Summer START Mentors

In addition to the support of professional staff members, students also receive help and guidance from an assigned Summer START Mentor. Mentors are current students and past participants of Summer START. They work with individuals on a one-on-one basis to answer any questions and help students on the path to attaining their goals. 

Summer START 2015 Mentors

Name: Jessica Carter

Major: Management

Hometown: Baltimore, MD (Halifax County, NC)

Hi I am one of  your 2015 Summer START Mentors! I love building new relationships and getting involved here at NC State. During my freshman year I attended various cultural events and obtained a work-study job at the African American Cultural Center on campus. I have also enjoyed meeting new friends and making lasting memories. I believe that Summer START is the best program for an incoming student to participate in. The lessons I have learned from my Summer START experience has helped me during my college career, both academically and personally. It’s an excellent way to get ahead on classes and to easily adapt to this beautiful campus. Summer START made my college transition very enjoyable and I am thrilled to be a part of the program for a second year!

Name:Parinthorn Larnroongroj

Major: Industrial Engineering

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

I participate in club and intramural sports such as water polo and basketball. I am also an official referee for the intramural basketball season. I love going to all the sporting events and getting to know fellow Wolfpack members.  I was a Summer START mentee last summer and it was a phenomenal experience. I got to know so much about all the opportunities and resources on campus before most freshmen did! Because I am an international student, I benefitted a lot from coming here early and adapted myself to a different culture and environment. By the time the fall semester started, I was ready for any challenge and no longer hesitated to stand out. Overall, Summer START was a life-changing experience for me, and I would recommend it to any incoming student. What is a better way to spend your summer than hanging out with your Pack and learning your way around campus!? See you all soon.


Name: Gregory McClanahan

Major: Physics and Mathematics

Hometown: Norwood, NC

I chose NC State University because of the near endless opportunities, which range from research, to volunteering, to going to sports games, to becoming a student leader. After I complete my undergraduate degree I want to join the U.S. Navy and work as a Navy Nuke (Nuclear Engineer). I also want to go to graduate school to get my masters in College Counseling and/or Higher Education Administration. My goal is to become a professional mentor and counselor. On campus, I am a part of the SPS (Society of Physics Students) and an RA of the Scholars Village (I'm a University Scholars student). I originally chose to be a student of Summer START because I wanted to make friends and dive into my classes early. I want to return as a second year mentor to help Summer START grow and to ease the transition for students. Furthermore, I want to make help students recognize the resources available to them.



Name: Kimberly Watson

Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: High Point, NC   

I went to a small high school with only 43 students in my graduating class, so coming into college I was hoping to go to a large university with good academics, various ways to get involved, and the chance to meet a wide range of individuals. NC State provided me with everything I wanted and more. During my time here, I’ve been involved with the Women in Science and Engineering community, the Honors Village, Student Government, University Housing as a community assistant and resident advisor, and multiple other organizations across campus. One of the programs on campus that I’m most passionate about is Summer START. I decided to attend Summer START as soon as I heard about it because of the chance it offered to start your college career off right. Coming to NC State, I didn’t know many people and START gave me the chance to form friends while also getting used to the rigor of college level classes and getting ahead in my credit hours. I also had the pleasure of being a Summer START mentor last year and loved being able to grow again from another perspective of this great program. As a mentor, I’m excited to get to know most of you and show you how truly great NC State is while making sure you’re on the path to success going into the rest of your college career.

Name: Daniela Abella-Guerra

Major: Architecture

Hometown: Uruguay

I came to North Carolina last summer to become part of Summer START 2014 and the NC State Wolfpack! I am majoring in Architecture, which is very demanding but really fun. I enjoy all kinds of involvement in art and creative activities. One of my biggest interests is traveling around the world, and so far I have only been to a couple of countries in South America, but I would like to eventually get to visit every continent. I had an amazing time in Summer START. I met awesome people and made lots of friends, got acclimated to campus, and had a lot of fun!


