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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Student Support Services

Meet the Mentors

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Sixxy Sivongxay 

Hometown: Brooklyn Park, MN 
Major: Biomedical Science
Family Background: Laotian
Plans for after Graduation: To attend Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, FL to obtain a Master’s degree in the Anesthesiologist Assistant program.
Advice for first-year students: Work hard, have fun, stay focused, and explore the many opportunities that are out there!
Why I chose to be a peer mentor: I chose to become a peer mentor because I like helping and working with people, but more importantly because I know what it’s like to feel nervous about being successful in college. I want to serve as a positive and influential role model to new students, and assist with transitions from high school to college.
Why students should have a peer mentor: It takes a lot of hard work and determination to be successful in college, and it can be challenging yet very rewarding. One of the biggest challenges to success for college students is the lack of familiarity of the campus and its resources, especially for first-generation and low-income students.
I think having a mentor to guide and help you along the way with your journey, is such a positive and rewarding experience. It allows the student to build relationships with an upper class student, transition a lot more smoothly, and find useful resources to help them become successful in college.
What I like about SSS: The program and the amazing staff! J
Fun Fact: You could remove a large part of your internal organs and survive.
The human body may appear fragile but it’s possible to survive even with the removal of the stomach, the spleen, 75 percent of the liver, 80 percent of the intestines, one kidney, one lung, and virtually every organ from the pelvic and groin area. You might not feel too great, but the missing organs wouldn’t kill you!

Sean Thao 

Hometown: Forest Lake MN  
Major: Child Development and Family Studies
Family Background: Asian-American, First-Generation
Plans for after Graduation: Masters or Work
Advice for first-year students: Be in control of your future.
Why I chose to be a peer mentor: I chose to be a peer mentor to help those that need a little push and insight of what college has in store for them.
Why students should have a peer mentor: We have fun and it is a great way to get to know the campus. We try our best to make the college experience one the moments to remember.
What I like about SSS: The environment and people that we are surrounded by make us succeed and help any way they can.
Fun Fact: Volunteering is fun!


Kifaya Abdulahi              

Hometown: Dire Dawa, Ethiopia
Major: Psychology
Family Background: I come from a large family size of 8 sisters and 5 brothers. We moved here in the year 2000 to America in search of education and opportunities.
Plans for after Graduation: Attend graduate school and major in College Counseling and Student Development
Advice for first-year students: Get involved with school activities and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Why I chose to be a peer mentor: To provide new and transfer students with useful information to navigate the university system and advise mentees on academic and personal concerns.
Why students should have a peer mentor: Transitioning from high school to a university can be difficult. Having a peer mentor can give you guidance and help you throughout any obstacles and can provide leadership.
What I like about SSS: I like all the service SSS provides and the people here (staff and members) are very welcoming; it’s a place where you feel at home.
Fun Fact: Never had any broken bones in my body :)

Yadi Salinas 

Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Major: Double Majoring in Communication Studies and Spanish
Family Background: Mexican-American
Plans for after Graduation: Get my Master’s degree and travel the world
Advice for first-year students: Be open minded and willing to try new things. Don’t be shy, get out of your comfort zone, and definitely manage your time wisely!
Why I chose to be a peer mentor: I chose to become a peer mentor because I am a first generation college student and coming into college I was lost and didn’t know what to do. I want to be able to help students with their transition into college and help them succeed.
Why students should have a peer mentor:I believe that students should have a peer mentor because it will definitely contribute to their success in college. Mentors are there to help and teach them the path to success.
What I like about SSS: I like all of the resources that they offer because they have personally helped me from anything to passing Math, to helping me find a major and career path to helping with Graduate school visits. SSS is definitely here to help!
Fun Fact: If you spell out consecutive numbers, you have to go up to one thousand until you would find the letter "a".

Nilsu Demirici   

Hometown: Ankara, TURKEY         

Major: General Biology + Cognitive Science

Family Background: Turkish

Plans for after Graduation: Medical School

Advice for first-year students: Believing is half of success.

Why I chose to be a peer mentor: I think I have gained enough experience as a junior to be a resource for those who need it.

Why students should have a peer mentor: Students should have a peer mentor because there should always be someone a student should feel comfortable asking for help.

What I like about SSS: Like its name implies it supports students.

Fun Fact: I am a cancer survivor.


Hayatt Saeed 

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  
Major: Sociology
Family Background: Ethiopian
Plans for after Graduation: Attend graduate school  
Advice for first-year students:  Utilize your time
Why I chose to be a peer mentor: The desire to make a positive difference in another’s life.
Why students should have a peer mentor: First year students need someone to help them adjust to the new environment, they need someone who can encourage, motivate, and support, someone who can help them stay focused on their education, and provide a positive way to spend their free time.      
What I like about SSS: The resources they offer, the care and support the staff give to their students, and it’s a fun place to be  
Fun Fact: People say "Bless you" when you sneeze because when you sneeze, your heart stops for a millisecond.