Meet Our Team

Amy Nguyen '22

Amy 2 Hometown: Des Moines, ​IA
High School
: Johnston High​ S​chool
Major
: Computer Science and Mathematics
Activities on campus
: QuestBridge Low-Income Club (QBLIC), Southeast Asian Students Association (SEASA), Asian Students Association (ASA), Womxn in Computer Sciences (WiCS), Amherst Women in STEM (AWIS) Languages Spoken: Vietnamese (Native), English (Native), Japanese (Beginner), Spanish (Beginner)
Hobbies
: Cooking, Listening to music, Bullet Journaling        
Pronouns
: She/Her/Hers

Hi, hello! My name is Amy! Computer sciences and Mathematics double major from Des Moines, IA. I was flown in for Be A Mammoth (BAM), where I met lots of friends I'm still close to today and - at the time - class of 2020 diversity interns who really influenced me. Afterwards, I knew I wanted to be part of this team. So here I am!

I learned about Amherst via the QuestBridge application process. All of high-school, I did my best to conceal the fact that I was low-income. I went to a fairly wealthy public high-school where my peers assumed I was of similar status. I was certain it'd be impossible to go to a school of my dreams... but December 2018 I found out I matched to Amherst. It wasn't till I got to Amherst that I began finding strength in my low income identity. The first generation and/or low-income community on campus has helped me grow into the individual that I am today. 

Please email me if you’re interested in talking about my Amherst experience: adjusting to a prestigious institution as a first generation and low income student, finding community, and self-care.


Kauila Tengan '22

Kauila

Hometown: Honolulu, HI
High School: Kamehameha Schools at Kapālama
Major: Environmental Studies 
Activities on campus: Amherst College Rugby, Indigenous and Native Citizens Association (INCA), Jiu Jitsu at Amherst College, Buddhist Meditation Group
Hobbies: Anything outdoors, working out, meditating, hanging out with friends
Pronouns: ​H​e/​H​im/​H​i​s​

Aloooha! My name is Kauila, and I am a junior pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies.  Growing up in Hawai‘i, I spend a lot of time in nature. I enjoy hiking, visiting waterfalls, going to the beach, and cliff jumping. I participate in numerous clubs on campus as it is a great way to meet new people and connect to the rest of the community.

I learned about Amherst College through College Horizons, a Community Based Organization (CBO) that connects indigenous students with need-blind liberal arts institutions. I attended the ​Early Overnight for Native Students (EONS) and Access to Amherst (A2A) the following fall and instantly fell in love with the campus and community. Coming to school on the East Coast was a massive leap outside of my comfort zone. However, Amherst has provided me with many amazing opportunities, and I’ve made great friends along the way. Being the only native Hawaiian​ on campus​ last year, I applied to be a Diversity Outreach Intern in hopes of changing that. No matter where you are from, I want you to know that there is a place for you on campus as long as you are willing to work for it and claim it.

If you have any questions about the application process, or what it’s like to be so far from home, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me. I look forward to meeting you! ​ 


 Manuel Medina '22

Manny

Hometown: ​Bronx, NY  
High School
: The Browning School
Major
: Prospective Neuroscience
Activities on campus
: La Causa, Choral Society, Intramural Soccer
Hobbies
: Running, blasting music, playing piano, eating, watching Criminal Minds and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and not color-matching with the rest of the team.
Pronouns
: ​H​e/​H​im/​H​i​s​

Hey!! My name is Manny, and I’m a junior from The Bronx pursuing a major in Neuroscience! I attended a small all-guys private school for high school, made possible through my involvement with the TEAK Fellowship, a Community Based Organization (CBO) in NYC that helps talented students from low income families get into selective high schools and colleges, an incredible resource that offered consistent support as I adjusted to a private school environment. On campus, I’m involved in La Causa, an affinity group for LatinX students, and choral society.

I learned about Amherst primarily through TEAK, as they organized college visits, and spoke with older generations of students that applied and attended. I ended up attending the Access to Amherst (A2A) in September of my Senior year, and it became an important deciding factor as I applied to Amherst Early Decision.

