Meet a CNAS Student

Meet a CNAS Student


UC Riverside students with lab coats and stethoscopes

I'm Jaliza Jastillana, and I'm a fourth-year Biochemistry major at CNAS. I'm also a CNAS Peer Mentor, a member of the American Medial Student Association and a certified nursing assistant and hospice volunteer. Outside of class, I love to read, go hiking, and try new restaurants in the greater Riverside area!

I chose to attend UC Riverside because it is an amazing community, especially for pre-health students! There are numerous opportunities to explore the range of the healthcare field. I also love how CNAS faculty members care about your future goals and discuss pathways to them.
My favorite thing about CNAS is the ability to take upper division classes that align with your goals and interests. CNAS focuses on building a good foundation in which you can build off of and personalize your last two years at the university. I truly believe I have received a well-rounded education here!

UCR student with microscope

The best way to get adjusted to UC Riverside as a new student is to get involved! There are numerous clubs, organizations, and job opportunities available to you on campus. It can get a little overwhelming, but finding the right involvement opportunity is extremely gratifying and will ensure that you have a community here. Keep your eyes open to what interests helps you build an amazing foundation for a future career, so be sure to spend your time here in ways that align with your interests and goals. 

Also, make sure to take time for yourself to live your life!

Four years goes by fast, but you also shouldn't spend the entirety of your college career solely focusing on work. 

 We're looking forward to seeing you here in the fall!


Jaliza Jastillana

Jaliza Jastillana

Hi there!

CNAS students in Student Success Center

I'm Mabel Tan, a second-year Biology student at CNAS. In addition to serving as a CNAS Peer Mentor, I'm also a COPE Health Scholar and a volunteer at the San Bernardino Free Clinic. I'm also the owner of BelalaJewelry on Etsy!

I chose to attend UC Riverside because I wanted to stay close to family and still learn to be independent. As a large research institution, UC Riverside also has plenty of opportunities to help me define what I want from my higher education experience. I've had great experiences with CNAS professors, and I've gotten to know a lot of my classmates because we all take the same courses for the first two years through Learning Communities. To get to know your professors better, be sure to go to office hours! You don't always have to have questions for them - professors are open to just chat with you about your interests, especially if it aligns with theirs. If you don't have the chance to go to office hours, sit toward the front of the class and be active during lecture.

CNAS student with lab coat and microscope

My advice to you as a new CNAS student is to not be too worried about knowing your exact path. Plans and interests change, especially in college when you're exposed to so many opportunities. Keep an open mind and don't be too fixated on any one thing.

Make friends with your roommates, join some clubs, and get out of your comfort zone. Say hello to people in your classes because chances are, you'll see them throughout your college career. Get to know your peers, professors, and teaching assistants.

We can't wait to see you join the CNAS community in the fall!


Mabel Tan

Mabel Tan

Hello there!

Dawn Nagel Teaching CNAS Class

My name is Queennie Nguyen, and I'm a fourth-year Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology major on the pre-nursing track at CNAS. Outside of the classroom, I serve as lead mentor for the CNAS Peer Mentors, a group of students trained to assist Learning Community students navigate undergraduate life at UC Riverside. I also enjoy collecting Sonny Angels and Smiskis, snowboarding, reading, and going to the gym in my spare time! 

My favorite thing about CNAS is the community it fosters. The College is very large, but you will find your individual niche here. The faculty and staff are very understanding; you just have to be willing to take the first steps to find that niche. Don't be afraid to say hi and introduce yourself! I made most of my friends just by talking to them in class. You never know who you'll connect with and how many doors each person you meet with open up for you.

CNAS Students on Student Success Center Staircase

The best piece of advice I got as a first-year student was to not rush everything. I was eager to dip my toes into everything when I first arrived, but that led me to spreading myself too thin across the things that needed my attention, like academics. You'll have time to do everything you're interested in...don't rush the process and always remember your calling.

I chose to attend UC Riverside because they offered the best financial support and allowed me to commute from home. My sister also attended UC Riverside, so it felt right to follow in her footsteps and have her guidance as I navigated through college.

We can't wait to see you on campus!


Queennie Nguyen

Queennie Nguyen
Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology

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