to. It was he who helped me strive forward in the sciences and mathematics throughout school and due to this I took a liking to them.
Career Aspirations: In the future I would like to work in a company which is to a great extent engineering-related. Since I will most likely return to Panama after my four years in UVA I would really like to work in a company such as the Panama Canal Administration. As one of the new marvels of the modern world I feel that the Panama Canal would offer a great job opportunity due to its quick growth and role in Panama's economy.
UVA Involvement and Activities: My favorite activity to do during my University days is to travel. Whether it is in the local sense, to DC or even to Miami, traveling allows me to distract my mind from school for a while. However, here in UVA I enjoy playing Ultimate, jogging and going to the gym. As for the time I spend at home in Panama I usually stay at the beach for long periods of time where I surf and sleep lots.
Tip to First Year Self: At this point it is hard for me to think about something I regret not doing, but I do regret something I did first semester. It happens to many first years, which is eating too much junk food, causing us to get sick all the time.
Favorite TV Shows: I have not been watching that many series recently, but I used to watch popular TV shows such as Family Guy, Modern Family and How I met Your Mother. Overall, I have always been more of a movie person, not sticking to a particular genre of films, but selecting movies to watch based on directors.
Fun Fact: I love ketchup.

Peer MentorAna Torres
Cultural background: I'm a latina born and raised in Honduras (my whole family still lives there) and i'm in the USA for college. Most of my family is from and lives in Nicaragua, where I often visit them!
Major and Academic Interest: I'm a pre-comm student with interest in a management and possibly marketing concentration. I'm also interested in a psychology minor (or major depending on time) and a minor in Italian.
Career Aspirations: Opening my own business either alone or with a partner and be the best at what i do.
UVA Involvement and Activities: Other than PMP i'm involved in TBLA(Towards a better Latin America) and SHH (Students Helping Honduras). I'm also rushing for APO, which is UVA's service frat. As you can see, i love community service.
Tip to First Year Self: I wish i'd paid attention when people told me to take Microeconomics before will make life so much easier!
Favorite TV Shows: I'm basically a TV addict so these are just some of my favs...revenge, scandal, the blacklist, chasing life, suits, and How to get away with murder.
Fun Fact: I've been at an african Safari and I've travelled through almost every continent in the world... North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, and I can't wait to go to Australia! Also, my siblings are in order Boy, Girl (me), boy, girl

Peer MentorAndrea Mendoza Perez
Cultural background: I'm 100% Venezolana!
Major and Academic Interest: I'm an English major with Astronomy minor.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I used to be on exec for PMP and a mentor and a mentee. I do MUN aaaand I write and read all the time. I'm a pretty indoorsy person.
Tip to First Year Self: Be more social! Staying in your room isn't that fun and you're going to run out of things to watch on Netflix.
Favorite TV Shows: Scandal obvi. Once Upon a Time and HTGAWM and Steven Universe are my faves.
Fun Fact: I have a tattoo and I'm planning on getting another. I've also had my writing published before.

Peer MentorClaudia Bonilla
Cultural background: All of my family is from El Salvador.
Major and Academic Interest: I am a government major with a concentration on American politics and a Spanish major with a concentration on literature and culture. I love government because I like being involved in aspects that can affect the community and active on how to benefit them positively. I absolutely love Spanish because I love reading and writing about important influences that impacted the Spanish culture of different regions.
Career Aspirations: I'm not entirely sure what I would like to do as my career. However, my dream job would be to work on Capitol Hill with a congressional representative. I would like to work with someone who is very passionate about minority rights, education, and health care. But being able to work at the local level in one of those aspects would be fun too!
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am involved in Virginia Homecomings, LSA, University Democrats, and FIFE.
Tip to First Year Self: I wish my first year self had branched out more and taken advantage of all the wonderful opportunities Mr. Jefferson's university has to offer :)
Favorite TV Shows: My favorite TV shows are Jane the Virgin, Reign, and Gilmore Girls.
Fun Fact: I can barely ever walk in a straight line, awkwardness follows me like a puppy, and I went to the high school from the movie "Remember the Titans." (Also I could eat froyo/ice cream/chocolate as my 3 meals a day every day)

Peer MentorElvera Santos
Cultural background: Brazilian and Black
Major and Academic Interest: Foreign Affairs and Women and Gender Studies Double Major
Career Aspirations: I possibly want to be a lawyer or museum curator, honestly, not quite sure.
UVA Involvement and Activities:
Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Incorporated
Docent at the Fralin Art Museum
Volunteer at the Hospital through Madison House
Tip to First Year Self: I wish I would have gotten involved more and connected with my suite mates more, those are some of the first connections that you have to UVA don't be afraid to meet them.
Favorite TV Shows: RuPaul's Drag Race, Empire, or Friends
Fun Fact: I've probably seen the Space Shuttle Discovery more times than anyone else... so

Peer MentorJonathan Diaz
Cultural background:
-The Dominican Republic is beautiful. Wonderful beaches, friendly people, you can feel the energy and the culture once you step into someone's home. I haven't been there since I was 13 and I miss it like crazy.
Major and Academic Interest: I am going to be studying Commerce this fall! I have always wanted to study something dealing with business because I have always wanted to understand how money works. My family did not really have a great understanding of how to save money, make investments, and grow wealth so it is something that really intrigues me just because it is knowledge I can use to assist my family as well as myself.
Career Aspirations: I want to work in marketing, maybe. To be honest I am not sure what I want to work as. All I know is that I want to work in something business related. I am still trying to get a feel for what types of jobs I might like. I think that is okay though. Just having a general idea of what interests me is all I think I need at the moment. I think the best use of my time now is to explore.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am a part of:
The Jefferson Literary and Debating Society
The Latino And Migrant Aid Program through Madison House
OAAA Peer Advising Program
La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Incorporated.
Tip to First Year Self: I wish that I had done more athletic stuff. I never played intramural. I really want to. Do it!!!! It's fun!!!! I was a referee ironically so I know that people have a blast!
Favorite TV Shows: The Regular Show on Cartoon Network: I am big kid at heart and it is kind of sad to admit, but I still get a kick out of cartoons.
Fun Fact: Munich, Germany. I would love to go to Germany and check out what its like. For some reason I have always thought it would be a great trip to visit Germany. I could definitely also do Holland. Holland just seems like a really fun place and my favorite color is orange so I would be in good company given the national colors there.

