Cross Cultural Mentor Introductions

CCM Leaders

obed johnson

Obed Johnson

Orientation Ambassador, Immigration Basics,


Obed is from Trinidad and Tobago. He is pursuing a master’s in Spanish with the concentration in pedagogy, and he is a teaching assistant. When not in class, he is the Graduate Student Representative for the U of A Academic Board of Integrity. He is very fond of the diverse, safe, and student-friendly environment created by the university. Obed is looking forward to enriching the academic and cultural experiences of incoming students.  

Ryan Moh

Ryan Moh

Orientation Ambassador, Volunteer Coordination 


Ryan is a senior finance undergraduate from Malaysia. He is a big fan of Pokémon and food and is always interested in hearing about your favorite dishes. His goal is to help connect new students to the community at the U of A and help them develop the confidence to express themselves and their culture. He is also part of the International Culture Team and has been widely involved on campus during his studies.   


Isini Ranawake

Orientation Ambassador, Photographer 


Isini is a cell and molecular biology doctoral student from Sri Lanka. In her spare time, she loves to work on her photography. She values that Fayetteville has a beautiful environment for picturesShe has also enjoys other outdoor activities such as hiking and looks forward to introducing new students to the wonderful natural environment of northwest Arkansas. 


Abbas Jammali


Abbas is working on his material sciences and engineering Ph.D. He is from Iraq, but also studied in Indiana, and has always loved to travel. He is a former Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program mentor and enjoys being with people. He thinks Fayetteville has a wonderful community for international students. He is proud to be part of that community, as well as help new students find their place within it.


Abdullah Asif 


Abdullah is a sophomore with plans to double major in biochemistry and Arabic. Some of his hobbies include learning, experiencing nature, and sharing good conversation! He loves attending cultural Registered Student Organization events and Honors College events with his friends. Meeting such a variety of different people throughout his experiences is one of the key reasons he’s excited to be a Cross Cultural Mentor. 


Abigeal Omolewu


Abigeal is a poultry science doctoral student from Nigeria. She has also been a member of the International Culture Team for many years, originally joining to engage in the community before she was a student. She is a mother of three, and when she isn’t busy with her children or in the lab, she is helping other students from Africa feel supported on campus.


Archy Pattanaik


Archy is an honors student majoring in biology. He is from India and is currently in his junior year of college. His favorite thing to do in Fayetteville is to go for a run on the trails around town. "They are so easy to take for granted, but are such an amazing feature of Fayetteville."  


Charith Ratnayake


Charith is from Sri Lanka, he is a mechanical engineering doctoral student, and works in a local lab. He is part of the International Culture Team and UA Swing Kids. He enjoys talking about sports, especially soccer. Charith also loves music and plays the guitar. He admires that Fayetteville has a beautiful natural environment and friendly people.  


Chinmaya Joshi 

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Joshi is a junior mechanical engineering and math undergraduate student from Uttarakhand, India. He plays guitar for the International Culture Team band, an activity that has helped him feel included on campus. He is looking forward to using his experiences in the United States to help new students adjust to the distinctive community of Fayetteville. 


Cristina Stan


Cristina is from Romania and is pursuing a master's degree in biological anthropology. She has a deep appreciation for diversity of all kinds, from environmental to cultural. This is one of the reasons she likes Fayetteville and the U of A; people from all around the world get together easily. She also loves that there are so many hiking opportunities here to get out of the lab sometimes. 


Dani Torres


Dani is a communications master’s student researching video games and online communities. She really likes the professors at the U of A; everyone in her department has always been eager to help her develop academically and professionally. She loves living in Fayetteville, especially being surrounded by nature and trails allows for beautiful walks, one of her favorite things to do! 


Emily Roberts


Emily is from Springdale, Arkansas, and is studying international studies and French. She has had the opportunity to work with CanopyNWA and Spring International, and has lived in Grenoble, France for a year. She loves that the U of A has a gorgeous campus right next to the Ozark Mountains with plenty of cozy spots for study sessions or for hanging out with friends.


Erije Benaissa


Erije is a sophomore from Tunisia studying data science. When you don’t see her in the data science lounge, you will probably find her at the McMillon Innovation studio or sharing her culture through International Students and Scholars programming. Since moving to Fayetteville, she has loved having the opportunities to go biking, camping, hiking, and climbing. 


Evelyn Osei


Evelyn is from Ghana and is a graduate student in agricultural economics. She has presented at two conferences this year and is an International Culture Team core member. She enjoys sharing her culture and has used International Education Week to showcase Ghanaian customsShe loves using the trails in Fayetteville to spend time in nature.  


Grace Martin


Grace is from Fayetteville, Arkansas, and is an undergraduate chemical engineering major. She plans to apply to medical school after graduation. Grace loves reading, being outside, traveling, and watching Saturday Night Live. She also enjoys learning new card games, so if you have a favorite, she would love to learn it! 


Jack Norris 


Jack is a senior computer science student from Rogers, AR. He’s involved in on-campus research and several campus organizations. When he isn’t on campus or coding, he likes to play basketball, rock climb, and play music. Jack has studied abroad and moved around a lot as a kid, and he’s looking forward to using his experiences to help new students feel at home in Fayetteville.  

