Diversity: The art of thinking independently together

Zeina Amhaz '17

Zeina Amhaz '17 Name: Zeina Amhaz ‘17
Hometown: Las Vegas NV
High School: Green Valley High School
Major: Economics and Computer Science
Activities on Campus: Hip-Hop Club, Amherst Women in Computer Science, First Generation Student Association, Middle East Studies and Students Association
Hobbies: Tasseography, vegan cooking, reading, anything related to coffee, long walks on the beach
Email: zamhaz17@amherst.edu

Hello! My name is Zeina, and I’m a senior from Las Vegas, NV. My parents are Lebanese immigrants, and after my older sister, I’m the second person in my family to go to college. I’m an Economics and Computer Science double major, but thanks to the open curriculum, I’ve been able to take classes across the board from Asian Languages and Math, to Russian Literature and Philosophy. Last spring, I had the life-changing opportunity to study abroad in Budapest, Hungary and travel all throughout Europe. Aside from being a Diversity Intern, I cofounded Hip-Hop Club, I’m an organizer for Middle East Studies and Students Association, I work for the Mead Art Museum, and I’ve tutored at Girls Inc. I’m also an active member of “Hello, Girl!”, a group for Amherst women in Computer Science, and the First Generation Students Association. I love to talk Middle Eastern politics, veganism, and Amherst College, but, much like Kanye West, my favorite topic to discuss is Kanye West, so let’s grab a coffee and chat!

Carlos Johnson-Cruz '17

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Name: Carlos Johnson-Cruz ‘17
Hometown:  San Jose, California
High School: The Harker School
Major: Neuroscience
Activities on campus: Hip-Hop Club, DJing, Neuroscience research
Hobbies: Reading, music, video games
Email: cjohnsoncruz17@amherst.edu

Hey everybody! When I visited Amherst during the 2012 Diversity Open House, I felt like I could be immersed in a culture of intellectual sharpness that would foster personal growth. I’m a Neuroscience major, but I've still taken a host of interesting non-science classes via the awesome open curriculum. I DJ around campus and on a radio show, and do neuroscience research at UMass Amherst. Outside the classroom, I've had amazing opportunities to learn more about myself and the world: half-serious long talks with friends in the Dining Hall, late nights in Frost Library, or through uncountable other experiences. Throughout the ups and downs of college life, I think that Amherst remains a pretty good fit for me; so if you've got questions about the place, let me know.

Brittanie Lewis '17 

Brittanie Lewis '17 Name: Brittanie Lewis ‘17
Hometown: Modesto, California
High School: Fred C. Beyer High School
Major: History
Activities on campus: Research in the History Department, Reader to Reader Inc., Amherst Women’s Club Soccer, Community Engagement Orientation Trip (CEOT) Leader
Hobbies: Drawing portraits, playing soccer, following/discussing current events, taking naps
Email: blewis17@amherst.edu

Hello! My name is Brittanie Lewis and I am a first-generation, low-income senior from semirural Modesto, California. If you’re wondering where Modesto is, it’s about an hour and a half east of San Francisco in California’s Central Valley. I was actually the first student in my high school’s 30+ year history to both apply to and be accepted by Amherst College, a statistic that highlights how few students from my region consider schools like Amherst.

I'm studying History in an intellectually stimulating environment that encourages unprecedented personal growth. I really could not ask for a more all-encompassing experience. My time here has, of course, been fraught with challenges, but I feel like the community here grows and learns in part through the hardships its students face individually and collectively. I chose to attend Amherst mostly because of the small size. At a school with less than 1800 undergraduate students, I have had absolutely no problems developing meaningful relationships with my professors, finding research opportunities, or getting the personalized help I need in classes. With so few students and such a large endowment, Amherst absolutely has the resources to help you realize any goal you may set for yourself during your undergraduate experience.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I look forward to helping you in any way that I can!