Peer MentorKaren Flores
Cultural background: I'm Salvadorian! Both of my parents are from El Salvador, but I was born in Arlington, VA and was raised in Woodbridge, VA (All NOVA). I used to visit El Salvador once a year, every February, but then College happened. Haha
Major and Academic Interest: Majoring in Foreign Affairs, specifically International Relations and either minoring or majoring in Spanish as well.
Career Aspirations: I've always wanted to make a difference, not only here in the U.S., but also internationally so I felt like this major would help me do that. I want to either be a U.S. Ambassador for a Latin American country, join the peace corps, or any other non-profit organization. Minoring/majoring in Spanish is overall to make sure I don't forget how to speak/read/write it while being here at UVa and to improve my vocabulary.
UVA Involvement and Activities: In addition to PMP, I'm mildly involved in the Latino Student Alliance (LSA), I tutor/mentor children through the Southwood Community Outreach program, I volunteer through Madison House with the program called "Adopt-a-Grandparent," and I also help lead a Christian organization on grounds: The Blue Ridge Campus Ministry.
Tip to First Year Self: I would say to start off strong, meaning, join a few clubs that you're truly interested in and become really integrated in them. Clubs are a good way to meet tons of new people and create strong friendships. Meeting new people always makes the transition into College a lot easier. The reason why I say join a few clubs is because some people tend to drown themselves in them and consequently do bad academically. We're all here for a common purpose, which is to do well academically, so I would say that you should also learn to manage your time. Make sure you have time to work hard but also time to relax and enjoy yourself doing whatever it is you like doing. Enjoy your first year; it really doesn't get better than UVA!      
Favorite TV Shows: I used to be super obsessed with Criminal Minds but then The Walking Dead happened. I'm still catching up with the last season... I had to stop at some point because it became to gruesome haha but now i'm hooked again. I would also say that I prefer watching movies over TV shows but I enjoy both.
Fun Fact: I've been told that I can be located anywhere by my laugh. I guess I have an extremely loud and unique laugh; I don't know if it's a good or bad thing. Haha

Peer MentorKevin Avalo
Cultural background:
I was born and raised in the distant suburbs of the gangsta wannabe, basic white girl and "hipster" infested region of NOVA. My parents are both from the beautiful country of El Salvador. I am 100% aguacatero with pupusas and garrobo in my blood. El mero mero truco.
Major and Academic Interest: I am majoring in Computer Science. I love coding. If I could marry a computer then I'd be having tablets as my children. Little iPad mini running around here and there. I'm also interested in Electrical Engineering.
Career Aspirations: After I graduate, I would like to take the skills I learn in my four years here to a company such as Google or Amazon and develop software and applications that would be useful to everyone.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am part of the Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers (SHPE). I am also part of the Peer Mentoring Program (PMP). On my free time I enjoy running, playing soccer, working out, and beating everyone in FIFA. I am currently the champion in old dorms.
Tip to First Year Self: Do not procrastinate! The tests here are nothing like the ones in high school. Study everything, and always read the assigned readings before lecture. Stay organized, and libraries are your home, sleep in them. Do not be afraid to try something new. Go to office hours.
Favorite TV Shows: FRIENDS. I love Jennifer.
Fun Fact: So, for 18 years of my life I lived without knowing that I actually had a twin. I was actually born in the great and magnificent city of Bogota, Colombia on the same day as the astounding Alejandro Vargas. Apparently, at birth we were separated and I was shipped off to El Salvador. For the first three years of my life El Salvador nurtured me and showed me the garrobero ways. At age 3, I was led by a coyote to the land of the free, dodging la migra, and swimming across el Rio Grande. It is here where I met my parents. They took me in with open arms, and raised me. When I got to UVA I was randomly paired with the one and only lost twin of my life. Te amo Alejo.

Peer MentorMaria Ernestina Castillo
Cultural background: I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. However, I have lived all my life in Managua, Nicaragua.
Major and Academic Interest: I have developed a natural inclination towards the business field, for as long as I remember. I like numbers, dealing with clients, and sales.
Career Aspirations: By applying to McIntire School of Business I think I will have a solid foundation for creating and managing a successful company.  After graduation, I hope to work for a couple of years, and then obtain my MBA. 
UVA Involvement and Activities: Since the beginning of my first year, I joined TBLA (Towards a Better Latin America) and LSN (Latino Student Network). One of main hobbies is to travel and take pictures.
Tip to First Year Self: Time goes by so fast, so enjoy every second of it!,Get involved in any opportunity you can and know how to balance your time wisely.
Favorite TV Shows: Suits, White Collar, Revenge
Fun Fact: I went to the World Cup in Brazil.

Peer MentorMaria Gude
Cultural background: "Spasian" I'm Chinese and Spanish; my mother is from China and my dad is from Spain, but I was born and raised in the US.
Major and Academic Interest: Currently in the School of Arts and Sciences.  My plan is to follow a pre-med track while pursing a degree in commerce.  Currently lost track of how many people think of me as insane for taking on this challenge.
Career Aspirations:
I want to become a doctor preferably an anesthesiologist, the person that puts you to sleep before a surgery.  But if that doesn't work out at least I'll have my degree in commerce (hopefully) I'm also in HASS, human animal support services.  Come and join us!  We throw the cutest events that provide a well deserved stress free afternoon, especially during midterms and finals!
Tip to First Year Self:
Channel your inner humor.  There will inevitably be times that you fail and just want to give up; lets face it, it's college.  At times like that, grab a friend, lots of sugar/chocolate/ice cream/popcorn and just relax and laugh it off.  The next day will be a clean slate for you to start something new too many.  The Vampire Diaries, Arrow, Flash, iZombie, and Game of Thrones.  Honorable mentions include Nikita and Burn Notice.
Fun Fact:
I'm terrified of heights, yet I love everything with heights: rollar coasters, high up views.  Plan on going sky diving and bungee jumping one day, but someone is coming with me if only to push me out because I'm not looking down...


Maripaz’s Familia

Peer MentorAna Morais
Cultural Background: I was born and raised in Portugal, but moved to the US the summer before freshmen year of high school.
Major and Academic Interest: Graduated in May of 2015 with my B.S.Ed. degree in Kinesiology and will be a "Double Wahoo" after May of 2016 when I graduate with my M.Ed. in Exercise Physiology-I just can't leave this place-Go Hoos!!
Career Aspirations: I hope to go to Medical School as soon as I possibly can. As of now I really like Internal Medicine and Primary Care but we will see where my passion lies once I am in Medical School :)
UVA Involvement and Activites: This year I will mostly be focusing on my masters by interning at the Martha Jefferson Health and Wellness Center, volunteering, and hopefully be a TA. In the past I have been involved with Student Council, the Daniel Hale Williams Pre-Medical Honor Society (DHW), ULink, and the Outreach Student Admission Committee. I volunteered at the Health South Rehabilitation Hospital and the Southwood Community Outreach Tutoring Program. I have also participated in the Women Leadership Development Program and the Blue Print Project. So if you are interested in any of these please don't hesitate to contact me!
As for hobbies, I love to have fun outside (when it's nice of course), so if you ever want to play tennis, sand volleyball or anything else-let me know!
Tip to First Year Self: At times you might feel that some things are just impossible to achieve, but like Mandela once said “It always seems impossible until it’s done", so always do your best and never give up!!!
Favorite TV Shows: Scandal, House of Cards, How To Get Away with Murder. Guilty pleasure- The Mindy Project :)
Fun Fact: I studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa for a summer.

