First Year Council

The First Year Council (FYC) was established to build leadership skills for a nominated pool of first-year students within the Honors College. The nomination process takes place within the first few weeks of the fall semester.

First Year Council leaders attend bi-weekly workshops that assist them in their transition to the new college environment. These workshops are intentionally designed to assist FYC leaders to successfully navigate the academic, personal, social, and professional aspects of their college lives. Depending on the need of the FYC cohort, several faculty and non-faculty guest speakers are invited to share their knowledge and experience around holistic themes such as leadership development, career advancement, research opportunities, diversity and inclusion, and service learning, among others.

First Year Council Application

Contact: Emily Pearson

2016-17 FYC Member Profiles

Emma Ford

Hometown:  Holly, MI

Major:  Lyman Briggs

Research:  I do research with Dr. Feig and his Post-Doc Asli where I help create simulations of segments of prokaryotic DNA to see and create a more accurate model on how proteins and DNA interact when there is no nucleus to separate them.

Favorite online resources:  Crash Course, Khan Academy, and TMP Chemistry.

If I could solve one world problem, it would be:  People dying from curable diseases.

Favorite movie:  October Sky

Ann Marie Scazzero

Hometown: Temperance, MI

Major: Lyman Briggs Neuroscience

Research: Professor van Nocker’s exploration of the genome of mutant plants

Favorite campus and/or community activity: Read to Succeed Tutoring

Advice for younger students: Try anything and everything you might be interested in! You never know what you may like.

Favorite book: Atonement by Ian McEwan

Yash Sharma

Hometown:  Indore, India

Major:  Computer Engineering

Game changing course:  PHL 130: Intro to Logic and Reasoning

Favorite campus and/or community activity:  Sitting on the banks of Red Cedar

Favorite online resources: Quora, Reddit, Google

Favorite East Lansing food: Insomnia Cookies!!

Ayley Shortridge

Hometown: East Lansing, MI

Major:  Integrative Biology

Research: Microbial communities in newts with the Eisthen lab

Why did you choose the Honors College at MSU:  The Honors College offers a smaller, academic community with all the resources of a large research university.

One world problem to solve: Global food shortage

Three things I care about:  Science, writing, community service

Favorite book: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Eli Falk

Hometown:  Huntington Woods, MI

Majors:  Biochemistry and Economics

Research: Professorial Assistant in the Ralson Lab, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Advice for younger students:  Focus on the learning more than the grades. Go to office hours and look to make connections with peers and faculty.

Three things I care about:  Family, Community, Fantasy Football

Favorite East Lansing food:  Eggs Benedict at Beggars Banquet

Allison Bell

Hometown: Lincolnshire, IL

Majors:  Neuroscience through Lyman Briggs, Mechanical Engineering

Research:  I am in a research lab that focuses on the development of a medical device to aid in the assessment of sports-related concussion.

Why I chose MSU/HC: The Honors College creates a small community of like-minded people on a large campus. There are always networking opportunities and social activities going on and one can always feel included.

If I could solve one world problem, it would be:  Universal access to health care!

Three things I care about:  My family, the entirety of Michigan State, the Green Bay Packers

Wendy Starr

Hometown:  Oradell, New Jersey

Majors:  Hospitality Business and Special Education

Game-changing course:  Food Management:  Safety and Nutrition

Favorite campus and/or community activity:  Football

If I could solve one world problem, it would be:  I would stop people from being bullies.

Three things I care about: My family and friends, doing well in school, and helping those around me who may have fewer opportunities than I do

Sadhana Chinnusamy

Hometown:  Windsor, Ontario

Major:  Lyman Briggs (Human Biology)

Research:  I am in the NanoBiosensors Lab at MSU this year as a professorial assistant.

Favorite online resource:  Google! I also really enjoy reading the New York Times.

Advice for younger students:  Join as many clubs and organizations as your schedule will allow you to, and participate in floor and building activities! It will help you meet new people, make new friends, and perhaps discover new interests as well.