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Jason Hoang


Jason is a senior biochemistry student on the pre-med track. Originally from Clarksville, Arkansas, he recently spent a semester abroad and looks forward to making even more cultural connections this year, especially through food. He loves cooking, finding good restaurants for new flavors, and gaming. He thinks the Fayetteville food scene is a great way to get to know the city!


Jessie Weber


Jessie is from Jordan, Arkansas, and she’s a junior majoring in international business and minoring in sustainability. She has studied abroad twice while at the U of A and when she is in town she tutors. She has also worked at the University Recreation facilityJessie is a member of a lot of clubs on campus, like ballroom dance, WISE, Leadership Walton, and more!


  Jossie Santamaria


Jossie is from Panama and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in avian immunologyHe enjoys making new friends, having conversations, and learning from other people. As a Cross Cultural Mentor, he is looking forward to being of help to other students as they continue their education at the U of A. 


Juliet Igboanugo


Juliet is from Nigeria and is a public health masters student. She is a member of the Black Graduate Students' Association and the African Student Organization. When she isn’t busy with her studies or student organizations she loves to read, travel, and exercise. Her favorite things about Fayetteville are the quiet and serenity. 

kabi raj

Kabi Raj Khatiwada


Kabi Raj is a Nepalese doctoral student studying environmental dynamics. He has always enjoyed nature and finds Fayetteville's wonderful weather and environment to be delightful. He admires all of the trails and uses them regularly. When he is not outdoors, he likes interacting with other students to learn about their culture, traditions, and all facets of life. 


Meutia Hanafiah


Meutia is a doctoral student in biological anthropology from Indonesia. She also received her master’s degree from the U of A. She is looking forward to broadening her cultural awareness and providing a safe and supportive environment for new students. Before she came to Arkansas, she was a dentist! Meutia appreciates that Fayetteville is small and quiet enough to study, but close to bigger cities like Tulsa and Kansas City.


Mitchell Carabio 


Originally from the Philippines, but born and raised in Hong Kong, Mitchell is a master’s student and teaching assistant in English literature. He is very passionate about teaching and looks forward to helping new students engage with campus outside of their academics. Lake Fayetteville is among his favorite scenic spots, and Hill Coffee at Union is where he gets fuel for the day.


Nadeeshani Ekanayaka


Nadee is a Sri Lankan cell and molecular biology doctoral student. She’s a member of the Biology Graduate Student Association, the International Culture Team, and U of A Swing Kids! For her, the university is a wonderful place that helps you grow by offering numerous opportunities to study, network, and have fun. She cherishes the diversity and friendliness she has found at the U of A. 

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Nailah Rawnaq 


Nailah is from Bangladesh and is working on a master’s degree in statistics and analytics. She has really enjoyed meeting other people from Bangladesh while at the U of A and is excited to expand her cultural circle as a Cross Cultural Mentor. She loves how calm, peaceful and beautiful the U of A and Fayetteville are. 


Najee Stubbs 


Hailing from the beautiful nation of The Bahamas, Najee is a pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and serves as a graduate researcher for an on-campus laboratory. Passionate about having an active lifestyle, he likes weightlifting, running, and bouldering. He has a keen interest in interacting with fellow international students and is eager to extend a warm welcome to incoming students to help them feel at home within the university community.  


Nathan Liu 


Nathan is from Little Rock, but his family hails from Indonesia. He is majoring in biomedical engineering, and is part of the Engineering World Health organization! Nathan enjoys learning about new cultures and has been a Conversation Club coach for several semesters. He thinks an awesome thing about Fayetteville is the flourishing startup company scene. 


Reira Shibata


Reira is a sophomore from Japan majoring in international and global studies with a minor in educational studies. She plays flute in the International Culture Team band and welcomes intercultural communication. She especially appreciates how Fayetteville and the U of A have encouraged her to be herself and has felt very accepted by the campus community. 



Ruiling Gao


Ruiling often goes by Fawn. She is an industrial engineering master’s student from China. She spends most of her free time volunteering in the community and appreciates the wider knowledge of Fayetteville she has gained! Fawn has also been a coach for Conversation Club and appreciated sharing and learning about different cultures. She also likes to read and write and has one little sister.


Sagar Roy


Sagar is a material science and engineering doctoral student. He came here from Bangladesh last fall and is a member of the International Culture Team. He likes reading, listening to stories, and volunteering at the Fayetteville Public Library. When not doing this, he enjoys biking on the many trails that Fayetteville has to offer. 



Sherjeel Naeem


Sherjeel was born and raised in the United States after his family immigrated from Pakistan. Double majoring in biology and anthropology, he strives to create connections with all students that he meets. To support this goal, he is a member of several community and campus organizations. He appreciates that the U of A is a large university, but still small enough that you can run into people you know every day.


Vaishnavi Vanteru


Vaish is a junior marketing and information systems major. She was born in Nellore, India but grew up in the United States. She really likes the U of A because it's a beautiful campus with plenty of ways to get involved. She knows how difficult it can be to adjust to life in the United States and is looking forward to helping support new students.  



Yi Wang


Yi is from Beijing, China, and is a sophomore in computer science. She is also a member of the International Culture Team and is excited to pass on the great experiences she has had to new students. She likes the many cultural activities at the U of A, which give her the opportunity to share the culture of her country and learn about the culture in other countries.