Fall 2018 Mentor of the Week

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Mentor of the Week: Catherine O’Brien

This week's mentor of the week is Catherine O'Brien (better known as Cat)! Cat has a great relationship with her mentee, Yelitza, and we really love seeing their sweet interactions with each other. She is also a student in our Education seminar and does a wonderful job of participating and contributing to each class.

Here's a little bit about Cat if you haven't met her yet!

Q: What is your year and (intended) major? 
A: I’m a junior and my intended majors are sociology and society & environment. 

Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from the Bay Area but I was born in Wisconsin, I’ve lived half my life there and half here. 

Q: What school do you mentor at and on which days?
A: I mentor at Willard on Monday’s and Wednesday’s (the occasional Friday as well). 

Q: Who is your mentee?
A: My amazing mentee is Yelitza! 

Q: What is your favorite moment that you have shared with your mentee?
A: I have a couple! When we tried but failed to play football, when she came back on a Wednesday and had finally finished and understood a math equation we spent hours on (I mean hoursssss), and when her mom took me aside one day and told me how happy Yelitza was after meeting me - It’s honestly not really one exact moment but I feel like it’s just everything put together and noticing that she’s getting more comfortable, talking more, and making new friends is really the best I think. 

Q: What is the last movie you watched and what would you rate it on a scale of 1-10?
A: The last movie I watched was Won’t You Be My Neighbor and it was a solid 10, everyone should watch it, it made me cry in public. 

Thanks for being a great mentor, Cat!

 
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Mentor of the Week: Jocelyn Barrera

This week's mentor of the week is Jocelyn Barrera! Jocelyn has been a very loyal mentor in the past few weeks and we enjoy watching her relationship with her mentee, Jennifer, develop into something really great. We also appreciate Jocelyn's active participation in seminar! Thanks for being great Jocelyn, you embody exactly what we look for in a mentor :)

Here is a little bit about Jocelyn if you haven't had the pleasure of meeting her yet!

Q: What is your year and (intended) major?
A: My declared major is Chicanx Studies with a double minor in education and public policy!

Q: Where are you from?
A: I am from a small town called Castroville, also known as the artichoke center of the world!

Q: What school do you mentor at and on which days?
A": I mentor at Willard on Thursdays and Fridays!

Q: Who is your mentee?
A: My mentee’s name is Jennifer Yoc!

Q: What is your favorite moment that you have shared with your mentee?
A: I honestly feel that our most memorable moments change every week! She’s super fun to be around. We especially bond over our love for art! Fun fact, she taught me how to arch my back. She patiently taught me for half an hour because I feared I would break! It was such a funny memory because once I was able to do it, I realized my fear was irrational.

Q: What is your most irrational fear?
A: My most irrational fear would be holding babies because I’m so scared I’m going to break them. Also, if they cry, I might cry too. By the way, don’t even dare bringing a clown near me. I will get a panic attack.

Thanks Jocelyn!

 

Mentor of the Week: Kristen Ersando

This week's mentor of the week is Kristen Ersando. She has shown so much dedication to her mentee so far this semester and we truly appreciate how much effort she puts into building their relationship. We also love how positive she is and her genuine interest in maintaining friendships with the members of Project SMILE. Kristen is truly what we look for in a mentor and friend :) Here's a little bit about Kristen!

Q: What is your year and (intended) major?
A: I’m a Junior transfer from community college so this is my first semester at Cal. My declared major is Sociology and I’m planning on minoring in Global Poverty & Practice, as well as Education.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m front Daly City/San Francisco! I’ve always lived right next to the Pacific Ocean.

Q: What school do you mentor at and on which days?
A: I mentor at Longfellow usually on Wednesday’s and Fridays but when I can, Tues/Thurs to watch my mentee’s volleyball games 

Q: Who is your mentee?
A: My mentee is Brooklyn Evans :D

Q: What is your favorite moment that you have shared with your mentee?
A: My favorite moment with my mentee was finding out that her and her friends play MASH just like I did when I was a kid! Despite all the technology available, pen, paper, some silliness, and good company still does the trick :D

Q: Who is your A1 day-one celebrity crush? 
A: My A1 day one celebrity crush is Chad Michael Murray, Cinderella story still gets me sprung every time 

Keep on being great and radiating your positivity, Kristen!

