Williams Firsts Orientation Leaders 2019


Name:  Michelle Lopez
Class year:  2021
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:  American Studies; Latino/a Studies concentration
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Campus activities:  Pre-K Classroom helper, After school tutor, Justice League mentor, Matriculate Advising Fellow, Questbridge, Sisterhood, VISTA
Most memorable Williams experience:  Pool class at 7 in the morning with all of my friends, the top of Stone Hill, and getting lost in North Adams
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: You can’t suddenly transform into a new student who always does their work on time and never procrastinates, allow yourself to have fun. Everyone you meet is going to come from such different backgrounds, recognize that and understand that comparing yourself to them isn’t helpful. Do what makes you proud.

Name:  Yaznairy Cabrera
Class year:  2020
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:  Economics
Hometown:  Lawrence, MA
Campus activities:  Firsts Student Board, Sisterhood, Gospel Choir
Most memorable Williams experience:  Being on a mountain peak with my Leading Minds orientation group and just talking endlessly about our lives while viewing all of the Berkshires at a distance. The campus was illuminated in the valley below.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:
You are entirely enough and more capable than you know of succeeding here!


Name:  Adrian Oxley
Class year: 2020
Pronouns: he/him/his
Major: Political Science; Africana Studies concentration
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Campus activities: Sankofa Step Team, Lee’s Snackbar Cashier, BSU, on-&-off Kusika drummer, frequent collaborator with WCFM & ACE
Most memorable Williams experience: The 20th anniversary of Sankofa. So many alumni, including the 5 women who founded the step team, returned to see the spring show. We catered a meal for them in Dodd (shoutout La Fogata) and then we took a stroll down memory lane, reviewing all steps old and new.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: You’re more capable of flexing than you think. Do your thing, and don’t be afraid to stumble. We got you.

Name:  Connor Middleton
Class year:  2022
Pronouns:  he/him/his
Major:   (prospective) Economics
Hometown:  Miller Place, Long Island, NY
Campus activities:  Ritmo Latino, Gospel Choir, EOS & Justice League Mentoring for At-Risk Youth, Admissions Ambassador
Most memorable Williams experience:  Performing on Main Stage at Ritmo’s Noche de Melodia, singing in Chapin Hall with GC, watching Netflix in Jenness for many nights in a row with friends, Ritmolympics in the spring where we played a whole bunch of crazy, competitive games in the mud and almost exploded a borrowed grill with wayyyy too much lighter fluid.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  Williams is incredibly intentional about who they accept. There are no mistakes, you didn’t slip through the cracks, you belong here! We all learn and grow a lot while we’re here, but that’s one truth that stays constant. You won’t have all the answers, but we and the Firsts community are all here for you to help guide you along this first year and every year. We build each other up.

Name:  Daniel Rials
Class year:  2022
Pronouns:  he/him/his
Major:   (prospective) Economics and Sociology
Hometown:  Freeport, IL
Campus activities:  Williams College Outing Club, Queer Student Union, Tour Guide
Most memorable Williams experience:  Playing a 48 Mario Kart races with my entry in one sitting during Winter Study; Hiking Stone Hill with a few friends on a random Friday night
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  Don’t ever let anyone tell you or let yourself think that you are in the wrong place. You belong in and are integral to any space that you want to occupy, especially at Williams. Allow yourself to explore anything that seems interesting or exciting, and never let the fear of being out of place hold you back.

Name: Fernanda Gonzalez
Class year: 2022
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Major: (prospective) Comparative Literature
Hometown: Eagle Pass, TX
Campus activities: Queer Student Union Co-Chair, Gospel Choir, Vista
Most memorable Williams experience: Celebrating one of my best friend’s 19th birthday by walking to the Clark and seeing the sunrise, visiting MASS MoCA, having lunch at Burger King in North Adams, and then coming back to campus and helping in throwing a surprise birthday party for her at the Thompson Chapel basement.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: It’s okay to not know everything; we’re all here to learn more about each other and about ourselves and grow. Keep an open mind and try out things you’ve never done before. Remember you belong here.

Name:  Hamza Mankor
Class year:  2022
Pronouns:  he/him/his
Major:  (prospective) Political Theory, English, Sociology
Hometown: Jersey City, NJ
Campus activities: Track & Field, Cross Country, Society of Griffins, Black Student Union, WASO
Most memorable Williams experience: Messing around with my friends in my free time, and a road trip to Chicago with my cross country teammates; meeting amazing new people whether at Firsts Pre-O, First Days, parties, a conference to Princeton, or chilling in Baxter
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  Don’t let your fears control you — they are a chance to prove you can handle more than you think. Take risks! Whether it’s talking to new people (or not), trying out a new class or club, speaking your mind and taking up space, or doing something bold, the things you say yes to will always be more memorable.

