Meet The Mentors

Meet the Advisors

Nitivia Jones

Program Coordinator

Pullman, Washington


I know what it means to move to another country. I have done it three times! Two of those experiences were fantastic, and one of those…well, not so great, to say the least. Those experiences help guide me in managing the international student peer mentor program. It is an absolute pleasure to work with the volunteer peer mentors in welcoming new international students to WSU. A smooth transition to WSU and finding support networks soon after arrival are my priorities for this program so that international students can have the absolute best possible experience at WSU.

Nataliya Shcherbatyuk

Assistant Program Coordinator

Prosser, Washington


Greetings! I am Nataliya and I am from Ukraine. I received my PhD in the WSU Horticulture department and am currently working as a postdoctoral researcher. My project is focused on grapevine nutrition. I love plants and animals and will always find time to spend with my indoor plants and my bunny. 🙂 I enjoy listening to audio books, so I am never bored. I am interested in health and fitness, wellbeing, self-development, leadership, and management, and I believe that there is always some space for improvement. I also believe that there is always an exit from any situation no matter how upsetting it might look, we just need to find it. Often, we would benefit from using help and support and that is great because humans were not meant to be alone. I like to say that if you can do it by yourself then it is not challenging enough! I would like to help and share my experience with you, so do not hesitate to reach out.

Nichole Hutchinson

Senior International Student and Scholar Advisor

Pullman, Washington

Hello! My name is Nikki, and I am originally from Pullman. After graduating from WSU in 2011 with my bachelor of arts in Anthropology, I was off to teach English in Nishinomiya, Japan. Addicted to life abroad, I spent 5 years in Japan, a summer in South Korea and then a year living in the United Arab Emirates. When the pandemic hit I came back from Dubai and landed in Santa Barbara, California, where I worked with the Office of International Students & Scholars at University of California Santa Barbara. I have recently moved back to Pullman, where I am happy to be close to my family again. As for hobbies, I enjoy watercolor painting, dance (Indian Kathak & Giddha), canoeing, travel, cooking, and studying languages (I speak Punjabi, Hindi, Japanese and a little Arabic!). I really love working in student services at WSU, and am happy to be back in Coug territory! Looking forward to meeting you!

Meet the Mentors

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Abiola Adeniran

My name is Abiola. I am from Nigeria. I am a PhD student at the Composite Material and Engineering Center (CMEC), WSU. My major is material science engineering. I like to cook, watch movies, and listen to music. I enjoy meeting new people, learning about different cultures, and sharing experiences. Reach out and let’s make your transition to life here seamless!

Ali Maleki head shot

Ali Maleki

Hello everyone! Welcome to WSU. I am Ali, and I’m from Iran. Currently, I’m doing a PhD in electrical engineering (my research area is on using renewable energy sources, so let’s save the world). I also got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering, so I’m a little familiar with engineering topics. In my free time, I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, meeting friends, watching movies, going to the gym, and swimming. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. Hope to see you around.


Alyssia Grose

Hey! I am currently majoring in comparative ethnic studies and Japanese. I am from Oak Harbor, Washington, which is the really big island in Washington, and if you don’t know where that is, it’s 2-1/2 hours north of Seattle. I really enjoy doing sports, reading manga, playing video games, photography, and taking naps. Some of my favorite video games are any of the Assassin Creeds, Pokémon, PubG, and Fortnite. My goal is to be able to live and work abroad in Japan or South Korea.


Angel Ikueze

I am Angel Ikueze. I am from Anambra State in Nigeria. I am currently in my freshman year at the WSU Pullman campus. I am majoring in nursing. I love watching movies, listening to music, cooking, singing, and watching soccer sometimes.