 
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Mentor of the Week: Zach Novak

This week's spotlight is on Zach Novak! This is Zach's second semester in SMILE and he is also a part of the enrichment committee! So, why did we choose Zach to be mentor of the week? Zach's commitment to SMILE and his effort to maintain a great relationship with his mentee, Elliott, could not go unappreciated. We also love his enthusiasm and active voice when it comes to participating in committee meetings. We hope to see him continue to grow throughout the semester! If you've never met Zach before, well here are a few tidbits about his cool existence.

Q. What is your year and (intended) major? 
A. I’m currently a third year transfer student in my second semester at UCB, majoring in Environmental Economics and Policy with a minor in Education. 

Q. Where are you from? 
A. I’m a Bay Area native, from near Palo Alto and Stanford (boo!). Specifically, Menlo Park, CA

Q. What school do you mentor at and on which days?
A. I used to mentor at Longfellow, but this semester I’m now mentoring at Willard! I go Mondays, Wednesdays, and most Fridays (if I get out of bed on time)! 

Q. Who is your mentee? 
A. My mentee’s name is Elliott… If I remembered his last name I would’ve put it. He’s a 6th grader at Willard, and he enjoys playing baseball, hide and seek, and Fortnite. 

Q. What has your favorite Project Smile moment been so far? 
A. My favorite Project Smile moment, so far, has been taking the EDU 197 DeCal that Elsa runs for us every other Wednesday night! I’ve found it to be a great combination of productive work, discussion regarding mentor experiences, and being able to catch up with members of Project Smile that I don’t get to see often! 

Q. What is your favorite moment that you’ve shared with your mentee?
A. While Elliot and I have only seen each other for a few weeks now, I’d say my favorite moment so far was playing Tic Tac Toe with him after he finished his HW in the library. He was extremely into the idea of competition, and wanted to continue playing and working with me whether he was winning or losing. It was a good sight to see, knowing that through most ups and downs in any situation, the two of us would be able to stay positive with one another. 

Q. If you had to pick one board member to help me out of a sticky situation, who would it be? 
A. Tough question… But I’d say… LUPE! Only because every time I see him he asks me how I’ve been doing, how my mentee is doing, and if I have any questions to come to him at any time. He was able to show me around Willard when I first started there as well, and seems to know where the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are at all times. 

Q. Where is the coolest place I’ve ever traveled to? 
A. This summer I took my very first trip out of the continent, visiting London with my family. I got to go at a pretty time in the summer, and rode the train around the entire city, and saw breathtaking shows and views. I also got to go to a day of the Wimbledon tennis tournament, which as a life-long tennis player was definitely a dream come true

Zach's enthusiasm is exactly what we look for in a mentor and committee member here at Project SMILE - Thanks Zach :)

 
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Mentor of the Week: Camille Green

This weeks mentor of the week is Camille Green! Camille has shown great dedication to Project SMILE and her mentee, Samantha, by going up to three times a week to mentor. Watching her relationship grow with Samantha has been truly wonderful, and we really appreciate Camille's constant positivity and enthusiasm whenever we see her! SO, who really is Camille Green? Well, we asked her a few nitty gritty questions to find out.

Q: What is your year and (intended) major?
A: I am a freshman and my intended major is currently anthropology.

Q: What days and where do you mentor?
A: I mentor Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at Willard.

Q: Who is your mentee?
A: My mentee is Samantha Wilson.

Q: What has been your favorite thing about SMILE?
A: My favorite thing about SMILE so far is seeing Sam's face light up when I walk into the room because she knows she is about to beat me in a game of basketball.

Q: What has been your favorite moment while mentoring this past week?
A: My favorite moment this past week was making Sam laugh when I joked she had more homework than I did.

Q: If you had to live with one person on board for the rest of your life who would it be? 
A: Natasha (good answer, Camille)

Q: If you had to eat one food item for the rest of your life, what would that glorious food item be?
A: No question it would be French fries (also, very good answer, Camille)

Thanks for being great, Camille!


Spring 2018 Mentor of the Week

 
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Nicholas Chun

(March 12-March 16)

NICHOLAS CHUN! So you know how we looooooveeee consistency when it comes to mentoring? Nick is the definition of consistency, y'all. He hasn't missed a scheduled day of mentoring this semester! And we all know how hard that is with the chaos that is Cal. Nick has also developed a really tight relationship with his mentee that will surely leave a positive impact on his mentee's life. The two of them are always together when Nick is at Longfellow! So, thank you Nick!

