In the News

November 9, 2022

Meet the 2022-2023 ICS Peer Academic Advisors

Brian Bulgarelli (he/him/his)
Major: Computer Science
Year: 4th

Could you share a couple of fun facts about yourself?
I’m ambidextrous! I was born left-handed but I taught myself to write with my right hand while my roommate taught himself to write with his left hand.

Why did you decide to become a peer academic advisor?
I wanted to become a PAA because I really like helping other students out! I didn’t know about the Peer Academic Advising program my first year, so I had to find out a lot of the information myself, especially for stuff like enrollment information and campus resources. One of the main reasons why I wanted to become a PAA was because I wanted to help other students utilize the resources that I found so incredibly helpful.

What has been your favorite part of being a peer academic advisor so far?
My favorite part has been helping out students during the drop-in Zoom hours. I think this has been my favorite part of the job so far because it’s the most interactive part of the job and, even though it’s virtual, it’s nice to help out students live.

What do you hope to accomplish in this role?
One thing that I really look forward to is being able to reach out and interact more with the ICS student community, whether it is through informational sessions or during advising sessions.

Wentao Chen (he/him/his)
Major: Computer Science and Engineering
Minor: Statistics
Year: 3rd

Could you share a couple of fun facts about yourself?
I love watching dramas and discussing them with other people. I always get super invested in them and get so emotional though. I’m also a big cat person, even though I’m actually a little bit allergic; I have two cats back home with my parents and they’re the most adorable things in the entire world! I’ve also lived in three different states in the U.S.: Georgia, Michigan and California, up in Davis. Before all that, I lived in China, but only until I was a little over a year old, so I was too young at the time to remember much of that part of my life.

Why did you decide to become a peer academic advisor?
I’ve had my own fair share of struggles and difficulties adjusting to the various stages of life as an undergraduate student, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the idea of being able to share about my own experiences and struggles and offer my own thoughts and advice to potentially be able to help other students navigate through this challenging but rewarding part of our lives is incredibly meaningful to me.

What has been your favorite part of being a peer academic advisor so far?
My favorite part of being a peer academic advisor so far has definitely been being able to help other students with whatever issues, questions or concerns that they may have, especially during times like drop-in hours! Knowing that I’ve been able to help students, doing whatever I can to assist students as they navigate through this difficult journey as an undergraduate student, and make an impact, has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling!

What do you hope to accomplish in this role?
My biggest hope is that I’m able to make a positive impact on the ICS and UCI communities, regardless of how big or small. I want to leave my time as an undergrad at UCI knowing that I’ve been able to make a positive impact on the lives of students, and the ICS and UCI community as a whole.

Varij Jhaveri
Majors: Computer Science and Software Engineering
Year: 4th

Could you share a couple of fun facts about yourself?
I love using fountain pens and I even use them to write my notes in classes. I also have a third-degree black belt in martial arts.

Why did you decide to become a peer academic advisor?
I wanted to share my experiences of my time in college with my peers and help guide them to also discover their academic interests and engage with them while at UCI.

What has been your favorite part of being a peer academic advisor so far?
My favorite part of being a peer academic advisor is working with students to help them figure out how to overcome a challenge they are facing. I also get to share my experiences at UCI.

What do you hope to accomplish in this role?
I hope to connect with students in the School of ICS and learn more about the different challenges and accomplishments they have.

Isaiah Raya (he/him/his)
Major: Computer Science
Year: 4th

Could you share a couple of fun facts about yourself?
A fun fact about me is that I love collecting things, especially things from pop culture like movies or video games. Some of my collections that are closest to my heart are my graphic tees, Amiibo, and vinyl collections. I love displaying them and talking to others with similar interests!

Why did you decide to become a peer academic advisor?
I decided to become a peer academic advisor because I wanted to help undergraduate students, like myself, navigate the college process and provide resources to those students. I also wanted to be more connected to the school and the community, and I saw the role as a peer academic advisor as perfect for accomplishing that!

What has been your favorite part of being a peer academic advisor so far?
My favorite part of being a peer academic advisor so far has been interacting with the students whether that be at the annual commencement or through Zoom appointments. I really enjoy helping students and seeing them leave happier than when they came. It makes me feel that the peer academic advisor is an essential and positive role in the UC Irvine community.

What do you hope to accomplish in this role?
I hope to learn more about my school and its students. I also hope to expand my social skills and leadership through communication and assisting in student events.

Yanran (Juno) Wang (she/her/hers)
Majors: Computer Science and Business Information Management
Year: 3rd

Could you share a couple of fun facts about yourself?
I really love cats and I used to live with my cat when I was back in China. But I am actually allergic to cats. So every time I play with my cat, I wear a mask and glasses.

Why did you decide to become a peer academic advisor?
I want to meet new people.

What has been your favorite part of being a peer academic advisor so far?
Getting the chance to talk with many peers.

What do you hope to accomplish in this role?
Help students come to me as much as possible.


Meet the 2022-2023 ICS Peer Academic Advisors

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Media Inquiries
Media interested in interviewing ICS faculty, students or alumni should contact Matt Miller at (949) 824-1562 or matt.miller@uci.edu