EGSC Peer Mentorship Program

For many students, transitioning to graduate student life can be overwhelming. We, at EGSC, recognize the challenges students face during this period and understand the impact it may have on an individual's experience at Columbia Engineering. It is our goal to help students take full advantage of what Columbia and New York City has to offer.

The mentorship program connects students with mentors who can help them navigate life as a graduate student. Our mentors have been through the challenges students face before and can offer assistance in a variety of ways to help student achieve their goals both during their time at Columbia and beyond.

Below, we have compiled profiles of our mentors separated by departments. To better match you with the perfect mentor, we have created the following categories of interests:

Academics/Goals: Choosing which courses to take can be one of the most frustrating decisions you make as a graduate student, especially if you're new to Columbia. We can help identify and recommend classes that fit your interests.

Graduate Student Life: Many students find graduate student life daunting. We are here to help you find a balance between academics, research, and social life to take advantage of the best Columbia and NYC has to offer.

Getting to Know NYC: If you are new to NYC, you will find that the amount of things you can do can get overwhelming. We can make suggestions on things to do, places to visit, where to eat, and shows to watch.

Career (Job/Internship): Are you looking for a full-time job or summer internship? We have been through this process and are here to help assist you in any way we can. We can critique resumes, aid in job search, and even help you prepare for interviews.

Student Involvement/Activities: There are plenty of things to do at Columbia University outside of academics. If you are looking for ways to get involved at any level or simply wondering what events are happening around campus, we are here to help.

Getting Out: There is more to the east coast than NYC. Come talk to us if you are looking for things to do outside of the city or just want to plan a getaway trip.

Networking: We have all heard the phrase, "Network! Network! Network!" We are here to help you put yourself out there and will try to connect you with the right people so you can achieve your goals.

General Advice: Ask me anything! If you have a general questions or your questions do not fit in any of the above categories, just ask us.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please fill out this form.

If you are interested in becoming a mentee, please fill out this form this form.

If you have any further questions, please contact the EGSC Vice President at

Below is the list of our current mentors:

Biomedical Engineering

Yaxing Zhu

"I am currently a 2nd year MS student in BME department. I am currently involved in GradBME and Society of Biomaterial societies to help with some volunteering jobs, such as participated in science club for middle school students. In my spare time, I like singing, hiking and fencing"

Interests: Graduate Student Life, Student Involvement/Activities, General Advice

Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics

Xian Zhang

"I am a graduate student majoring in engineering mechanics. This is my second semester and I have really enjoyed my stay in both Columbia University and the New York City. Being a member of MEGA (Mechanical Engineering Graduation Association), not only help me achieve a high academic performance (GPA:4.0/4.0), but also accustomed me to graduate life.

I have a lot of interests from watching TED and movies to dancing and organizing events. I am also a member of Traditional China dance at Columbia University (CU China Dance). I have performed for Lunar New Year 2016, Columbia Night Market and several charity events. I love initiating and organizing study groups, believing that discussion can deepen our understanding of knowledge.

Back in my undergrad, I had been the president of the Peer Student Advising Center for my institute for over two years. I felt real passion and happiness while organizing both group workshops and individual consulting sessions. Now I would like to contribute my passion and experience to EGSC Peer Mentor Program and help new graduate students to transition more smoothly."

Interests: Academics and Educational Goals, Graduate Student Life, Getting to Know NYC, Career (Job/Internship), Student Involvement/Activities, Networking, General Advice

Olga Brudastova

"I am a 4th year graduate student in MS/PhD program. My current research is in the field of stochastic mechanics, but I have previously worked with continuous and discrete numerical methods and CFD. I am also an activist in GWC-UAW - the union for graduate workers of Columbia - and a department representative in EGSC. I have taken quite a few classes here, having covered about 60 credits, so I would like to share my experience with those."

Interests: Academics and Educational Goals, Graduate Student Life, Student Involvement/Activities

Computer Science

"I am a final semester Master's student in Computer Science and passionate about my field. As someone who immigrated to the country and experienced a different set of pressures apart from just academic, I believe I can adequately mentor the student community at SEAS."

Interests: Academics and Educational Goals, Graduate Student Life, Career (Job/Internship), Student Involvement/Activities, Networking, General Advice

Electrical Engineering

Dhruv Aggarwal

"I am in VLSI and image processing industry, had 3.5 years work experience, and taken related courses"

Interests: Academics and Educational Goals, Graduate Student Life, Getting to Know NYC, Career (Job/Internship), Getting Out (of the city), General Advice

Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

Sumona Nair

"Hi I am currently pursuing my Masters in Operations Research at SEAS. I previously worked at Deloitte Consulting U.S India office as a Technology Consultant. I was entrusted with the role of a business rules developer for the integrated eligibility system for State of Montana. By way of education I have completed a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from Mumbai University. I have being a part of various student bodies in college and led forums in my firm to be a well-rounded individual.

On a personal front I like going out of my comfort zone and trying new things. In spite of having a fear of heights, I have done skydiving, parasailing and paragliding. Next up in my list of adventures is bungee jumping."

Interests: Academics and Educational Goals, Graduate Student Life, Career (Job/Internship), Networking, General Advice

Mechanical Engineering

Brian Bradley

"I grew up in northern California which gave me a great love for the outdoors. When I'm not busy with school and work you can find me going hiking or exploring the city. I also enjoy finding time to play sports and video games or going to concerts with my friends.

I think mentor-ship is great, because in my experience I can never get too many points of view in my decision making and learning. I hope that by being a peer mentor I can pass on any advice based on my experience as a graduate student at Columbia.

I'm currently pursuing research in the ROAR (Robotics and Rehabilitation) lab and hope to complete a Master's thesis by the end of the year."

Interests: Academics and Educational Goals, Graduate Student Life, Getting Out (of the city), General Advice