Now for some dope questions:
Q: What is your year and your (intended) major?
A: I'm a Third Year majoring in Political Science.
Q: What days and where do you mentor?
A: I mentor on Tuesdays and Fridays at Longfellow.
Q: Who is your mentee?
A: Raymond Johns
Q: What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
A: It's really nice to meet the other mentors who are so friendly and excited to be there. I also like how mentoring helps me forget about the stress of school and instead focus my energy on helping my mentee and making sure he has a good time.
Q: What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
A: One day, after helping my mentee with his homework, we went to the cafeteria and just decided to talk. We asked each other questions and I gave him some "life" advice. I'm not sure how helpful it actually was but I felt like an older brother in that moment and I liked it.
Q: What song should I listen to today?
A: Halo by Cage the Elephant (it's soooo good)
Q: Who is your favorite board member? (optional but i mean who’s sending you this email ;))
A: Sorry Elaine :p but I have to say Jonathan Huang <3

 
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Zach Ryan

(March 5-March 9)

This week's mentor of the week is really aHEAD of the game. It's your fav brain presenter, Zach Ryan! Zach has given TWO brain presentations to our lovely mentees. He's really volunteered his time and efforts bringing the supplies and preparing his presentation. His calm and caring presence also makes him a fantastic mentor to his mentee, whom he shares a love for science with.

Now for some FUN FACTS....
Q: What is your year and your (intended) major?
A: I am a 4th year majoring in Cognitive Science and minoring in Education.
Q: What days and where do you mentor?
A: I meet with my mentee on Thursdays and Fridays at Longfellow Middle School.
Q: Who is your mentee?
A: My mentee is Xavier Vendig.
Q: What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
A: The best thing about SMILE for me is the one on one connection you get to build with students that you don't often find between teacher and student in the classroom.
Q: What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
A: My favorite moment in SMILE was finding my mentee in the art room at Longfellow spending time with the art teacher and her granddaughter Maylin. I was able to sit around, bond, and paint with Xavier and Maylin and it was a very tranquil moment for me that I really appreciated.
Q: What is your favorite organ and why?
A: My favorite organ is the brain (I may be biased) because it is what allows us to learn all through life, and helps us to find how we as people are so similar while at the same time keeping us all so unique!

 

Angie Neally

(Feb 26-March 2):

Angie was chosen as our mentor of the week because she has really impressed the board members with the amount of concern and grace she's shown as a mentor. Angie's mentee has a learning disability, and Angie has really strived to help her mentee push past this obstacle. She's been a huge support and advocate for her mentee's success! Angie truly pursues this organization's goals to provide a positive impact on kids' lives.

Here are some FUN FACTS about Angie:

Q: What is your year and your (intended) major?
A: I'm a freshman and I plan on majoring integrative biology.
Q: What days and where do you mentor?
A: I mentor Mondays and Wednesdays at Willard Middle School.
Q: Who is your mentee?
A: I mentor a sweet sixth grader named Unique Wells.
Q: What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
A: I love that not only do I get to work with my mentee but I also get to meet, work, and play with a bunch of kids.
Q: What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
A: My favorite SMILE moment was on my first day. I wasn't able to meet my mentee that day so I tried to find other kids to help. A bunch of girls called me over for homework and I ended up playing with them for the rest of the day. I love seeing those girls around campus and now, they always remember my name and ask me to help them with their homework too. I feel like I'm already getting to know so many of the kids even only after a few weeks.
Q: What is your dream vacation?
A: My dream vacation is going to Australia and snorkeling in The Great Barrier Reef.

 
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Kristen Hull

Mentor of the week (Feb 19-23):

Kristen was chosen as our mentor of the week because she is a consistent, reliable mentor for her mentee, who also attended MM1 with her mentee. At MM1, she made sure her mentee was not only safe, but having a blast! Kristen owned both the role of the mom and the big sis for her mentee. From making sure her mentee didn't fall off trees to preventing awful snapchat story posts, Kristen made sure her mentee ended the day with a huge smile on her face. Project SMILE board is assured that Kristen's mentee is in great hands!

Here are some FUN FACTS about Kristen:

Q: What is your year and your (intended) major?
A: I’m a first year, studying English.
Q: What days and where do you mentor?
A: I mentor at Willard on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Q: Who is your mentee?
A: Wonderful Maya is my mentee.
Q: What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
A: Meeting and spending time with so many awesome people this semester, including my awesome mentee.
Q: What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
A: Playing duck duck goose with Maya, Sarah, and Nora.
Q: Fav meme?????
A: There are TOO many. I have a special place in my heart for corgi GIFs and memes though.

