Skip to main content
STEM Peer Mentors are student representatives of our NKU STEM Departments: Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics & Statistics, and Physics, Geology, & Engineering Technology. This special group of campus leaders are chosen for their academic achievement, campus involvement, and passion for their major. Through peer mentoring and events, STEM Peer Mentors fulfill an important role in helping build a friendly and supportive STEM community for NKU STEM majors.


STEM Peer Mentor Biplov Ale


Major: Engineering Physics, Mechatronics track

Minor: Mathematics, Honors

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Chitwan, Nepal

Organizations: International Student Union (ISU), Honors Student Association (HSA), Norse BAJA

About Me: I believe others' opinions are valuable too, so I love to listen and learn. I participated in UR-STEM summer research and am continuing it this fall too. I also have been fortunate to get Physics research award and will be doing another research on mechatronics. Enough academic things, some of my hobbies are playing guitar, soccer, video games, and travelling.

Why I Chose NKU: The reason I chose NKU is the research that is going on mechatronics systems and the generous scholarship I have been honored.

Career Goals: I am interested in a career in robotics and mechatronics, and would like to work in industrial research sector.

Interesting Fact: I have been to 4 countries and can speak 4 different languages.

Advice to Freshman: There are a bunch of opportunities out there. Don't be afraid to reach out, take them on, and give your best.

STEM Peer Mentor Jake Anderson

Jake Anderson

Major: Physics and Data Science

Year: Senior

Hometown: Hebron, Kentucky

Organizations: Physics and Astronomy Club

About Me: I originally was a pre-engineering major with plans to transfer to UK after my second year. What I couldn't have predicted was how much I would fall in love with not only the campus but the people that reside here. I switched over to being a physics major and would later add my data science major after one of my mentors showed me what all I could learn from it.

Why I Chose NKU: I chose NKU because I felt like I could make an impact immediately on campus. I didn't feel like I would just be another student to school officials or my professors.

Why I Chose My Majors: I chose both of my majors solely because of the people that mentored me. 

My Career Goals: I plan on using both of my degrees to analyze complicated problems and hope to work for Space X or NASA. I'd also like to explore working for a professional basketball team performing analytical work for them, preferably for the greatest team of all time, the Boston Celtics!

Advice to Freshman: College is what you make of it. While you may be here to learn graphic design or programming, that doesn't mean that's all you can learn here!

STEM Peer Mentor Easop Bhattarai

Easop Bhattarai

Major: Computer Information Technology

Minor: Electronic Media and Broadcasting

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Organizations: International Student Union (ISU)

About Me: I like sports and engaging socially. I am passionate about football or soccer as they call in the US. I am an FC Barcelona fan (Visca Barca!). I was the captain of the Volleyball and Cricket team in school, I was the Troop Leader of my Scout Troop and I have taught a few IELTS classes to students at my English teacher's institution. My hobbies include going for a hike, motorcycle rides and cooking.

Why I Chose NKU: I researched a lot of universities in the US regarding CS/CIT majors. Out of 25 universities that I got accepted into, I found that NKU was the most affordable university with respect to the quality of education, student safety and overall campus environment. 

Why I Chose My Major: Coming from a third world country, I realized at an early age that the world was far ahead in terms of advancement in technology. I have always tried to keep up with what's new in the computing world with what my family could afford and what I could learn from the internet. I enjoy playing with computers and thus, I figured CIT was what I needed to major in to reach where I want to reach. 

My Career Goals: I have always been fascinated by what Alphabet Inc. has accomplished with its child companies, so, my current goal is to get involved with such companies.

Interesting facts: I can speak 4 languages and I started riding motorcycles at the age of 12.

Advice to Freshman: Make as many connections (professors and other students) as possible and take part in as many volunteering or STEM competitions as you can.

STEM Peer Mentor Julie Burress

Julie Burress

Major: Biochemistry, Pre-Pharmacy

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Richmond, Ky

About Me: I love to cook, hike, kayak, play with my dog, and embroider in my free time.

Why I chose NKU: NKU is far enough away for me to be independent and on my own but also be able to drive home on weekends if I wanted to. I also just really loved the campus when I took a tour of it.

Why I Chose My Major: I volunteered at a hospital when I was in high school and out of all the departments I was in, I loved the pharmacy the most. I also enjoyed taking chemistry in high school.

My Career Goals: I want to become a pharmacist and someday have my own pharmacy.

Interesting Facts: I played oboe for seven years and was in a Wind Ensemble.

