Meet the ABQ facilitators
Public Service Internship Coordinator, Center for Community Engagement
An interesting fact about me? I salsa dance!
Why am I involved in ABQ? I am really excited about what ABQ means; these big questions are really human questions and when we ask and talk about them together, we connect more deeply to one another. I hope that ABQ gives members of the Amherst College community a space to dialogue rather than debate: to listen; to be heard; to be whole; to know others and to know ourselves more deeply.
More: Trained Intergroup Dialogue Facilitator, M.Ed. in Social Justice Education
Summer Programs Coordinator/Scheduling System Administrator
An interesting fact about me? I have an AB in Computer Science from Smith and an MS in Management from Antioch University
Why am I involved in ABQ? I always support efforts to build community at Amherst, particularly those that include staff. It's a bit of a struggle sometimes for staff to get recognition for the integral part they play in creating the educational environment here. I appreciate the opportunity to interact with students and faculty in a small group setting.
Assistant Professor in Physics
An interesting fact about me? I love geeky TV shows like Battlestar Galactica and Suits. I am also a sports fan and am currently faculty liaison for the Women's Track and Cross Country Team.
Why am I involved in ABQ?: I am interested to see how students, staff, and faculty tackle the Big Question. Hopefully, we will get lots of different perspectives!
Liberty Chigova '15
I am a junior and International Student Association Co-Chair and Political Science major
An interesting fact about me? I found out why I was named Liberty on my 22nd birthday.
Why am I involved in ABQ? ABQ sounds like a great way to start a conversation with numerous possible outcomes. Maybe you're looking to meet new people, share you thoughts or just relax in a mentally stimulating environment. Or maybe you're like me and you enjoy the sound of your own voice.
Sr. Chris Clark, DHM
I am the religious advisor to the Catholic community.
An interesting fact about me? I am drawn to lakes, swamps, and streams, though I feel that the sea is awesome.
Why am I involved in ABQ? I feel that we can grow through it, especially in empathy and understanding.
Interim Director of the Multicultural Resource Center
An interesting fact about me? I am teaching myself French.
Why am I involved in ABQ? I hope that Ask Big Questions helps to foster a community of dialogue and mutual understanding across differences at Amherst College.
Solsi Del Moral
Associate Professor of American Studies and Black Studies
Daniel Diner '14
I am intern/writer for Public Affairs (website content), a director of ACEMS and a Russian tutor.
An interesting fact about me? I operate an eBay store throughout the year.
Why am I involved in ABQ? I'm involved because I think there are unifying deeper concerns at the heart of seemingly disconnected issues on campus, and I think this could be a means by which to address them.
Hannah Greenwald '14
I am a senior history major. On campus, I sing in the Choral Society, do Amherst Dance, and help run the Women’s Network.
An interesting fact about me? I love to travel and hope to live outside of the U.S. after I graduate in May.
Why am I involved in ABQ? When I heard about Ask Big Questions, I was really excited because I love discussing these topics with my friends and I would love to have similar conversations with different groups of people! I’m hoping ABQ will help strengthen our campus community, and I can’t wait to see it in action!
Virginia Hassell '16
I am sophomore Biology Major, member of the Women's Basketball Team and an Athletic Team Engagement Leader.
An interesting fact about me? I am from Virginia, but it is also my name. I beat the game Bop It when I was 5.
Why am I involved in ABQ? Amherst College is home to, what I consider, the brightest and best students. Ask Big Questions allows us to come together, reflect, and learn in a way that will empower us as individuals and a community. ABQ is a unique initiative because the “big questions” are applicable to everyone. The ABQ movement has the power to spark conversation, but also, to create a new culture, in which everyone has something to contribute.
Interim Director, Women's & Gender Center
An interesting fact about me? I (usually) enjoy trying to reconcile my mutual loves for feminism and hip hop music.
Why am I involved in ABQ? I'm involved with ABQ because I believe that asking a big question leads to asking many smaller questions and, ultimately, helps us to know each other better.
More: I have worked in higher education for more than ten years, including posts at Harvard's Kennedy School and here at Amherst in the CCE and Residential Life. My interests include gender theory, feminism, and dark chocolate. I hope you will follow the WGC on Twitter: @AmherstWGC.
Cristian Navarro '16
Hey! I'm Cristian Navarro '16, currently a sophomore economics major. I come from San José, Costa Rica so moving to Amherst was a big change, but I was surprised by how fast I got to call this place my second home.
Why am I involved in ABQ? This is an exceptional community that gathers an enormous variety of backgrounds. Asking big questions, relevant to and answerable by everyone, promises to expand the opportunities to learn and grow that we already have. I hope this initiative leads us to an even safer, closer and more inclusive Amherst - it is time to pursue it more actively.
Emeka Ojukwu '14
An interesting fact about me? I very much still watch and read Naruto.
Why am I involved in ABQ? I look forward to participating to the discussions ABQ will bring to our school. Those who know me, know I thrive on conversations. Sharing ideas and stories is what makes the connections between people, so I hope to make many more connections through this program.