Name: Tamam Almashni

Major: Undecided

Hometown: Greensboro, NC

Summer START was a life changing experience for me. It made me realize that even though we are all different, at the end of the day we are similar in more ways than not. My Summer START mentor Cydney was AMAZING! She was always there for me when I needed someone to help me, and when I was homesick. She is part of the reason why I wanted to become a mentor. She inspired me to strive to become a great leader and a better person. I was born in Dubai which is a city located in the Middle East.  I am currently a sophomore with an undecided major. Some of my hobbies are watching Netflix and working out. I am currently a Career Development Ambassador and I was also part of the Chancellor’s First Year Student Leadership Program (which you all should ask me about).  I am an outgoing and open-minded person. I am very excited about this summer! Be ready because it’s going to be the best experience of your LIFE!! #NCSU #NCSUSummerSTART #WolfPackNation

Name: Zuriya Haider

Major: Statistics

Hometown: Apex, NC

I chose to come to NC State because I have always loved the environment of the NC State campus, as well as various opportunities the university has to offer. I was a commuter during Summer START, and even though I didn't stay on campus during the summer, I still had a great experience.  The program allowed me to get ahead in classes, know my way around campus, and meet new people. When I started school in the fall and was living on campus, I felt very prepared and well-adjusted to the college atmosphere. Here at NCSU, I am currently on committees for two big events: Dance Marathon, an event that helps raise money for the kids at Duke Children's Hospital, and Service Raleigh, a citywide day of service. Outside of helping plan these events and school, I also enjoy traveling, painting, various types of music, playing the piano, and watching hockey.


Name: Devrim Goktan

Major: Civil Engineering

Hometown: San Jose, CA (Cary, NC)

I chose NC State because of its renowned engineering program, the countless opportunities this university provides to its students, and the unmatched spirit of the Wolfpack.  I currently have a job at the Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, I’m involved with the University Scholars Program, and I plan to join the Benjamin Franklin Scholars Program and declare a second major in Communications.  I chose to participate in Summer START last year to get a head start with my classes and ease the transition between high school and college.  Through the program, I successfully acclimated to college life and started my freshman year more confident and comfortable than most of my peers.  I decided to become a mentor because I truly appreciated the program, and I want to help this year’s incoming freshmen experience the same benefits that I did last year.  A few fun facts about me are that my name means “revolution” in Turkish, I play the trumpet, and I’ve always wanted to be an actor.  I hope you enjoy your time in Summer START as much as I did, and welcome to the Pack!

Name: Justin Baird

Major: Neurobiology

Hometown: Garner, NC

As you will discover once you arrive at NC State, most people are very interested in research. Outside of the classroom, you can find me either in the weight room or basketball gym, because these are two activities that I am immensely passionate about. Moving away from sports, I am very active in my Alpha Omega campus ministry! The adjustment to a big university can be tough, and that is why I am glad I participated in Summer START last year, because I became aware of where things are located on campus. I was able to meet so many awesome people at Summer START and the opportunity is there for you to do the same! I learned a great deal of information during this program and my main goal is to help you have the best experience you possibly can. Fun fact about me: I am extremely personable and love to converse with anyone!

Name: Kimberly Ha

Major: Food Science with Nutrition minor intent

Hometown: Fayetteville, NC

I am a very health conscience person and enjoy going to the gym to de-stress and burn off the Howling Cow ice cream I eat almost every day (no shame). I also enjoy sketching, going outdoors, reading and spending time with my family and friends. In addition, I am a naturally curious person when it comes to learning about new cultures so throughout the fall semester I participated in Triangle Garba and Asia Night on campus. Also, I have recently joined the Food Science Club and plan on pledging in a multicultural Greek sorority this spring semester. As a Summer START student, I learned to leave my comfort zone and be more social to make new friends. I also established a strong relationship with an unassigned mentor who gave me advice about how important it is to manage my time in college and to take advantage of the university tutorial center when I was struggling in certain subjects. To be succinct, my experience in Summer START helped me become a more independent individual and highly appreciative of how much my family supports me throughout my academic journey.

