Peer Advisors

Schedule an appointment our peer advisors to get a student's perspective regarding the undergraduate program in the biological sciences.

2023-2024 Advisors

Alexandra Gaston

Headshot of Alexandra Gaston.

Major: Molecular genetics
Minor: Medical anthropology

Origins: I grew up in Union, New Jersey!

Teaching assistant experience: I was a Chem 131 TA for Dr. Hafensteiner in fall 2021 and a Chem 132 TA for Dr. Matson and Dr. Rothberg in spring2022. I was also a BIOL 111/113 lab TA for Dr. Minckley in spring 2023.

Extracurricular activities: I am co-president of Filipino American Students' Association which I have been a member of since my freshman year. I am also a member of Chi Omega Sorority and Order of Omega Honor Society where I serve the roles of Director of Programming and Secretary, respectively. I also work as a research assistant in Dr. Nancy Chen's lab where I have previously assisted with a project concerning the genetic diversity of breeding Weddell Seal colonies! In my free time I enjoy playing the piano, listening to music, and cooking!

Study abroad activities: I spent the summer of 2023 in Stockholm, Sweden through the DIS program where I took a biomedical lab course at Karolinska Institutet.

What do you love about the UR and/or a recommendation for things to do or food to try while in Rochester: I love the community at UR. Everyone is super supportive of their peers' endeavors and its nice knowing that there's always someone around to help out if you need it. While the UR campus is a great place to hang out and spend some free time, I would definitely recommend checking out Park Ave and the Public Market for good food and shopping! If you're interested in spending some time in nature, then definitely explore GVP and Letchworth which are both beautiful areas!

Schedule appointment with Alexandra

Adarsh Mavathaveedu

Headshot of Adarsh Mavathaveedu.

Major: Neuroscience

Origins: Born in Kerala, India and am currently living in Flemington, New Jersey

Teaching assistant experience: I have been a TA for general chemistry (Fall 2021, Dr. Haffensteiner), Intro to Biology (Fall 2022), and Intro to Biochemistry (Spring 2023)

Extracurricular activities: I am a co-founder and director of Outreach at Project Level the Field (student-led initiative to increase access tocollege application resources and mentoring)
I currently work as emergency department research associate, undergraduate research assistant at Dr. AniaBusza's lab, and an undergraduate research ambassador. Outside of work, I like to spend my time practicing mixed martial arts and video-editing.

Study abroad activities: I spent the summer of 2023 in Würzburg, Germany through the DAAD-RISE program.

Sports teams: I play basketball recreationally but am not very good.

What do you love about the UR and/or a recommendation for things to do or food to try while in Rochester: I love the sense of collaboration and community among students at UR. When feeling overwhelmed with deadlines or exams, I've been lucky to find both academic and personal support among my peers.

A recommendation would definitely be to try a garbage plate (only once though), go to the Lilac Festival, or check out the comedy club near Radio Social.

Schedule appointment with Adarsh

Mystie Parker

Headshot of Mystie Parker.

Majors: Molecular genetics, business

Origins: USA

Teaching assistant experience: One of my most enjoyable TA experiences was in Professor Rizzo's economics 108 class. I wholeheartedly recommend this course to anyone looking to fulfill a cluster or minor requirement or seeking a unique learning experience.

Extracurricular activities: I've actively engaged in various on-campus organizations during my time, including the Students' Association Government, the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and ADITI. Additionally, I am dedicated to volunteering and consistently contribute my time and effort to support both animal shelters, initiatives aiding the homeless, and local clinics. I also tutor students and assist prospective college applicants, especially those who are interested in the University of Rochester.

Sports teams: Varisty Debate Team

What do you love about the UR and/or a recommendation for things to do or food to try while in Rochester: I absolutely suggest checking out the Rochester Public Market, especially if you enjoy casually exploring. Rochester also throws some great festivals and fairs. My top pick has to be the Lilac Festival. Plus, there are tons of awesome places to go hiking, whether you prefer nature or waterfalls.

Schedule appointment with Mystie

Miraz Sadi

Headshot of Miraz Sadi.

Majors: Molecular genetics, chemical engineering

Origins: Dhaka, Bangladesh

Teaching assistant experience: I have experience as a teaching assistant, tutor, and study group leader for more than 10 different courses, spanning subjects such as general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, various math classes, and labs.

Extracurricular activities: I'm a member of various organizations at the University of Rochester, including the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, the Cricket Club, Student Government, MSA, ADITI, and the University of Rochester Debate Union. In addition to these affiliations, I have a passion for participating in and volunteering at various events organized by different campus groups and offices.

Study abroad activities: As an international student, I feel like this is my study abroad, but I did explore some options before deciding not to apply, so feel free to ask me about studying abroad.

Sports teams: I'm a member of the club cricket team and play football (soccer) whenever my schedule allows. Additionally, I proudlyparticipate in the varsity debate team, which, interestingly, is considered a varsity sport as well!

What do you love about the UR and/or a recommendation for things to do or food to try while in Rochester: Rochester offers an excellent environment for nature enthusiasts, particularly when you consider the abundance of hiking spots along the lakeshores and the opportunity to relax on Lake Ontario beaches, enjoying the sunset while gathered around a bonfire.

Schedule appointment with Miraz

Bridget Tokiwa

Headshot of Bridget Tokiwa.

Major: Biochemistry
Minor: Studio art

Origins: Before attending UR, I lived in Bucks County, PA.

Teaching assistant experience: I was a TA for CHEM 132 with Dr. Rothberg, spring 2021. This semester, I am the TA for BIOL 101 with Dr. Benyajati.

Extracurricular activities: I worked as one of the illustrations editors for the university newspaper, The Campus Times, up until senior year. Summer 2022 I worked in the Grayhack lab as part of the de Kiewiet Summer Research Fellowship program. I am currently pursuing a Take 5 program focused on scientific illustration.

What do you love about the UR and/or a recommendation for things to do or food to try while in Rochester: I love how there's no shortage of things to do on and off campus here at UR. I've found it's easy to explore interests outside of your major and meet all kinds of different people. On the weekends, the Public Market and the Lucky Flea are really cool places to check out! Also, while you're in Rochester, be sure to try some hotdogs/hamburgers at Dogtown (they have vegan and vegetarian ones too!)

Schedule appointment with Bridget