Biofire Mentors



What is a BioFIRE Mentor?

BioFIRE is a community of students and staff dedicated to supporting each others’ passion for and path through the biological sciences, biochemistry, and chemistry. One method of providing support is through peer mentoring. Our BioFIRE mentors are there to talk with, answer your questions, and push you to your next level. They are successful in their academic and co-curricular pursuits and will help you succeed.


Our Academic Mentors are available Sunday through Thursday evenings in the Easton Hall lobby, supporting students with their biology homework, chemistry labs, and everything in between. Read below to find out more about them!


Hi! My name is AJ

I am an academic mentor for BioFIRE. I'm in the College of Letters and Sciences right now but plan on majoring in biological sciences with a specialization in microbiology. I am pre-med and currently planning on pursuing an MD/PhD. As an academic mentor I want to not only engage students, but also encourage them to pursue their goals. I am also part of the peer mentor team!


My name is Brendan Chung

I am a sophomore biological sciences major and computer science minor. I joined the 2017-2018 BioFIRE cohort and am working toward a career in medicine. School aside, I enjoy playing games and the piano.


Hi, my name is Nick Leahy

I am one of the academic mentors for BioFIRE. I am a second-year BioFIRE student from Carroll County, Maryland, majoring in biological sciences with a specialization in neurobiology and physiology. I’m looking forward to working with the new cohort this year!


Hey guys, my name is Brendan Wazniak

I am a sophomore majoring in biochemistry and planning to go to pharmacy school. I’m joining the tutoring program for the spring semester and will be primarily helping with chemistry. I’m looking forward to meeting you all and making this a great semester.


Meet our Peer Mentors

What is a Peer Mentor: Our mentors have completed their first year in the BioFIRE program and want to share their experience with others. Our mentors are matched with mentees based on interest and compatibility.


Hi, my name is Matthew Lam

I am currently a sophomore General Biology Major on the Pre-Dental Track! In addition, I am the UMD Student Videographer in STAMP and enjoy photography, eating in DC, playing games, and sports!


Hello, my name is Alexis Beaver

I am a sophomore majoring in Neurobiology and Physiology on the Pre-Med track. In my free time I am a part of UMD’s Student Health Advisory Committee, a CMNS recruitment ambassador, and probably waiting in line at Chipotle.


Hello! My name is Tella

I’m a sophomore majoring in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, and I am on the premed track. I love reading and binge watching movies and shows


Hey! My name is Destinee Akindana

I am sophomore majoring in General Biology on the Pre-Med Track. I’m in RHA currently and soon to be RA next year! I am also on the BioFIRE advisory board. If I’m not at school, I am probably somewhere babysitting. Besides that, I enjoy reading, playing games and hanging with friends!


Hi my name is Emily Garelick

I am from New Jersey and a sophomore in General Biology Major on the Pre-Med Track! I am on Unbound Dance Team, a Recruitment Ambassador for CMNS, and I am a tutor for the athletic department.


Hi I'm Jonathan Bakly

I'm a sophomore Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics major! I'm currently a CA at La Plata Hall and I enjoy spending my time drinking bubble tea, studying, hanging with friends, playing sports and games!


Hi, my name is Melissa Neides

I am currently a sophomore general biology major from Cleveland, Ohio! I am also a part of the Biofire advisory board, and volunteer with vintage voices. In my free time I’m probably hanging out with friends, studying, or watching lots of tv.


Hi, I’m Sam!

I’m a junior Biology and Psychology double major. I also do research in the Glasper Lab, studying Parental Deprivation in mice.


Hello! My name is Deirdre Adson

I’m currently a sophomore majoring in Biochemistry and on the pre-med track. I’m from Columbia, MD and I love to read, play soccer, and binge watch tv. And that’s my cute little niece.