Peer Mentoring Program

Peer Mentoring Program

The MIPS Peer Mentoring program – nationally recognized by Noel-Levitz for retention excellence (2011) – provides incoming first year multicultural students with the academic and social support to succeed by pairing them with current upper classmen multicultural students. Each mentor serves a cohort of 3-4 students which allows for close relationships to develop between mentor and mentee as well as providing an opportunity for mentees to get to know one another and build lasting friendships with other students in their class year.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact the Peer Mentor coordinator, Roslyn Udairam ( in the MIPS Office. Applications will be available online and in the MIPS Office in the early spring.

Current Leaders of the Peer Mentoring Program (2015-2016)

Meet the Peer Mentors

Kalice Allen

Allen Kalice.jpgMajor: Public Health - Community Health Worker

What social issue(s) do you care most about? Human rights and health disparities

What are the core values that guide your life? My core value that guides my life is to always be consciously aware of how my actions indirectly and directly affect my environment and make changes to improve that environment.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? Ishmael

What do you do for fun? Go to yoga and museums.

What is your favorite food and why? I love stir-fry. You can add so many ingredients, and it never gets boring!


Valeria Bonete

Bonete Valeria.jpg

Major: Accounting and Business Administration

What social issue(s) do you care most about? The social issue I care about the most is higher education among minorities. There are less people of color in college, in specific Hispanics, and I am very motivated to educate, and inspire students of color to get a higher education. I believe that higher education is the most powerful tool that an individual can have to change our society for hte better. I also believe that students that live int he U.S. have countless opportunities, education being one of them, and it's important for all students to be able to take these opportunities in order to make their dreams and goals come true.

What are the core values that guide your life? My core values include, to motivate and to inspire others to do the bes that they can in anything that they encounter. Also, to motivate myself and believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. I am a very passionate person so I also believe that regardless what a person does they must put their heart and soul into it. I also believe that educating others is very important in order to create a better community. Lastly, respecting yourself and others is essential to having a peaceful environment.  

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? One move that changed my perspective is called Miss Representation. This movie was an eye opener because it showed how much inequality there still is for women in this country. An example is how there are still less women in Congress than there are men, and how we have yet to have a President who is female. I also learned how much emphasis there is on beauty standards on women int he media nad how it affects little girls to older women. I also learned how unfair it is for our society to have so many unrealistic beauty standards for the average woman. By the end of this movie I learned that I am a feminist because I believe in equality for both women and men.

What do you do for fun? I love to walk my puppy, Steve, around nearby lakes or in downtown. I also love to do arts and crafts. I also enjoy drive in movie theaters. I also like to travel to new places and try new foods.


Biftu Bussa

Bussa Biftu.jpgMajor: Nursing

What social issue(s) do you care most about? This past year I was the Community Connector/Social Justice Programmer on the St. Kate's Activities Team (SKAT) and my job was to bring awareness on social justice issues around the world. I care about many issues but I have three that are very close to my heart. They include: immigration and deportation, the increasing poverty rates, and the inequality women and people of color still face. I know that it will take time for change to happen but I believe that it is important to stick with it and to make that change in whatever way works best for you!

What are the core values that guide your life? My beliefs are my foundation, faith, and my family - this is what gets me out of bed every day. I value dedication, hard work, and persistence. These three things are what motivate me to go to class, try my best, and work on and off campus and have fun doing them all.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? This is going to sound weird but one day I picked up this random book because I was just really bored and I honestly could not put it down. The book is called The Count of Monte Cristo. It is a classic but it was a great book. The events that take place and the challenges the man faces are just crazy! I would definitely recommend this book, so read it!

What do you do for fun? I like to hangout with my friends, eat good food, watch movies and read books! I can have fun doing pretty much anything with people.


Stefany Calderon

Calderon Stefany.jpgMajor: Biochemistry

What social issue(s) do you care most about? My objective and goal in life is to get educated and have experiences, which will allow me to inform my community, as well as other diverse groups, of their healthcare benefits and diminish the social issue we are facing regarding the health disparities that is currently happening.

What are the core values that guide your life? Being raised by a single mother and also a first generation student is a journey that has made me become a very strong independent young woman. Along with that responsibility I adapted my biggest value, which is self-respect. I believe that in order to succeed you must honor yourself first, reward yourself, and believe that you are capable of achieving your goals even when the goals are out of your comfort zone. Secondly, because I enjoy socializing, I strategize to use that strength of mine to help out my community. I am a big believer of the ancient African word "ubuntu", which translates as "I am because we all are." I am Hispanic, but I am for all underrepresented groups hwo experience inequality.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? The movie, or perhaps I should say documentary, that changed my perspective was Miss Representation because it demonstrated how women's values are diminished in media.

What do you do for fun? I am big on dancing and hanging out with my friends but when stress hits a high level going to the movies or shopping wouldn't hurt!


Lily Do

Do Lily.jpgMajor: Pre-nursing

What social issue(s) do you care most about? Poverty, racism, recycling and conservation, human rights and traditional values

What are the core values that guide your life? Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods. Make friends with people of different ages, languages, and social classes. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? Any Pixar movie.

