Williams Firsts Orientation Leaders 2022

Orientation Co-Directors

Name:  Emily Kondo
Class year:  2023
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major: Biology and East Asian Languages and Cultures
Hometown:  Waipahu, Hawaii
Campus activities:  Matriculate College Advising, Mount Greylock School After School Tutoring and Classroom Support, Williams Firsts Board, Biology Thesis Research, Williamstown Elementary School Science Fellows and Classroom Support
Most memorable Williams experience: This last winter study I was able to take part in the BioEyes course. We were able to develop curriculum, visit different elementary schools, and teach students about Zebrafish. It was really cool to be able to work directly with students from around the Berkshires and be able to do something that felt like it had real impact. I was able to meet tons of people I would have never met otherwise and learn a lot about myself and working with elementary age children.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: You belong here. Like everyone else, you will probably make mistakes or take the wrong path every once in a while. But know that every fall or stumble along the way is just another step in the journey you were meant to take and they don’t make you any less worthy of the spot you’ve earned.

Name:  Samantha Luna
Class year:  2024
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:  Prospective American Studies major
Hometown:  Queens, NY
Campus activities:  Williams Firsts Board, Ritmo Latino, VISTA, Summer Humanities and Social Sciences Program (SHSS)
Most memorable Williams experience: I came into Williams not knowing how to swim. I did not expect to take the swim test so soon, and I was terrified to take it. But, two days before my test, my friend who knew how to swim took me to the Hoosic and Green River to learn as much as I could. I had a great time learning from her, and I miraculously managed to pass the test!
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:It is okay to feel challenged or vulnerable during your transition to college. Being First at Williams may involve making tough adjustments, so it is important to pace yourself and take the time you need to feel comfortable. There are many resources, including the Williams Firsts staff and students, that are here for you. You are not alone in your Williams journey. This is also a time for self-discovery and growth, but if the thought of that is nerve-wracking, remember that the Firsts community always has your back!

Orientation Leaders


Name: Lucia I. Rios
Class Year: 2024
Pronouns: she/her/ella
Major and concentration: American Studies and Latino Studies
Hometown: Richmond, Ca
Campus Activities: Ritmo, Vista, Clia fellow at Lanesborough Elementary School
Most memorable experience: My most memorable experience here at Williams was our first Ritmo show of this year. It was my first show ever and I was really nervous but it was the most fun I have ever had on this campus. The tech week leading up to the show allowed me to spend most of my time with the team and it was a real bonding experience for me. The second most memorable was our second show. 
Words of Wisdom: Williams is what you make it to be. My first year I mostly kept to myself and as someone who is completely new to this type of environment, it felt pretty isolating especially with covid and the regulations that came with it. I made sure to expand my social circle and make community my sophomore year and it made this year so much better. I began to see my role here as more than just a student but as a member of a community as well. You can choose which, if any, communities you want to be part of. I met some amazing people with the clubs I joined and found ways to connect with folks from back home. A change in perspective can make a real big difference on how you see and navigate Williams, it’s (mostly) up to you!

Name: Abed Togas
Class Year: 2025 
Pronouns: he/him/his
Major: (prospective) English, American Studies
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Campus activities: CISA Co-Chair, Matriculate College Advising, After-school Tutor, EOS Mentor, Asian Dance Troupe, SHSS
Most memorable Williams experience: Late night study sessions with my entry-mates that were really just hours of procrastination that consisted of endless talks about life or making stupid TikToks.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: Don’t be intimidated by those who come from wealthy and privileged backgrounds that may seem more “distinguished” than yours. You belong here and you are incredibly deserving of taking up space and achieving success at Williams as everyone else. 