 
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Chris Prieto

Mentor of the week (Feb 12-16):

Chris was chosen as our mentor of the week because of the strong, supportive relationship he's built with his mentee Ajoni. Chris checks quantity and quality off the list with his mentoring. Not only has he mentored three times in one week, we've really noticed how much of a reassuring presence he's been for Ajoni, a mentee who doesn't usually have a large group of friends surrounding him. You've really captured the big brother role, Chris!

Now for some FUN FACTS about Chris:
Q: What is your year and your (intended) major?
A: I'm a senior studying Sociology.
Q: What days and where do you mentor?
A: I mentor Wednesday and Friday at Willard.
Q: Who is your mentee?
A: My mentee is Ajoni.
Q: What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
A: My favorite thing about SMILE is how awesome and genuine everyone has been in helping me get acclimated since I recently joined.
Q: What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
A: I've only been a part of SMILE for a couple weeks, so idk if I have one particular moment, but I do enjoy talking and giving advice to the other kids who don't have mentors as well as my mentee.
Q: What’s your go-to shower song? (or if you “don’t sing in the shower”, what’s your go-to jammm)
A: I don't sing in the shower, but my go to song for motivation is cotton eyed Joe.
Q: Who is your favorite board member?
A: And of course my favorite board member is Elaine!

 
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Catherine Nguyen

Mentor of the week (Feb. 5-9):

Cat was chosen as mentor of the week because, at the request of her mentee Aubrielle Delane, she attended mentoring on a nonscheduled day! We appreciate your dedication and commitment to your mentee, Cat!
Here are some FUN FACTS about Cat:
Q: What is your year and (intended) major?
A: I'm a first year and intending MCB
Q: What days and where do you mentor?
A: I mentor at Longfellow on Thursday and Friday
Q: Who is your mentee?
A: The sweetest, smallest, and loveliest Aubrielle is my mentee.
Q: What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
A: My favorite part of SMILE is hearing about Aubrielle's day and how excited she is about her artwork.
Q: What has been your fav SMILE moment?
A: My favorite SMILE moment has been watching Aubrielle design a dress, so she can compete in a fashion show.
Q: What is your fav form of potato?
A: Chick Fil A waffle fries is the only acceptable form of potato.
Q: Who's your fav board member?
A: Error: 404, sorry.

Depicted below is Cat Nguyen (with her "doggo Oreo whome [her] parents adopted to replace [her] when [she] left home"):


Fall 2017 Mentor of the Week

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Mentor of the week: Jacob Ybarra

What is your year and your (intended) major? 
I'm a second year intended bioengineer (I know super nerdy but I freaking love it!)

What days do you mentor?
I mentor on Mondays and Wednesdays at Longfellow!

What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
I love being able to feel like a kid again (especially cause I'm a foot taller then all the rest of the kids now and can block all their shots :P). But it's easy to get stuck in the routine mentality of a typical adult but every time I walk through the gates at Longfellow I end up walking out happier and with a lighter attitude towards the rest of my day and week and I love that feeling.

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite smile moments are just being greeted by the mentees every time I go to mentor. They get so excited, it just makes me feel significant and I hope that I make all of them feel significant too.

Congrats Jacob!

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Mentor of the Week: Elaine Huynh

What is your year and your (intended) major?
I'm a first year, and my intended major is sociology. I'm hoping to get a minor in education as well. 

What days do you mentor?
I mentor on Fridays!

What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite thing about SMILE is building a connection with the students. After a stressful day of classes, sometimes just seeing my mentee do silly things is all I need to brighten my mood. 

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment was when my mentee defended me in a basketball game when her friends said I was trash at basketball (even though I am actually trash at basketball).

Congratulations Elaine! Thanks for all your awesome work.

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Mentor of the Week: Guadalupe Vazquez-Duenas

What is your year and your (intended) major?
I am a first year and my intended major is History.

What days do you mentor? 
I mentor at Willard Middle School on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

What is your favorite thing about SMILE? 
My favorite thing about SMILE is the community and connection that I get to have with the other mentors, as well as their mentees.

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment, so far, has been going to MM3 and getting the chance to enjoy my first CAL football game alongside my Mentee.

Congrats Lupe!

