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Freshman Edge Mentors

As a Freshman Edge student, you will meet continuing UCI students right away. These Freshman Edge mentors (former Freshman Edge participants) eagerly wait to welcome you to UCI. In addition to creating a meaningful and supportive program environment, they will help you transition to UCI campus and college life, and introduce you to campus resources and the UCI social scene. A formal Leadership Development Program is offered to Freshman Edge Program alumni beginning in winter quarter as a hands-on leadership development experience. Student give feedback on the past year’s program, develop program events, and work with the students during the upcoming Freshman Edge Program. Additionally, students learn leadership, commitment, responsibility, communication, and decision-making skills from hands-on planning and execution of events.

Add the Leadership Development Program to your resume! The program begins winter quarter and application submissions are taken in November.

Meet the 2016 Freshman Edge Mentors

Abdullah_Dada Abdullah Dada
Lead Mentor
Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2018
(From Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

My name is Abdullah Dada, but I typically go by AD. I’m a third year engineering student. The Freshman Edge program was a huge help to my first year. I got used to classes earlier, became acquainted to the campus, and made most of my friends. I wanted to come back to the program and be part of everyone’s experience in getting to know UCI. My interests include music, DIY projects and pizza (both making and eating).

Rebecca Martinez-Areas Rebecca Martinez-Areas
Lead Mentor
Psychology & Social Behavior, Class of 2018
(From Los Angeles, CA)

I have been part of the Freshman Edge program for two years: one as a participant and the other as a mentor. Both were amazing experiences- ones that I can write down in my record books. The things I have learned and the people I have met-- I wouldn't change it for anything. Being a part of this program has allowed me to not only understand the campus better, but also find a place that I could belong for the next 4 years of my life. I was able to find my identity, who I am, and what I want to be.

Alex Tran Alexander Tran
Mechanical Engineering, Class of 2019
(From Santa Barbara, CA)

Enrolling in Freshman Edge was one of the best decisions I have ever made during college. Coming to UCI was a scary experience for me, as I did not have many friends going to UCI and I hardly knew the campus or its resources. However, after participating in Freshman Edge, I quickly became acquainted with the campus, all while making tons of friends and getting a head start on my classes. I look forward to meeting all the incoming freshmen students and being able to make their experience during Freshman Edge as memorable as mine.

Anna Talonova Anna Talonova
Business Economics, Class of 2019
(From Moscow, Russia)

My name is Anna Talonova, and I am an international student majoring in Business Economics. My time at UCI began with the Freshman Edge International Program in summer 2015. This experience was unforgettable and extremely valuable to me. During the several weeks in the program I learned a lot about college life, met new friends, and became more confident. Now I would be happy to help future students to gain the similar positive experience.

Anqi Xu Anqi Xu
Business Information Management, Class of 2019
(From Nagoya, Japan)

Coming all alone from Japan without knowing anyone, I was afraid of going through four years here at UCI. Freshman Edge helped a lot with familiarizing myself with the environment and resources of UCI. I was also able to make friends from countries across the world. Even now, I can proudly say that my closest friends are from the very first month of summer in Freshman Edge. I am really thankful that this program brought me such awesome friends who understand me all the time and stay with me whenever needed.

Karalyn Lester Karalyn Lester
Undecided/Undeclared, Class of 2019
(From Rocklin, CA)

Freshman Edge is thus far one of my fondest memories here at the University of California, Irvine. By participating in the program, I made life-long friendships, familiarized myself with the campus and the city, and earned college credit--all while getting a glimpse into the classes offered at UCI. Having never lived on my own, I was quite nervous about my transition into college. However, this program enabled me to transition with great ease. Engaging in Freshman Edge was the best decision I made, and it set the tone for my success at UCI.