Noah Morton '17

Noah Morton '17 Name: Noah Morton '17
Hometown: Harlem, New York
High School: Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics
Major: English
Activities on campus: Diversity Intern, Intramural Basketball
Hobbies: Conversation, walking, sharing stories, video games
Email: nmorton17@amherst.edu

Greetings Everyone! My name is Noah Morton and I am a senior from Harlem, New York. I spent my junior year on a quest studying abroad. Last fall, I traveled to Varanasi, India focusing on how people live lives that people deem meaningful through taking classes, living in a home stay, and visiting various communities within the city. The quest continued Spring Semester to Ahmedabad, India; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Cape Town, South Africa where I focused on how people cultivate a sense of belonging based upon where people come from. Now, a new journey awaits! I am excited to be back at Amherst and return to the Admissions Office where I am a Diversity Intern. I look forward to the conversations with you. The wonderful part about this journey at Amherst is that the treasures of one's experiences are shared. I look forward to traveling through new worlds with conversations with you. That is why I am here. Please feel free to contact me. Remember, the quest continues!

Elaine Vilorio '17

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Name: Elaine Vilorio ‘17
Hometown: Hackensack, NJ
High School: Hackensack High School
Major: Black Studies and Latin American, Caribbean, & Latinx Studies
Activities on campus: West African dance, research assistant for one of my favorite professors
Hobbies: Listening to podcasts (I recommend The Read and Bodega Boys), lifting, reading sci fi/fantasy
Email: evilorio17@amherst.edu

As a low-income, first-generation Dominican American, navigating college admissions was rough. While a wonderful person, my high school guidance counselor could only do so much with hundreds of other students assigned to her. My parents were strong supporters of my applying to college, but they didn’t know much about the U.S.’s college admissions process. Thankfully, visiting Amherst during the Diversity Open House (DIVOH) helped. DIVOH didn’t just help me understand the process of applying to Amherst, but the process of applying to colleges in general. I was particularly inspired by the Diversity Interns I met, so much so I had to become one myself. I love the College’s intimate size, its array of talented and passionate people, its open curriculum and academic rigor, and the beautiful Pioneer Valley. In my time here, I’ve written and edited for The Amherst Student, AC Voice, and Amherst Soul and have served on the executive boards of the Black Student Union and the Latinx student organization La Causa. I’ve also lived in Charles Drew Memorial House, which is a dorm for people interested in celebrating black culture in all its diverse forms. This year, you can find me writing my thesis, applying for post-Amherst jobs, and eating way too much Puerto Rican food from nearby Holyoke (closest thing to Dominican food in the immediate area and good in its own right). For fan mail, videos of Drake/Champagne Papi, or questions, hit up my inbox.

Julie Xia '17

Julia Xia '17 Name: Julie Xia ‘17
Hometown: Mukilteo, WA
High School: Kamiak High School
Major: Computer Science and Environmental Studies
Activities on Campus: Women’s Ultimate Frisbee, Green Amherst Project, Outing Club, WAMH Radio
Hobbies: hiking, thrifting, doing crossword puzzles, eating fish tacos
Email: jxia17@amherst.edu

Hey guys! My name is Julie and I’m a senior from Mukilteo, WA about ten miles north of Seattle (PNW pride!). I’m a computer science and environmental studies double major. Leaving high school, I knew I loved being in and studying the environment and I loved building code but I was nervous that the rigors of college academics were going to make me choose between the two. It’s now four years later and Amherst has not only supported me in continuing with both, but has also helped me start figuring out how to combine them. After graduation I’ll be working in NYC as a software engineer at a company that has lots of cool environmental projects.

On campus I’m a member of the environmental activism club, the Green Amherst Project, a player on the women’s ultimate team “Sparkle Motion” and an avid runner/hiker/be-outsider. I get to spend a ton of time exploring beautiful Western Mass. When I’m not communing with nature you can find me TA-ing for the Computer Science department, co-hosting my time-travel themed radio show, or doing a crossword over breakfast in the dining hall. I had the chance to spend fall semester of my junior year abroad in Budapest, Hungary (egészségedre!) and both semesters of my sophomore year living and performing in our arts-themed dorm, Marsh Haus. Sometimes I study too. I was drawn to Amherst by the people and the possibilities; everyone here cares deeply about something or another, and they are always able to find some part of the Amherst community that will support that passion. Email me if you have any questions – I’d love to chat!