Favorite East Lansing food:  Dairy Store!

Viktoria Teneqexhi

Hometown: Wheaton, IL

Major:  Neuroscience

Research:  Professorial Assistant for Dr. Phillips in her Digital Humanities & Literary Cognition Lab

Why I chose MSU/HC: The Honors College gave me unique opportunities such as becoming a professorial assistant, scholarships to study abroad, as well as the chance to take classes I would not have otherwise been able to.

Three things I care about: Chocolate, music, family

Favorite book:  3 way tie between 3 authors (I love reading!): JK Rowling, Agatha Christie, Brandon Sanderson

Danny Marshall

Hometown:  Flat Rock, MI

Major:  Computer Science

Three things I care about:  My family, my friends, intelligence

If I could solve one world problem, it would be:  Poverty

Favorite social media site:  Reddit

Favorite book: A Storm of Swords

Ali Stark

Hometown:  Laramie, WY

Majors:  Neuroscience, Genomics & Molecular Genetics

Research:  Fay Lab (University of Wyoming), Summer 2015-Spring 2016: Assisted with research on functions and regulation of the extracellular matrix in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos and Sisk Lab (Michigan State University), Fall 2016-Present: Assisting with research on the neurobiology of binge eating disorder in rats.

Advice for younger students:  If your presence doesn’t make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference.

If I could solve one world problem, it would be:  I would find a cure for neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s Diseases.

Favorite East Lansing food:  Sansu Sushi

Madi Pehringer

Hometown:  Sheridan, WY

Major:  James Madison College

Game-changing course:  Swahili 101

Favorite Campus and/or community activity: The paranormal society here on campus puts on really fun events

If I could solve one world problem, it would be:  Gender inequality

Favorite book:  Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Sarah Mostofizadeh

Hometown:  Beverly Hills, MI

Major:  Computer Science

Research:  Assisted with Photoluminescence Studies of GaN Samples

Favorite Campus and/or community activity: Fencing

Favorite online resource:  Khan Academy

Favorite movie:  Interstellar

Ryan Nazareno

Hometown:  Flat Rock, MI

Majors:  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Why I chose MSU/HC: Michigan State has so much to offer students with its various academic programs, clubs, athletics events, and the vast number of people on campus. The Honors College allowed me to take this to the next level by providing more opportunities that will help me to succeed and make the most of my college experience.

Favorite online resources:  Wolfram Alpha, TMP Chemistry

Favorite social media site:  Twitter

Favorite East Lansing food:  The D.W.B. from Conrad’s

Johnathon Finch

Hometown:  Glenrock, WY

Majors:  Arts and Humanities, and Political Science/Pre-Law

Game-changing course:  A course that really changed my perspective was my first college government class, and this just really shifted my interests to politics and how we as a country govern ourselves.

Favorite campus and/or community activity:  I would have to say going to a cider mill and eating donuts is the best activity to do.

If I could solve one world problem, it would be:  I would definitely solve the problem of hunger, because it makes me sick to think that here are people starving every day in our world.

Favorite movie:  My favorite movie would have to The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Mellissa McCarthy. I think I can quote like 90% of the lines.

Acacia Costales

Hometown:  Portage, MI

Major:  James Madison – undecided

Why I chose MSU/HC:  I chose the Honors College in order to have more control over my education and to find myself amongst other academically motivated and driven students.

Advice for younger students:  Get involved, but make sure you have time to breathe and let loose every once in a while.

Three things I care about: Singing, friendship, historical costuming

Favorite social media site:  Instagram

Airn Pero

Hometown:  Woodhaven, MI

Major:  Political Science Pre-Law

Favorite campus and/or community activity:  Feeding the squirrels

Favorite online resources:  New York Times

Favorite East Lansing food:  Conrad’s mac and cheese bites

Favorite Book: Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood


Sarah Gibney

Hometown:  Vineland, NJ

Major: Chemistry/Pre-Vet

Why I chose MSU/HC: I thought it would afford me the most opportunity for research, customization of my degree, and access to resources, which is certainly true. It was also another way to create a small college feel on such a large (and frankly, intimidating) campus.

