Year 3-6 Peer Mentors


Julia Asmar
Julia-AsmarWhy did you want to become a peer mentor?
Being a peer mentor interested me because I think it’s important that students feel comfortable reaching out to others. The program can feel especially difficult if you don’t have a strong support system.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
One thing to be mindful of is how you spend your time and energy so that you can focus on what’s most important to you.
A fun fact about yourself.
After watching the movie, Jaws, I was petrified of sharks. A few years later, I went scuba diving on “Danger Reef” in the Bahamas where I was surrounded by sharks. After a dive which initially had me looking over my shoulder the entire time, I ended it with no longer being afraid of sharks.
Contact: jmaq53@mail.umkc.edu/td>
Roshani Desai
Roshan-DesaiWhy did you want to become a peer mentor?
I wanted to become a peer mentor because I want to share my experiences with others so that they can learn from them. I want to build relationships with other students so that they feel comfortable coming to me for advice, help with school, or anything really.
What’s one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
Always keep sight of the big picture. When starting medical school at such a young age, it can often be difficult to focus on school and classes when the primary concern often seems to be friends and social standing. This is natural; however, it is important to remember that what you see on Facebook and Instagram does not always reflect reality, so just be yourself and remember why you are here. You will find your true friends and you will be successful if you work hard.
A fun fact about yourself.
I love baby elephants and my pinkies are unusually short.
Contact: rrd26b@mail.umkc.edu
Sanju Eswaran
Eswaran-SanjuWhy did you want to become a peer mentor?
Having been in a similar position, I believe it would be great to talk to students directly about challenging courses, organizations to join, and generally how to approach life as a medical student.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?A piece of advice that I would give other medical students is that you have to learn how you learn best—and that process might take longer that you would like.
A fun fact about yourself.I tore my ACL playing for the Zingers, our year’s intramural soccer team. It was worth it because we still got 2nd.
Contact: spekd2@mail.umkc.edu
Marjorie Farrington
Marjorie-Farrington Why did you want to become a peer mentor?
I wanted to become a peer mentor so that I could be a resource and friend to other students. I know what it is like to feel isolated and challenged both academically and mentally in this program. Yet, I also know what it is like to overcome these obstacles and how important it is to reach out and ask for help. I want to extend the same kindness and support that was given to me when I experienced my own obstacles. In addition, I want to help eradicate the stigma that exists within our community surrounding mental illness, admitting difficulties, and asking for help.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
One piece of advice I would share with other students is to believe in your future self. The medical school chose you because they believed that you could handle the rigor and trials that come along with this program. Even when it may be challenging, believe in your future self and your abilities to succeed. You may surprise yourself how much an attitude change can really help.
A fun fact about yourself.
I have three titanium rods fused to my lumbar spine!
Contact: mf4k4@mail.umkc.edu
Arina Ghosh
Ariana-Ghosh Why did you want to become a peer mentor?
I wanted to become a peer mentor so I could share the insight that I have gained as a 5th year with younger students. I want to be there for students who feel as though they may not have mentor in the program.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
I would tell other medical students to be open minded about all medical specialties until they begin rotations. The experiences you have on a rotation can lead you to love a field you never considered before.
A fun fact about yourself.
I am a huge Harry Potter fan!
Contact: agtr5@mail.umkc.edu
Shree Govindarajan

Govindarajan-Shree-WP Why did you want to become a peer mentor?
I would love to be a peer mentor andhelp people with whatever is going on in their lives. When I first came to the school I had to learn how to study and balance my social life, academics, and extracurricular activities and I believe I can help people find a good balance in all aspects of their lives and help students with their problems.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
School is our top priority, but I firmly believe it is also important to have a good support system of friends to progress through the program with. With such heavy course load it is easy to get overwhelmed but it is very important to have a good balance of work and fun. Whether it’s taking a study break to talk to a friend or celebrating with friends after a big test, it is vital to have a good friend circle to stay focused and energized. Being so far away from home, my friends have become family away from home.
A fun fact about yourself.
I learned how to fly a plane before learning to drive a car.
