Simmons Academic Mentors (SAMs)

SAM logo

Simmons Academic Mentors (or SAMs) are current students (rising Juniors or Seniors) who assist first-year students with academic acclimation to Simmons University. In this newly designed role, SAMs provide peer academic support to first-year students throughout the summer leading up to and during your first year at Simmons University. SAMs will also hold weekly drop in hours throughout the year to answer any questions you might have. SAMs also facilitate programming to support you throughout your first year at Simmons. If you think you might have something in common with any SAM or have a question about one of their majors, please feel free to reach out.

Are you undecided? The SAMs can help! They can help you narrow down which courses to take and help you fill your PLAN requirements along the way. Please feel free to reach out to any SAM via email!

If you have questions about the Simmons Academic Mentor Program, please reach out to Talia Hirsh or Sara Purisky.

Simmons Academic Mentors 2017-2018

SAM Major(s) Minor(s)
Tema Fodje Biochemistry, Pre-Med track Biostatistics
Lea Haehnel Biochemistry, Pre-Med track Public Health
Emily Mills Political Science Journalism
Sabika Mirza Marketing & Political Science PR/MarComm and Retail Management
Charlotte Rivard Data Science & Analytics, Economics concentration Sustainability
Samantha Sochan Nursing Public Health and Healthcare Management
Lindsey Sumpman Exercise Science Psychology
Lena Syed Nutrition & Dietetics, Pre-Dental track Chemistry
Olivia Van Lare Biology, Pre-PA track
Gillian Weaver Public Health Biology and Biostatistics
Christina Zaharevich Women's and Gender Studies Public Policy

SAMs group photo

Mentor Bios

Tema Fodje, Pre-Health SAMTema Fodje

Tema is a senior biochemistry major with a minor in Biostatistics, while also on the pre-med track. Originally from Alpharetta, GA, Boston was a big change but she is enjoying her time living in the city while attending Simmons. Some of Tema's favorite things to do (in between studying for the MCAT) include going to cultural events, meeting new people, and traveling. At Simmons, she serves as Soul Community Outreach for the Black Student Organization and works in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as the Events Coordinator Intern and as a peer mentor in the Honors Program. She is so excited assist students along their journey to becoming healthcare professionals!


Lea Haehnel

Lea& Haehnel

Lea is a junior majoring in Biochemistry with a minor in Public Health.  She is originally from Awassa, Ethiopia and grew up in upstate New York. She has always wanted to live in Boston and is excited for the opportunity to attend a university in the beautiful city. At Simmons, she is a member of the African and Caribbean  Student Union as well as the Chemistry and Physics Liaison. Outside of school, you can catch her training for different running races or in a hip-hop class. Lea is looking forward to being a SAM this year and serving as a resource for the incoming class.


Emily MillsEmily Mills

Emily is a senior political science and communications student from Connecticut. Throughout her time at Simmons, she developed a strong passion for working with students. Her favorite roles on campus include being an Orientation Leader, student body Vice President through the Student Government Association, and a new SAM! Additionally, Emily is a mentor for Strong Women, Strong Girls. When she’s not on campus, you can find her running around the city to her various internships, watching Parks and Rec, and adventuring with her friends around Boston. Emily is so excited to be a SAM this year, if you see her around campus make sure to say hi!


Sabika MirzaSabika Mirza

Sabika is from New Hampshire and is a senior here at Simmons studying Marketing and Political science. Some of her favorite roles on campus are serving as Student Body President through the SGA, interning for the Simmons Leadership Conference team and working at the office of Undergraduate Admission! She is really looking forward to developing positive mentorships with the incoming first years and want them all to know that if you ever have a question, don't be afraid to ask! When she is not studying her life away, you can catch Sabika at the gym or watching replays of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Wedding or the best Super Bowl of all time, Super Bowl 51 (GO PATS)!!!


