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Meet your 2024 New Student Orientation leaders

Ƶ University is delighted to welcome new Cardinals to our community. Our orientation program is specifically tailored for new and transfer college students to ensure they have all the information necessary to feel confident and prepared as they navigate their academic journey. During orientation, students will learn about our student services, academic life, and academic advising, and receive their class schedule. Additionally, this event is  also an opportunity to make new friends, get involved with LU's on-campus community, and enjoy various engaging activities.

Register for New Student Orientation here

Now, we invite you to get acquainted with our 2024 New Student Orientation leaders. These dedicated LU students are here to guide you, share their insights and experiences, and facilitate a smooth and enjoyable transition into college life. 


 

Blake Pena NSOBlake Pena 
Classification: Sophomore 
Major: Biochemistry 
Hometown: Dayton, Texas 

Q: As a New Student Orientation Leader, what advice would you give to new students? 
A: “My advice would be to not take everything too seriously. Honestly, with my first year, I was a little uptight and closed off to things, but then I joined organizations and got involved, and I just let go.” 

Q: What unique characteristics set LU apart from other universities?  
A: “The small class sizes, because I like that I can talk to the professors one on one more.”  


Elizabeth Diaz Arreola NSOElizabeth Diaz Arreola  
Classification: Sophomore 
Major: Exercise Science 
Hometown: Dayton, Texas 

Q: As a New Student Orientation Leader, what advice would you give to new students? 
A: “My number one piece of advice would be to feel everything out and explore all options to find out what's really for you. Since the jump from high school to college is very different, you could become a totally different person in college than you were in high school, so explore all your options.” 

Q: What unique characteristics set LU apart from other universities?  
A: “What sets it apart for me is all the opportunities that you have. Everything that you feel was out of reach for you in high school, here everything is suddenly well within reach, and you can try everything out.” 


Ahoua Coulibaly NSOAhoua Coulibaly  
Classification: Senior 
Major: Psychology 
Hometown: Ivory Coast, West Africa 

Q: As a New Student Orientation Leader, what advice would you give to new students? 
A: “I will say, to make connections, talk to people, ask questions when you're not sure about something, and make friends.”  

Q: What unique characteristics set LU apart from other universities?  
A: “I like the diversity and the fact that the class sizes are small.” 


Chloe Tew NSOChloe Tew 
Classification: Senior 
Major: Accounting  
Hometown: Silsbee, Texas 

Q: As a New Student Orientation Leader, what advice would you give to new students? 
A: “You know yourself best. Do what works for you.” 

Q: What unique characteristics set LU apart from other universities?  
A: “I was raised in Beaumont, so a lot of the time I see Ƶ in a really good light because it's familiar, but I’m also able to push myself outside of my boundaries.” 


Miriam Mornya NSOMiriam Mornya 
Classification: Junior 
Major: Nursing 
Hometown: Freetown, Sierra Leone 

Q: As a New Student Orientation Leader, what advice would you give to new students? 
A: “College is what you make it so join organizations, really be a part of the community, and ask questions.”   

Q: What unique characteristics set LU apart from other universities?  
A: “What I really like was the diversity and how they have their strengths, and they push towards that, but they don't let their weaknesses hold them back. The staff has been forthcoming with information, and anything you need or want, you can find it.” 


Hailey Alfaro NSOHailey Alfaro 
Classification: Sophomore 
Major: Communications – Corporate Communications  
Hometown: Houston, Texas 

Q: As a New Student Orientation Leader, what advice would you give to new students? 
A: “Don't be scared, get involved, and the opportunities will be endless.”  

Q: What unique characteristics set LU apart from other universities? 
A: “We're a smaller school compared to others, so you get that feel of community. However, it's not too small so you can expand and explore the opportunities that LU has to offer.” 


Kara Pent NSOKara Pent 
Classification: Senior 
Major: Exercise Science/Teacher Education 
Hometown: Groves, Texas  

Q: As a New Student Orientation Leader, what advice would you give to new students? 
A: “Don't be afraid to go to things to meet new people.” 

Q: What unique characteristics set LU apart from other universities? 
A: “For me, it was just how close to home it was, so I could commute and still see my family.”  


Drake Rothenberger NSODrake Rothenberger  
Classification: Junior  
Major: Environmental Science and Biochemistry  
Hometown: Nederland, Texas  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “I would say that your college experience is what you make of it and if you want to have a good time, put yourself out there and try.”  

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “Number one is absolutely our faculty and staff. I think at Ƶ they go above and beyond, and it is very easy to have a good connection with them. You are going to meet some really wonderful people who genuinely care about your success.”  


Victoria Pryor NSOVictoria Pryor  
Classification: Junior  
Major: Exercise Science  
Hometown: Houston, Texas 

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “My advice to all students is to go to all events, so you can meet new people and make new friends. It helps you make new friends when you get here, so you do not spend time by yourself.”  

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “I feel like LU is very open. We have a lot of fun events and I feel like we are different from other universities because we do not judge people. Everyone comes to the Set to have fun and there have not been any problems.”  


Isaac Torres NSOIssac Torres 
Classification: Junior  
Major: Forensic Chemistry  
Hometown: Beaumont, Texas  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “I would say to attend events, not only because they are free, but you also get to meet new people and build relationships.”   

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “I would say the class sizes set LU apart. At some big universities, the classes have hundreds of people in the classes and here it is 15-20 people.”  


