Diversity: The art of thinking independently together

Lehua Matsumoto '18

Lehua Matsumoto '18 Name: Lehua Matsumoto ‘18
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
High school: Kamehameha Schools Kapalama
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
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Hey! I’m Lehua, currently a senior and terrified at the thought of figuring out my life after graduation. Coming from Hawaii, so many things about Amherst were new to me: the changing colors of leaves in fall, the harsh cold of winter, and all the people! The people are my favorite part of Amherst. I attended DIVOH during my senior year of high school and, stepping foot on campus, I instantly fell in love with everyone and everything that was offered here. Interacting with new students, experiencing winter weather, and making my way through all of this unfamiliar territory for the past three years has made me feel ready to take on anything that comes my way! I came to Amherst with a slight interest in Computer Science and now I’m majoring in it! I’m also completing the Native and Indigenous Studies Five College Certificate program, which is similar to a minor with slightly fewer requirements than a major. Beyond classes and my work as a Diversity Intern, I have worked with various professors on campus to set up symposiums, organize First-Year Seminars, and act as a research assistant to their personal projects. I’m also a member of Sparkle Motion, our Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team, and Co-President of the Indigenous and Native Citizens Association. There is an infectious energy everywhere on campus, leading students to take charge of their education and make the most out of their time here. If you have any questions, or just want to talk, feel free to email me. Hope to see you soon!

Emmanuel Osunlana '18

Manny Osunlana '18.jpg

Name: Emmanuel Osunlana ‘18
Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
High School: College Academy at Broward College
Major: Philosophy
Activities on campus: Jazz, Logic TA
Hobbies: Drumming, debating inconsequential things with consequential people, reading fantasy and science fiction
Email: eosunlana18@amherst.edu
Pronouns: he/him/his

Hi! My name is Manny and I’m a senior philosophy major. I was born in Nigeria, but grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. At Amherst, I focused on both academic exploration and self-exploration. I’ve taken classes in a wide range of departments (from chemistry to classics) and I spent a month in India studying Buddhism with Tibetan monks as part of a Five-College cultural immersion program. My explorations led me to some success. I interned for Google (in a business role), I helped a friend release multiple albums on Spotify and SoundCloud, I got to meet and learn from legendary jazz musicians, and I grew a real beard (most proud of this one tbh). Exploration isn’t all success though; I failed on multiple occasions. These failures are a natural part of the college experience. In fact, I think failure is a necessary part of college. Don’t be afraid to explore. I promise it’ll work out.

 Obinna Ukogu '18

Obinna Ukogu '18.jpg

Name: Obinna Ukogu ‘18

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Secondary School: Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja

Major: Biochemistry & Biophysics, and Mathematics
Activities on campus: Math Fellow, Museum Docent at the Beneski Museum of Natural History
Hobbies: Running, playing basketball, reading science fiction
Email: oukogu18@amherst.edu
Pronouns: he/him/his

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.

I used to listen almost exclusively to Coldplay, but recently my musical tastes have changed. Finally, I am a terrific listener so please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or just want to find out what I listen to now.

Sophia Salazar '18

Sophia Salazar '18 Name: Sophia Salazar '18
Hometown: Carson, CA
High school: Cerritos High School, CA
Major: Political Science and Sociology
Activities on campus: WAMH Radio DJ, writer for The Amherst Student (newspaper), Education Professions Fellow
Hobbies: Traveling, discovering new music, reading, trying new foods, taking care of my plants
Email: ssalazar18@amherst.edu
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Hi everyone! My name is Sophia and I am a senior 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 Amherst College's DIVOH program online 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. 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
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Hey! My name is Joanna Booth and I’m from the City of Brotherly Love, otherwise known as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I'm currently studying abroad, but I'll be back at Amherst for spring semester. 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 they have played a huge role in keeping me grounded and helping me feel integral to the Amherst student body.

Currently I’m a Black Studies and Studio Art double major. 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
Pronouns: he/him/his

Hello, my name is Jonathan Jackson and I am a third-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.

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: Economics and Environmental Studies
Activities on campus: Swimming & Diving, Divest Amherst, Green Athletics, Amherst Dance
Hobbies: Traveling, reading, being outside
Email: rshogren19@amherst.edu
Pronouns: he/him/his

Hey everyone! My name is Bobby and I’m a junior from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m an Economics and Environmental Studies double major. Coming from a big public high school in Minnesota, the focus of many college searches was primarily on huge universities in the Midwest. 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. My favorite part of Amherst is the people I’ve met. The Amherst community is made up of brilliant people with countless different experiences and perspectives, and I’ve tried to interact with and learn from as many of them as possible. 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: Sociology
Activities on Campus: QuestBridge, Reader to Reader, Orientation Leader, Outing Club, World Reads, Yoga Club, Research Assistant
Hobbies: Traveling, photography, reading, cats, hiking, camping, Zumba
Email: asnyder19@amherst.edu
Pronouns: she/her/hers

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 I have been able to take classes from many different majors, and last year I finally chose Sociology because it encompasses many different areas of study. If you have any questions, I’d love to talk (really, it makes me so happy to get emails from prospective students)!

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
Pronouns: he/him/his


Hello world. It’s me, Aaron. I am a junior 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.