Charlotte RivardCharlotte Rivard

Charlotte is a senior at Simmons, originally from Norwood MA, majoring in Data Science & Analytics (Economics concentration) with a minor in Sustainability. Charlotte loves working with people, being in nature, and learning new things. At Simmons, she is a member of the swim team, the sustainability club and the honors program and has played cello in the Colleges of the Fenway Orchestra. She also enjoys writing, reading, dancing and anything crafty. As a Simmons Academic Mentor, Charlotte hopes to help first-years acclimate to college life, giving them the confidence and skills to be successful and happy at Simmons!


Lindsey SumpmanLindsey Sumpman

Lindsey is a senior at Simmons, majoring in Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology. Lindsey is from the beautiful and rural town of Wantage, New Jersey but has fallen in love with the city-life in Boston. At Simmons, Lindsey is the Co-President of the Exercise Science Liaison, works in the Office of Undergraduate Admission as an Admission Fellow and Campus Visit Intern, is a member of the Honors Program, and is a Zumba instructor on Campus. This Fall, Lindsey will be interning at Boston Children's Hospital with their Female Athlete Program. Lindsey is in the process of applying to graduate school for Physical Therapy and dreams of working with the U.S. Ski Team. She is passionate about fitness, ski racing, snow, and most of all ice cream.


Lena SyedLena Syed

Lena is a junior Nutrition & Dietetics major on the pre-dental track, and is originally from North Reading MA. Her affinity towards artistry along with her interests in science and healthcare are just some of the factors that have inspired her to pursue a career in dentistry. She is a member of the Honors Program and works part-time as an Emergency Medical Technician. Lena is the Co-President of Simmons Islamic Society, and writes for Mindscope, a science-based magazine on campus, and Nutrition Perspectives, a nutrition magazine at Simmons. During her free time, she loves trying different food places in Boston, posting on her nutrition blog, running around the city, playing musical instruments, learning new things, and making people feel happy. She is very excited to work as a SAM this year!


Olivia van LareOlivia Van Lare

Olivia is a junior at Simmons University, majoring in Biology with a Pre-PA concentration. Olivia is from the beautiful Cape Cod Massachusetts, and loves living in Boston during the fall, winter, and spring months. She enjoys getting involved in big school events around campus and supporting the many clubs and organizations that Simmons has. On her days off Olivia can be found practicing her photography skills around the City and hanging out with her friends. Olivia has not had a “typical” journey into college because in her first semester she had to take a medical leave of absence and had to take classes at a local community college in order to come back to Simmons the following fall semester as a sophomore. Olivia believes that her journey has made her very well rounded and experienced with the difficulties that coincide with the transition into college, and therefore she is so thrilled that she has the opportunity to help  students acclimate to college!


Samantha SochanSamantha Sochan

Samantha is a senior Nursing student with a minor in Public Health and Healthcare Management. She grew up in New Britain, CT, but is originally from Toronto, Canada. Samantha's favorite things to do are adventuring around Boston, dancing, and meeting new people. She is involved in the Campus Activities Board (CAB), COF Bollywood Dance, Tutors for All, Dotson Bridge Mentoring Program, and Northeastern NakhRAAS. She is very excited to be a SAM and help guide you in your journey as a Simmons Shark!


Gillian WeaverGillian Weaver

Gillian is a senior Public Health major, minoring in Biology and Biostatistics, and grew up in Franklin, MA. She's happy to call Boston home during the school year to be close to the city life. She acts as Co-President of the Public Health Liaison, does work study as a Research Assistant in a Harvard Medical laboratory, and helps with Professor Liz Scott's microbiology lab on campus. In her free time, she can be found painting, hiking, and playing board games.


Christina ZaharevichChristina Zaharevich

Christina is a Senior majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies with a minor in Public Policy. Although Christina came to Boston as an Undeclared student, she fell in love with the city along with the students and staff at Simmons, and they have been her greatest influence in shaping her academic path. Christina is a dancer and choreographer with the Simmons University Dance Company, while also taking classes with the Colleges of the Fenway Dance Project. During the Spring semester of 2018, she studied abroad at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and she's looking forward to traveling more in the future. In her spare time, Christina is a passionate movie-goer, book-lover, and avid writer. Christina is thrilled to be working as a Student Academic Mentor this year, and she hopes that sharing her knowledge will benefit other students as they navigate their college experience.