Peer MentorBelen Vargas
Cultural Background: I was born and raised in California, and I'm half Guatemalan and half Mexican.
Major and Academic Interest: I came into UVA as a premed student but quickly discovered that it wasn't for me. I transferred into the School of Nursing so now I'm in the Nursing Class of 2017!
Career Aspirations: I'm leaning towards pediatric, neonatal, or labor and delivery nursing. I still have two years to decide so we'll see!
UVA Involvement and Activites: I decided to take a break this year from all the clubs that I was previously in and just focus on PMP and Cru Christian Fellowship. I'm super involved in Cru. I go to small group, large group, and I'm also a drummer on the worship team. They're both great organizations to be a part of!
Tip to First Year Self: I wish I had done the Facebook roommate finder thing! I didn't have the best relationship with my roommate my first year because we were so different, so I really wish I would have chosen someone I at least knew had interests similar to mine.
Favorite TV Shows: The Walking Dead & Friends!
Fun Fact: I'm one of five daughters. My parents are pretty lucky ;)

Peer MentorBijan Morshedi:
Cultural Background: I was born in Norfolk, Virginia but grew up in Virginia Beach and lived there for almost my entire life. I am half Persian, half Argentine, and 100% 757. Come ask me about the beach if you want to spend a little time appreciating the beauty that occurs when ocean meets land, it's a wonderful place.
Major and Academic Interest: BIOCHEMISTRY!!! ~~Con gran pasión~~
I selected the major partly because I am Pre-Med, and the major aligned directly with many of the courses I have to take to fulfill the Medical School application requirements. However, I also selected the major since it explores all of the intricacies of human life at a molecular level to give insight into how we function and what physiological processes keep us alive.
Career Aspirations: I will be applying to medical school this upcoming school year during the 2015-2016 cycle so we will see how that goes and where these applications will take me!
UVA Involvement and Activites: PMP - what a great program right???
Fútbol - I play for upwards of 3 teams depending on the time of year; 2 IM teams and 1 outdoor full field team. This is the highlight of my weekend without a doubt.
Cultural Programming Board - Working with the Office of the Dean of Students to fund and promote cultural events around grounds
Peer Health Educators - Work with peers and various CIOs to provide health education on several topics including mental health & well-being, sexual health & contraception, alcohol use and abuse, and nutrition. (Talk to your RA or CIO leader to request an outreach or talk to me!!!)
Research - Oh boy, if you want to know more just come ask me I'll give you the elevator speech =)
Tip to First Year Self: I would tell myself to not waste time - It is hard to turn down your friends who are playing video games or watching TV in the dorm. I really wish that I cut out video games, TV, and movies out earlier and focused on using that extra time to go out and hang out with people more. I did not play games that much but it would have been so much more useful if I committed to studying during that time or hanging out with friends; both of which are much more productive. Also, do not be afraid to go around the dorm and meet others, my strongest friendships came from my hall and I can't imagine how different it could have been if I took time to visit all of the floors frequently.
Favorite TV Shows: Hmm, I do not really watch TV but I would have to say House of Cards is excellent, as is Trailer Park Boys (I do not know why I like this show). Game of Thrones is great also, I will probably watch it over the summer though since I have not seen it yet.
Fun Fact: I would definitely select a beach and touristy area so that I can have the beach and also meet many people frequently. Tough to say where since there are many beautiful beaches around the world; I would have to try them all before I could decide; maybe South Africa, maybe South America, maybe California, maybe Australia who knows.

Peer MentorCharley Wallach:
Cultural Background: Mexican and Romanian, with some native American and other Eastern European mixed in.
Major and Academic Interest: Biology Major with a Psychology minor. I love human and cell biology especially and learning about what shapes personalities and mentalities.
Career Aspirations: I hope to go into medicine or psychiatry. I've always wanted to become a doctor.
UVA Involvement and Activites: Greek life, I work at Coupes, I play guitar and I'm DIRTY at FIFA
Tip to First Year Self: Branch out as much as possible in the first couple weeks. Everyone is here to make friends that will last throughout college, so try to meet everyone and remember their names.
Favorite TV Shows: Game of Thrones, The Following, True Detective, Breaking Bad, Dig.
Fun Fact: I love music. I go to a lot of concerts and festivals for all types of music, it's one of my passions.

Peer MentorClaudia Castaneda:
Cultural Background: I was born in the US but both my parents are Peruvian.
Major and Academic Interest: I am a declared Spanish major and a tentative major of Global Development Studies.
Career Aspirations: I hope to work in the government someday; hopefully working to help solve poverty.
UVA Involvement and Activites: I tutor elementary school kids at a local community center and write for the Uva admissions Diversity Blog. I like discovering new music and spend a lot of time scouring through Spotify.
Tip to First Year Self: Don't be afraid to do anything. Whether it be going to a TA for help in a class, belting out a song even if you can't sing, saying hello to a stranger, going to CAPS if you're feeling stressed, eating that box of cookies because you love cookies, or breaking out into dance.
Favorite TV Shows: Best show of all time is Friends! 
Fun Fact: I am obsessed with popcorn, I eat a bag a day. :)

Peer MentorEmerson Aviles:
Cultural Background: I was born in El Salvador. When I was six, I moved to Los Angeles and after a couple of years I moved to Richmond, VA and lived there ever since.
Major and Academic Interest: I am a Music and Biology double major in the College of Arts and Sciences on a pre-med track.
Career Aspirations: My dream is to become a physician and help the underprivileged communities here in the United States and abroad if I have the opportunity. Medicine has always fascinated me and my passion for helping people will hopefully lead me to open my own practice some day.
UVA Involvement and Activites: In addition to PMP, I like to stay busy around grounds. Other activities that I keep myself busy throughout the year include: Cavalier Marching Band, Salsa Club, DHW Pre-Medical Honor Society, Monroe Society, Music and Performing Arts Council, Latino Student Alliance, ULink Mentoring Program, Office of Admissions Outreach Office, Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity, and Young Americans for Freedom. If you're interested in knowing more about any of these organizations let me know and I will gladly tell you more about them! In addition to these, I enjoy practicing and making music in Old Cabell (Music Library), hanging out with friends, or volunteering in the Hospital during some free time.
Tip to First Year Self: Don't be afraid of failure. Everyone at UVA has failed at something, and we learn from those experiences. Failure is a part of life. Many times, those "failures" bring many opportunities. So don't be afraid of trying new things. You will not know if you're good at something if you don't at least try.
Favorite TV Shows: I'm a big fan of #TGIT (Thank God it's Thursday) so Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder are my shows.
Fun Fact: I have been playing saxophone for eleven years. I can not ice skate.

Peer MentorJessica Timana Gomez:
Cultural Background: My family Colombian! All of my family lives there besides my brother, my mother, my father, and myself. I go visit pretty often :)
Major and Academic Interest: I am a double major in Psych and Foriegn Affairs. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet but I've thought about going into Human Resources.
Career Aspirations: No clue what I want to do with my life yet but I can see myself in a big city working at one of the largest companies in the nation. I'd love a job in which I can talk to different people everyday and I'm helping everyone with their tasks.
UVA Involvement and Activites: This is my second year on the Latino Student Alliance executive board. I also do arts and crafts, go hiking, go swimming, party, exercise, cook, and do a million other things in my free time! I am very open to trying out new things and I am very spontaneous!
Tip to First Year Self: Expose yourself. Seriously you don't want to get to your fourth year and regret not going to that event, not talking to that boy, not applying for that position, or not taking a small break from studying to do something fun.
Favorite TV Shows: House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Hart of Dixie, CSI, and Law&Order SVU.
Fun Fact: I have studied: German, French, Italian, Latin, and Spanish

Peer MentorLyons Sanchezconcha
Cultural Background: I was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the US when I was 5 years old! I'd say I'm Peruvian, but yet again I have spent most of my life in good ol' Sterling, VA. I love Peru and I have been back to visit 4 times!
Major and Academic Interest: I am a transfer student, new to UVA for Fall of 2014, and I'm studying Psychology. I love psychology because I enjoy knowing why is it we humans do the things we do. I am also minoring (and will possibly be double majoring) in Spanish! Por que no?
Career Aspirations: I am very interested in education and gear my studies towards that. With a career in education, I hope to improve the system and positively influence the lives of our future generation.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am most involved with the Cavalier Marching Band (CMB) at the University. I have been playing percussion instruments since I was very little and am currently in the drumline here! Aside from that, I enjoy my jobs on grounds at the McIntire Art Department and posting the Stall Street Journals!
Tip to First Year Self: One of the best tips I received was to introduce yourself to the professors on the first day of class. It'll make a difference, I promise. I also recommend meeting as many people and making as many connections as you can, and using a planner to help manage your time.
Favorite TV Shows: I enjoy watching Game of Thrones, use to keep up with Walking Dead, and am currently obsessing over Parks and Rec. Arrested Development is awesome as well!
Fun Fact: Fun fact - I have a twin brother who attends George Mason University!