Contact: spgnbb@mail.umkc.edu
Ravali Gummi
 Raval-GummiWhy did you want to become a peer mentor?
As we’re all going through similar experiences in med school, the most helpful advice we get can be from others that have been down the same path. It can sometimes be difficult to find reliable advice though. As a peer mentor, I would like to be available for students to reach out for genuine advice and support whenever needed.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
Through each year of med school, our schedules get crazier and we are introduced to growing responsibilities, which can easily be overwhelming. Be mentally prepared for what’s coming, but also know that you will grow each year too to fulfill the growing responsibilities. Just take the time to set your own goals and focus on working towards those goals. This will help keep you from getting overwhelmed or distracted by others.
A fun fact about yourself.
In high school, I once performed in a dance that set the Guinness World Record for largest group dance.
Contact: rg8z9@mail.umkc.edu
Ahsan Hussain
hussain-ahsan Why did you want to become a peer mentor?
I want to be a peer mentor to share my experiences and help other students going through similar difficulties that I faced while joining the alternate program. Extending in my 2nd year came with numerous challenges that I did not initially anticipate. Luckily, I had the support and guidance of older students that helped me through this period of uncertainty.  From my experiences I understand the impact that peer support and a positive perspective can have in times of difficulty and I would love to pass that along to other students!
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
Don’t ever hesitate to reach out!  Whether your looking for academic advice or just someone to talk to, the wellness council and older students are always here to help!
A fun fact about yourself.
I grew up in Queens, NY a few blocks away from Arthur Ashe Stadium, home of the US open. I used to take lessons there as a kid and have met quite a few tennis pros including Andy Roddick!
Contact: amhfk2@mail.umkc.edu
Cindy Jiang
 Cindy-JiangWhy did you want to become a peer mentor?
My motive to become a peer mentor stems from my own experiences here in the 6-year medical program. Often times it may feel like you’re the only one struggling or having difficulties since no one likes to admit that they are also in need of help. However, since our program is like having a large extended family there is always someone that understands what you’re going through and willing to help you out no matter what. I hope that I can be a listening ear or some sort of help when the going gets tough.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
One piece of advice I wish to share with other students is that even though it may seem like you’re the only one struggling, there is always someone in the same boat and what makes us stronger is working together.
A fun fact about myself.
I am a master at binge watching TV shows.
Contact: cyj7t3@mail.umkc.edu
Krishna Kumar
 Krishna-KumarWhy did you want to become a peer mentor?
I felt that there was always a misconception that the peer mentors never struggled in school or never knew what it was like to face a difficult time period in life. I wanted to become a peer mentor to erase that notion because I know what it is like to have a difficult time in school and still overcome it. Additionally, I wanted to become a peer mentor to become a voice or soundboard for the student who may have a difficult time period in school but may not feel comfortable talking to anyone about it. I wish I had that, especially going through the first two years of the program.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
Look in the mirror. That is your competition. Focus on yourself and have the determination and guile to do your best, even when the going gets tough.
Fun fact about myself.
I have broken 8 bones.
Contact: kaky96@mail.umkc.edu
Ajay Patel
Ajay-Patel Why did you want to become a peer mentor?
The UMKC school of medicine is unique because of the relationship between upper years and younger years. Whenever I needed advice or someone to talk to I was able to contact any of the upper years and I would like to give back to the school in a similar fashion. The adjustment into this program is not easy and I would like to help students deal with any educational or personal issues they may have. Many times students don’t like to talk to older students or ask for help, but I would like to encourage them to seek help early.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
Studying is important, but there is more to life than studying. Many of my classmates pull all nighters, binge on energy drinks, and cram the day before a test. A healthy study schedule, adequate sleep, and 30 minutes of exercise daily can replace these habits. This change can happen if students are willing to let go of things like social networking for hours on end and binge watching Netflix. I’ve found it beneficial to create a schedule for my day the night before, and after completing my tasks I’m able to enjoy the rest of the day however I please.
A fun fact about yourself.
I love to travel and have been to numerous countries like Jamaica, Switzerland, and Belgium.