Everything feels as if it has come full circle as I saw the incredible work the Diversity Outreach Interns did when I visited three years ago, and I felt the desire to attend Amherst and really have a lasting impact on prospective students. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about how my experience at Amherst has played out, the application process, or whatever else comes to mind!


Noni Akintunde '22

Noni

Hometown: Cleveland, OH
High School
: Cleveland School of Architecture and Design
Major
: English, Film and Media Studies, and Theatre and Dance​
Activities on campus
: Queer Resource Center (QRC)​
Hobbies
: Listening to music​
Pronouns
: They/Them/Theirs  

Hi! My name is Noni and I’m a junior from Cleveland, Ohio. I don’t know what my major is yet, but I’m considering English, Film and Media Studies, and Theatre and Dance. On campus, I work in the Queer Resource Center as well. When I’m not working, I’m probably listening to music.

I knew nothing about Amherst until my high school college counselor told me about Access to Amherst (A2A). From the first time I step foot on campus, I knew Amherst was the place for me, and the Diversity Outreach Interns during A2A really helped me see myself in a space like Amherst. I knew once I got to Amherst, I had to apply to be a Diversity Outreach Intern, and it means so much to me that I can support prospective students during their college application process.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about being black and queer on campus, being a first generation, low income student, the application process in general, or anything else on your mind!


Jeanyna Garcia '23

Headshot of Jeanyna with just green trees in the background.

Hometown: Washington Heights, New York City! 
High School
: Columbia Secondary School
Major
: Environmental Studies
Activities on campus
: Eco-Rep, La Causa, QuestBridge, Green Room 
Hobbies: Jamming to K-pop, singing, reading Webtoons, bird watching, exploring town, eating and cooking good food
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers  

 

Hi everyone! I’m Jeanyna Garcia, a sophomore at Amherst College who’s super excited to join the Diversity Outreach team. Ever since stepping foot on campus during Access to Amherst (A2A) as a senior, I was drawn by the super cool windbreakers that the Diversity Outreach Interns wore and knew from that very first sight that I had to become an intern if I got into Amherst, and here I am! But, in all honesty, beyond earning cool swag, I really want to create and spur that same magic and wonder the Diversity Outreach Interns and the rest of the Amherst community created for me during A2A, and empower students of color, first generation, undocumented, or low income students to see themselves reach their potential and succeed in college and beyond. 

If you see me during Admitted Students Day or during A2A, feel free to say hi or ask me anything, whether it be Amherst or non-Amherst related! 


Lauren Ju '23

Lauren Hometown: Fullerton, CA
High School
: Fairmont Preparatory Academy
Major
: Prospective Biochemistry with a certificate in Culture, Health, and Science
Activities on campus
: Amherst Women in STEM (AWIS), Reader to Reader, Circus Magazine
Hobbies: Art, playing video games (Fire Emblem, Breath of the Wild, Octopath), twitter, eating
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers  

Hello! I’m Lauren, and I’m a sophomore from LA/Orange County (go Ktown!!). I’m thinking of majoring in Biochemistry with a certificate in Culture, Health, and Science.

I didn’t know much about Amherst during the application process. Nobody from my high school had attended before, so it was only at the urging of my counselor and upperclassmen friends that I decided to apply. When the time came to commit, I was originally set on attending a university that was much closer to home and more comfortable. But upon being flown in for the Admitted Student Weekend, I found myself struck by the small class sizes, open curriculum, and genuine passion that the students I met had for the college.

Since then, I’ve found a really great community of friends and mentors that have supported me in acclimating to the struggles of New England weather, juggling my academic and home lives (which can be hard considering the distance), and the unfortunate deficit of BCD gobchang soondubu. 

The Diversity Outreach Intern Team has had a really positive impact on me and my decision to come here, and I’m so excited to be part of a group that works to create an inclusive, equitable Amherst community. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have!


