CNAS Freshman Scholars Program

CNAS Scholars Peer Mentors 18-19

ScholarsWho We Are

Our Peer Mentors are a team of highly successful CNAS students who have been trained to assist our learning community students navigate undergraduate life. They are here to work with you through academics, developing success skills, exploring STEM careers, securing research opportunities, and finding other ways to enrich your time at UCR.  

Each of our Peer Mentors is a CNAS student who has successfully completed the CNAS Learning Community program. They are all involved in a diverse array of campus programs, student organizations, community groups, and research projects. They have trained to be a source of guidance who can help you find solutions to your needs and make the most of your first year.


What We Do 

Many studies stress the importance of interpersonal connections for college students. By feeling connected to UC Riverside, you’re more likely to do well academically, get involved on campus, and graduate in four years. Our Peer Mentors are here to serve as that connection. Through regular one-on-one meetings, our Peer Mentors will assess your needs and guide you to the best information and resources available to you.

Why Should You See a Peer Mentor?

  • You want to build a connection with your campus.

  • You want to learn more about research opportunities.
  • You want to learn techniques about how to successful academically.
  • You want to get involved with student organizations, campus programs, and other enriching activities.

How Do We Join?

All CNAS Learning Community students are welcome and encouraged to connect with a CNAS Scholar Peer Mentor. Students interested in meeting with a Peer Mentor must fill out the digital form here. You must be logged into R'Mail to access our form. 

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2018-2019 CNAS Scholars Peer Mentors


Ashli Barnes

4th year Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology Major

A picture of Ashli Barnes, one of the CNAS Scholars Learning Community peer mentors

  • Dynamic Genome Scholar 2016-2017
  • Clinical Research Assistant- Loma Linda VA Healthcare
  • Undergraduate Researcher, Dr. Wilson Lab
  • PERSIST Scholar (2016-2017)
  • RISE Participant (2017)
  • SHARP Club Secretary


Taylor Arburtha-Clayton

3rd year Biochemistry Major (medical emphasis)

picture of Taylor Arburtha-Clayton, a CNAS Scholars Peer Mentor

  • Undergraduate Researcher, Department of Psychology
  • COPE Health Scholar
  • African Americans United in Science, President
  • Casa Colina hospital, volunteer
  • Mathematics and Language Arts Community Tutor
  • Elma Vines summer Health Academy Intern (2018)


Alberto Castillo-Hernandez

4th year Neuroscience Major

A picture of Alberto Castillo-Hernandez, one of the CNAS Scholars Learning Community peer mentors

  • Dynamic Genome Scholar 2016
  • San Bernardino Free Clinic Patient Advocate
  • Undergraduate Researcher, Department of Botany and Plant Sciences
  • President of oSTEM (Out in Sciences Technology, Engineering, Mathematics)
  • Vice president of External Relations (Student Alumni Association)
  • University Honors program


Crystal Nguyen

4th year Biology Major

picture of Phong Au-Hong, a CNAS Scholars Peer Mentor

  • RISE Scholar (2016)
  • Vietnamese Student Association, Community Service Chair (2017-2018)
  • Delta Gamma, member
  • Undergraduate Researcher, Di Patrizio’s Lab
  • Riverside Free Clinic
  • Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader


Gianhu Nguyen

3rd year Biochemistry Major

A picture of Ryan Figueras, one of the CNAS Scholars Learning Community peer mentors

  • RISE Scholar (2018)
  • Undergraduate Researcher, CALLA Lab
  • Early Assist Peer Educator, Academic Resource Center
  • Ultrasound Probe scholar, UCR School of Medicine
  • Promoting Engagement, Retention, and Success in STEM training (PERSIST) 2017-2018


Jordan Tu

3rd year Neuroscience Major

A picture of Krishna Bhalodia, one of the CNAS Scholars Learning Community peer mentors

  • Student Conduct and Academic Integrity Highlander Representative
  • HPAC Ambassador
  • Riverside Community Hospital Volunteer
  • Undergraduate Researcher, Curras-Collazo Lab


Rachel Whitmore

2nd year Chemistry Major

A picture of Penelope Nwaukwa, one of the CNAS Scholars Learning Community peer mentor

  • RISE Scholar (2018), Department of Chemistry with Dr. Hooley
  • Undergraduate Researcher, Department of Bioengineering with Dr. Huinan Liu
  • UCR Honors Program Member (2017)
  • Botanic Gardens Volunteer

Gina Zhuo

3rd year Biochemistry Major

A picture of Carlos Tejeda Valencia, one of the CNAS Scholars Learning Community peer mentors

  • RISE Scholar (2018)
  • Undergraduate Researcher, Woodward Bee Lab
  • Secretary, American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
  • Media Chair, Phi Delta Epsilon
  • Project Leader, Mini Medical School
  • Logistics, LULAC Health Fair
  • COPE Health Scholar, Riverside Community Hospital


More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Department Information

CNAS Freshman Scholars Program
1223 Pierce Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5326
Fax: (951) 827-2243
E-mail: cnasscholars@ucr.edu