Peer MentorNicholas Farias:
Cultural Background: Mexican. Both my parents are from Michoacan, Mexico, but I was born and currently live in Manassas, Va. I have been to Mexico 8 times, and naturally I love Mexican food.
Major and Academic Interest: Civil and Environmental Engineering Major with a minor in Architecture.
Career Aspirations: I have always been fascinated in the art of designing and constructing buildings and other structures, and I hope to work for a civil engineering firm once I graduate. I plan to open up my own construction or engineering company and to get a Contractor's Class A License eventually.
UVA Involvement and Activites: I'm a brother and chapter president of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc., I drive buses for UTS, and I'm also actively involved with the Latino Student Alliance and Peer Mentoring Program. I play intramural and pick-up soccer whenever I can as well.
Tip to First Year Self: Academics First! Be organized and manage your time wisely, it's easy to get behind. Get involved in the community, there are all kinds of clubs and organizations for everyone. Stay involved with the Latino community here as well, don't forget where you come from! Have fun but know your limits!
Favorite TV Shows: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, That 70's Show, MythBusters, the History Channel, documentaries, and any soccer channel/show cause you know soccer is the best sport out there.
Fun Fact: I can play piano.

Peer MentorPaola Sanchez:
Cultural Background: I was born in Ecuador, South America aka the most beautiful country in the world! I lived in Ecuador for two golden years then my parents packed our bags and moved our family to the good ole U.S.A. to provide a better life for my brother and me. Now I identify myself as not only Ecuadorian but full fledge American!
Major and Academic Interest: I am currently in the College of Arts & Sciences and I plan to double major in Media Studies and Youth & Social Innovation! I have always been fascinated with media related subjects, such as the impact of social networks on society. In addition to that passion, I also have a strong interest in promoting social change, especially in youth. With a major in Youth & Social Innovation, I would like to create a non-profit program that aims to help Hispanic youth in poverty-stricken areas to graduate high school and hopefully attend college.
Career Aspirations: I plan to accomplish my aspirations by working at a non-profit organization that promotes social change after I graduate college. After gaining some experience in the non-profit sector, I would love to work at the Peace Corps for two years in Ecuador. There, I would work on bettering the lifestyle and education of Ecuadorian youth. After my two years at the Peace Corps, I'd finally settle down in America and (hopefully) start working on a non-profit organization of my own.
UVA Involvement and Activites: Other than PMP, I serve on LSA's Advocacy Committee. I also am very active in University Democrats (UDems) and the Young Women Leadership Program.
Tip to First Year Self: A tip I would give to my First Year self would be to not procrastinate on work! With the newfound freedom, time management is crucial! Meeting new people, joining new clubs, and going out with friends can take up a lot of study time, so make sure you designate certain hours to academics.
Favorite TV Shows: My favorite TV show by far is The Mindy Project! I love Mindy's sass, drive, and confidence. It proves that women can be both professional and fun at the same time!
Fun Fact: A fun fact about myself is that I'm a vegan! Why?! Because I love feeling healthy and I love animals too much to eat them!

Peer MentorVictoria Ansley Martinez:
Cultural Background: My dad's side of the family is Cuban. I've never been to Cuba, but I would love to go sometime in the near future!
Major and Academic Interest: I'm a pre-comm student, and I hope to focus on marketing and entrepreneurship.
Career Aspirations: Number one career aspiration on my bucket list? To start a micro-brewery. But before that, I hope to develop some social entrepreneurship ventures that will in some way impact the world for the better. I hope to focus my ventures in international business, specifically Cuba and other Spanish speaking countries.
UVA Involvement and Activites: Besides PMP, I am a consultant in the Virginia Consulting Group (VCG), a member of the Entrepreneurship Group at UVA, and a member of the sorority Alpha Chi Omega. I spend my time outside of school activities playing the piano, guitar, and ukulele. And I love kicking back in some fuzzy socks with a good movie/book.
Tip to First Year Self: Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to people! First year is a perfect time to make the best friends you will ever have in your life. So don't be shy!
Favorite TV Shows: My favorites are Arrested Development, American Horror Story, New Girl, Orange is the New Black, and Mindy Project. I'm always looking for a good show to start on Netflix.
Fun Fact: I organize the apps on my phone not by function, but by color. It's just prettier that way.

Peer MentorVictoria Stagnaro:
Cultural Background: I'm originally from Argentina, but I've been living in the US for the last 10 years or so. Man, what I wouldn't I give for a good empanada or milanesa right now? Nothing. I would give everything. We try to visit my family in Argentina over Christmas break and it's the highlight of my year. I also lived in Brazil for a little while when I was a kid, but I don't remember much Portuguese...
Major and Academic Interest:  I'm majoring in Biology, maybe to go into pre-med, maybe to teach, or maybe to go into research. I just genuinely love bio and science and learning new things about our environment. (Also mushrooms are really cool and interesting and could potentially save the world.)
Career Aspirations: I've always wanted to be a mad scientist! Or maybe that science teacher that inspires kids to go out and catch tadpoles in the lake. I'm also starting to consider going to medical school to help people, or just work in the research aspect of medicine and pharmacy.
UVA Involvement and Activites: I'm part of a club called Kids Acting Out, where we go to a local elementary school and play drama games with kids! Every friday we take an hour to work on a mini skit for the kids to perform for their parents at the end of the semester. The things they come up with are hilarious and we get to act like 9 year olds, so it's everything I've ever wanted. I also go to Zumba every week, which is both fantastic exercise and lets me listen to quality Latin music, so it's 10/10.
Tip to First Year Self: I wish I had joined more clubs during first semester! There are so many awesome activities in this school and it's a good way to make friends fast.
Favorite TV Shows: Avatar The Last Airbender, Legend Of Korra, Orange is the New Black, Brain Games, Gravity Falls... I watch a lot of animated shows!
Fun Fact: I did Tae-kwon-do for 5 years and I have my black belt. Fight me! I really like languages, and I'm pretty involved in the German department here at Uva. I'll actually be living at the German house this year, so come find me!