Quentin Jeyaretnam '23

Quentin

Hometown: Singapore
High School
: Deerfield Academy
Major
: Economicsand Mathematics
Activities on campus
: Jazz @ Amherst, Consulting Club, Asian Students Association, Buddhist Group, Rock Climbing, Southeast Asian Students Association
Hobbies: Cooking, jam sessions, yoga & meditation, chess, hours of YouTube videos Languages Spoken: English, Mandarin
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Hey everyone! My name is Quentin, and I'm a junior from Singapore studying economics and math. Depending on the time of day, you’d either find me at the gym, a music practice room, or in Frost Library getting through my problem sets. I’m also a huge foodie and love to cook – hit me up for some handmade pasta!

Having spent two years in the Singapore Army between high school and college, I knew that transitioning back into the rigor of college life would be difficult. I decided to attend Amherst College because of its close community focused on inclusivity and diversity, where I knew I would be supported by my peers and professors and have access to resources and opportunities that would be much less attainable at a larger school, and this has made returning to school that much smoother and more enjoyable.

Feel free to reach out if you’d like to know more about adjusting to life in college, my experience as an international student studying halfway across the world from home, the many wonderful resources available on campus, or anything at all!


Sirus Wheaton '23

Headshot of Sirus with just trees in the background.

Hometown: ​Los Angeles, California 
High School
: Harvard Westlake
Major
: Prospective Economics and LJST
Activities on campus
: Black Students Union (BSU), WAMH Amherst College Radio, Men’s Club Soccer
Hobbies: Complaining about weather under 70 degrees, watching scary movies, playing soccer, Oreos, Wii Sports, hanging out with my friends, Tik Tok
Pronouns: He/Him/His

 

What’s up everyone! My name is Sirus and I am a sophomore from Los Angeles, California. I really am from View Park, but no one ever knows where that is so I just say LA. I am not sure what I what to major in but I am interested in Economics and LJST. I play a ton of soccer so you can probably catch me on one of the fields when it’s warm enough or playing in the gym.

My high school was a very isolating place for people like me who are both black and low income. Coming to the Diversity Open House, I knew Amherst wasn’t a place like this. Stepping onto campus I could feel the warmth and the love that is so apparent for all here. Now being an Amherst student that experience has only intensified. I have found so many groups of people who have dealt with so many similar things to myself in groups such as the Black Student Union. Amherst has a multitude of resources for anyone on campus, and I am so grateful for that.

Feel free to ask me any questions about anything or to send me a really funny Tik Tok!


Zaki Ellis M'hammedi Alaoui '24

Headshot of Zaki with just green trees in the background. Hometown: ​Milton, MA
High School
: Milton Academy
Major
: Neuroscience and Philosophy
Activities on campus
: Muslim Student Association E-Board, Neuroscience Research, Amherst College Rugby, Black Student Union
Hobbies: Reading manga and watching anime, playing baseball, reading philosophy, and spending quality time with friends and family  Languages Spoken: English, French
Pronouns: He/Him/His

Hi All! I’m Zaki Alaoui and I’m a sophomore from Milton, Massachusetts (20 minutes away from Boston). I am super excited to be a part of the Diversity Outreach Team! I am a neuroscience and philosophy major, but I am specifically interested in research within the fields of biology and neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, and the question of consciousness.

One fact about me is that I have gone to the same school my entire life leading up to Amherst. I started at Milton Academy at 4 months old in the infant room and have stayed there up until high school graduation. I loved my school experience, but I know that there is still work to be done to get underrepresented students into higher education and predominantly white institutions. I was a participant of DIVOH (now A2A) during my senior year and taking part in the program really helped me find my way to Amherst. I was able to see how much Amherst cared for their students and community members before I was even accepted into the school. This really helped me realize that Amherst was the place for me.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the Amherst experience, what it was like to navigate starting college during a pandemic, or the several resources and support systems on campus!