 Trenati Baker '20

Trenati Baker '20 Name: Trenati Baker '20
Hometown: Chicago, IL
High School: Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
Major (or potential major): Black Studies and Political Science
Activities on Campus: DASAC, ASCU, ACSU Dance, BSU, Resident Counselor
Hobbies: Dancing, painting my nails, spilling tea
Email: tbaker20@amherst.edu 
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Hey! My name is Trenati, and I am from Chicago (SOUTHSIDE!!!). I finally declared Black Studies and am slowly but surely pursuing Political Science. I spend most of my days running from class, to dance practices, to DIVOH planning meetings, and to different affinity group meetings. This year, I also have the pleasure of serving as the Resident Counselor of Charles Drew, our Black culture house.

My college search process was short, but very hectic. I applied to over 12 schools and sent out all my applications by mid-October. I applied to so many schools because I was a part of QuestBridge and Chicago Scholars (and my family urged me to apply to several HBCUs). With this being said, however, I found out about Amherst through Questbridge and was accepted to Amherst as a Questbridge Match Scholar.

Please feel free to reach out and email me with any questions you might have about the college application process, Amherst, the college experience of a black woman at a historically white institution, the college experience of a low-income student, and whatever else comes up. Best wishes, xoxo!

 Rachel Chaffin '20

Rachel Chaffin '20 Name: Rachel Chaffin '20
Hometown: Elk Grove, CA
High School: Stanford Online High School
Major: Psychology 
Activities on Campus: Tour Guide, Amherst Christian Fellowship, and the Native American Student Organization (NASO)
Hobbies: Running, reading, meeting new people and being with friends
Email: rchaffin20@amherst.edu
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Hi everyone, my name is Rachel! I'm a sophomore from Elk Grove, near Sacramento in Northern California. At Amherst, I am majoring in psychology but have also been able to explore my love for French, History, and English (among other things) through Amherst's open curriculum. On campus, I spend a lot of my time at the wonderful Office of Admission, tour guiding and working alongside my fellow Diversity Interns. I'm also involved in the Amherst Christian Fellowship and the Native American Student Organization, both of which have provided me with dear friendships, as well as support and resources to take on life at Amherst. 

Being a Diversity Intern means a lot to me for several reasons, but primarily because I was fortunate enough to attend DIVOH myself during October of my senior year in 2015. The visit sold me on Amherst College, but also convinced me that if I could have one job, one privilege on campus, it would be working as a Diversity Intern to stay connected to the program that so impacted and blessed me. And two years later, here I am! There are few things I like doing more than helping people learn more about the college I love so much, so please shoot me an email if you have any questions. Hope to see you here soon!

 Elinton Park '20

Elinton Park '20 Name: Elinton Park '20
Hometown: Springfield, MO
High School: Central High School
Major: Neuroscience and Sexuality, Women & Gender Studies (SWAGS)
Activities on Campus: Subbing for the Morgan Music Library and for Frost Library, QuestBridge Eboard, Dance and Step at Amherst College (DASAC), Charles Drew Health Professionals Society
Hobbies: driving in AAS vehicles, playing piano, scrolling through Facebook (8 hours a week according to my phone)
Email: elpark20@amherst.edu
Pronouns: he/him/his

Hello! My name is Elinton and I’m a sophomore from good ol’ Missouri (try saying it “misery,” it makes so much more sense). Born and raised in the Midwest, I was dying to get out. So naturally, I came to Amherst. Actually, it was the QuestBridge program, which focuses on low-income and/or first generation students getting to college that led me to know about Amherst. Low and behold I applied and got in and still didn’t know what I signed up for. I got a strange email asking if they would pay for me to come visit their school and of course I said “free vacation? Okay!” Honestly, visiting during the Admitted Students Weekend was a huge deciding factor to come to Amherst. Although this is only the beginning of my second year, I have already learned so much, won so much, failed so much, and grown so much. Amherst itself has become my community and being able to go to school here has meant so much. Utilizing all the resources available, I am on the pre-med track doing a double major. I also have taken piano lessons and even dance which I’ve never done before (the dancing part). Amherst, to me, is a place to explore and expand yourself, challenging your limits and learning from your mistakes. Please feel free to send me an email or reach out if you want to know more! I am more than happy to try and help other people get to experience Amherst in their own way, just as I have.

 Olivia Zheng '20

Olivia Zheng '20 Name: Olivia Zheng '20
Hometown: Fremont, California
High School: Mission San Jose High School
Major: Undeclared - maybe English or Sociology!
Activities on Campus: Education Coordinator at the Multicultural Resource Center, Asian Students Association, Dance and Step at Amherst College (DASAC), Intersections Dance Company, Amherst Mock Trial
Hobbies: Dancing, writing short stories, listening to Hamilton, reading fantasy books
Email: ozheng20@amherst.edu
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Hey there! My name is Olivia and I'm a sophomore from the Bay Area. I didn't hear about the DIVOH program until after I was accepted to Amherst, but I got to visit the campus for the Admitted Students Weekend and I loved it. Coming from a big public school, a small liberal arts college was everything that I had dreamed about. I love the small seminar style classes, the personal investment that professors have in their students, and the resources that Amherst has to support its students.

On campus I've had the opportunity to get more involved in social justice work, and I care a lot about making sure Amherst is doing everything it can to support the students. Just diversity itself isn't enough -- we need to push for equity and inclusion. Working at the Multicultural Resource Center, I've gotten to meet so many amazing people who care a lot about supporting the students and giving them access to the resources they need to navigate institutions of higher education. Amherst definitely isn't a perfect college (hint: a "perfect" college doesn't exist), but for me it has been a huge source of both personal and academic growth.

Feel free to shoot me a message about my college application process, where to get the best food near campus, or what it was like adjusting to life (aka winter) on the East Coast!