Name: Samantha Blue

Major: Electrical Engineering and Art minor

Hometown: Albemarle, NC

I am involved with the Engineering Village in Metcalf Residence Hall. I do a lot of volunteering with the Engineering Village and the engineering community. Summer START is one of the best programs offered at NC State. It helps you with the transition from high school to college and it helps you truly learn your school and fall in love with it on the way. Summer START helped me make some of my closest friends and get ahead in my classes. Summer START is socially and academically a great program. I would recommend this program to anyone planning to attend NC State!

Name: Zhiyong Guo “Frankie”

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Selma, North Carolina

Hey everyone! NC State ended up becoming my dream school and I am in love with it. There are so many great things that NC State has to offer including but not limited to its academic programs, campus involvement, sports and games, the many new friends I made, and a place where I could continue my love with music. I attended Summer START last summer with the idea that I would get a head start in college transition and do something out of the box and become a better me. This was one of the best decisions I ever made and I would really like to pass on what was given to me to the future Wolfpack. I will be looking forward to a great summer with everyone!

Name:Connor Wagner

Major: Electrical and Computer Engineer

Hometown: Cary, NC

I am an Eagle Scout, having earned the rank in 2012. Some of my interests include white water rafting, rock climbing, SCUBA diving, and surfing. I enjoy pretty much any outdoor activity due to my scouting career. I also enjoy playing video games, woodworking, and reading any good book. The reason I became a mentor for the Summer of 2015 is due to my pleasant experience during my time at the Summer Start program. My mentor, Breanne, played a key role in my success and the friends I made over summer. She encouraged me to go a little out of my comfort zone by signing up for a service trip at a farm when I didn't know anyone else who was going. Also, I met one of my best friends through my mentor group, who I still hang out with to this day. I am glad I chose to do Summer START, as it put me ahead of the other freshman engineers in regards to credit hours, and I had a great time with all of the trips and activities.


Name: Gabrielle Topalian

Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Hometown: Pound Ridge, New York

I decided to come to NC State because of their highly ranked engineering program, great athletics and excellent location in Raleigh, North Carolina. My experience in Summer START was better than I could have ever imagined. I chose to join Summer START because I wanted to get a head start on classes, make new friends and get acclimated to the campus. My roommate and I grew very close and we met so many other students who had the same ideas and interests as us. Participating in Summer START gave me the chance to transition to life at this university through social programs, academic opportunities and sporting events. My mentor and new friends helped me to be more confident and independent as we started college life. I am currently involved in the Engineering Village and some of my interests include playing volleyball and the piano.

Name: Jazmine Thompson

Major: Biological Sciences- Human Biology Concentration with minors in psychology and nutrition

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

My elementary school, middle school, and high school, are all within ten minutes of campus, so I'm pretty familiar with the area if you ever have any questions.  I chose NC State because I love the Raleigh area, and the academic (always comes first) and social environments on campus are second to none.  Upon graduation from NC State, I plan on attending medical school in pursuit of becoming a psychiatrist.  Participating in the Summer START program put me on a fast track to accomplish these goals.  The program not only allowed me to get ahead academically by offering classes to count towards my degree, it also provided opportunities to meet and network with amazing students and faculty.  I loved my Summer START experience and I hope you will too. I can't wait to meet you all. See you June 21st!

Name:Kathryn Sebastian

Major: Computer and Electrical Engineering

Hometown: Cary/Morrisville, NC

I am currently in the University Scholars’ Program and will (hopefully) be a member of Alpha Omega Epsilon, a professional engineering sorority.  In the small packets of free time that I have—in which I should be studying for physics—I enjoy listening to classic rock, reading science fiction/fantasy novels, and watching professional wrestling. Summer START acted as a transition between high school and college:  I was able to adjust to dorm-life, figure out the layout of Main Campus, and meet some amazing friends.  I had such a positive experience in Summer START, and my hope is that I can make your summer just as fun and beneficial as mine.

