Science Ambassador Spotlight: Rayan Awais

Name: Rayan Awais
Major: Mathematics
2023-2024: 2 nd Year Student

Rayan Awais

What makes UCR and/or CNAS standout? 

I believe what makes UCR standout are the individuals who take the challenging route and help others in a welcoming way. The CNAS community is very welcoming on campus. Whether it is helping students get involved in volunteering opportunities like Little Einsteins that provides creative lessons to elementary students or taking the difficult classes like O chem, the community wil always have your back. I remember when I was admitted into the science ambassador program at UCR, I always felt insecure about the fact that I was a math major and everyone there was so intelligent. But, the group always supported me even if I did not know much about the sciences when everyone else did. They utilize my strengths as a math major and helped me grow into the best version of myself, even if that didn’t involve Biology. For anyone entering CNAS and feeling insecure about your skills and talents, just know that CNAS needs you and welcomes you very much!!! 


In addition to being a Science Ambassador, what other organizations, clubs, or volunteer experiences are you involved with? 

I am involved deeply in the University Honors Program as one of their ambassadors. As an ambassador of the program, I serve to educate and mentor others in a way that is motivational and inspiring. I do volunteerering on the side with a club called Friendinme where students go to hospitals to cater to the needs of pediatric cancer patients. Finally, I do mathematic/computational research on campus and I hope to get published by the end of the year. It is all due to the connections I made in the CNAS community and in utilizing them, I was able to really benefit as a student. 


What’s the best piece of advice you got when you were a new CNAS student? 

In my opinion, I believe that being a CNAS student is the most challenging, but rewarding experience on campus. The best piece of advice I had received was from a 4th year CNAS student and he told me to always trust in your strengths. As a CNAS student, the classes are somewhat difficult and I always used to feel insecure about my performance in classes. It was through this insecurity that I could never do my best as I had this fixed mindset that I just wasn’t good enough like the other students. However, if you push yourself and are kind to others, I believe the CNAS universe reward you in someway(very hard to explain, you just have to try lol). So try your best regardless of what you think the outcome might be.


If you’ve participated in research, what’s been the most impactful part of that experience? 

The most impactful part of that experience was the bond I gained with my professor. I believe conducting research on this campus with passionate professors like mine are not all about research. The professors at UCR go beyond their duties and help you find outside opportunities to help you be an academic weapon lol. Through my professor, I was able to conduct computational mathematic research but also got to travel to very cool conferences where I was able to interact with other nerdy math majors like me. I was able to find other opportunities in mathematics because of my experience in research. For example, my research landed me a spot at the International Joint Mathematical Meeting conference where I was able to volunteer at the Julia Robinson Festival. If it was not for my professor telling me about this experience, I would have never known. 


What’s your secret talent? 

Everyone asks me this question and if I tell you-that would yk break the laws of a “secret”. But, just because whoever is reading this is super cool, I will tell you. My secret talent is my ability to believe. Now, I do not mean that cliche “believe in yourself” stuff. I mean that I can believe in something so well that it becomes reality. For example, I believe that I will get an A on my O chem exam and it will come true, trust me…. *************************pls come true. But in all honesty, I believe and when you believe very well, anything is possible. 


What are the keys to a successful first year experience? 

Do everything. Just do everything and try everything. This is your time to figure out what you like. Go to that gaming club meeting. Try Skiing. Figure out what you like. When you know what you like and enjoy, you will figure out what you enjoy and love. If you try one thing and just fly with it, you never know what else was in your grasps. Make connnections. Talk to professors and be super kind to them. Talk to them about their teaching, research, family etc. Professors give lectures and want you to have an enjoyable educational experience, showing them this through thought-provoking conversation is a great way to make yourself happy and make connections. It is easy to be a good winner, but very difficult to be a good loser. Your first-year might not be that pitch perfect All-As. Learn to fail and teach yourself to rise up and not let it define you. For example. I got a 18 percent on my chemistry midterm and it was multiple choice-4 choices. I was devastated and went into shock because if I just did not sutdy, I would have got a higher score which is pretty odd. However, I laughed it off and analyzed why I did so terribly and with a redemption system in the syllabus(final grade replaces a midterm score), I got an A on the final and aced the class. So do not let your failures make you seem like its all over.

Let us help you with your search