Anika Wottreng bio pic

Anika Wottreng

Hello there, welcome to WSU! My name is Anika Wottreng. A little bit about me, I grew up in Germany, a bit in Japan, California, and most recently near Seattle. I am bilingual in English and German with some elementary French. I most recently did a semester study abroad in France, so I understand how it is to be the new person in a new place & culture. I study international business as well as management information systems, so I do a mix of business, technology, and international studies. I love pop & country music, watching action/romance/mystery movies, painting, and photography. And if you have any questions about student life, want advice about navigating WSU, or want help in building social connections and networking, reach out to me! I hope you have a great time here at WSU, go Cougs!

Aryan Jha bio pic

Aryan Jha

My dear new Coug! It is an absolute honour for me to welcome you to the land of warmth, friendliness, and the vibrant Cougar spirit.
Consider me your first friend in this new chapter of your life. I’ll be here to show you around campus, introduce you to the wonderful diversity of students, and help you find your way in this new and exciting ecosystem. Count on me for advice on your life and career, and as support whenever you feel overwhelmed by all the novelty.
I deeply care about people having affordable and reliable access to their energy needs. I embrace diversity in my social circles, cuisine, and music choices, and I’m eager to share these experiences with you. Let’s embark on this incredible journey together, creating unforgettable memories that will stay with us forever. Excited to meet you and welcome you to our Cougar family.
My name is Aryan. I hail from and have lived in several regions all across India throughout my life. I am currently pursuing a PhD in electrical and computer engineering at WSU Pullman.

Aurelia Cromwell bio pic

Aurelia Cromwell

Hi! I’m Aurelia, Ari for short, welcome to WSU. I am working on dual degrees in mathematics and environmental sciences going into my fourthish year. I went to military, then attended university, then worked in a career of wildland fire, and am now back to finish. When I am not in school I enjoy the outdoors, running, hanging out, playing video games, finding quite places in nature… I am happy to do lots of things. I also really enjoy group studying. I look forward to having awesome chats with you and answering any questions you have. I look forward to meeting and being helpful. Welcome to WSU, go Cougs!

Ayannah Cervantes bio pic

Ayannah Cervantes

Hello! My name is Ayannah, I am a psychology major and human development minor hoping to work as a school counselor in the future! I enjoy going on walks, going out for some coffee, thrifting, and sometimes building Legos. I enjoy talking to new people and doing new things around school. I am so excited to hear from you so please do not be afraid to contact me!

Cagatay Aktas bio pic

Cagatay Aktas

Hello, everyone, and welcome to WSU! My name is Batu, and I am a civil engineering student here at the WSU Pullman campus. I enjoy the outdoors and spend my time swimming, playing soccer, and occasionally trekking. WSU offers a conducive environment for arts, sports, and academic achievements, providing a full university experience. Feel free to reach out to me anytime if you want to chat, plan soccer games, or ask a simple question don’t hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help. Welcome to WSU, and GO COUGS!!

Deborah Fabiyi (Orunsolu) bio pic

Deborah Fabiyi

Hi! I’m Debbie (Deborah) you can call me any time! I’m a first-year PhD graduate student in the Educational Psychology program, where I’m co-opted as a research assistant.
I love to motivate people in achieving their best, help in anyway I can to support, and am ready always to share resources. I’m adventurous, independent, service-centered, and believe I try whatever new stuff I set my mind on. I love music (classical, gospel), cooking, traveling, and helping.

Dini Arini bio pic

Dini Arini

Hi, everyone! My name is Dini, and I am a Fulbrighter from South Borneo, Indonesia. I am so thrilled to welcome you to the Cougar family! This is my first year of PhD program in Language, Literacy and Technology, specifically in AI implementation in English language teaching. Currently, aside from being a graduate student, I am also volunteering at IALC in the Language Laboratory. I enjoy listening to music, watching movies, and doing some outdoor activities. Please reach out if you have any questions and to have fun activities in Pullman! Go Cougs!!

Dongkyun Lee bio pic

Dongkyun Lee

Hello! My name is Dongkyun Lee, and I am a 3rd-year undergraduate student in civil engineering at WSU Pullman campus. My hometown is Seoul in South Korea. I like to do climbing, gaming, cooking, and other outdoor activities. Welcome to WSU and I hope you enjoy your college life at WSU!