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Mentor of the week: Mayu Sunamura

What is your year and your (intended) major?:
I am a junior and major in Asian American Studies. As I am an exchange student from Japan, in my host university I major in Education. 
What days do you mentor?: That kind of depends on the week. I usually go Mondays/Tuesday and Thursday. 
What is your favorite thing about SMILE?: I really like how SMILE is well-organized with friendly board members. They reassure me that this is a well-structured, welcoming organization to join! 
What has been your favorite SMILE moment?:
My favourite SMILE moment is when my mentee took me around the school and went on the elevator together! It was like a going on a little adventure. I was happy to have a one-on-one time with her

Congrats Mayu!

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Mentor of the Week: Noah Sissoko

What is your year and your (intended) major?
I am a third year majoring in Political Science.

What days do you mentor?
I mentor on Wednesdays and Fridays.

What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite aspect of SMILE is being able to be a positive influence in young people's lives.

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment came last week when a few kids were picking on another kid, and I told them all to stop and stood up for the kid that was being picked on. I didn't think much of it afterward, but on Friday when I showed up to school the kid who was being picked on came and found me and said: "Thank you for standing up for me the other day." It really warmed my heart to know that I actually am having an impact on these kids lives and they are appreciative of me being there.

Congratulations Noah

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Mentor of the Week: Flora Dong

What is your year and your (intended) major?: I am currently a first year student intending to study cognitive science with a possible double major/minor in political economy or economics. 

What days do you mentor?: I mentor Eloise, a seventh grader from Willard Middle School on Thursdays and Fridays.

What is your favorite thing about SMILE?: I love SMILE because it gives these middle schools an older figure to look up to. They always enjoy talking to us and it’s always a stress free time with them.

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?: My favorite SMILE moments were the first and second workshop. It was so much fun to see the kids enjoying the water balloon tosses and also expressing themselves with their creativity when creating their own art.

CONGRATULATIONS FLORA!

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Mentor of the Week: Fairy Hoang

What is your year and your (intended) major?: I'm a sociology major with a history and ed minor.

What days do you mentor?: MWF.

What is your favorite thing about SMILE?: I enjoy the interaction with, not only my mentee, but the teachers/staff/other mentors/ and the students.

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?: Not going to lie, I like it when my mentee seems sad when I leave but glad she's excited when I ask her if I could come back the next day.

CONGRATS FAIRY!

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Mentor of the week: Amanda Tjan

What is your year and your (intended) major?
I’m a 2nd year majoring in Social Welfare!

What days do you mentor?
I mentor Ananya, a 6th grader at Willard on Tuesdays and Thursdays!

What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite thing about SMILE is how enthusiastic both the mentors and mentees are. It’s really cool to see relationships form and I love being apart of it. 

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment is definitely building our own kites at MM1 because my mentee was super excited and we had so much fun decorating and flying them!

Congratulations Amanda!

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Mentor of the Week: Elsa Whyte

What is your year and your (intended) major?: I'm a sophomore majoring in Political Science, and potentially Spanish. 

What days do you mentor?: I mentor Alana, a 6th grader at Longfellow, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
What is your favorite thing about SMILE?: My favorite thing at SMILE as a new member is that I get to make lots of new friends - of all ages 🙂.

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?: My favorite SMILE moment was on my first day at Longfellow, when my mentee was in volleyball practice and the coach asked if I could help out with the team. So I unofficially became the assistant coach of their little team! I like that I get to share something I love with Alana and it wasn't even planned.

Congratulations Elsa!!!

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Mentor of the Week : Amogh Pathi

What is your year and your (intended) major?: I am a Junior and a Biology Major

What days do you mentor?: I mentor on Thursday and Friday. 

What is your favorite thing about SMILE?: I like SMILE because it is a unique opportunity to work with excited kids who like to have fun. I enjoy playing with my mentee and his friends.

What has been your favorite SMILE moment?: I really enjoyed working with my mentee during his BEAM after school class and helping him express his ideas for their catapult project.

Congrats Amogh!!!


Spring 2017 Mentor of the Week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mentor of the Week: Dennis Finger!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major? 
I am a sophomore studying Molecular Environmental Biology

2) What days do you mentor? 
Mondays and Wednesdays

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE? 
Meeting so many great mentors and playing intense games of tag and frisbee with the mentees after school.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment? 
Bringing the mentees camping and hearing them tell scary stories by the campfire.

Congratulations Dennis!

 

Mentor of the Week: Javier Villafuerte!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I'm a first-semester Senior English Major.