Name: Sam LaFell

Major: Communications

Hometown: Durham, NC

Being born into my family wasn’t being born into extraordinary circumstances, though it has been up to me to become extraordinary. I love to play guitar, baseball, tennis, and just hang out with friends whenever I can. Who I am now has definitely been shaped in the last year and a half of my life. Summer START was an absolutely incredible experience for me. I got to meet some of the best friends I’ve ever made in such a short time period – that could be attributed to the fact I was living with these people. START taught me a lot about compassion, something I thought I knew about before, and something I thought I had a lot of; I encountered other individuals in START who had more compassion in their pinky finger than I may have had in my entire body. This program was one of the best experiences of my life, hence the reason I have come back as a mentor. I aim to help in making this the best experience of these students’ lives and show them how freedom and responsibility work cooperatively in the college experience.

Name:Anthony Greene

Major: Sport Management with minors in Coaching Education and Business Administration

Hometown: Fayetteville, NC (Fort Bragg)

My dream job is to become a general manager/owner of a NBA or NFL team. I chose NC State because of the resources and activities it has to offer to create wonderful experiences, meet new individuals, and enhance my ability to get a job when I'm through with college. Summer START was a program that helped me get equipped to campus life and get ahead in pursuing my degree. I have met awesome individuals through Summer START who I still talk to and see during my time on campus. As a mentor, I want to help the incoming freshman feel comfortable and just have an enriching experience as a member of the Wolfpack. NC State has many things to offer its students. I also like to play football and basketball while playing video games every now and then. I hope to see you in the summer.

Name: Shail Patel

Major: First Year College (Computer and Electrical Engineering intent)

Hometown:Morrisville, NC

I hope to study abroad next year, but am open to all types of opportunities other than traveling abroad too. I enjoy playing basketball and soccer, reading fiction books, and playing video games. I chose to be a Summer START mentor because I had an incredible experience last year as a student in the program. During Summer START I made friends that I still see and often hang out with. My circle of friends is extremely diverse in both personality and location; some are from abroad, while others are from Pennsylvania, as well as the more local Cary. The events I attended greatly contributed to strengthening me and my friends bonds, and I welcome the chance to help others in a similar manner.

Name: Sarah Crump

Major: I am a First Year College (Human Biology intent)

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC  

I plan on attending their Dental school after my undergraduate years here at NC State. During my first year here I have been an active member in the Health Pac and the Pre-Dental Club doing volunteer work around North Carolina, a University Scholar, and now a Summer START mentor. I love to play video games, completing arts and crafts projects, spending time in the sun, and laughing. When I chose to go to NC State, I could not tell you a reason why I wanted to come here. I never felt that “this is my school” moment with any of the schools I applied too. I felt lost and uncomfortable with the idea of going to college and being away from my home. When I came to campus for the Summer START program I knew absolutely no one and was feeling apprehensive about starting school early. These thoughts changed because of the amazing and fun people I met. I made a lot of friends that I still see every day, I got a jump on my college career, and I finally got that feeling that this is where I belong. I wanted to be a mentor so that I can help others experience what I did and really find a home here at NC State. GO WOLFPACK!


Name: Deja Breauna Jackson

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Robersonville, NC

By credits I am a first-semester sophomore and my major is Political Science. I love animals with sloths and dogs being my favorites. I participated in Summer START in the summer of 2014. The experience really helped me to prepare for full semesters. Even though the classes were longer and every day and the term only lasted for five weeks, it helped me with time management and studying skills, since I had to study and write papers every night.


Name: Katelyn Auger

Major: Design Studies with the intent of transferring into Industrial Design

Hometown Oak Island, NC

I’m involved in my residence hall’s hall council and I’m very passionate about design, crocheting, bonsai, and Summer START. I chose to participate in Summer START because I wanted to get ahead in my classes, work on my portfolio, and work on transferring majors. I loved Summer START for its fast paced classes, meeting such a diverse group of people, and of course getting oriented with NC State early! Summer START really helped me in making my fall semester a lot easier and took off the stress and the pressure of college. I decided to come back and be a mentor so I could help create a great experience for future Summer START participants.