A special group of this year's Orientation Engineers have also been chosen to be Peer Mentors for the incoming graduate student population. Learn more about them below!

Fall 2019 Peer Mentors

The following students are here to support you! Feel free to reach out to them to ask any questions about Columbia, coming to NYC, and transitioning to graduate school. Each one of them will be happy to help!

 

Amal Alabdulkarim (amal.a@columbia.edu)

Program: MS in Computer Science
Hometown: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • Columbia's history and more Columbia students.
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • I love the diversity of New York. 

Swathi Chandrasekaran (sc4415@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Management Science and Engineering
Hometown: Chennai, India

1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • Of the million things I had questions about, the most pressing questions I had were on the extra-curricular activities (societies, clubs, sports!) here and the academic schedule and courses of course! I wish I'd known that Columbia University has so many events throughout the year and that the IEOR department organizes Socials each month. That would have made my choice to pick Columbia even quicker! 
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  •  I love how there's never a dearth of things to do, places to see or ways to get there. Whether it is Citibiking across Manhattan to get to an event in Bryant Park, jogging along Hudson on riverside or squeezing in more events into an already crowded calendar - New York is exciting through and through! Broadway shows, US Open, NYPL and hundreds of events organized each week are absolutely fantastic to be a part of, and just living in a city that makes you feel like you belong here is one of the best things about this city. 
     
 
Program: MS in Operations Research
Hometown: Xiamen, China
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • Where can I find the best place to study?
  • Food options
  • Where can I find events, groups, and announcements?
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • Broadway shows!
  • Bottomless brunch and restaurants
  • Museums
 
Program: MS in Computer Science
Hometown: Mumbai, India
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • Before starting my graduate program I wish I had known that it was okay to visit professors during office hours even when you did not have doubts regarding the course material. You can use the opportunity to discuss ideas and build a relationship with them. Having a good relationship with your professor's goes a long way. Also, dedicate some time every week to your life outside grad school. You'll pretty much spend all your day working on assignments and projects. Having a scheduled break would definitely help you relax and prepare for the next week.
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • There's always something to do in the city. You can spend hours exploring the numerous parks or participating in events across the city. Sites like Eventbrite and Meetup are good places to find events which interest you. If it's late in the day for events, you can always head downtown and enjoy some pizza slices and drinks!
 
Ghanim Hableel (goh2106@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • I wish that I had known about all of the software that is available to SEAS students through CUIT. 
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • I love the diversity in restaurant experiences, the art galleries and museums, how close NYC is to beautiful destinations on the east coast, and how easy it is to commute using public transportation. 
 
Sara Hamilton (sth2128@columbia.edu)
Program: PhD in Earth and Environmental Engineering
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • How many great resources are offered to grad students! I can definitely recommend ArtsLink to get cheap theatre and concert tickets :) 
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • Running in Central Park and exploring the art museums! 
 
Ameya Karnad (ak4251@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Data Science
Hometown: Hubli-Dharwad, India
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • More about the different courses that Columbia provides and various extracurricular activities
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • If you like to travel and see places, you would never get bored in NYC!
 
Kristopher Mizhquiri (kam2274@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Hometown: Williamsburg, Brooklyn (NYC born and raised!)
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • I wish I knew how flexible and accommodating TAs and professors here can be. I definitely regret not speaking to them more often on a personal basis during my undergrad. Also cross registration is a pretty cool feature!
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • I love how NY has everything I can possibly want to do and there's always something new happening throughout  different spots in the city. My favorite things are its fast pace nature and just chilling in Williamsburg. We have a great food market called Smorgasburg every Saturday with some beautiful scenic views from the East River State Park. You can even ride the NYC Ferry from the Williamsburg pier to head to the beach or other nice spots along the east river. 
     
 
Kamalnathan Muthiah (km3399@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Hometown: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • The wide spectrum of opportunities spanning across Networking and Research
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • Definitely not the weather...maybe the food?
 
 
Pawas Shukla (pss2153@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Medical Physics
Hometown: Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • I was luckily very well informed about the resources available, however, I often see overseas students buying or printing their course textbooks at home before coming here. It is quite a needless hassle, and wastage of resources, because the services on campus are pretty great (ILL< BorrowDirect)
  • Another point would be regarding the on campus jobs. Often, students aren't aware of the available jobs on campus, and for some students who really depend on on-campus jobs for covering their living expenses, knowing a little bit more about available jobs would surely calm their nerves.
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • Hard to choose one aspect of the city to be honest. It is obviously a very vibrant city, accepts so many different cultures, and living in NYC simply changes you as a person. It's definitely not the easiest city to live in, especially when your finances are tight,but the challenges it brings along is more than worth the trouble, given the professional and personal partnerships and opportunities that lie ahead for you.
 
Lizzie Song (x.song@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Hometown: Wuhan, Hubei, China
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • Housing solutions
  • How to navigate through campus
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • NYC is a very energetic city, and we can do a lot of interesting things here if we really pay attention to all the events happening around us
  • Concrete Jungle always attracts civil engineers!

 

Adriaan Taal (at3111@columbia.edu)
Program: PhD in Electrical Engineering
Hometown: Zeewolde, The Netherlands
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • I wish I knew more about the class structure and requirements, to better combine it with my research.
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • I like most that every neighbourhood has a very distinct charm, that makes me never get bored exploring. 

 

Hrishikesh Telang (hnt2107@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Data Science
Hometown: Mumbai, India
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • The cold isn't the worst part about the winter, the 4pm sunsets are. You'll get used to the cold but nothing else will impact your mood and productivity quite like the early sunsets will.
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • It's hard to pick one favorite thing about the city but I'd have to say the food! No other city offers as wide a variety of cuisine as NYC. There's something for everyone (Pro tip for dessert lovers: Magnolia Bakery's Banana Pudding is to die for)
 

Qing Teng (qt2126@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Computer Science
Hometown: Beijing, China

1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • There are various programs and activities that you might want to set time aside for!
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • New York City is full of interesting people. There are few places in the world where you see people so different from each other living in the same area. It's easy to believe that pretty much everyone here has an interesting story to tell :-)
 
Xiaoqi Wang (xw2582@columbia.edu)
Program: MS in Data Science
Hometown: Changsha, China
 
1. What do you wish you had known about Columbia before starting your graduate program?
  • Columbia University was chartered in 1754 even before U.S. gained independence.
2. What is your favorite thing about New York City?
  • No matter what kind of food you want, you can find it here!