2) What days do you mentor?
I mentor on Mondays and Wednesdays.

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite thing about SMILE is being able to, even minimally, affect my mentee in a positive way and see how he continues to grow and become even more resilient. When I first met my mentee he was really shy and reserved, but now he has become a lot more comfortable around others and more social because of that.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment has been being able to converse with my mentee about nearly all the books he's interested in because I have also read them before! We definitely both like to read lots of books and have similar tastes in genres. He's even given me recommendations on books he thinks I might really like and vice versa. 

Congratulations Javier!

 

Mentor of the Week: Himaja Jangle!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Sophomore; majoring in Economics, minoring in Statistics

2) What days do you mentor?
Fridays!

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
I love hanging out with my mentee and her friends! They always have so many interesting things to say and it’s always entertaining being around the other middle schoolers and mentors.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
Making the “elephant toothpaste” with my mentee was definitely my favorite moment because she was super excited to try it out.

Congratulations Himaja!

 

Mentor of the Week: Naval Handa!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I am a senior studying Applied Math and Economics (Double Major). I always liked Math growing up, and having a good first experience at Cal with Math 53 solidified my choice.

2) What days do you mentor? 
I mentor on Mondays and Fridays.

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favourite thing about SMILE is the people! The mentors are so loving, kind and all-around great people to be around. It's rare to meet a bunch of individuals who are all so positive and willing to contribute their time to a great cause. The mentees are all very sweet, and remind me of what it was like to be a kid myself! In other words, the people make me smile :)

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favourite moment is probably when I first met my mentee, and he shared my love for video games. I wouldn't be here today without them, and I'm so glad I my mentee shares the same passion as me. We talk about them all the time, and it just always gets me so excited!

Congratulations Naval!!

 

Mentor of the Week: Jonathan Mendelson!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
First Year Pre-Haas/Econ

2) What days do you mentor?
Thursday

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
Getting away from school for a little and remembering that even though we were all weird in middle school, a lot of middle schoolers have great insight

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
Playing football with my mentee Rafa and some of the middle schoolers

Congratulations Jonathan!

*Shout out to Jonathan for giving his mentee this awesome little note when he couldn't come to mentoring one day (=*

 

Mentor of the Week: Anne-Marie!
1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Freshman, MCB

2) What days do you mentor?
Monday’s and Friday’s

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
Getting to hang out with the kids and mentors! They are all so funny and sweet.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment was probably when I met my mentee for the first time. We talked Grey’s Anatomy, Harry Potter, and Twilight. She’s the coolest eleven-year-old ever and I’m super excited to get to know her even more!

Congratulations Anne-Marie!

 

 

Mentor of the Week: Grace Berry!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Sophomore, Conservation and Resource Studies

2) What days do you mentor?
Mondays

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
I have such a fun relationship with my mentee and I have gotten to meet so many awesome fellow mentors!  

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
Making "lava lamps" with the mentees! 

Quote from anonymous nominator:
""Grace is an amazing mentor, her high energy mentee is one that is definitely hard to tame. Yet Grace is always very patient, enthusiastic and does everything with Grace"

Congratulations Grace!!!

 

Mentor of the Week: Chris Sunderland!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Freshman, ib or mcb

2) What days do you mentor?
Tuesdays and thursdays

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
The kids of course!(plus all my fellow mentors)

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
When my mentee wanted me to play games with him.

Congratulations Chris!!

 

 

Mentor of the Week: Eduardo Carrizosa!
1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
1st Year, Business Administration

2) What days do you mentor?
Tuesdays and Thursdays

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite thing about SMILE is being a big brother figure to my mentee. 

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment was when I went to Longfellow for the first time and met my mentee. 

Congratulations Eduardo!


Fall 2016 Mentor of the Week

Mentor of the week: Maria Rivera!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I am a third year MCB Neurobiology major and an Ethnic Studies minor.

2) What days do you mentor?
I mentor Mondays and Fridays. ^-^

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
Seeing our mentees grow into amazing leaders and develop resilient characters over time has been one of my favorite aspects about SMILE. I see this every time I look at my mentee because when I first met her she was very shy and quiet, but now she is becoming more independent and little by little stepping out of her comfort zone. I am very proud of the person she is becoming and I am grateful to have been a part of her middle school experience! 