April Mahan NSOApril Mahan 
Classification: Sophomore  
Major: Nursing  
Hometown: Vidor, Texas  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “Come in with an open mind and do not be scared, because we are very welcoming. Join organizations to get involved and get connected.” 

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “I believe our students and faculty are more a big family than just a university at Ƶ.”  


Johana Barrera NSOJohanna Barrera  
Classification: Senior   
Major: Finance  
Hometown: Vidor, Texas 

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “For any new students, you should not let fear stop you from trying new things.” 

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “Definitely the opportunities because there is always something for someone. You just need to put yourself out there to try new things.”  

 


Humberto Cervantes Malagon NSOHumberto Cervantes Malagon 
Classification: Junior   
Major: Entrepreneurship and Marketing  
Hometown: Lancaster, South Carolina 

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “Honestly, just talk to people. I feel that Ƶ is a really nice school and I feel like the faculty, students, and workers are very nice and open to lend a helping hand. Even if you think you are alone, the person next to you is going to give you a hand.”   

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “I would say, the school size not being too big helps you be able to explore the campus and activities available to you. The size of Ƶ plays a major factor in getting involved on campus.”   


Chidi Okapaibekwe NSOChidiogo Okpalaibekwe 
Classification: Sophomore  
Major: Pre-Nursing  
Hometown: Onitsha, Nigeria  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 

A: “I would say make friends, and when you are assigned a new roommate, try and get in contact with them. That will make your experience less awkward and y’all will get your differences and what you want for your dorm figured out.”  

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “In my opinion, I personally really like the suites style. It is an apartment living style and unique from other university dorms. It gives you your own privacy and your own room, but also has a common room area that lets you talk and hang out with your roommates.”  


Jonah Smith NSOJonah Smith 
Classification: Senior 
Major: Mechanical Engineering 
Hometown: Port Neches, Texas  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and a student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “Make a friend on campus as soon as possible. That is going to help you academically, socially, and in all areas of your college career.”  


Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “I think the community here is a big thing to brag about. We are Division I institution, but we have the tightknit community of a smaller institution, so I think it’s a win-win.”  

 


Elizabeth Drago NSO Elizabeth “Lizzie” Drago 
Classification: Sophomore  
Major: Corporate Communication (Public Relations)  
Hometown: Nederland, Texas  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “I would say to definitely come in with an open mind, and be ready to learn as much as you can and get involved. I think college is what you make it, so if you don’t explore all of the opportunities that are presented to you, then you’re not taking full advantage of it.”  

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “I definitely think that Ƶ is a little bit smaller than a lot of other universities, so that size difference allows you to have so many unique opportunities and have so many experiences as a freshman that you may not get until you are a junior or later, at other large universities.  


Jeah Edano NSOJeah Pearl Edano 
Classification: Sophomore  
Major: Accounting  
Hometown: Sagay City, Philippines  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “Enjoy the process. It’s sometimes hard going through changes and transitions, but as Orientation Leaders, we can help you to enjoy the process.”  

 

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “What I like about LU is how diverse the student body is. For me, as an international student, it means a lot getting to see different people from different backgrounds, experiences, races, and different personalities from each department. You can really feel valued and appreciated here.”  


Alexander Lara NSOAlexander Lara 
Classification: Junior  
Major: English  
Hometown: Houston, Texas  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “Don’t walk in with a set perspective. College is something to be taken day by day. Come in with a clean slate, and just be ready for whatever comes your way.”  

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “Definitely the diversity. There are a lot of things that set Ƶ apart, but I really like the heavy diversity.”  


Michelle Lane NSOMichelle Lane 
Classification: Junior  
Major: Exercise Science  
Hometown: Tempe, Arizona  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “College is what you make it. The best way to feel like you are part of a college family is to get involved. There’s not going to be someone who will force you out of your dorm. You have to do that for yourself. Step up, make connections, and meet people.”  

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “LU is a mid-sized campus, so it’s not really huge but it’s not super small either. It’s easy to connect with your professors. The people here are very welcoming, and it’s a nice community here, so you never feel alone. People know what you need, and they’re willing to provide that support, whether that’s student body, faculty or staff here at LU.  


De'Eboni Spates NSODe’Eboni Spates 
Classification: Senior  
Major: B.S. Forensic Chemistry & Minor, Criminal Justice  
Hometown: Houston, Texas  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “Take advantage of the opportunities that Ƶ gives you in terms of resources and involvement, because you don’t want to wait until your last few years to get involved.”  

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion 
A: “What brought me to Ƶ was the size of the campus. It wasn’t as big as some other campuses, so it felt more like a home environment. The class sizes as well. I haven’t had a class of more than maybe 30 people, so I like that a lot.  

 


 

Komonya Smith NSOKomanya “Mo” Smith 
Classification: Junior  
Major: Education  
Hometown: Dallas, Texas  

Q: As a Student Orientation Leader and student body leader, what advice would you share for new students? 
A: “Get involved. There is a lot to do on campus, and your college experience is what you make it. You get this time once, so don’t waste it.”  

Q: What unique qualities set LU apart from other universities, in your opinion? 
A: “My favorite thing about Ƶ University is the apartment-style living. A lot of places are actual dormitories, but here we have residence halls. I think that freedom and that apartment-style living gives you a little more independence. Also, the community feel. There are so many different cultures and so many different people on campus. There’s always something to do, truly.”