Raquel’s Familia

Peer MentorAdrianna Gorsky
Fourth Year
Cultural Backgroud: Born and raised in Arlington, Va. I'm 50% Brazilian and 100% Jewish.
Major and Academic Interest:  Environmental Thought and Practice and BA Environmental Science
Career Aspirations: I'm passionate about conservation and sustainability so I could see myself working anywhere within the realm of the environmental field. A couple years down the road I will probably go to graduate school for environmental science or policy.
UVA Involvement and Activities: Student employee with UVA Sustainability, Green Dining, member of Alpha Phi Omega a coed service organization
Tips to First Year Self: Don't be afraid to signup and try new things but at the same time learn to take your email off listerves.
Favorite TV Shows: Modern Family, The Mindy Project, Parks and Rec ;(
Fun Fact: Just lost my last baby tooth at the tender age of 21...(aka didn't have a permanent tooth to replace it)

Peer MentorAndre Sanabia
Third Year
Cultural Backgroud: Dominicano soy! While I was not born there, I spent all my summers in the Dominican Republic until I graduated and even lived there two years for middle school. My mother's family is also part Lebanese.
Major and Academic Interest: I am at the curious intersection of Economics and Women, Gender & Sexuality. I love the logical and rational approach that Economics applies to the world and WGS provides me with an outlet to study inequalities and systems of oppression and to induce social change!
Career Aspirations: There is nothing I enjoy more than reading the works of sociologists, feminists, queer theorists, etc. I also love the college environment and the only way I will be able to combine those two and stay in college forever is to give myself to academia and teach at the higher education level.
UVA Involvement and Activities:
La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc: Vice-President
Multicultural Greek Council: Secretary
LGBTQ Center: Volunteer and Speaker Bureau Panelist
LSA: Latino Leadership Council and Advocacy Committee
UVA Office of Admission: Spring Blast Planning Committee, Outreach Student Admission Committee and Student Information Session Leader
UVA Quidditch: Beater on "Jefferson's Army" team.
UVA Housing and Residence Life: Future Resident Advisor!
ULink: Mentor
Echols Scholar
Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership Fellow
Tips to First Year Self
There is no limit to what you can accomplish and never back down from a leadership opportunity because you are "only a first year". It is better to learn how to say "No" then to never say "Yes"
Favorite TV Shows:
American Horror Story
The Flash
Game of Thrones
Fun Fact: My favorite form of exercise? Playing Quidditch!

Peer MentorAnthony Correia
Third Year
Cultural Backgroud: I have a very diverse cultural background. My mother is Peruvian--she was born in Peru and moved to the States when she was a child. My father's family is originally Portuguese but he was born in the US. Because of my dad's work, I lived overseas for the first half of my life so I was actually born in Bogota, Colombia (and lived all over Latin America!). I would definitely identify as Peruvian.
Major and Academic Interest: What I want to study has always been struggle for me. I have always been good at Math so at first I thought I wanted to study in the Comm School. However, after taking and hating accounting last semester I quickly realized that accounting/the Comm School weren't for me. Now I've switched to economics and hopefully I'll be declaring that major this Spring. I am also hoping to minor in Spanish-- I'm taking Span 3400 this semester.
Career Aspirations: One thing that I like about my switch to Economics is that it gives me a lot of flexibility with what I can do when I graduate because I am honestly still not sure. Honestly, the only thing that I do know is that I want to move to a big city when I graduate (ideally New York) and hopefully work for a big company. Aside from that I'm very open to whatever happens.
UVA Involvement and Activities: My other two big activities are Hoo Crew Committee and the Cavalier Daily Business Staff. I joined the Hoo Crew Committee because I'm a huge fan of all UVA sports. On the committee we basically try and make watching UVA games as fun as possible and try and get more people to come out to games. We organize the OP events, make signs, organize buses, print T-shirts and organize other spirit-raising activities. On the Cav Daily, I am the project leader for the Subscription Service. I basically organize and help send out papers twice a week to people around the country who want them. Aside from that I love playing basketball and hanging with friends.
Tips to First Year Self: Everyone here is really smart-- your raw intelligence that maybe helped you get through high school will not be enough here at UVA, you've got to put in a lot more work than you are used to.
Favorite TV Shows: Chuck, The Office, Breaking Bad, True Detective and Parks and Rec.
Fun Fact: I love sneakers-- I own probably over 25 pairs.

Peer Mentor Brittany Heck
Fourth Year
Cultural Backgroud: Puerto Ricooo!! (and German/Danish). I'm a military brat so I've been all over, but mainly southern California and northern Virginia.
Major and Academic Interest: I'm majoring in Biology, with a minor in Bioethics (aka I'm pre-med!)
The human body just fascinates me and I love the mysterious and often frustrating ethical interplay between science and man.
Career Aspirations: I want to become a physician. What kind? I don't know; we'll see! So far, I like neonatology/OBGYN and family practice.
UVA Involvement and Activities: Organic Chemistry TA, Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority, A.D.A.P.T., ULink Peer Advising, and of course, PMP!!
Tips to First Year Self: Balance is key and everything works out in the end, so don’t sweat the small stuff. UVA has everything for you: activities, clubs, Greek life, parties, restaurants, and amazing people. Enjoy it all, but don’t forget what you’re actually here for, an education. Make friends, get involved, explore Cville, but make sure you keep your studies in mind (aka don’t skip as many classes as I did first year! :D). And leave time to sleep!
Favorite TV Shows: Guilty pleasure: Pretty Little Liars
More socially acceptable shows: Grey's Anatomy, Sherlock, Suits, Supernatural, the Mindy Project
Fun Fact: I skydived in Cairns, Australia after scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef - it was awesome!

Peer MentorIndia Eguiguren
Second Year
Cultural Backgroud: My mother is American and my father is from Chile. I lived in Santiago, Chile for two years during middle school
Major and Academic Interest: Undeclared, but I am thinking of doing some configuration of Anthropology, Philosophy, Music, and French. I haven't decided what the majors/minors will be, but I am really into all those subjects, as well as others.
Career Aspirations: I am interested in many things, which basically means that I am not really good at anything. The one thing I can always see myself doing, however, is writing. If I could get a job writing for the New Yorker magazine, I would probably die very happy. But that's just a crazy fantasy. I don't really know what I want to do. I like languages, writing, art, theatre, music. A job doing anything like that would be swell.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I enjoy running, but haven't participated much in Club XC this year. I recently joined the UVA Salsa club, which is a new adventure. I played soccer a lot in high school, but I haven't tried it here yet. I like to play guitar and I recently got some friends together to be in an informal band that we hope to expand throughout our time in college.
Tips to First Year Self: I wish I'd been a little bit more outgoing with professors and classmates because talking to people is a good thing. I also wish I had spent more time in the gardens by the Lawn when the weather was nice.
Favorite TV Shows: I don't watch many shows, but I'm obsessed with movies and certain actors. I'll watch almost anything British, and my favorite actors are Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Kristin Scott Thomas. I'm a little strange in my taste for movies, and I usually get very attached to the characters or actors and think about them for weeks after watching the film.
Fun Fact: I kept a really silly blog with my dad when my family lived in Chile, which was a mixture of strange drawings and narratives of the things I thought were weird about Chilean culture. I write a blog now as well, because being in college is almost like being in another country compared to being in high school.

Peer MentorKatie Aracena
Fourth Year
Cultural Backgroud: My dad is from Chile and my mom is American so I consider myself a mix of both cultures.
Major and Academic Interest: I am a biology major. The most rewarding part of my studies has been doing independent research in the biology department. I cannot recommend it enough!
Career Aspirations: I am planning on attending graduate school after college but I'm still figuring out for what specifically. I am considering genetic counseling, genetics or public health.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am a board member of the Scuba Club at UVA! I am also a member of Circle K International and participate in undergraduate research in the biology department.
Tips to First Year Self: Get to know your professors! First year is intimidating but make yourself stand out by building relationships with professors. Most professors want to know their students but it takes a bit of effort from yourself when you're 1 in a class of 300. I mainly built relationships with my professors by attending office hours often. It's so nice being able to stop to chat with a former professor around grounds! Also, you'll need them for recommendation letters eventually...
Favorite TV Shows: Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey and Teen Mom.
Fun Fact: I spent Spring 2015 studying abroad in Seville, Spain!