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
I have so many favorite SMILE moments but one is when our first semester as a mentor/mentee pair my mentee gave me a globe she decorated with our picture on it (see attached picture lol). I also had so much fun going to BAMPFA, a Cal football game, and ice skating in previous semesters with the other mentor/mentee pairs in the SMILE community and I am super pumped to go camping this semester! :D

Congratulations Maria!!

Mentor of the Week: Aurash Jalalian!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Economics and Computer Science

2) What days do you mentor?
Wednesdays and Fridays

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite thing about SMILE is that even though I am a lot older than my mentee I still manage to learn new things from him. Even though he is just a middle schooler, I really respect the way he carries himself. He chooses his words wisely and talks no more than needed. As someone who often rambles on and talks too much, I wish I had this same skill that he already possesses as a middle schooler, so, in the same way that I teach him subjects in school, he teaches me how to less chatty and more composed. That mutually learning is what I love about SMILE.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
I have a lot of fond memories of Project SMILE, so it’s difficult to pick a favorite. That being said, if I was forced to choose I would probably choose a moment during our MM event at the botanical gardens. For one of our pictures, we were all striking a pose imitating a praying mantis and the silliness of that moment always makes me smile. Sanjay, Vivek, and my mentee are usually pretty serious people (around me at least), but in that moment it seemed like all of us were consumed by the moment and just trying to be silly and have fun.

Congratulations Aurash!

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Mentor of the Week: Mira Chaplin!!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Freshman, Civil and Environmental Engineering

2) What days do you mentor?
Thursdays

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
Getting to know my mentee and her group of friends, and acting as a role model for them while still feeling like part of their group. Throughout the semester, learning about their hobbies and personalities.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
The scavenger hunt at the botanical gardens - wandering around with my mentee and her friends, looking out over the bay and hanging out in the bamboo grove, picking our favorite plants and drinking caprisun on the grass. It was a wonderful stress release and a great way to get to know my mentee right at the beginning.

Congratulations Mira!!

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Mentor of the Week: Rags Minocha!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Freshman intended Econ, Business, or Stats, I have like no idea.

2) What days do you mentor?
I mentor Thursdays!

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
I love that everyone in this club is so chill! I joined a couple weeks after most people did, and I was a bit nervous that it would be hard to find my place in the club. But after spending time delivering donuts in the rain, hiking through the Botanical Gardens, and kicking butt in kickball with everyone, I felt like I found a great community in SMILE, and I love that. Also the club got me freaking good at navigating AC Transit, so that’s a plus.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite moment would have to be when Mahari and I hit that juju on ice :) He’s an insane dancer, so being able to jam with him every so often is pretty awesome.

Congratulations Rags!

 

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Mentor of the Week: Roya Aghavali!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I am a junior and I am an Anthropology major.

2) What days do you mentor?
I mentor Monday's and Friday's.

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite thing about SMILE is seeing how excited my mentee gets when I go to mentor her. I love seeing how much she has improved over these couple of months with her school work. I also love the community feel that Project SMILE has, everyone is so great and I feel like I have a huge support group that I could always count on.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My mentee has AR goals that she needs to reach every couple of weeks, and I remember while I was reading with her one week, she was also listening to pandora. I realized that the music was distracting her, so I told her that we should turn off the music and after every book she could listen to one song. At first she wasn't too happy with this system, but then after the second book, I turned on pandora and after her one song was over her favorite song came on. Before I even had the chance to pause the radio myself, she got up herself and paused the radio and said "This is my favorite song, but I haven't earned it yet. I'll pause it until we finish another book." :)

Congratulations Roya!!

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Mentor of the Week: Annie Wu!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Freshman, Intended major: Chemical Engineering

2) What days do you mentor?
I mentor on Monday and Wednesday :)

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite thing about SMILE is how everyone is so caring and wonderful and awesome and fun and amazing! I also like how SMILE gives me the opportunity to give back to the community :)

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
Best moment in smile would be finding my mentee because at first I did not get matched in the beginning :)

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Mentor of the Week: Rasika Sudharshan!
1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I am a 2nd year Cognitive Science major!

2) What days do you mentor?
I mentor Tuesdays and Fridays

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite things about Smile are that
1) it's more than just being a tutor or academic helper because we interact with our mentees in different ways than just in the academic setting and
2) technically I have one mentee, Maraki, but because she and her twin have their squad and I am with all of them when I mentor, it feels like I have multiple mentees :)

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment would have to be the very first day I went to mentor. I just met Maraki that day but when I was leaving, she ran up to me and gave me a hug and said she would see me Friday :) <3

Congratulations Rasika!!