Contact: akpkbd@mail.umkc.edu
Payal Patel
Payal-Patel Why did you want to become a peer mentor?
Becoming a peer mentor was driven by my desire to alleviate some of the anxiety and stress associated with medical school. During my academic career, I have gained numerous experiences that will help guide students younger than me.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
My advice for students would be to be confident in yourself. Do not be afraid to voice your thoughts, ask for help, and be a team player. Our greatest challenge is our mindset. Self-confidence and curiosity will help you overcome any struggle in your careers.
A fun fact about yourself.
I enjoy outdoor activities and adventures. I love snowboarding, biking, hiking, and hope to go sky diving soon!
Contact: pspm89@mail.umkc.edu
Ryan Sieli
 Why did you want to become a peer mentor?
Having many older classmates as mentors to look up to through my fraternity, I know how rewarding having a mentor in the medical program can be. I wanted to help other students in the same way, and being a peer mentor was the perfect opportunity for me to help others succeed, whether it be through academic advice or just someone to talk to.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
If I had one piece of advice to share with other students, it would be to ask for help when you need it. From your friends, to professors, to us peer mentors, to all the School of Medicine staff, there’s an entire support system in place to help you succeed.
A fun fact about yourself. 
A fun fact about myself is that I write articles for a medical satire site called Gomerblog; it’s kind of like The Onion. It’s a nice outlet for all the funny and crazy things I see around the hospital.
Contact: rjs8p5@mail.umkc.edu
Lakshmi Tatineni
Lakshmi-TatineniWhy did you want to become a peer mentor?
I wanted to become a peer mentor so that I could help other students feel more comfortable about where they are, what they have accomplished, and most importantly who they are.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
Always ask yourself what makes you happy before you start comparing yourself to others or find yourself competing for something that you may have never even wanted in the first place.
A fun fact about yourself.
I love playing badminton, painting, and cooking.
Contact: lvtwg4@mail.umkc.edu
Mitali Thanawala
ThanawalaWhy did you want to become a peer mentor?
Becoming a Peer Mentor is an opportunity for me to give back to the community that has offered me constant support over my years in the program. I believe everyone has a deep-rooted need for connection, whether it be through lending a shoulder for support or asking for a hand. Personally, I have been in both positions and know how much of a difference it can make to have that sense of community and a safe person to talk to. While discussing personal difficulties can be a taboo topic for many, I hope to break this barrier and develop enriching connections with my peers.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
My advice would be to believe in your abilities. Being in medical school is a privilege that comes with many opportunities and challenges. Embrace and celebrate all of your achievements, but also acknowledge the times when insecurities emerge. In those times, refrain from feeling defeated. Remind yourself that you have been selected into this program for a reason, and you have the ability to overcome any obstacle that presents itself. Hold the belief that you have what it takes close to your heart. Then relentlessly dedicate yourself to your dreams.
A fun fact about yourself.
I have visited 48 of the 50 states in the U.S. Hoping to visit my next state soon, Hawaii!
Contact: mst6z9@mail.umkc.edu
JJ Waddell
Waddell-JJ-WP Why did you want to become a peer mentor?
In my on-going career at UMKC, I’ve noticed how much a helping hand from your peers can impact you as a student, which is why I wanted to become a Peer Mentor. Personally, I had the luxury of having amazing peers who have helped me achieve success as a student here at UMKC and wish to do the same for others.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could share with other students?
Medical school is a stressful and tumultuous journey that we are all embarking on, and sometimes it can take our focus off of equally important things in our lives. As a medical student, we are sometimes so enraptured in studying to achieve success that things like family, wellness, and relationships get tossed to the side. My advice to other students would be study hard to master the wealth of material we are presented, so that one day you can be an excellent doctor, but find a way that doesn’t compromise some of the things that matter most in your life.
A fun fact about yourself.
I love playing basketball, football, and other recreational sports. I also enjoy watching all kinds of professional sports; my two favorite teams to watch play are the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals.
Contact: jwqc4@mail.umkc.edu