Mentor Program

The International Student Programs Mentor Program selects returning U.S. and international students to serve as mentors to incoming international students. International students will meet their mentors during orientation and will consult with them regularly throughout the semester. Mentors will provide a student’s perspective on both academic and personal life at Macalester. Their job is to help international students feel comfortable at Macalester and answer their questions about policies and procedures related to life in the residence halls, campus facilities, registration and academic procedures, as well as questions about U.S. culture and off-campus opportunities in the Twin Cities Metro community.

You can apply to be an ISP Mentor for the Fall of 2014 at this link. Applications are due Friday, Febuary 10, at 5pm.

Jake Speirs, (class of 2016) Jake is a sophomore from Cottage Grove, Minnesota. He is planning on majoring in International Studies as well as Chinese. He is a member of Macalester's National Model United Nations team. He has never left the United States (except for a short canoeing adventure into Canada) so he can't wait to study abroad in China!

Nola Pastor, (class of 2014) Nola hails from Madison, Wisconsin and cannot quite believe she is a senior. Her major is WGSS and she may or may not end up with minors in English and Hispanic Studies. Either way, she loves creative writing - mostly poetry - and Spanish. She has worked in the Sustainability Office since freshman year and has been a co-chair of the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center for the past several semesters. Nola loved being a mentor the year before last and feels very lucky to get to do it again.

Rachel Swanson, (Class of 2015) Hello and welcome!! I am Rachel Swanson. I am a junior, from Lexington, Kentucky. I am double-majoring in Hispanic Studies and Anthropology with an American Studies minor. At Macalester, I am involved with the Civic Engagement Center (come visit!), Macalester Democrats, and Adelante! (the Latino student and allies organization). I also enjoy volunteering off campus in a first grade classroom. I love traveling, hiking, exploring, and Macalester!!

Aparna Mazumdar, (Class of 2016) is a sophomore from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Aparna is planning on majoring in International Studies and minoring in Economics and French. She is a member of the Highland Camerata choir and Macalester's student organisation FaceAIDS. She enjoys the beach and sunshine at home, and experienced snow for the first time last November (it was awesome!) In retrospect, she's really glad to have survived her first Minnesotan winter! (with the help of multiple layers of clothing and lots of hot chocolate)

Amy Janett, (Class of 2014) is a senior math major, psychology minor from Verona, New Jersey. Because of her love of math, she does nerdy things such as precepting Macalester math classes, tutoring high school students, doing research; and last summer she attended a program to prepare female mathematicians for grad school, which is her future plan. She also has a passion for travel and foreign languages. For one year of high school she exchanged to Iceland; in college she chose to go to China for a semester. But while she's stuck in snowy Minnesota, she loves working at ISP and meeting amazing people from all over the world!

Anna Jacob, (Class of 2014) is a senior at Macalester and first time mentor! She is majoring in Economics with a minor in Psychology. She hails from the beautiful city of Chicago, Illinois. She loves playing volleyball, biking by the lake, and playing card games with friends.

Alexa Peters Posner, (Class of 2016) is a sophomore from Telluride, Colorado. She loves spending time in the sun, hiking, skiing, learning new languages and cultures, and meeting new people! Alexa plans on majoring in International Studies with minors in Hispanic Studies and American Studies. At Mac she also works in the ISP office, volunteers, does yoga, and tries to go on as many random adventures as possible.

Joseph Vandy Sengeh, (Class of 2016) is from Sierra Leone. He is a member of the lives of Commitment group, the AfriKa student organization, Habitat for Humanity, Macalester Global Ambassadors, Macalester’s track and field team. He also applied for and won the Davies Project for Peace. He is highly considering Chemistry and Mathematics as a major.

Lena Pransky, (Class of 2016) is a sophomore from Sudbury, Massachusetts. She is planning on majoring in Latin American Studies, with a double-minor in Economics and Political Science and a concentration in Human Rights. She’s super interested in undocumented immigration, Latin American culture and Spanish, and volunteers to stay involved with those interests. Lena is part of Adelante! (the Latin@ organization here on campus), the Sirens (our all-girls acapella group), and is the co-chair of the Macalester DJ club. She loves making people laugh and learning about their backgrounds, so she is super excited to meet all of you!

Carolyn Willis, (Class of 2015) is a junior from the tiny and pointless town of Osceola, Wisconsin. She is a pre-med biology major. Carolyn enjoys political activism, particularly for causes related to LGBTQ rights and feminism, and singing with Medicinal Melodies, Mac's volunteer acapella group. Carolyn also is part of Mac First Aid and responds with Macalester College Emergency Medical Service as an EMT. In her spare time, Carolyn finds great enjoyment in sleeping.