Peer MentorMeghan O'Melia
Fourth Year
Cultural Backgroud: I was born in the US, and have spent most of my life here. When I was in both elementary school and high school, my parents decided my Spanish wasn't good enough, so they sent me to live with a family in Spain. I identify very closely with this culture, as it has influenced how I see the world significantly.
Major and Academic Interest: I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering, with minors in Materials Sciences & Engineering, and Anthropology.
Career Aspirations: I am not positive about what I want to do after graduation, but I hope to eventually go to graduate school for biomedical engineering, and continue to do research within the field.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am a research assistant at the W.M.Keck Center for Cellular Imaging, where I mainly write software, and work on other projects. I also work with Special Olympics of Virginia, working with disabled athletes in a variety of sports on a weekly basis. Additionally, I work with the Latino Student Alliance's Southwood Initiative, tutoring and mentoring elementary school students in the community.
Tips to First Year Self: Try everything out! You never know what community around grounds will be where you really click.
Favorite TV Shows: Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Modern Family
Fun Fact: I used to speedskate at the national level, and was once on a varsity athletic team at UVA.

Peer MentorRaquel Moya
Second Year
Cultural Backgroud: My family is from Spain and I'm from Albuquerque, New Mexico!
Major and Academic Interest: I'm in the engineering school hoping to study Biomedical Engineering. I have a specific interest in areas like neuroscience, assistive technology and occupational therapy.
Career Aspirations: I plan to have a career in which I work with technology and medicine, but I am also very intrigued by research in the medical field. I would love to work in another country for a few years. Joining the Peace Corps or going on a mission trip also appeal to me.
UVA Involvement and Activities: Besides PMP, I am involved in Engineering Student Council, Challah for Hunger, Blueprint Emerging Leaders Program and Project Serve!
Tips to First Year Self: Always err towards kindness. Have a good attitude about trying new things so that you can
Favorite TV Shows: Hands down, Saturday Night Live!
Fun Fact: I've helped train over 50 service dogs!

Peer MentorSamantha Glazer
Third Year
Cultural Backgroud: My grandmother grew up in Lima, Peru and my mom spent part of her childhood there, but as for me I'm a born and bred Texan from Dallas!
Major and Academic Interest: I'm currently in the McIntire School of Commerce looking to double major with something political philsophy/history related!
Career Aspirations: For the current moment, I'm hoping to become a lawyer. Though tomorrow, who knows, maybe I'll want to be a party planner.
UVA Involvement and Activities: Besides being a PMP mentor, I'm Co-President of the Business Ethics Society, heavily involved in Alpha Chi Omega, Jewish Educative Initiative and Challah for Hunger. I'm also Fourth Grade Sunday School Teacher at Congregation Beth Israel and involved with Madison Houses' Daycare Program!
Tips to First Year Self: Don't be afraid to try everything once. You never know what is out there and you can always say no later!
Favorite TV Shows: NCIS forever and always
Fun Fact: I spent last fall in Sevilla,Spain and learned how to make amazing tapas!

Peer MentorSebastian Kingston
Third Year
Cultural Backgroud: LATINOOOOOOO! I have a pretty confusing background but long story short: family wise i'm am from ARGENTINA!! Buenos Aires is where most of my family lives and I try and visit there as often as possible and that is mi Madre Tierra!
Now for the long story: My madre was born in Tokyo, Japan because my abuelo was a diplomat for Argentina. My dad was born in Buenos Aires and I was born in London, England where 2 of my other brothers were born as well and one of my other brothers (4 total) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Major and Academic Interest: I'm studying Economics and Foreign Affairs because I think that they are awesome! I want to get into business and am hoping to get my MBA and Economics and Foreign Affairs tie together for international business trends which sound awesome!
Career Aspirations: Wolf of Wall Street! (without the illegal parts) I want to get into either consulting or marketing and management in the hospitality industry. I love learning about traveling and the way companies like cruise lines and hotels work!
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am a project leader and upcoming executive on Enactus. I organized an entire case competition from the ground up for high schools from all over Virginia.
I volunteer at the local animal shelter every Friday because who doesn't love playing with dogs for 2 hours! I work at the McIntire School of Commerce Help Desk almost every day and love it! I learn a lot about the school and how it works!
Tips to First Year Self: TAKE IT SLOW! Take easy courses so you can start off with a High GPA. It's easier maintaining a high GPA than fixing a low GPA.
Favorite TV Shows:
Parks and Recreation
Person of Interest
Amazing Race
Fun Fact:
I have been to over 60 countries in my life time and I still have so much more to see.
I've lived in London, Miami, Vancouver, and now Washington DC.

Peer MentorSerena Moncion
Second Year
Cultural Backgroud: I was born and raised in Virginia Beach. My mom is Mexican American with some European and Native American roots, and my dad is half Puerto Rican and half Dominican, so I'm a bit of everything!
Major and Academic Interest: I'm still not entirely sure about my major, but I'm interested in pursuing one of the Global Studies majors or another humanities major. I may end up applying to the Commerce School.
Career Aspirations: Not sure, but whatever I do I want to promote the interests of environmentalism and/or humanitarianism.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I volunteer with Madison House, I'm a Project SERVE site leader and I'm in Sigma Delta Tau sorority!
Tips to First Year Self: Keep an organized planner, have meaningful conversations with people, find what you love and get involved, but don't rush anything, and don't be afraid to put yourself out there!
Favorite TV Shows: The Office <3 I also just started House of Cards and it's already blowing my mind.
Fun Fact: I have a 2-year-old half sister and a newborn half brother!

Peer MentorUlisses Santamaria
Fourth Year
Cultural Backgroud: Both of my parents are from El Salvador, in theory that should make me 100% Salvadorian...However, a legend on my mom's side of the family says that my great-grandmother was straight from Spain...but let's just stick with 100% Salvadorian for simplicity.
As for myself, I was born in Arlington VA, but spent the second half of my life in Fredericksburg VA.
Major and Academic Interest: Sociology, in order to learn something completely new to me. Surprisingly, I never took a sociology class before coming to UVA from Germanna Community College and jumped straight into the major...No complaints here. I'm also a pre-med.
Career Aspirations:
I plan on becoming a sugeon.The question: Neurosurg, Trauma Surg, or Orthopedics. The answer: In time.
UVA Involvement and Activities: Things I enjoy doing in my spare time:
Video games
Taking things apart
Then struggle to put them back together
Wikipedia surfing
Backyard American football
Tips to First Year Self: Always keep a keen eye on when to shift your priorities between your classes.
Favorite TV Shows:
Mad Men
Breaking Bad
House of Cards
30 Rock
Alpha House
Fun Fact: 5 years of trombone playing has mutated my right arm to be 1 inch longer than my left (feel free to ask me to prove it).


Yaselly’s Familia

Peer MentorAlejandro Nava
Cultural Background: I was born in La Paz, Bolivia, and lived there until 2004, when I moved to my current home in Williamsburg, Virginia! I am known all around grounds as the very proud Hispanic who loves to tie in everything he can with the Latino Culture!
Major and Academic Interest: I am majoring in Mechanical Engineering, but am so passionate about Music that I would like to incorporate it somehow into my research as an Engineer here at UVA.
Career Aspirations: I would like to become the best Engineer I can be, while being able to somehow share all the knowledge and wisdom I may acquire in my school years and years on the job.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am Publicity Chair of the university choral ensemble University Singers, as well as a member of the Chamber Singers. I perform with Fuego Dance Team, serve as Vice President of Organizations of the Latino Student Alliance, and am Music Director of my theater company back home.
Tip to First Year Self: Break the bad habit of "senioritis", because it will come to bite you on your first midterm, as it did with me
Fun Fact: I broke a pole vault pole in High School while competing for my District Championship in the pole vault. Despite the mental shock and actual physical danger, I still came in second!