Advice for younger students:  This is the hardest thing to do: stay on schedule with your classes. Professors give syllabi for a reason. Follow it early in the semester so you don’t get swamped (with little to no hope of ever catching up) later. It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s difficult to put into practice.

Favorite social media site:  Facebook 

Favorite movie:  Too many to choose just one… When Harry Met Sally and The Princess Bride are a couple of my go-to choices for this question.

Sean Hyslop

Hometown:  Houghton, MI

Majors:  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Research:  Cancer and other genetic and non-genetic disease immunology in the Amalfitano Lab

Favorite online resources:  Spartan App and the MSU Electronic Databases

Advice for younger students:  Make the most of every day, and don’t stress. Trust the process, study hard, and things will work out.

Favorite East Lansing food:  El Azteco salsa

Natalie Hix

Hometown:  Grand Haven, MI

Majors:  Criminal Justice and Middle Eastern Studies

Research:  Professorial Assistant for Professor Chermak, compiling life histories for The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terror (START)

Favorite campus and/or community activity:  Late-night runs by the river

If I could solve one world problem, it would be:  Fight against carbon emissions and reckless treatment of the Earth

Three things I care about:  Family, dogs, cookies

Rhylan Huss

Hometown:  Laramie, WY

Major:  Mechanical Engineering

Why I chose MSU/HC:  I chose the Honors College for the challenge and the more intriguing classes. So far I’ve gotten what I asked for and more!

Three things I care about:  My family, my friends, my pets

Favorite social media site:  Snapchat! 

Favorite book:  The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay


Sana Hakim

Hometown:  West Bloomfield, MI

Major:  Undecided

Research:  UGS 200H A Maker Approach: Crowdsourcing Knowledge & Transforming Research into Meaning

Favorite campus/community activity:  Working at the student run radio station, Impact 89 FM

Advice for younger students:  Join a club. Be the nicest and most positive version of yourself possible for at least the first week of school.

Favorite book:  The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Tyler DuBois

Tyler DuBois

Hometown:  Linden, MI

Major:  Mechanical Engineering

Favorite campus and/or community activity:  My favorite thing to do at MSU is walk through the north side of campus to see the historic Beaumont Tower, the Red Cedar, and the WJ Beal Botanical Garden.

One world problem to solve: If I could solve one world problem, I would ensure that everyone has equal rights to a basic education. 

Favorite East Lansing food: Conrad’s

Favorite book:  A Tale of Two Cities

Brent Hughes

Brent Hughes

Hometown:  Flossmoor, IL

Major:  Business-Preference

Favorite campus and/or community activity:  IM Sports, Football/Basketball games, Impact Radio Station

Favorite online resource:  ESPN, Bleacher Report, CNN

Advice for younger students: Find a spot in the classroom where the professor can see your face, and sit there every day. This way you can be recognized and ask questions without necessarily having to introduce yourself on the first day. A great way to allow professors to get to know you and your face.

Favorite East Lansing food:  East Side Fish Fry

Matthew Paulhus

Matthew Paulhus

Hometown: Irvine, CA

Major: Business – Finance

Game changing course:  CSE 101 Computing Concepts and Competencies

Favorite online resources: Goodwill Community Foundation, Crash Course, and SparkNotes

Advice for younger students: Get involved with an organization that you are truly passionate about.

Favorite book: Heat by Mike Lupica

Tamira Williams  

Tamira Williams

Hometown: Detroit, MI

Major:  Psychology

Why did you choose the Honors College at MSU:  The Honors College provides me with an inclusive community filled with people very similar to myself. They also give me a strong foundation in which I can use as a valuable resource. Lastly, they can help me create everlasting relationships and connections.

Advice for younger students: Take things one day at a time and use all of your resources available to you.

One world problem to solve: If I could solve one world problem, it would be racism.

Favorite movie: Ratatouille