Ella Custer bio pic

Ella Custer

My name is Ella. I am a senior biology major and Spanish minor. I am on the pre-med track and I would like to be an anesthesiologist. I am from Seattle, Washington. I love to travel and see new places during the summer. In my free time I like to go skiing, hiking, and go to concerts. Let me know if you have any questions, I’m excited to meet everyone!

Emma Flodin bio pic

Emma Flodin

Welcome to WSU! My name is Emma, and I am an undergraduate student from Homer, Alaska, studying neuroscience and psychology on the pre-med track. Some of my interests are hiking, gaming, cooking, and traveling. I also like to volunteer; it is a great way to meet people and do things you wouldn’t normally do. Please reach out to me if you need help with anything or just want to talk. I am so excited to help you enjoy life at WSU!

Gajanan Kothawade bio pic

Gajanan Kothawade

Namaskar!!! Welcome to WSU! I’m an international student from Maharashtra, India, and a graduate student at the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, working on plant disease detection methods using volatile headspace sampling. Back in India, I was working in the geospatial data science domain. Apart from the technical aspect, I like to talk … If you want to talk, I’ll always be happy to connect. Also a big fan of Indian classical music. Looking forward to meeting and helping you, Cougs!

Haixia He bio pic

Haixia He

Hello! I am Haixia from China. I am a doctoral student at the College of Education at WSU. My research interests focus on student task engagement, technology-enhanced language teaching and learning, and academic writing. I am also an International Ambassador of the International Program and will continue to work as a graduate assistant at the Graduate Writing Center. As an international student, I have a lot of experience in studying and living abroad. I am passionate about learning new things and doing all kinds of sports. I also love to meet new people, make new friends, and help them solve any social and academic problems. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I am here to help you! Go Cougs!

Hector Botello bio pic

Hector Botello

Hello everyone! My fellow Cougs members! My name is Hector and I am from Colombia. I am a second-year PhD student in economics and statistics. I know firsthand the difficulties of being an international student in a new cultural context but as a former mentee, I know how useful the program can be to get ahead. My hobbies are outdoor activities (hiking, camping, rafting, etc.) and sports such as tennis, soccer, and many more. It is also fun to practice outdoor photography. At home, I enjoy cooking, playing video games, and watching old movies. I really enjoy learning about other cultures and sharing experiences. I hope you like your stay in the Palouse.

Isatou Dumbaya bio pic

Isatou Dumbuya

Hello everyone, my name is Isatou Dumbuya, I am a final-year student here at Washington State University, Vancouver. Just like you, I come from another country, the Gambia, West Africa. I am proudly a First-Gen student, this means I am the first in my family to have a college degree. I understand what it means starting school in a foreign country. I want to make this transition smooth for you by linking you with all the necessary resources available that will help you thrive individually and academically. I want us to work together as a team to make this work, because as the saying goes, “team work makes the dream work.” I want to encourage you to ask all the questions and concerns you have because our aim is to make your time at WSUV memorable and worthwhile.

Johana Thomas Zapata bio pic

Johana Thomas Zapata

Hi everyone, welcome to WSU! My name is Johana Thomas Zapata. I am a Fulbright Scholar mathematics educator studying math & science education (Ph.D. program). I am bilingual in English and Spanish :-). My roots are on the Caribbean coasts of Honduras, so I love the sun, warm weather, and outdoor activities – spring and summer are my favorite seasons. Being a peer mentor is something I am eager to do to support new WSU students on their transition to campus by learning about new resources and making the most of their college experience.

Jorge Pires bio pic

Jorge Pires

Hello there! And welcome to WSU! My name is Jorge and I’m from Argentina. I’m doing a PhD in electrical engineering because I love understanding how things work, and I also enjoy learning. When not working, I enjoy going outdoors for a hike (there’s plenty of nature to see in the Palouse). Practicing landscape photography is very relaxing! If I’m indoors, then you’ll probably find me watching a movie (sci-fi my favorite!), gaming a bit, or reading random Wikipedia pages. But it’s also fun to hang out with friends and meet new people. I’m sure you’ll find WSU very welcoming! See you around!