Advice to Freshman: Make connections with the people in your classes. It's always nice to have a friend and study buddy to help you out.

STEM Peer Mentor Jackson Coates

Jackson Coates

Major: Biology

Year: Junior

Hometown: Bethel, OH

Organizations: Leadership Mentors, Honors Student Association, NKU Cross Country and Track and Field

About Me: I actively follow developments in STEM fields, and hope to be a part of a scientific breakthrough at some point in my career. In my spare time, I enjoy running, biking, cooking, and reading about those things.

Why I Chose NKU: I chose NKU because of the opportunity to earn the degree I want while continuing to run competitively, while doing so at an affordable price.

My Career Goals: I plan on pursuing a career in genetics, though I’ve yet to decide if I’d like to work in research or medicine, or both.

Interesting Facts: I’ve been running since I was twelve, and can almost perfectly recreate Chipotle’s rice (I’ve worked there).

Advice to Freshman: Sometimes it takes some exploration to find the thing that motivates you, and that’s perfectly okay; I’ve experienced it myself. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you have any questions/uncertainties.

STEM Peer Mentor Chad Evans

Chad Evans

Major: Physics

Year: Super Senior

Hometown: Ft. Mitchell, KY

Organizations: Physics and Astronomy Club

About Me: I love the outdoors and everything nature has to offer. It’s a great place to think things over and find peace, as well as a great excuse to exercise.  I was a football coach for a while and love talking shop about strategy in football and sports in general.  I also really enjoy spending time with other people and getting to know them, especially through board games.

Why I Chose NKU: It’s a great local university that I can commute to, and I really enjoy the close-knit community it provides.

Why I Chose My Major: I love learning how things work and from a young age loved asking questions. Physics is a world where I can continue to ask questions and explore how the world works. I enjoy how the language of mathematics can be used to sum up the way nature behaves through equations and principles, while still respecting the creativity that exists in how the laws of nature operate and the creativity needed to described these things.  I also love being challenged and taking on things that take a lot of discipline and hard work, and physics definitely fits that bill.

My Career Goals: Go to physics graduate school (Preferably University of Washington in Seattle) and graduate with at least a masters and work in research and development for an outdoor equipment/clothing materials company such as Patagonia.

Interesting Facts:

  • I have 3 years of experience in coaching football.
  • I actually started my time in college at the University of Louisville studying Civil Engineering, and after a couple co-ops and three years, realized it wasn’t a good fit and had to redirect.  So I am a bit older as someone finishing their first bachelors degree at 26.
  • I have hiked in the Grand Canyon.
  • I have been to China.

Advice to Freshman: If you feel like you are constantly running out of time in your day (especially regarding schoolwork), a good exercise is to plot out on excel how you spend your time everyday for a week/month, and see what time is being used well and what time is being squandered. You’ll be surprised at how much time you have in every day. I would also recommend finding ways to get involved with organizations on campus where you can put into action what you are learning in classes. It will help you see more value in your classes and naturally act as an opportunity for applying your new found knowledge.

STEM Peer Mentor Bradley Hall

Bradley Hall

Major: Biology

Minor: Chemistry

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Pendleton County, KY

About Me: I am a very outgoing and an energetic person. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family!

Why I Chose NKU: I chose to come to NKU, because I fell in love with what NKU really had to offer. The faculty, staff, and people I have met are amazing!

Why I Chose My Major: I chose to be a biology major, because it put me on track to fulfill medical school requirements and science has always been one of my favorite classes. 

My Career Goals: My career goal is to become a cosmetic surgeon.

Interesting Facts: I am not a fan of spiders, I have two older sisters, and I love the beach!

Advice to Freshman: Don't procrastinate and be sure to always stay on top of your classes. Also, if you need help don't be afraid to reach out, your professors are here for you!

STEM Peer Mentor Alyssa Ishmael

Alyssa Ishmael

Major: Biological Sciences

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Burlington, KY

Organizations: Delta Gamma Sorority, SOAR Scholars Program

About Me: I am an easy going and positive person that is really focused on doing my best in my studies, my jobs, and my relationships.

Why I Chose NKU: I chose NKU because of its scholarship opportunities and its friendly environment. It is also a little close to home, but far enough for me to get the "college experience."

My Career Goals: In high school I participated in programs that allowed me to shadow different parts of the health field, and I absolutely fell in love with obstetrics when I had the opportunity to see a delivery. Therefore, Biological Sciences was the major for me so I can reach my goal of being an obstetrician.