Matthew Trevino Matthew Trevino
Mathematics, Class of 2019
(From Chino, CA)

The Freshman Edge program helped me transition into college by providing me with enthusiastic and successful mentors. Because of Freshman Edge, I have a better understanding of what is required of me to thrive in the college environment. Without this experience, I wouldn't be where I'm at in my academic career. As a mentor for the Freshman Edge program, my goal is to prepare students for college while creating a memorable summer experience for them. There is no doubt in my mind that these students will achieve great things in the future.

Naser Alnasery Naser Alnasery
Electrical Engineering, Class of 2019
(From Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Freshman Edge was one of the most incredible and unforgettable experiences in my college life! The program helped familiarize me with the campus and resources, it gave me hands-on experience on how classes would be, and best of all introduced me to many new friends, who made my time here that much more enjoyable. I understand how it feels like to be in a new environment and not know anyone, but my main goal is to make sure you take advantage of all the resources that this campus has to offer and to make new friends that will last a lifetime! I am looking forward to sharing the same information I got with future incoming freshmen students, and making their experience here as unforgettable as mine.

Nathalian Rhey Silva Nathalian Rhey Silva
Business Administration, Class of 2019
(From San Fernando Valley, CA)

I can say that participating in Freshman Edge was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. I felt daunted in stepping out of high school and facing college, but I immediately took the opportunity to get a sneak peak of what it’s like to dorm and take college classes. I clearly do not regret my choice in being a part of the Summer Session program because it assisted me significantly with transitioning into the life of a college student here at UC Irvine. I became more familiar with the campus, more comfortable with talking to professors and ultimately more open to the wide variety of opportunities this amazing school has to offer. I figured that a perfect way to give back was to become a mentor and reciprocate what I learned to the future anteaters! Zot! Zot! Zot!

Raj Parekh Raj Parekh
Quantitative Economics, Data Science, and Mathematics, Class of 2019
(From Mumbai, India)

Hello folks! My name is Raj Parekh and I will be one of your Freshman Edge mentors for summer of 2016. I hail from the financial capital of India, Mumbai! I am Triple majoring in Quantitative Economics, Data Science, and Mathematics. Participating in Freshman Edge helped eliminate my anxiety and helped me acquire valuable links to resources on campus. I hope that by becoming a mentor, I can help incoming freshmen build confidence in their ability to succeed at this prestigious research university. Feel free to email me anytime if you have questions about anything related to UCI, life or career goals!

Salvador Villalon Salvador Villalon
Undecided/Undeclared, Class of 2019
(From Calexico, CA)

Freshman Edge was an opportunity that I am glad I did not miss. When I first arrived at UCI I knew I wanted to do something great, but in a huge campus with a variety of resources, I did not know where to start. Thanks to Freshman Edge, all of this changed. This program prepared me for college classes in the school year, gave me a head start of life in dorms and campus, helped me understand the many resources that are available for students, and so much more. It also gave me friendships that I will always value and cherish. This opportunity gave me the confidence to succeed in my first year at UCI. I know that this program can help answer many of the questions incoming freshmen will have. I highly recommend Freshman Edge since it brought me so many great things that I will always value.

Noemi Valadez-Monarrez Noemi Valadez-Monarrez
Undecided/Undeclared (Computer Science), Class of 2019
(From Pomona, CA)

Freshman Edge was the perfect transition to UCI and college life in general, and I can’t imagine what college would have been like without it. I learned so much about the campus which eased my transition overall. Not only was I able to get a head start in learning about the opportunities that college life offered me, I also got a taste of what college courses would be like and made long-lasting bonds with fellow participants and the program mentors. I would like to use the knowledge and expertise I gained from my path to college so that I can guide students on their own, unique paths.

Vamsi Krishna VK Jatavallabhulla Vamsi Krishna Jatavallabhulla
Aerospace Engineering, Class of 2019
(From Hyderabad, India)

Being an international student, I was overwhelmed by the resources and opportunities provided by the university. The concept such as scheduling the classes and going to office hours was new to me. Freshman Edge helped me familiarize myself with the new environment and really get an edge over other international students in the fall quarter. I am looking forward to sharing my experience with the new students joining next year and help them in every way possible!