Peer MentorAna Derrick
Cultural Background: I was born in El Salvador and have been moving around the world my whole life because of my father's job. My mother is from Spain and my father is American so I've had the privilege of being exposed to different cultures.        
Major and Academic Interest: I'm majoring in Foreign Affairs with a minor in Global Sustainability. I am passionate about helping developing countries in a sustainable way!
Career Aspirations: I would love to work for the State Department or Private sector after I graduate. It would be amazing to have a job that would enable me to travel the world and contribute to social and economic development.                 
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am also involved with the Entrepreneurship Club, Leadership Workshop, and Hoos Diverse. In my free time, I love to jog outside, go hiking, and sing!
Tip to First Year Self: Get more involved in clubs that you are truly passionate about. This is a great way to meet new people and keep yourself busy. Also, time management is crucial so don't procrastinate! 
Favorite TV Shows: Friends!
Fun Fact: I have tri-citizenship! (El Salvador, Spain, and United States)

Peer MentorBrittany Crow
Cultural Background: I am actually very American! Recently I did an ancestry project and found that several lines traced back to ancestors born in the USA in the 1500's. Beyond that I am very English and French (so rather white:) )
Major and Academic Interest: Computer Science! I graduated from a Center for Fine and Performing Arts program in high school but also took a coding class/ did InDesign layout design as part of a literary magazine staff and realized I was very interested in the connection between the arts and technology.
Career Aspirations: I'm not sure exactly how I want to apply my computer science/arts combo but I love volunteering and anything to do with dance/poetry, so hopefully I can work for a non-profit organization or become part of a dance company or (possibly) library system where I can match creativity with technical skill to do some cool things.
UVA Involvement and Activities:
Student Game Developers
 Fuego dance team
Rhapsody Ballet Ensemble
Aletheia Christian Fellowship
Hoos for Life
(I also love sewing/designing and writing poetry whenever I have free time)
Tip to First Year Self: Relax! It's super easy to build up stress during your first year at UVA and trying hard to avoid stressing out can sometimes stress you out as well! Everyone adjusts differently but everyone ADJUSTS so don't worry if there's something you're struggling with that you normally wouldn't. Allow people to be alongside you and help you figure yourself out when you're going through a stressful side effect of becoming a part of the amazing UVA community.
Favorite TV Shows:
Reign (so addictive)
Big Bang Theory
How I Met Your Mother
My Fair Wedding (guilty pleasure)
Abby's Ultimate Dance Challenge (guilty pleasure #2)

Peer MentorClaudia R. Fonseca
Cultural Background: 100% Honduran American! Both of my parents are from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, but I was raised in Alexandria, VA. I have actually never had the opportunity to visit Honduras, but needless to say, I am very attached to my Hispanic culture, as well as the Anglo culture in which I was raised.     
Major and Academic Interest: I am an Economics and Music double major with an interest in Global Sustainability.          
Career Aspirations: I am not entirely sure yet, but I am hoping to work towards sustainability from an economic perspective or work in business management. I am also considering going to grad school for business. As for music, I am studying composition, so I hope to write music and possibly even attend grad school for music composition.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I have been a part of Cru since my First Year. I have loved being a part of this community, and how it's helped me grow in my relationship with God. I am also a part of the Latino Student Alliance. And PMP, of course!
Tip to First Year Self:  Don't forget about "me time". I cannot stress that enough! Everyone at UVa is so involved that we often neglect to do things for ourselves. It may be a bit selfish, but I think it's absolutely necessary. Also, don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone! Whether it's asking a question in class or seeking more information about a particular major, don't feel intimidated by professors, TAs, or fellow peers. No one at UVa knows everything, so it's okay to ask. And how else would we learn if it weren't for asking?  
Favorite TV Shows: I have a couple favorites including Graceland and Criminal Minds, but my current favorites are Switched at Birth and Chasing Life. The Bachelor/Bachelorette are my guilty pleasures.
Fun Fact: I have never left the U.S., but I love learning about cultures and languages. (By the time you read this though, I will be coming back from a summer in Sydney, Australia!!!!) I hope to travel extensively after graduation. And Hoo knows, maybe even live in a different country?!

Peer MentorDaniella Wornorn
Cultural Background: Peruvian American
Major and Academic Interest: I am currently a Bio Major but will hopefully be transferring into the Curry School of Education to be a part of the Masters Degree Program. I am taking a variety of different classes to see if I find a subject I love and try new things.
Career Aspirations: I want to do something that I love and am passionate about. As of right now I want to start my career as an elementary teacher of first grade in a Spanish immersion school. Eventually, I want to become the principal of the school and help make a difference.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am in InterVarsity and Young Life. I also love the a cappella here at UVA. No I am not in it, but it's amazing and the people in the different groups are great! I also love going on adventures whether it be finding cute coffee shops or cool places on grounds. Painting is also one of my hobbies when I have downtime. It creates the best combination to relax, painting while watching my favorite TV shows.
Tip to First Year Self: I recommend putting yourself out there. Meet lots of people and have fun! This is the time where you are independent and figure out who you want to be and what you want to do with your life. Don't get caught up in the stress and balance your life.
Favorite TV Shows: New Girl, Friends, Gossip Girl (guilty pleasure), Once Upon a Time, Scrubs, Castle, Blue Bloods
Fun Fact: If there was anywhere I could go, it would be the Amazon and Machu Picchu to go hiking, zip lining, bungee jumping and horseback riding.

Peer MentorEdgard Espinoza Fernandez
Cultural Background: I was born in Lima, Peru but moved to Alexandria, Virginia when I was eight. I go back from Peru from time to time so I still identify with Peruvian culture even though I live in the US. The last time I visited Peru was this past winter break.
Major and Academic Interest: I plan on majoring in Economics and applying to the School of Commerce next year. If I am admitted into the Comm School, I plan on concentrating in Finance. I chose this particular course of study because economics and financial markets captivate me.
Career Aspirations: After graduation, I want to work in the corporate world in a consulting position. I want to work in consulting because I believe that a career in it will provide me with the opportunity to utilize both statistics and my own judgment to make final decisions.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am a member of Student Entrepreneurs for Economic Development and a volunteer in the English Speakers of Other Languages and the Latino and Migrant Aid programs through Madison House. In my free time, I enjoy playing soccer, watching movies, and spending time with friends and family.
Tip to First Year Self: I wish that I had started volunteering earlier because I feel that there is a sort of disconnect between the local Charlottesville community and the UVA community. I think that volunteering provides a way to become more integrated into the local community because it offers the chance to meet and help people outside of the UVA community. My advice is then to start volunteering as early as possible!
Favorite TV Shows: At the moment, my favorite TV shows are The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones.
Fun Fact: I hiked a small part of the Inca Trail in Machu Picchu this past winter break.