Justice Nii-Ayitey

Justice Nii-Ayitey

Hello, Justice is from Ghana and a statistical science student with interest in categorical data, epidemiology, and survey techniques. He is more than happy to help make Pullman a place to live with all resources available. Come join the Cougar family!

Karisma Yumnam bio pic

Karisma Yumnam

Kira Adams bio pic

Kira Adams

My favorite colors are forest green and black. My perfect day includes curling up in a chair with a hoodie, a fuzzy blanket, and a dog in my lap as I read to the sound of rain whilst sipping on coffee. I am a fan of literature as well as movies/films, animation, and comics. If you ever see me out in the wild, chances are I’m reading a story. I am a fairly chill person to talk to and socialize with. I like learning about different cultures and different individuals as I believe people are what make life interesting. My hope is to go abroad soon to learn and teach in Japan.

Linh Nguyen at a table of students

Linh Nguyen

Hello everyone, welcome to WSU. I am Linh Nguyen, and I am from Vietnam. I am currently an undergraduate student at WSU Vancouver studying finance. I enjoy going to the park, cooking, hanging out with friends, and playing games in my free time. I am excited to see you and look forward to getting to know you. Moving to another country by yourself and being away from family and friends can be difficult, but don’t worry, I am here for you. Let’s chat, hang out, connect with other folks, and get motivated together. I promise that you will have an unforgettable time at WSU Vancouver.

Mary Aina bio pic

Mary Aina

Ekaabo! A way to say welcome in Yoruba language. Ekaabo si Washington State University. I am an international student from Ekiti, popularly known as the fountain of knowledge in Nigeria. I’m a graduate student in the Department of Teaching and Learning in the Curriculum and Instruction program. I’m studying strategies that support STEM learning for underserved student populations. I enjoy visiting new places and meeting people. I look forward to meeting you all. Go Cougs!

Molly Walker bio pic

Molly Walker

Hello! My name is Molly and I am a sophomore currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology and conservation sciences with a pre-professional track in veterinary sciences. I enjoy a variety of activities and hobbies, including running, reading, and hanging out in the sun with friends! I am excited to hear from you, so feel free to reach out!

Nithyashree Senguttuvan bio pic

Nithyashree Senguttuvan

Hey friends! I am Nithyashree, called by few as Shree. I am a first-year graduate – master’s student in computer science. I have moved in from India to Pullman a few months back. I did my undergraduate in the field of Computer Science at SKCT, Coimbatore. I also have a work experience for a year in AstraZeneca, Chennai. Other than the professional front, I am into content writing for social media posts and engagement. I love listening to music, watching movies, and playing games. Always read to help, engage, and grow from people around me.

Olelakan Akinsula bio pic

Olalekan Akinsulie

Hello, welcome to WSU. Your life is about to experience a dramatic change completely positively from now.  I am Chris Akinsulie. I am a veterinary doctor by training, with expertise in companion animal medicine. I am originally from the southwestern part of Nigeria. I have been to 7 other countries within Africa, Europe, and the United Kingdom as a student, and so I have a rich understanding of what it takes to move into a new country just as you right now. I am currently a second-year PhD student in immunology and infectious diseases at the College of Veterinary Medicine here at WSU. When I am not in the lab working on testing proteins of micro-organisms for possible vaccine development, I enjoy watching soccer and spending time with my family. I am more than willing to help you settle in quickly on campus as much as possible.


Oluwatunmise Dada

Happy to meet with you. I am a 2nd-year PhD student in the Biological Systems Engineering Department. I work as a graduate research assistant. Looking forward to meeting you.