Lehua Matsumoto '18

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Name: Lehua Matsumoto ‘18
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
High school: Kamehameha Schools Kapalama
Major (or potential major): Computer Science, Native and Indigenous Studies Five College Certificate Program
Activities on campus: Book & Plow Farm, Diversity Intern, Native American Students Organization, Sparkle Motion (Women’s Ultimate), Green Amherst Project
Hobbies: Reading, traveling, writing, running, hanging out at the beach
Email: mamatsumoto18@amherst.edu

(Lehua is away on study abroad this semester, but returning soon to the Diversity Intern team!)

Kia ora! I’m currently studying abroad in Aotearoa New Zealand, but wishing all the best to those back at Amherst! Until we get the chance to meet in person, here’s some info about myself: Coming from Hawaii, so many things about Amherst were new to me: the changing colours of the leaves in fall, the harsh cold of winter, and all the people! The people are my favourite part about being at Amherst. I also attended DivOH during my senior year of high school. Stepping foot on campus, I instantly fell in love with everyone and everything offered here. Interacting with the students, the beautiful fall foliage, and making my way through all of this unfamiliar territory made me feel ready to take on this college experience. Two years later, it’s all very familiar to me now, but I still love it! I enjoy going on hikes nearby, running through the bird sanctuary, or just hanging out on the quad (when the weather isn’t freezing). I came to Amherst with a slight interest in Computer Science, and now I’m majoring in it! I’m also interested in Environmental Studies and Native and Indigenous Studies, particularly the intersectionality between people, technology, and the environment. Beyond academics and my work as a Diversity Intern, I harvest vegetables and clean the greenhouse at our campus organic farm, Book & Plow, and I’m a member of Sparkle Motion, our Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. I am co-chair of the Native American Students Organisation, and also a member of the Green Amherst Project. There is an infectious energy everywhere on campus, feeling students to take charge of their education and make the most out of their time at Amherst. If you have any questions, or just want to talk, feel free to email me. Hope to see you soon!

Emmanuel Osunlana '18

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Name: Emmanuel Osunlana ‘18
Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
High School: College Academy at Broward College
Major (or potential major): Philosophy and Mathematics
Activities on campus: Kinetic, Jazz Combo, Black Student Union
Hobbies: Drumming, debating inconsequential things with consequential people, reading fantasy and science fiction
Email: eosunlana18@amherst.edu

Hello guys! My name is Emmanuel but most people call me Manny. I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria but I moved to the U.S. at a young age. I am a declared philosophy major and a prospective mathematics double major. I hail from the “too hot to handle” South Florida. Currently, I serve as the campus co-director for the Amherst chapter of Kinetic, a student led social innovation incubator focused on homelessness, food insecurity, and environmental sustainability. Additionally, I am a Diversity Intern, a Peer Career Advisor, a Resident Counselor, and a jazz drummer (fun fact: I drummed for an album released on Spotify; look up “Salmon Shorts”). My time on campus thus far has shown me the power of leveraging our school resources fully maximize individual success. Amherst College offers the opportunity for continuous self-improvement through constant learning.  I love watching and helping other people succeed, so feel free to reach out to me with any of your questions!

 Obinna Ukogu '18

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Name: Obinna Ukogu ‘18

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Secondary School: Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja

Major: Biochemistry & Biophysics and Mathematics
Activities on campus: Teaching Assistant for Intermediate Calculus, Fencing Team, Photographer for the Olio, Museum Docent at the Beneski Museum of Natural History
Hobbies: Biking, playing basketball, writing poetry
Email: oukogu18@amherst.edu

Hi! My name is Obinna and I am a Nigerian from Lagos, Nigeria. Before coming to Amherst, I went to boarding school in my nation’s capital (Abuja) for six years. Coming to Amherst was my first journey out of my country; it has definitely been worth it. Because I’m an international student, I often get asked: Why Amherst? My response is often about “the fit”. I wanted to attend a small liberal arts institution where I could pursue my diverse interests. Amherst stood out to me as the one place I considered where I could get small class sizes, engaging professors and a rigorous education all at the same time. I made my final decision after reading the student blogs to get a sense of what life at Amherst was like. Obviously, I liked what I found. In the end, my love for Amherst was strong enough to compel me to make this trip far away from home.