Peer MentorEva Melara
Cultural Background: I am half Hispanic, my dad being from El Salvador and my mom from here. However, I was born and raised in Virginia.
Major and Academic Interest: I am in my third year of nursing school and I absolutely love it! There are so many opportunities that nursing provides and I love making people feel better, both physically and mentally.
Career Aspirations: I'm not sure what area of nursing I will end up in, but I have so many interests, including oncology, obstetric, pediatric, geriatric, and neonatal nursing. I would also love to serve in unprivileged areas of the world as well.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am involved a lot with the nursing school, especially with Nursing Students Without Borders, SNAV, and the Nursing Peer Mentoring Program. I love to participate in IM sports. I have done soccer, volleyball, and ultimate frisbee in the past. I also love to exercise and do yoga in my free time.
Tip to First Year Self: Don't be hesitant. Try new activities and sign up for things you would have never thought to try. You definitely learn so much about yourself in your college years, finally being away from your parents and the people you have been around your entire life. It is time to fully explore your options and all that the University and this world has to offer. Also, try to focus on school some. Your GPA will become more important as time goes on.
Favorite TV Shows: Modern Family, Gilmore Girls, and Friends are a few of my favorites. I also love any and all crime shows.
Fun Fact: I was a vegetarian for the first 19 years of my life, but then started eating meat. I'm also obsessed with sloths and Lana del Rey.

Peer MentorJacqueline Restrepo
Cultural Background: I am from Cali, Colombia and I currently live in Alexandria, Virginia!
Major and Academic Interest: I'm currently studying architecture and this has always been a passion of mine. Since I was nine I had a crazy idea of being an architect and everyone thought I was crazy for thinking about that so little instead of the typical response of being a ballerina or firefighter. So since I loved art and math so much growing up I wanted to follow through with my dreams and become an architect. I still have a long way to go till I can finally say I'm an architect but I love the choice I made and never look back.
Career Aspirations: Once I finally become an architect, I don't really want to continue the path and join a large firm even though I will have to start out in some place like that, but my dream is to create sustainable and economical architecture in third world countries. I did a program called Global Architect Brigades where we went to Honduras and helped design and construct a school in a poor community near Tegucigalpa with the help of the local community. So I would love to be able to do something like that again, or to even create my own architecture firm that will focus on that!
UVA Involvement and Activities: I am currently the President for the Latino Student Alliance and I am an Hermana of Sigma Lambda Upsilon/ Señoritas Latinas Unidas Sorority, Incorporated being the incoming Community Outreach and Treasurer. I am also the chair for the Design Committee for Multicultural Student Center Initiative (MSCI), a member of National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS), and I love doing a lot of community service opportunities such as Early Visions with the Fralin Museum and Boys and Girls Club and Southwood through LSA. I also love to play soccer and basketball!
Tip to First Year Self: One tip that I would give myself my first year is to not over stress yourself with classes. Although yes you can take up to 18 credits, I would definitely recommend myself to not take 18 credits for both semesters my first year. That was a rough decision and definitely recommend pacing yourself.
Favorite TV Shows: Well I was obsessed with How I Met Your Mother but now that's done with :( But I love any criminal show such as NCIS and Once Upon a Time and I still absolutely love Spongebob (classic show).
Fun Fact: I love adventures and thrilling activities so when I turned 18 (because that's when you legally can), I went Skydiving for the first time over DC and it was by far the best experience ever and I would love to do that again!

Peer MentorKaren Toledo
Cultural Background: I was born in Chicago, IL to Mexican parents and have lived there my entire life with the exception of two years when I lived in Morelos, Mexico.
Major and Academic Interest: I am a Mechanical Engineering major, and I'm also trying to obtain a Biomedical Engineering minor
Career Aspirations: Once I graduate, I want to work in the medical manufacturing industry. However, after a few years of working, I want to to go back to school and pursue a master's degree & possibly a Ph.D.
UVA Involvement and Activities: Besides the Peer Mentoring Program, I am also involved with Quest Scholars at UVA, the Multicultural Greek Council, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Latino Student Alliance (Advocacy Committee). In addition, I am currently the Chapter President of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Incorporated.
Tip to First Year Self: Don't be afraid to get involved; everyone at UVA is welcoming and friendly! Focus on your classes, but it's also important to let loose every once in a while! 
Favorite TV Shows: Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, Empire, Orange is the New Black
Fun Fact: I have dual citizenship!

Peer MentorLuis Lu
Cultural Background: I was born and raised in Peru. I love my country and I'm very proud of our food.
Major and Academic Interest: I plan to major in Commerce and Economics.
Career Aspirations: I'm not sure yet what career path I want to follow, but I've narrowed my interests to banking and consulting. I might venture in Peruvian politics later in life.
UVA Involvement and Activities: Apart from PMP, I'm involved with Future Business Leaders of America as the VP of membership and recruitment, I volunteer at Southwood Elementary School, and I like to go to the gym.
Tip to First Year Self: I wish I would have gone to more basketball games, we had a terrific season.
Favorite TV Shows: My favorite TV shows are Californication, House of Cards, Breaking Bad, and How I met your mother.
Fun Fact: I play the violin, piano and guitar. In my free times I like to write music.

Peer MentorSebastian Lerner
Cultural Background: My parents are from Colombia, but I was born in Fairfax, VA and have lived in NoVa my entire life.  I still have a lot of family back in Colombia and I love going back whenever I can to see them.
Major and Academic Interest: I am majoring in computer science in the school of engineering and applied sciences.
Career Aspirations: I would love to start my own tech start-up right after college with some of my friends as it has always been a dream of mine to own my own company.        
UVA Involvement and Activities: Latino Student Alliance, UVA Triathlon Club, Sebastian Lerner Basketball League, Intramural Sports Referee, Undergraduate CS Research
Tip to First Year Self: Have fun, but make sure you dedicate enough time for academics.  Ultimately, you are coming here for school, and that is the most important thing but definitely make sure you have a good balance.
Favorite TV Shows: Psych, Arrested Development, New Girl, Friends, Seinfeld, The West Wing
Fun Fact: I have a twin brother!

Peer MentorZachary Ackerman
Cultural Background: My family is both Peruvian and Chilean, with my dad being from Peru and my mom from Chile. Lucky for me, this means I get both great food (Peru) and great soccer (Chile).
Major and Academic Interest: I'm majoring in Commerce, with concentrations in Accounting and Finance. I decided to study this because I've always enjoyed working with numbers and especially enjoyed my accounting classes. However, I hope to take this degree and the skills I learn into the music industry. Even if I'm not working in music production or performance, having any role in the industry would be awesome.
Career Aspirations: As I said, I hope to work in the music industry after college. Most likely I'll work in the finance/accounting department of either a performance venue, a music management firm, or a record label (I'd be happy with anything). If I find that I want to take on a different role, I'm keeping my mind open to Law School and eventually Music Management from there.
UVA Involvement and Activities: I'm the Treasurer of Business Ethics Society, which puts on lectures with business professionals to discuss the role of ethics in different business settings. I'm also on University Programs Council, particularly the Concerts Committee, where my group plans and puts on concerts for the student body.
Tip to First Year Self: My biggest piece of advice would be to branch out as much as possible, and very early on. Too often, people get caught up hanging out with friends from high school and I think it's important to understand that although it's strange at first, everyone is looking to meet new people, so you should really take advantage of those first few days.
Favorite TV Shows:
Better Caul Saul
Parks and Rec
Fun Fact: I've never had anything particularly cool to write for fun fact, but since I have to put something, my fun fact is that I have family on 4 continents.


You are welcome to let us know if you prefer to be matched to a specific familia above.  If this is the case, please email your preference to Michelle Sawwan from the Executive Board and we will try our best to honor your request.

We look forward to getting to know you in the fall!

PMP executive board and Dean of Students Office