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Mentor of the Week: Aidan Wang!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I'm a first-year chemical engineering major.

2) What days do you mentor?
I mentor on Tuesdays!

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite part about mentoring is simply giving my mentee someone older to talk to and be friends with, being his cheerleader and giving him positive encouragement, and trying to be a good role model for him.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment so far was when I learned that my mentee also wants to be an engineer, and also all the other times I got to know him better and learn more about him!

Congratulations Aidan!!!

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Mentor of the Week: Emily Cox!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I'm a sophomore and I'm studying Environmental Science

2) What days do you mentor?
I get to mentor every Friday!

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
I love how welcoming this club is! I was a little bit nervous going to the new mentor training at the beginning of the year since I didn't know anyone in P Smile, but after a ridiculous game of musical chairs and lots of jokes, I knew I had found the right group to donate my time with.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
There are a lot of small mentor-mentee moments that rock, but overall it definitely has to be the first weekend event when we got to go to the UC Botanical Gardens. It a gorgeous day and the first time I've ever gone, plus the mentees seemed super into all the activities! I loved trekking through all the different continental zones and taking goofy pictures for the scavenger hunt. It was really great being outside and seeing how much the kids enjoyed being outside too!

Congratulations Emily!!!

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Mentor of the Week: Sydney Williams!

1) What is your year and intended major?
3rd year- English Major (want to eventually go to grad school, and teach)

2) What days do you mentor?
Tues/Thurs

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
I just started this semester, but my favorite thing about SMILE is how amazing all the mentors are and how they make everyone feel included and part of a family. People are so supportive of one another and their mentees, it just creatives such a positive and fun environment. I also love how great the kids are! They are all so talented, smart, and unique and it's such a privilege to be able to be a part of their lives and help them to grow and gain confidence.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment was definitely making lava lamps with the mentees. It was such a great experience getting creative with my mentee and all the kids had so much fun making them! Messy, colorful, glittery, and perfect!

Congratulations Sydney!!

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Mentor of the Week: Fatima Cacho!
1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I am in my third year and still undeclared/undecided. I worked on Pure Mathematics for the past two years and burnt out pretty quickly. I accidentally fell into Linguistics over the summer, which is what I'm pursuing now along with a double major in either Sociology, Psychology, or Math (my Linguistics professor encouraged me to give Math another shot). I'm indecisive, I know.

2) What days do you mentor?
Tuesdays and Thursdays!

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
I'm the oldest of three kids, and honestly, one of my favorite roles in life is being a big sister. Because of the geographical distance and a large age gap between my siblings and I, I miss out on the opportunity of watching them grow up. I'm really glad Project SMILE exists because not only do I get to watch my mentee grow into an amazing individual, I get to be a part of the adventure that will take her there! There's just something special about contributing to the growth and discovery of a person, especially someone as awesome as my mentee.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
Watching how my mentee interacts with other people. She has such a genuine, kind, and confident personality; people just tend to gravitate towards her. She actually found me! I was mentee-less for the first week, the second week she yelled "I want a mentor!" and the rest is history.

By the way, the corgi's name is Butters. He isn't mine sadly, but I was hanging out on Memorial Glade one day and his owner asked me if I could dog sit while she did some work. The corgi gods blessed me that day.

Congratulations Fatima!!!

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Mentor of the Week: Michael Abdou!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
Second Year Nutritional Sciences.

2) What days do you mentor?
Tuesdays and Thursdays

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
Unlike other tutoring/mentoring clubs at Berkeley, SMILE gives you the opportunity to form a bond with your mentee. This allows me to guide my mentee in the right direction, while we both have fun and enjoy our time.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
Welcoming party for sure.

Congratulations Michael!!!

Mentor of the Week: Nick Brady!

1) What is your year and your (intended) major?
I'm a junior, and I'm pre-med but my official major is econ.

2) What days do you mentor?
I mentor Wednesdays and Fridays.

3) What is your favorite thing about SMILE?
My favorite thing about SMILE is being able to help kids not only academically but also with any other aspects of their lives in which they might be having trouble. It's a special feeling when kids see you as a role model and look to you for guidance.

4) What has been your favorite SMILE moment?
My favorite SMILE moment was hearing all the kids tell their own ghost stories when we went camping last year.

Congratulations Nick!!