One important thing I like people to know about me right off the bat is that I am a huge Coldplay fan, and as a result, I embody all the good traits of a decent human being that are not found in your average person (just joking…well not really). Finally, I am a terrific listener so please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, thoughts or just want to say hi.

Sophia Salazar '18

Sophia Salazar '18 Name: Sophia Salazar '18
Hometown: Carson, CA
High school: Cerritos High School, CA
Major (or potential major): Political Science and Sociology
Activities on campus: Tour Guide, WAMH Radio DJ, writer/photographer for The Amherst Student (newspaper), Education Professions Fellow

Hobbies: Volunteering, traveling, discovering new music, reading, trying new foods
Email: ssalazar18@amherst.edu

(Sophia is away on study abroad this year, but returning soon to the Diversity Intern team!)

Hi everyone! My name is Sophia and I am a junior originally from Southern California (though my father moved to New York City, so  now I get the best of both coasts). Yearning for a refreshing out-of-state college experience, yet lacking the funds to visit the gorgeous New England campuses I only saw in photos, I was lucky enough to discover online Amherst College's DIVOH program as a high school senior. It was the awesome Diversity Intern staff and programming that made my DIVOH trip so memorable, and inspired me to apply to become a Diversity Intern once I became a student here. Being an Amherst College student has been such a transformative experience so far, and has allowed me to not only learn from world-class professors, but also from my infinitely awesome and interesting peers. I’m studying abroad this year in the U.K. at the University of Oxford, but if you’d like to chat I’m always just an email away!

Joanna Booth ‘19

Joanna Booth '19 Name: Joanna Booth ‘19
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
High School: Germantown Friends School
Major: Black Studies and Studio Art
Activities on Campus: Women’s Tennis Team, Event Coordinator for the Black Student Union, Pride Alliance,  African and Caribbean Student Union

Hobbies: Sketching, reading, playing tennis, listening to music, blogging
Email: Jbooth19@amherst.edu

Hey! My name is Joanna Booth and I’m from the City of Brotherly Love, otherwise known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Coming from such a big and bustling city, Amherst town was definitely a change of scenery, but such a lovely break from the noise of Philly. Here at Amherst I participate on the Women’s Tennis team, the E-board of the Black Student Union, and previously I served on the E-board of Pride Alliance. These are just a few of the communities that are present here on campus, and yet they have played a huge role in keeping me grounded and helping me feel integral to the Amherst student body.

Currently I’m considering declaring a Black Studies and Studio Art double major, although that is not set in stone. One of my favorite aspects of Amherst is the fact that there are so many options in courses you can take either here on campus, or one of the other colleges in the Five College Consortium. Amherst definitely offers a rich range of majors it sometimes makes it hard to choose! Please if you have any questions, feel free to email me, I would love to talk to you!

Jonathan Jackson ‘19

Jonathan Jackson '19 Name: Jonathan Jackson
Hometown: Detroit, MI
High School: Detroit Edison Public School Academy, Early College of Excellence
Major: Art & The History of Art
Activities on Campus: Diversity Intern, Photographer for the Office of Communications
Hobbies: Art and Music enthusiast  
Email: jmjackson18@amherst.edu

Hello, my name is Jonathan Jackson and I am a second-year student at Amherst College. Here at Amherst, I am a Studio Art major focusing in Photography and lens based art making. If I’m not working away in the studios of Fayerweather hall, you can find me running around town making photographs and drinking coffee. I was drawn to Amherst in the pursuit of an education in the arts that would be independently led and that would allow enough room in each semester to pursue other course material. Amherst met all of my needs, and within my first year challenged me to push my craft even further.