What do you do for fun? Bake, bike, cook, shop, paint, craft, play with my dog, film and edit videos, and more!


Sadia Farah

Farah Sadia.jpgMajor: Nursing

What social issue(s) do you care most about? I care about several issues but one that I am most interested in is helping families who are not able to support themselves in places where there is conflict.

What are the core values that guide your life? The core values that guide my life are the teachings that I follow in my religion like treating others the way you want to be treated, finding knowledge so that you can teach others, and empower yourself so that you can help the community around you.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? Lorenzo's Oil and Finding Nemo

What do you do for fun? Watch Netflix and spending time with family and friends


Stephanie Herr

Herr Stephanie.jpgMajor: Public Health, concentrations in Public Policy and Community Health Worker, with a minor in Economics

What social issue(s) do you care most about? Social issues I care the most about are environmental justice, equity for all races, and equal pay for equal work.

What are the core values that guide your life? A few core values that guide my life are take (good) risks, do everything to the best of your ability, treat others as you want to be treated, and be honest with oneself and with others.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? There are two books that changed my perspective on ife. The first book is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho which led me to think about my journey in life and why everything happens for a reason whether I like it or not. The second book is Born to Run Christopher McDougall which inspired me to get active again.

What do you do for fun? I like to spend time with family and friends for fun whether it's hiking trails together, going to concerts, or watching a movie at home. I enjoy the company of the people I care about.


Jada Ingram

Ingram Jada.jpgMajor: English, with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language

What social issue(s) do you care most about? I care most about racism and feminism. I care about the racial micro aggressions that people of color face on a daily bases, especially as students and employees. I also really care about the feminist movement as it relates to women of color.

What are the core values that guide your life? Personal development, social awareness, and integrity. I want to continue to become the best person that I can be and I think social awareness and integrity are necessary for me to get there.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? Salt by Nayyirah Whaeed. It is a book fo poems and I think it is a must read. Many of Nayyirah's poems resonate with me so well and have made me think about my life in an even deeper manner.

What do you do for fun? Two of my favorite things that I love doing are shopping and listening to music. But, I also really enjoy going to events at other universities in the Twin Cities like open mics and cultural celebrations.


Maya Johnson

Johnson Maya.jpgMajor: Social Work, with minors in Promotional Communication and Pre-Law

What social issue(s) do you care most about? The social issues that I care most about would be racism and racial inequalities and struggles that still exist today. Current events like Ferguson and Baltimore are the reasons why I want to become a civil rights attorney. Also, the empowerment of young women of color in their personal lives and in education as well.

What are the core values that guide your life? The core values that guide my life are family, first and foremost. But also loyalty and passion in whatever you do.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? A lot of Dr. Maya Angelou novels, biographies and poems shape my life perspective and how I try and live my life. She is such an inspirational woman and her words have really helped to change my life and help to shape the strong woman that I try to become every day.

What do you do for fun? I love to spend time with my family and friends. I really just love the simplicity of meeting up with people for lunch or coffee and catching up. Watching baseball would be something that I love to do for fun!


Maita Lee

Lee Maita.jpgMajor: Dietetics

What social issue(s) do you care most about? Hunger, homelessness, poverty, gender and race equality.

What are the core values that guide your life? My core values can be found at home because many of my actions are reflected from what I have been taught at home from my parents and other family members. A lot of my values have been influenced by what I have learned from school as well, whether it was from friends or teachers or participating in extracurricular activities. The world also influences my values. Due to easy access to international news and information, I am more exposed to world issues that play a role in what I value today.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. This book is unique to me because it's the first book to draw out a lot of my emotions. It's one of the few that has made me tear up a bit. It was well written and showed me different perspectives of human nature, companionship, loneliness, oppression and more. It is still the only book today that I have read in one sitting (that could also be because it's a shorter book). Of Mice and Men helped me appreciate required AP English readings more.

What do you do for fun? Watch movies, read, spend time with family and friends.


Opema Lohese

Lohese Opema.jpgMajor: Public Health with a Pre-Medical track

What social issue(s) do you care most about? I care most about issues with poverty, starvation/hunger in impoverished countries. Once I receive my PhD, I would like to join Doctors Without Borders to help improve the lives of those suffering in areas with troubled with disease, malnutrition, etc. where medical help is scarce.

What are the core values that guide your life? Honesty and respect are a few values that guide my life. I believe in the saying that, “Honesty is the best policy.” I think it’s important when it comes to building relationships/friendships that you’re honest with each other, because without it you have no trust.  Respect is another core value that guides my life. Growing up in an African culture, we were taught to show the utmost respect to anyone and everyone and I continue to follow that.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? I have yet to read a book or watch a movie that has changed my life or perspective.