Anissa Abdel-Jelil, (Class of 2015) is a junior who moved from Geneva, Switzerland. At Macalester, she is a member of the Sirens (the all female a capella group on campus), the Multifaith Council, and Afrika! club. She is majoring in Anthropology, minoring in Studio Art, and concentrating in Human Rights and Humanitarianism.

Kaila Azzura Chan, (Class of 2015) was born in New York City but calls the Bay Area, California, home. You probably haven't heard of it but her family lives in a very boring and benign sounding place called Pleasant Hill. She is a Junior English Major, Creative Writing at Macalester and talks about food a lot. She likes to write the occasional food column for the Mac Weekly and play music, with a preference for synthesizers, but mostly rants on the WMCN Macalester College Radio. This summer she is in Mexico City with other Macalester students and local university students working on a community learning space called La Colmena, while she is also interning at the Mexican magazine La Algarabía.

Claire Mercer, (Class of 2016) is a sophomore from Oak Park, Illinois, and is so excited to be an ISP Mentor! Claire is an Anthropology major and Arabic language minor, and is also involved in Scotch Tape, one of Macalester's co-ed acappella groups, as well as Afrika!, Macalester's African cultural organization. Her favorite color is yellow and she wants a pet frog.

Javier Donoso, (Class of 2014) is a senior majoring in economics, and hopefully minoring in stats and comp sci. He was born and raised in Quito (Ecuador), thus he speaks Spanish, and he likes to dance salsa. He LOVES football (soccer)! If you want to play football, watch football, or talk about football, just call him. He also plays the guitar; in fact, he was part of a band called the "Froot Flies" here in Mac. Now, in terms of religion he is catholic and goes to mass every Sunday. Finally, he works at card services. For more details just talk to him.

Min Young Jang, (Class of 2016) is from Seoul, South Korea, and can't wait to meet amazing Mac students from all over the world. She wants to major in Economics as well as International Studies. She is a member of Amnesty International at Macalester.

Brett Campbell, (right) (class of 2015) is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is double majoring in neuroscience studies and psychology. At Macalester, Brett is dedicated to Macalester’s mock trial team, and coaches a local high school team as well. He wants to go abroad for graduate school, either for international law or neuroscience.

Gage Garretson, (left) (class of 2016) grew up in the Pacific Northwest and the Lower Midwest and is most recently from North Carolina. He will be majoring in Peace & Conflict Studies with an emphasis on language, as well as concentrating on Human Rights and Humanitarianism. Gage is the current president of a newly created organization on campus called MacHOPE. After Mac, he intends on going abroad for graduate school, focusing on work that deescalates social conflicts by peaceful means.

Simon Sanggaard, (class of 2015) is a junior from Holbæk, Denmark. He is a member of the extremely talented, super ambitious and near-legendary Men's Water Polo team (club level). He is majoring in Psychology and Neuroscience Studies. If you're interested in how to say weird things in Danish, feel free to send him a message!

Rohin Borpujari, (class of 2014) is a senior at Macalester. He was born in India and brought up in the Middle East. He did my last two years of high school at the UWC in India. Here at Mac, he is majoring in Economics with a minor in Media Studies. He has taken part in various student orgs at Mac, including MASECA and MIG, and he also enjoys playing tennis and intramural soccer. He has been working for International Student Programs since spring 2011.

John Sankara, (class of 2015) is originally from Nairobi, Kenya but has lived in South Africa for two years while a student at African Leadership Academy in the outskirts of Johannesburg. He plans to major in Economics and Physics at Macalester and is a member of Macalester Men's Rugby Club and Afrika!. He recently took up soccer and pool, which he enjoys playing with friends. Sankara also loves reading and just finished the Pulitzer-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

Erin Newton, (class of 2014) is a Turkish-American TCK (Third Culture Kid) raised in Manila, Philippines who goes home for summers to Geneva, Switzerland. He is a PoliSci major and a Media Studies (MCST) minor. He is a part of Macalester Dagorhir (, Mac First Aid (MFA) - where he volunteers as a campus emergency medical technician (EMT), and has held various government and media related internships in the Twin Cities - none of which means he is any closer to knowing what he will do after graduation. Erin is a multicultural mutt and, like many of his fellow global nomads, suffers from sporadic wanderlust and a persistent sense of cultural homelessness. If ever he can help, with finding a safe space at Mac or otherwise, email him at:

Alizée Vignon, (class of 2016) is a sophomore from France, who has moved a lot over the years but has spent the past 9 years in Italy. She is majoring in International Studies with a minor in Hispanic Studies, and hopefully a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarianism. She is a Global Ambassador coordinator, a tour guide and is a member of Europa. She loves learning languages and traveling, and hopes to study abroad in Brazil!

Yulun Li, (class of 2014) is from Xi'an, China. He plans to major in economics and philosophy. At Macalester, he is a member of the Chinese Culture Club. He also volunteers in Ramsey Junior High as a tutor.