Name:  JoJo Fernandez
Class year:  2020
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:   Psychology
Hometown:  Rio Rancho, NM
Campus activities:  ¡Vive!
Most memorable Williams experience:  Jumping into the Green River with my entrymates on my birthday.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  “When life gives you lemons, make apple juice and leave the world wondering how you did it” – My BFF KT

Name:  Kaylen Smith
Class year:  2022
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:   (prospective) Psychology/History Major & Africana Studies Concentration
Hometown:  Bremen, GA
Campus activities:  Black Student Union Board, MinCo, Gospel Choir, Tour Guide, First Gen Advisory Board, Rugby, Sisterhood, EOS Mentoring for At-Risk Youth
Most memorable Williams experience:  Going to the Africana50 Alumni Dinner with Prof. JMB and getting to talk to Black people who graduated from Williams; our gospel choir fall & spring concerts; loitering in Baxter with my friends
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  There’s no set “Williams experience,” so try not to compare yourself to other people; remember that everyone has a different perception of how they want their college experience to be. Don’t be scared to take up space here if you need to! If you ever get down, we got y’all.

Name:  Mykel Miller
Class year:  2020
Pronouns:  he/him/his
Major:   Biology Major with a Molecular Biology Concentration
Hometown:  Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, New York
Campus activities: Junior Advisor for Class of 2022, Track and Field Captain, Black Student Union
Most memorable Williams experience: Freshman year, after a really big snowstorm, I spent all day trying to convince my entry to go outside after our weekly snacks. Eventually we decided to do it and started to pelt each other with snow. Once other entries saw us, they started coming out and throwing snowballs at each other. Soon almost all the entries were outside and a free-for-all began. Easily the most fun I had all year long.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  Expand your idea of community. Coming into campus you may have the urge to find a group of people you find comfortable around and stay with them. While that is important, looking towards other students, staff, faculty, and Berkshire community members will allow you to see a greater world than just what classes can provide for you.

Name:  Oliver Behrens
Class year:  2022
Pronouns:  he/they
Major:   (prospective) Computer Science and Arabic Studies
Hometown:  Baltimore, Maryland
Campus activities:  Cap and Bells Student Theater, ‘62 Center Costume Shop Assistant, Queer Student Union
Most memorable Williams experience:  Watching movies on the giant projector in Paresky Auditorium every night of dead week
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students: There are people on this campus who want to help you. Never feel like a burden for reaching out. If you don’t know where to go, the Deans’ office can be a great place to start, even if you don’t think it’s “that big of a deal.”

Name:  Samuel Ojo
Class year: 2022
Pronouns:  he/his/him
Major:  (prospective) Economics
Hometown:  Brooklyn, NY
Campus activities:  Sankofa, WASO
Most memorable Williams experience: Performing at the NBC/KOFA show @ ‘62 Main Stage; sleeping in the woods with practically strangers during first days with WOOLF; Studying for finals in Schapiro; Final Stressbusters!
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  You might already have some ideas and expectations for what college will be like. Your experience might be totally different from what you expect, and that’s ok. What’s important is that you know the resources available for you here, and that you utilize them. People here willingly want to help you, don’t be afraid to ask. Give yourself time to adapt, grow, to do self-checkups and practice self-care. YOU GOT THIS!

Name:  Shalya Powell
Class year:  2022
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:   (prospective) English, Africana Studies
Hometown:  Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Campus activities:  Gospel Choir, Black Student Union Board, Queer Student Union, Questbridge
Most memorable Williams experience:  Performing at the Fall and Spring GC concerts, late nights at Jenness with friends, watching bad rom-coms and eating pizza, and thrift shopping in North Adams.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  Williams chose you for a reason. You belong here. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You’re not here to fulfill any “diversity” quota or anything remotely similar. And even though Williams chose you, they do not define you.

Name:  Sophia Shin
Class year: 2021
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Major: Political Science
Hometown:  Los Angeles, California
Campus activities:  Youtube, ACE Marketing Board, Kusika, Questbridge, The Williams Record
Most memorable Williams experience:  Doing work and goofing around with friends at late night Lee’s and all my friends’ rooms, Kusika tech week, late night deep talks & playing truth or dare or tea, magically meeting my main friend group during Firsts Pre-orientation, and spending long hours doing field work in North Adams for my documentary class
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts students:  Williams can get very overwhelming very fast during the school year, so make sure to have time alone to truly find yourself in college, make mistakes, forgive yourself, and practice self awareness. Prioritize your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Communicate your doubts, fears, and insecurities about being at Williams as soon as you can so we can all support you!