Name:  Laurel Swanson
Class year:  2023
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:  Chemistry & WGSS
Hometown:  West Bath, Maine
Campus activities:  The Aristocows A Cappella, Matriculate College Advising, Women’s Rugby, MSRC tutor, & Chem research!
Most memorable Williams experience: My first mountain day! I did the 3-mile hike, which was rough, but it was a great opportunity to get closer to some of my friends, and then I had my first performance with the Aristocows on top of Stony Ledge!
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: Don’t be afraid to be yourself! Be a little silly or talk about things that bring you joy. I know that it’s stressful coming into college and everyone wants to be cool and impressive, but the best way to feel at home on campus and find your people is to be yourself! <3

Name: Erok Iyamu 
Class year: 2025 
Pronouns: he/him/his 
Major: American Studies + Economics 
Hometown: Newark, NJ 
Campus activities: BSU: Black Student Union, WASO: Williams African Student Organization, MARGINS: Students of Color in Business, ALHAMBRA: pro-bono student consulting group strategist, TABLE: Chair of Committee on Educational Affairs
Most memorable experiences: Winter Study was a memorable experience for me because I was able to meet so many more people around campus and take a fun class! 
Words of wisdom: reach out, reach out, reach out! feel free to ask questions if you are uncertain or would like advice on anything — generally speaking, people at Williams love to support one another. 

Name: Bishesh Subba
Class Year: 2025
Pronouns: He/him/his
Major: Undecided
Hometown: Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
Campus Activities: Board member of SASA, HSA, Mentor for EOS
Most Memorable Williams Experience: Winter Study. I didn’t know what to expect coming back to campus, but it was an enjoyable time. I took a course about management consulting, which was interesting and something I had little knowledge of. I got to spend more time with friends and participate in things I enjoy like intramural basketball, watching movies e.t.c. 
Words of wisdom for incoming first-years: Be your own competition. Meaning, don’t try to compare your success or limitations to someone else. Everyone is different, so your competition should be yourself and becoming a better version of yourself every day.

Name: Karen Liu
Class Year: 2025
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Major: Economics and History
Hometown: Queens, New York
Campus Activities: Ephskate, Williams Firsts, CASO
Most Memorable Williams Experience: Running into the Green River with entrymates the night before the first one of us left for the summer, Nerf gun fights during Winter Study, stargazing in Cole Field
Words of Wisdom for Incoming Firsts Students: Let yourself have fun! Explore! Don’t be afraid of trying new activities, meeting new people, taking different classes. Give yourself time to see what Williams has to offer! Don’t be scared because we all have your back!

Name: Angie An
Class: 2025
Pronouns: she/her
Major: History and Statistics
Hometown: Murrieta, CA
Campus activities: Classroom Helpers at Williamstown Elementary School, Circle of Women, The Record (podcast team!), ENGL 113 TA, WRAPS
Most Memorable Williams Experience: My friend and I went to see the cows at Stone Hill for the first time a couple weeks ago (photo for proof). They’re so nice! And smelly! 
Words of Wisdom for Incoming Firsts Students: Make mistakes. You’ll feel dumb in the moment but you’ll feel dumber if you make the same mistake later on in life… so do it now!

Name:  Karla Aleman-Valencia aka Karl
Class year:  2025
Pronouns:  she/they
Major:  Comparative Literature & Art History
Hometown:  Las Vegas, Nevada
Campus activities: RITMO, Williams Firsts, & Spoon (Off-Campus)
Most memorable Williams experience: Homecoming because it brought everyone out and showed me the majority of the Williams population. I spent most of the day with RITMO and had a blast dancing and watching the game. It also allowed me to witness the strong ties alumni have to Williams. Overall, it was a great space to exhibit school spirit and bond with other Ephs! 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: Get out of your dorm! Explore! As someone who didn’t get out as much as I would have liked, I would advise y’all to seek new experiences and learn from them. It might be scary or uncomfortable at first but push on, it’ll be 100% worth it.

Name:  Elizette Santana-Caraballo
Class Year: 2025
Pronouns: she/they 
Major: Undeclared but considering American Studies and Psychology 
Hometown: Newark, NJ
Campus Activities: Ritmo Board, Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SoCA) Board, Classroom Help at Lanesborough Elementary, Wardrobe Crew at the’62 Center for Theater and Dance 
Most Memorable Experience: My first Ritmo performance because it showed me that even though I am away from home, I will always have a community to consider family on campus. My first show on the team show brought me closer to my teammates and helped me become comfortable with doing things I had never done before. 
Words of Wisdom: Take it easy. It can be very easy to feel like you are not doing enough, but just know that you are doing enough and you are on the right path to success. Do not feel pressured to be a part of a ton of clubs or have secured summer plans, it is okay to take a break sometimes you deserve it! 