Interesting Facts About Me: I have a twin brother, I love coffee like every typical college girl, I picked up skating recently and I am trying to be the next Tony Hawk, and I can do this thing with my knuckles I've never seen anyone else do.

Advice to Freshman: Utilize SI's and TA's. They might learn the same way you do and have little tips and tricks to help remember what you are learning in your courses.

STEM Peer Mentor Bailey Kemme

Bailey Kemme

Major: Biological Sciences, CMG track

Year: Junior

Hometown: Louisville, Ky

Organizations: UR-STEM, Activities Programming Board (APB), Alpha Phi Omega (APO)

About Me: I love painting/drawing, I like to read, my family is very important to me, I love dogs and cats and I look forward to naps.

Why I Chose NKU: It's a public university with a small-town feel, and the biology program is fresh since NKU is only 50 years old. 

Why I Chose My Major: I want to pursue a career in science and find it interesting. The CMG track allowed me to open up to chemistry options for my future.

My Career Goals: I would like to pursue medical school or a Graduate Degree in Chemistry.

Interesting Facts: I have a twin, I want a Great Dane when I get older, I like pet snakes, I'm good at pool and my room is covered in art. One of the most fun classes I have taken at NKU was an honors course about Mammoth Cave.

Advice to Freshman: Take time management and procrastination seriously.

STEM Peer Mentor Damon Kennedy

Damon Kennedy

Major: Computer Information Technology

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Vanceburg, Ky 

Organizations: STEM, Campus Outreach

About Me: In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my friends and learning more about computer related topics on YouTube.

Why I Chose NKU: I chose NKU because of the College of Informatics and its specific major tracks.

Why I Chose My Major: I really like working with network hardware oppose to software and programing so that is why I chose CIT.

My Career Goals: Obtain a career in network administration at a business in the area.

Interesting Facts: I have three huge goldfish that I’ve had for about 6 years.

Advice to Freshman: Visit your professor’s office hours.


STEM Peer Mentor Alex Lisa

Alex Lisa

Major: CIT on the Cybersecurity Track, with a minor in Computer Forensics

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Mason, OH

Organizations: COI Ambassadors, Women in Informatics, Delight Ministries

About Me: I absolutely love the arts, even if I have chosen to only do them as a past time: I am super involved in theater, I'm a writer and a reader, I enjoy all types of music from showtunes to heavy metal. Any chance for me to share my love of either the arts or STEM with others is a welcome chance. Although that's not saying much; I talk a lot and can talk to most anyone about most anything.

Why I Chose NKU: Those who I know in the field I'm going into told me the applicants they get from NKU are more prepared for the job than from other schools I was considering. I assume that's in large part due to the College of Informatics and how it merges traits from several different majors into the curriculums. Regardless, the reputation of NKU amongst prospective employers was too important to ignore.

Why I Chose My Major: I fell in love with computer programming when I took my first high school class. I knew that, while I was behind many of my peers in terms of experience, this was what I wanted to professionally in some capacity.

My Career Goals: I am on the path for cybersecurity, but that could lead me down a number of roads. I am looking into law enforcement, as well as companies such as Western and Southern or Palo Alto; in short, I am still open to many different cybersecurity fields.

Interesting Facts: I am a first generation student, I directed my first play at 17 years old, and my Hogwarts house is Ravenclaw.

Advice to Freshman: Ask. For. Help. There is so much at NKU that is there as a resource, and people will point in the right direction is you just ask. Whether it's finding your way around campus, writing your first resume, going over that one class assignment again, even finding the campus food bank for your next meal, no one expects you to get this all immediately on your own. I promise there are places to go for help, and no one will judge you for any of it.

STEM Peer Mentor Flynn Messmer

Flynn Messmer

Major: Chemistry, Forensics Focus

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Hebron, KY

Organizations: Former Freshman Research Scholar

Why I Chose NKU: I chose NKU because it is affordable and has plenty of wonderful STEM departments.

Why I Chose My Major: I chose to major in chemistry because I love learning more about how the world works.

My Career Goals: To work in a crime lab or become a crime scene investigator.

Advice to Freshman: Don't be afraid to ask professors questions! Your professors are there to help you!

STEM Peer Mentor Param Patel

Param Patel

Major: Cybersecurity

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Anand, Gujarat, India

About Me: I am not an international student, but I have lived in India for 18 years. I moved here with my parents two years ago in 2018.