Oluyemisi Oloniyo bio pic

Oluyemisi Oloniyo

Hi there, my name is Oluyemisi Oloniyo, and I am an educational psychologist who is exceptionally passionate about k-12 education. I am attuned to students’ needs and curriculum implementation. I am pursuing my PhD in educational psychology at the College of Education.

Pearl Oladele bio pic

Pearl Oladele

Pearl Oladele is a second-year PhD student at Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University, Pullman, United States. She studies health communication.

Roshani Baral bio pic

Roshani Baral

Hi there,
I am Roshani Baral, hailing from the scenic town of Pokhara, Nepal. Currently, I am pursuing a master’s degree in plant pathology at the extension center of Mount Vernon, WSU. Exploring the beauty of nature through hiking is something I’m truly passionate about, especially when it comes to the enchanting mountains. Additionally, I find immense joy in being a food enthusiast, always eager to try out new recipes and embark on food hunts. Although I may feel a bit nervous at first, I never back down from trying out thrilling and adventurous experiences.
Excited to serve as a peer mentor, I look forward to supporting incoming students on their new journey. Let’s connect and build friendships. Feel free to reach out – I’m here to listen and help!


Sara Jones

Hi! My name is Sara, and I am a biology, pre-med student in my 3rd year at WSU!  My goal is to become a physician and travel the world helping people.  I love working out, reading, listening to Taylor Swift, studying, swimming, and spending time with my friends.  My favorite thing about WSU is the community and how kind the people here are. The fall months in Pullman are stunning, and they are definitely my favorite time of the year here. Please reach out if you have any questions at all, I’d be elated to help. And, of course,  GO COUGS!

Stephen Onayemi bio pic

Stephen Onayemi

Hello friend! Welcome to WSU. I am glad to answer your questions and support you in your new transition to WSU. I am a graduate student in the Department of Entomology and working on pest management strategies to control grape mealybugs in wine grapes. I am based at WSU Washington State University-Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Prosser. I enjoy listening to music, traveling, and interacting with people. Feel free to contact me with any inquiries, and I look forward to meeting you.


Tenzin Pelmo

Kuzu zangpo la! My name is Tenzin Pelmo and I am from Bhutan, a kingdom nestled within the Himalayas. Yes, our flag proudly displays the majestic figure of a white dragon. I have completed my first semester as a graduate student studying MS economics at the School of Economic Sciences. As an ex-central banker, I have 3 years of experience in monetary policy and economic analysis. Besides, I’m part of the Global Shapers community and am passionate about fostering a meaningful and positive impact on society. I find immense pleasure in the world of gastronomy, where my passion for cooking and indulging in diverse cuisines knows no bounds. Furthermore, I believe I am good at capturing aesthetic photos while exploring hidden gems. I hope to not only learn more about your culture, but also share mine. I am excited to welcome and connect with you, fellow Cougs!

Ujjiyan Majumber bio pic

Ujjayan Majumdar

I am Ujjayan Majumdar. Currently I am a PhD candidate in mechanical engineering. I did my master’s from the State University of New York at Buffalo and my bachelor’s from the foothills of the Himalayas, Government Engineering College, Jalpaiguri. Apart from research in materials and manufacturing, I have varied interests that ranges from theater and performing arts, to music. I have performed in different places in the USA and in India and also been awarded as Visharad from Pracheen Kala Kendra and Rabindra Bharati University in India. I am an avid music lover and like classical Indian songs and Rabindra sangeet (Songs of Tagore, Asia’s first Nobel Laureate). I also play the synthesizer. Long gone are the days when I used to play soccer. I am a big fan of Mohun Bagan and Manchester United. I love to play table tennis and watch cricket. Having spent a significant amount of time in the foothills of Himalayas, I am a nature lover.

Veronica Walker bio pic

Veronica Metzler

My name is Veronica Metzler, and I am currently studying at WSU Vancouver to get my bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. My ultimate career goal is to go to dental school and become a dentist. I have a family of 7 with 4 siblings and 2 Boston Terriers. I love hiking, hanging out with friends and family, and traveling!