In October of 2013, I was able to visit campus for the Diversity Open House. I was drawn in by the college’s academic rigor and the energy of the students that I got to meet during that weekend. Nearly three and a half years later, and some of those students have become my closest friends. I was also struck by the beautiful landscape of western Massachusetts. Coming from a predominantly urbanized city, Amherst’s diverse nature between seasons –even winter - offered a needed change. I look forward to meeting you soon! If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Bobby Shogren ‘19

Bobby Shogren '19 Name: Bobby Shogren ‘19
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
High School: Southwest High School
Major (or potential major): Economics and Environmental Studies
Activities on campus: Men’s Lacrosse, Divest Amherst, Green Athletics, Outing Club, Amherst Dance
Hobbies: Traveling, reading, being outside with my friends
Email: rshogren19@amherst.edu

 Hey everyone! My name is Bobby and I’m a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m an Economics and Environmental Studies double major. Coming from a big public high school in the Midwest, I found that my counselor’s priority was getting as many kids to college as possible. As a result, the focus was primarily on huge public universities in the Midwest, and while these schools were perfect for a lot of people, I knew I wanted a smaller and more connected learning environment. Fortunately, through my parents and other mentors, I was able come to Amherst and discover that it is possible to both study the things you are passionate about and do the things you love outside of school at the same time.

On campus, I have been involved with the men’s lacrosse team, the Divest Amherst Movement, the Green Athletics Club and the Outing Club, and I am hoping to get much more involved in music and art groups on campus in the future. The part of Amherst that I love the most is the diversity of the student body. There is a truly unique group of people here who have remarkably different life experiences and points of view, but who all work together to make the Amherst community what it is. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about Amherst or your college search!

Alyssa Snyder ‘19

Alyssa Snyder '19 Name: Alyssa Snyder ‘19
Hometown: North Ogden, Utah
High School: Weber High School
Major: Completely and utterly undecided
Activities on Campus: QuestBridge, Reader to Reader, Orientation Leader, Girls Inc. of Holyoke, Outing Club, World Reads
Hobbies: Traveling, photography, reading, cats, hiking, camping, yoga, Zumba

Hi! My name is Alyssa and I am a sophomore from Utah. I came to the Admitted Students Weekend hosted by the Diversity Interns my senior year and fell in love with Amherst. Now I’ve come full circle by becoming a Diversity Intern! I hope to make all prospective students feel as welcome and included as I did when I came. Coming from a public high school in Utah, Amherst’s rigorous classes have been an adjustment, but they are a challenge I can't wait to get back to every semester. I love Amherst’s open curriculum because you can get a taste of many disciplines, but this also makes it hard to choose a major! I am currently looking at majors such as Black Studies, Sociology, American Studies, Sexuality, Women and Gender Studies, and Psychology to name a few. If you have any questions, I’d love to talk! My email is asnyder19@amherst.edu.

Aaron Yang ‘19

Aaron Yang '19 Name: Aaron Yang ‘19
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
High School: Germantown Friends School
Major: Sociology
Activities on campus: Ultimate
Hobbies: Hiking, tennis, cooking, watching Netflix
Email: azyang19@amherst.edu


Hello world. It’s me, Aaron. I am a sophomore from the beautiful city of Philadelphia (Fly Eagles Fly!). I am on the pre-med track here while majoring in sociology. I am from a low income household and identify as a first-generation student. When I was applying to colleges, I didn’t know anything about Amherst but after I came for my DIVOH weekend, I knew this was where I wanted to be. I am a member of the men’s Ultimate team ‘Army of Darkness.’ Around campus, you can find me tossing on the first year quad, procrastinating in Frost Library, or Val-sitting.

For me, applying to college was a long and toilsome process that I had to navigate mostly by myself. If you have any questions about Amherst, the stresses of applying to college, or just want to have a conversation, feel free to send me a message.