Jonatan Ortega '24

Headshot of Jonatan with just green trees in the background. Hometown: ​Oklahoma City, OK
High School
: Southeast High School
Major
: American Studies and Political Science with a concentration in Immigration and Latinx Studies
Activities on campus
: Meiklejohn Peer Mentor, MRC Students Liaison for DACA/Undocumented Community, Research Assistant, DASAC (Dance and Step at Amherst College), La Causa (Latinx Affinity group), Anti-Racism Student Advisory Committee
Hobbies: I really enjoy dancing and choreographing; I love the color green (some may say obsessively); I just recently started enjoying going to the gym; and, lastly, (pre-COVID) I loved going and exploring coffee shops!  Languages Spoken: Spanish, English
Pronouns: He/Him/His/El

Hello everyone! My name is Jonatan Ortega and I am from Oklahoma City, OK. I am originally from Calvillo, Aguascalientes Mexico but immigrated to the United States at the age of four. At Amherst, I have dedicated my time to exploring my passion and own interests in the wide variety of courses offered here. However, most of my classes have revolved around American Studies, Sociology, and Political Science. As a Latinx, FLI, Queer, Undocumented/DACAmented student from a place like Oklahoma City, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to finally explore what I wanted to and it has been great. 

However, coming to Amherst was extremely challenging. But, I hope that I am able to support you in any way possible as I now feel confident in my own sense of belonging within this predominantly white space. I am eager to help those who may have questions about similar experiences/anxieties, so please, feel free to reach out!

Aside from the more serious things I do on campus, I am also a part of the Latinx Affinity Group on campus as well as DASAC (Dance and Step at Amherst College). Community can be found anywhere, and I found that finding a space where academics wasn’t the main focus of conversation and action really helped lower my levels of stress. Plus, who wouldn’t much rather dance than talk more about Hobbes and Lockean Theory… Anyway, if you have any other questions regarding involvement please let me know, some would say I am too involved lol oops. 

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions regarding Amherst, being FLI, or any other experience at Amherst College! Can’t wait to hear from you all. :)


Mica Nimkarn '24

Headshot of Mica with just green trees in the background. Hometown: ​Queens, New York
High School
: The Bronx High School of Science
Major
: Sexuality, Women's & Gender Studies
Activities on campus
: Asian Students Association, Southeast Asian Students Association, The Stream Magazine, Dance and Step at Amherst College, Asian and Pacific American Action Committee, Research in the Anthropology and SWAGS departments
Hobbies: Tap dance, embroidery, thrifting, cooking  Languages Spoken: English and Thai
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Hi everyone! I am Mica Nimkarn, a sophomore from Queens, New York. I am an Anthropology and Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies (SWAGS) major and I am currently doing research in the Anthropology department studying Thai international students and assisting in the SWAGS department. I am Thai-American, First-generation Low Income (FLI) and queer. On campus I am involved in Asian affinity groups and advocating for an Asian American Studies department on campus. I am also a dancer and a part of Dance and Step at Amherst College. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about being any of the identities I listed above at Amherst, or any of the clubs I am a part of!


Mikayah Monique Parsons '24

Headshot of Mikayah with just green trees in the background. Hometown: ​Taylorsville, North Carolina
High School
: Alexander Early College
Major
: English and American Studies
Activities on campus
: The Indicator, Event Chair of the QuestBridge Low-Income Community, Dining Services, Wellness Team
Hobbies: Creative writing, scrapbooking, going to the gym, running
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

 

Hi, everyone! I'm Mikayah (she/her/hers). I'm from Taylorsville, North Carolina, but I consider Amherst my home :) Since coming to Amherst, I have taken a leadership role on the e-board of the QuestBridge Low-Income Community. I matched to Amherst through QuestBridge, and I couldn't be happier about how my match turned out. I identify as a first-generation, low-income, queer student of color (Black and Latina). My experience at Amherst has certainly been impacted by my identities, but it has been primarily positive. If you have any questions about how my various identities show up on the Amherst College campus, feel free to reach out to me! It can be hard to navigate the culture at Amherst at first, and I still struggle understanding resources even now. However, the thing I love most about Amherst is the community – and I already consider you a part of mine. In addition to QuestBridge, I participate in the Wellness Team, the Indicator (lit mag on campus), and dining services (a job I highly recommend). If you have any questions about these roles or anything else, I highly encourage you to reach out :)

Questions for the interns? Email diversity@amherst.edu. Please keep in mind this email is not monitored during summer or winter vacations.