Why I Chose NKU: I picked NKU because it had a good reputation with the computer science department and it had a lot of scholarship opportunities.

Why I Chose My Major: I always loved computers and with this growing world computer security is one of the most important thing so cybersecurity was the best option.

My Career Goals: I want to study in the field of data analysis and go more in depth with it.

Interesting facts: I am a huge marvel fan and I have watched all of the marvel movies on the first day, first show and my room has 4 big marvel posters.

Advice to Freshman: Just have fun! Go around and make friends.


STEM Peer Mentor Hanna Schmitt

Hanna Schmitt

Major: Mathematics

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Organizations: SGI-Buddhist Student Association, Deutschklub, UR-STEM

About Me: I am a first-generation American and I am very excited to be at Northern!

Why I Chose NKU: I chose NKU because it was close to home and commutable, has a good mid-sized campus, is affordable, and offers great scholarships.

Why I Chose My Major: I chose Math as my major because it was a subject I enjoyed in high school, feels challenging but rewarding, and has great career opportunities.

My Career Goals: I am interested in a career in analytics or post-secondary education. At NKU, along with math, I really enjoy taking classes in computer science and German.

Interesting Fact: My favorite hobbies are drawing and painting.

Advice to Freshman: Stay organized! Make sure you have a designated place for notes, assignments, etc. and try to create a schedule for yourself, especially when you are talking online classes.

STEM Peer Mentor Tedla Tafari

Tedla Tafari

Major: Computer Science and Economics

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Organizations: International Student Union (ISU), Associate for Computing Machinery (ACM@NKU), Norse Economics Club, 2020 Orientation Leader.

About Me: I grew up in Bangladesh and Ethiopia. I speak English and Amharic. I love playing and watching sports especially Soccer and Tennis. I am also a big fan of stand up comedy.

Why I Chose NKU: I chose to come to NKU because of its smaller class size and campus as it allows you to have a stronger connection within the NKU community. I also knew a couple of people that were already going to NKU which made my choice to come here easier.

Why I Chose My Major: I chose to study Computer Science because I have always been interested in technology and I believe having knowledge in Computer Science can be an advantage in any career. 

My Career Goals: Although I have not narrowed down my career interest, I am interested in either software engineering or data analysis.

Interesting Fact: I have traveled to eleven different countries.

Advice to Freshman: The advice I would give to freshman is to not be afraid to ask for help. There are a lot of resources on-campus that will help you navigate through college so be sure to utilize them the best you can.

STEM Peer Mentor Aryan Tandan

Aryan Tandon

Major: Computer Science

Year: Freshman (Started Spring 2020)

Hometown: Kathmandu, Nepal

Organizations: International Student Union (ISU)

Why I Chose NKU: I chose NKU because of the scholarship that they provided and also because how caring they are of their International Students. 

Why I Chose My Major: I chose Computer Science as my major because I saw the vast career opportunities that I could incorporate myself in. In addition, the course itself is also very absorbing so I have fun learning it.

My Career Goals: I see myself working as a Software Engineer in the future. I also want to learn film making and get into that field as well.

Interesting Facts: I'm a simple boy from Nepal and I love playing and watching Football (Soccer). I am a huge Manchester United fan and it's my dream to one day watch them play live in Old Trafford.

Advice to Freshman: Get to know as many students as you can and also try to go to all the events happening on the campus.

STEM Peer Mentor Paige Williams

Paige Williams

Major: Biochemistry, Pre-Med Track

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Cincinnati, OH

Organizations: Honors College

Why I Chose NKU: I chose NKU, because of the small and connected class sizes. Of all the colleges I applied to NKU seemed as invested in me as I was into them.

Why I Chose My Major: I chose Biochem, because I grew to love chemistry and science in HS. 

My Career Goals: I am interested in becoming a surgeon or medical examiner.

Interesting Facts: My senior year in HS my artwork was chosen in the top 20 of the annual Congressional Art Competition for the state of Ohio. I have a cat named Murr and I make a great sweet potato souffle.

Advice to Freshman: Reach out to your professors and other students for help and polish your email writing skills. Someone will always be willing and able to help you, just ask.


Connect With a Mentor

If you are interested in contacting one of our STEM Peer Mentors, please fill out the Contact Request Form. We look forward to connecting with you!

Contact Request Form

Ellen Hokkanen

Program Contact

Ellen Hokkanen
STEM Peer Mentor Faculty Advisor

(859) 572-1938