Name: Nehemiah Cesar
Class Year: 2023
Pronouns: she/her
Major: Biology & French 
Hometown: Kapolei, Hawaii
Campus Activities: Students of Caribbean Ancestry Board, Accessibility Coordinator wit the Office of Accessible Education
Most Memorable Experiences: After a long week, my friends and I love to get together and wind down. This might mean watching hilariously bad movies (looking at you Tyler Perry’s A Fall From Grace) or playing Jackbox. It’s a great way to take the edge off, especially as things get hectic later in the semester.
Words of Advice: Be kind to yourself! As a first-year, you’re about to enter a huge adjustment period. I’d love for everyone to adjust to Williams swimmingly well, but it’s also okay if that’s not quite the case. Even if things get difficult here or your experience is not quite as you imagined it, it’s important to remember a couple things. You worked hard to get into this school, there is a community of people who’d love to support you, and (most important of all) you belong here.

Name:  Angel Santiago
Class year:  2025
Pronouns:  he/him/his
Major:  Math & Sociology, LatinX Studies Concentration
Hometown:  Los Angeles, California
Campus activities:  Williams Film Club Board, Vista Board, Vive Board, Sports Information Assistant
Most memorable Williams experience: My most memorable time here at Williams was during a day in Spring. All of my friends had finished their work and we were heading into the weekend, so we decided to go to the green river and the jumping hole. After that we went to eat in North Adams and just relaxed for the rest of the day. It was a much needed break, and I’m glad we did it.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: Life here at Williams is a big change, you’ll be living with friends, independent, and so much more that you’ll find out for yourselves. Just remember that throughout this time, you’re allowed to take breaks, to take time for yourself, let yourself feel, and find what works for you. People are always around to support you and give you time for whatever you need.

Name:  Emily Hidalgo Romero
Class year:  2025
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:  Undecided (CS/Statistics/Japanese)
Hometown:  Nokomis, FL
Campus activities:  Williams Firsts Board, Vive!, Table Tennis, WRAPS
Most memorable Williams experience: A snowball fight I had during winter study with my friends got on the college front webpage! The season’s here are beautiful and experiencing snow during winter break was magical.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: Life at Williams can be a roller coaster. On top of academics, you’re juggling social life and probably life back home too. A lot of things can happen during your time here and I want you to know that you’re not alone. You have the OL leaders and the rest of the firsts fam to lean on. You got this!!

Name: Shirley Lin 
Class Year: 2023 
Pronouns: she/her/hers 
Major: Economics and Chinese 
Hometown: Flushing, NY 
Campus Activities: Alumni Relations Office (Work Study), Chinese American Student Organization (CASO), Margins Finance Club, Williams First Board, Women in BusMost Memorable Williams Experience: It was 3 AM on December 16, 2019. I just finished my last final of freshman fall and had to go drop off my essay at my professor’s mailbox in Hollander. On my way back to Mission, I saw a deer hanging out on Frosh Quad. I wasn’t sure if the deer was real or not since it was standing really still. I also wasn’t sure if I was just seeing things since I had just spent hours writing a 10-page paper. As I turned the corner on the path I was walking on, the deer turned its head and I sprinted into Willy F because I was scared. It was a very memorable end to my first semester at Williams 🙂 
Words of Wisdom: You 1000% belong here! If you think you’re the only one struggling, you’re wrong! People around you are also struggling. Make friends in your classes! I did better in classes where I had someone to study with and do problem sets. There are many resources available on campus – take advantage! You are entitled to them! If there’s an extracurricular activity you want to join, join it now! Don’t wait because you never know what will come in the way (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic).  Be yourself and you will attract your people!