What do you do for fun? I am a homebody, so I love to stay in and watch Netflix, currently Criminal Minds and Gossip Girl. I also like to read, when I do have time for it. I enjoy romance novels, dramas, and mysteries. Nora Roberts and John Green are some of my favorite authors—The Fault in Our Stars, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the Nancy Drew series were some of my favorites to read. I am also a movie buff and I’ve seen way too many movies for my own good. Horror films are my favorite, but I will watch anything from comedies to documentaries. When I do get the chance, I like to spend time with my friends exploring Saint Paul since I’m not from the area.


Chi Na Moua

Moua Chi Na.jpgMajor: Biology/Pre-optometry

What social issue(s) do you care most about? I am very interested and concerned about the portrayal of races, genders, and trends in the media. In the century we live in, technology and media is becoming “essential” to living and constant exposure to meaningless material is really affecting the way society is constructed. I am also interested and ponder the root cause of the hierarchy present in the communities and societies where labeling the duties of a male or female occur and stereotypes. 

What are the core values that guide your life? It is essential to my identity to lead a life that is of God’s will and being a role model and resource to others. Patience and humbleness are also core values because I’ve learned that these two characteristics bring people very far in life.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? I am not a big book worm or movie person (and I wish I was!) but, I loved reading Peter Singer’s A Life You Can Save and Francis Chan’s Crazy Love. Singer’s book was introduced to me in my ethics class and was very persuasive and gave mind blowing statistics about global poverty, such as individuals who live in extreme poverty make $1.25 a day. Now that is extremely less than what I make in a day nonetheless in a pay period. Crazy Love was a book that brought me closer in my relationship with God. Chan brought forth scriptures and descriptions that I never gave a thought such as his contrast of a luke worm Christian to one who really serves and loves God—definitely a great book to pick up if you haven’t read it yet and are seeking a closer relationship with God.

What do you do for fun?  I love hikes and anything active. Exploring the Twin Cities at night is always fun and adventurous. I’m also really into fashion, makeup, and nail designs and have accumulated one too many nail polishes. 


Sundus Sabrie

Sabrie Sundus.jpgMajor: Public Health: Health Sciences, Pre-PA (Physician Assistant) with a minor in Chemistry

What social issue(s) do you care most about? One social issue that I care about is world hunger. Word hunger is problematic because there is more than enough food for everyone in the world, but it is not distributed equally—being able to do something about it can help millions of people who are suffering with starvation and malnutrition. It is an issue that can be preventable through many actions and improving developing countries can be a way to suppress world hunger.

What are the core values that guide your life? My core values involve; being faithful to my religion Islam—being able to pray five times a day to my Lord, balancing my life in a healthy way, honesty—with others and myself, having the ability to forgive even if it may seem impossible, respecting others even if they do not respect me and lastly, to always be positive in light of any situation.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? One book that has changed my perspective in third world countries is called, Three Cups of Tea. The author, Greg Mortenson is a native Minnesotan and does incredible work in Afghanistan and Pakistan. His humanitarian work involves building schools and promoting peace for young children to go to school and specifically girls who are looked down upon in getting an education in those countries. Reading his book has opened my eyes to the endless possibilities of helping others in need and doing meaningful work that can fulfill the soul. I someday want to accomplish great work in my future profession.

What do you do for fun? I like to babysit my favorite little cousin, Nora. I enjoy spending time with family and friends by going out to dinner, watching movies and going shopping. When I have free time, I enjoy reading or watching my several TV shows with a nice cup of tea. 


Emaan Soliman

Soliman Emaan.jpgMajor: Public Health with a concentration in Health Science, and Pre-DPT (Doctorate of Physical Therapy)

What social issue(s) do you care most about? Equal access to health care—I hope that one day all people have the ability to access health care as needed, especially of vulnerable groups. With access to health care, people will be able to obtain the appropriate medical care they need, dental, and receive medical prescriptions.  Education for all— I want children and adults around the world to obtain an education, because education is the most powerful thing in the world. We can take action toward justice to change the world to a better place by becoming educated in our societies.

What are the core values that guide your life? My faith—as a Muslim women who practice Islamic values in a daily basis, I am well guided in my community to behave in a positive manner, help others around me who are in need, and share peace with everyone surrounding me (e.g. Peace Be upon You). 

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Christina Lamb, which reinforced the importance to fight for obtaining an education. The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang, in which I learned a lot about the Hmong culture and their history that is not much spoken about in our society.

What do you do for fun? I like to ponder in the beautiful creations on Earth, which I am part of it and appreciate what I have. Therefore, I like to engage in conversations that includes the environment and the perfect human body (anatomy & physiology). I also like to read because I like literature.


Cathrine Tejada

Tejada Cathrine.jpgMajor: Teaching Spanish K-12, with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language

What social issue(s) do you care most about? I care about the issues regarding education (especially for women), poverty, sexism and racism.

What are the core values that guide your life? Importance of prayer and faith in God, importance of family and friends, importance of education, helping those in need, loyalty, humility, optimism, patience, forgiveness, being considerate and sensitive.

What is a book or movie that changed your life/perspective? Sula by Toni Morrison and Solar Storms by Linda Hogan definitely opened my eyes about sexism and racism in United States.

What do you do for fun? I like to read books, to draw or paint, and I also love to dance, and play taiko drums. :)