Meet The Mentors

You can email a mentor at



Adri Rick

Spokane Valley, Washington, USA

Hello, I’m Adri! I am a Senior here at WSU and I am getting my bachelors in Linguistics and Chinese. I studied abroad Fall semester of 2023 in Taiwan and studied Chinese there for three months. Studying abroad gave me insight on what it means to go to a new country and made me want to help international students accommodate.


Alex Roberts

Duvall, Washington, USA

Hi, my name is Alex Roberts. I am from Duvall, Washington and getting ready to start my 3rd year at WSU. I have lived in Washington my whole life and enjoy biking, football, and listening to music. Be sure to reach out if you have any questions.


Ali Maleki

Karaj, Iran

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.


Aryan Jha

New Delhi, India

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.


Charles Ugwu

Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Hello, I am Charles, a Nigerian Ph.D. student in Immunology and Infectious Diseases at WSU Pullman. At WSU, I feel at home even far away from home, and I hope that this also will be your experience soon. I am ready to hold your hands, walk you through your transition process, and I look forward to meeting you in-person.


Dini Arini

Banjarmasin, South Borneo, Indonesia

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!!


Hawi Bekele

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Hello there! My name is Hawi. I’m a master’s student in cultural anthropology. I love watching movies, listening to music, and cooking. When I’m not studying, you can find me traveling and taking photographs of all the amazing places I visit. I’m excited to meet new people and exchange experiences.


Hector Botello

Bucaramanga, Colombia

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.


Hudson Miller

Wenatchee, Washington, USA

I am a senior majoring in multimedia journalism. I studied abroad in Seoul, Korea, for a semester. I hope to help international students enjoy the United States and relate to them regarding homesickness and cultural differences. I like rock music, working out, and trying new food.


Johana Thomas Zapata

La Cieba, Honduras

Hi everyone, welcome to WSU! My name is Johana Thomas Zapata. I am a Fulbright Scholar mathematics educator studying math & science education (PhD 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.


Justice Nii-Ayitey

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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!


Leon Chen

Taipei, Taiwan

Hello! I’m Leon from Taiwan, currently pursuing a major in Criminal Justice and Criminology, with a specific focus on human trafficking issues. Fluent in Mandarin, my personal interests include enjoying live music, traveling, and savoring great drinks. I’m thrilled to connect, share knowledge, and learn from each other. Nice to meet you!


Mila Montoya

Steilacoom, Washington, USA

Hello! My name is Mila. I am entering my third year studying philosophy at WSU and am enjoying my time in Pullman. I am excited to be of use to any new student looking to explore the town, the campus, classes, and social life. I enjoy making new connections. It’s all about making memories!


Miranda Rivera

Wenatchee, Washington, USA

My name is Miranda and I am from Wenatchee Washington. I am currently attending WSU majoring in political science pre-law, criminal justice and a minor in Spanish. I love to play soccer, go to the gym, hang out with friends and listen to music. Feel free to reach out to me and become great friends! 🙂


Priunka Bhowmik

Dhaka, Bangladesh

I am Priunka Bhowmik, a first-year PhD student from the Department of Animal Sciences, at WSU. My homeland is Bangladesh, a small South Asian country that is known for its vibrant culture, history, and delicious food. I love to explore the scenic beauty of Palouse. I will be delighted to help you always.

Sara Jones

Lynden, Washington, USA

Hi! My name is Sara, and I am in my 4th year studying biology on a pre-med track here at WSU. I love all things outdoors, reading, and spending time with my friends. I look forward to meeting you this semester!

Tuti Hidayati

Aceh, Indonesia

Hey there new Cougs, welcome to WSU. My name is Tuti Hidayati. I am from Indonesia. I am currently doing my Ph.D in Language, Literacy, and Technology Program in School of Education. It’s been a year now since I joined the Cougs family and I found Pullman as a comfortable place to live in and study.

Vijini Liyanage

Seattle, Washington, USA

Hi! My name is Vijini and I’m a Microbiology major, my goal is to go into vaccine research in the future. I’m from Seattle, but my parents come from Sri Lanka. I love all sorts of outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, biking, etc. I love meeting new people as well! Feel free to reach out for anything!



Martin Churuvija

Los Polvorines, Argentina

Hey there! Welcome to WSU! My name is Martin, and I’m an electronics engineer and a PhD candidate in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. My research focuses on using cameras and robots to automate orchard tasks like pruning, thinning, and harvesting. Outside of academics, I enjoy working out, playing basketball and ping-pong, going on road trips, and hiking with friends from all around the globe! I’ve experienced and understand the challenges of adapting to a new place and culture, so feel free to reach out—I’m here to lend a hand! I’m fluent in both English and Spanish, so don’t hesitate to contact me in either language!


Sheersa Manna

Nagpur, India

Namaste, Cougs! I’m Sheersa, your go-to peer mentor! As a PhD student in the Department of Plant Pathology, I research bacterial canker in sweet cherries. I’m excited to welcome you to this picturesque slice of Washington. When not in the lab, you’ll find me devouring new cuisines, cruising down scenic highways, or hosting impromptu gatherings with my friends. Hailing from the vibrant tapestry of India, I bring with me a love for languages (I speak six!), a passion for singing Rabindrasangeet and dancing to the rhythm of Bharatanatyam. Having journeyed through the challenges and rewards of transitioning to life in the United States, I understand the importance of community and inclusivity. My mission? To make your transition smooth sailing! Don’t hesitate to reach out—I’m here to help you bloom in your new home.



Griffin Bizal

Vancouver, Washington, USA

Hi, I’m Griffin, an electrical engineering major at WSU Vancouver. I’m exploring fields like robotics and power engineering. I know transitioning to college can be tough, and I’m here to help. I’ve lived here my whole life. I enjoy strategy games, hiking, and meeting new people. Feel free to reach out with questions. I look forward to meeting you soon!

Junbo Park

South Korea

Greetings. Junbo is the name but I also go by John so feel free to call me however you prefer. I hailed from South Korea and lived in US since 2007. I’m looking forward to both helping new international students and gain experience on how to be a good mentor.


Linh Nguyen

Hanoi, Vietnam

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.



Sadat Amankona

Abesim, Ghana

I am Sadat Amankona, from Abesim, a small town in Ghana. I am currently a second-year graduate student in Horticulture at WSU-TFREC in Wenatchee. I did a joint Master’s degree from three Universities in Europe, so I guess I know how it feels and what it takes to transition to a new environment and culture. I am here to use my experience and the resources available to guide you in transitioning to Washington. I like fishing, playing and reffing soccer, cooking (the best jollof), sewing and crafting dresses. I enjoy Ghanaian Afrobeat music and Jamaican dancehall. I attempted singing on a few occasions, but it did not go great 😊. Please feel free to contact me whenever you have questions or want to talk about any subject.

Meet the Advisors

Nitivia Jones

Program Coordinator

Vancouver, Spokane, Prosser, Mt. Vernon


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.

Nichole Hutchinson

Program Coordinator



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!