Area Coordinator Generalist
Jayson Paul '16
I am a Physics and Philosophy Major. I love interacting with people on a one-on-one basis, so always feel free to ask me anything or just chat if you see me around.
An interesting fact about me? I'm a strong, internationally rated chess player.
Why am I involved in ABQ? Because I love big questions myself; I think they give real perspective to our lives and should have a bigger place in them. I want to help facilitate people having thinking about own big questions and how they would answer them.
Professor of American Studies and English at Amherst
An interesting fact about me? I am dyslexic, didn’t learn to read until 3rd grade, and still became an English Professor
Why am I involved in ABQ? I am interested in fostering other modes of questioning besides critique, and I believe there is still much we could do to build a strong sense of community, and of responsibility to each other at Amherst
Siraj Sindhu '17
Hi! I’m a first-year at Amherst and I’m planning to major in English or LJST. Around campus, I’m an AAS Senator, I play Ultimate Frisbee, I write for AC Voice, I work in the Women’s and Gender Center as the Programming Coordinator, and I’m a member of the Men’s Project.
An interesting fact about me? You may not know this about me, but I’m an avid flier of kites—you may see me running around out on the quad when the snow melts, holding a string and handle in my hands.
Why am I involved in ABQ? I am involved in Ask Big Questions because I think the diverse student body at Amherst ought to interact more and get to know itself on a deeper level. I love Amherst and want to help improve it in any way I can!
Andy Tew '07
I have been an Area Coordinator, Sexual Respect and Health Educator, and MRC Coordinator in my time at Amherst. After taking time off for graduate school at the Smith MSW program, I've returned to Amherst to serve as an Area Coordinator and Community Development Strategist within the Dean of Students Office.
An interesting fact about me? My fiancée and I are currently binge-watching season three of "Lie to Me."
Why am I involved in ABQ? I was interested in helping to facilitate ABQ conversations because I want to create a more intimate and connected involved campus community.
Director, Queer Resource Center
An interesting fact about me: My favorite book is Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Why am I involved in ABQ? I am beyond excited to be part of an initiative that will spark conversation, provoke thought, and foster community. I hope ABQ will help build a stronger more connected campus community at Amherst College.
More: I am passionate about working to create safe, brave, and intentional spaces where students, staff, and faculty can come together to build a caring and respectful community across difference. I am currently working on a second Masters in Social Justice Education at the University of Massachusetts focusing on LGBTQ student leadership, intersectionality and Intergroup Dialogue.
Nicole Umina '15
Hello everyone! I am an economics and psychology double-major from New Jersey. On campus, I am Vice President of the Newman Club and work in the Admissions Office.
An interesting fact about me: I like to dance, play the piano, walk the nature trail, and make at least one person smile everyday.
Why am I involved in ABQ? I chose to get involved with Ask Big Questions because I am interested in having deeper discussions with the people around me. All too frequently, we focus on the superficial aspects of others. I want to challenge my peers on campus to listen to one another in a new and more rewarding way. Let's get asking, guys!
Provost and Professor of Political Science
An interesting fact about me? At college I was a DJ—post-punk was my specialty. I’d organize parties—rent the space, do the advertisement, hire the bartenders, spin the disks. My maximum profit was 100$. My maximum loss too, fortunately. But it was the only way to get others to listen to the music I liked!
Why am I involved in ABQ? I love to learn from others and, as a result, about myself. That is why I work in universities instead of banks. But I don’t get enough the chance to do so, or at least in ways that the conversation is not about problems, crises, or course papers. This seems like a great open-ended way to have a conversation from human to human.
An interesting fact about me: I asked my children what their facts about me were, and their response was, “You’re a great single mom, cook and you're loud”! I’m a single mom of 3 and a Nana of a precious little girl named Aria Rose.
Why am I involved in ABQ? I enjoy having and listening to conversations about differences. Would love to bring simplicity, and authentic relationships to our campus.
Elaine Vilorio '17
My name is Elaine Vilorio, and I'm a first-year student. My potential majors include English, LJST, Black Studies, History, Political Science and Spanish (clearly, I've got it together). Along with being a student facilitator for the ABQ initiative, I am the Alumni Representative for La Causa, the College's Latino/a organization, and the Historian for the Black Student Union.
Why am I involved in ABQ? Through ABQ, I hope to foster and solidify more connections within the Amherst College community.
Tomi Williams '16
Abigail Xu '15
I'm a double-major in political science and economics, and I work as a research assistant for the Political Science department.
An interesting fact about me? I have served as the Treasurer of the Amherst College student government since the second semester of my freshmen year.
Why am I involved in ABQ? It is said that we often listen with the intent to reply, not the intent to understand. I am excited to help roll out the Ask Big Questions initiative because I want to build understanding and a stronger sense of community at Amherst College.
Jonny Yau '16
Hi! My name is Jonny Yau, a sophomore Psychology and Environmental Studies major.
An interesting fact about me? One fun fact about me is that I can touch both my elbows and nose with my tongue (not at the same time of course!).
Why am I involved in ABQ? I am participating in ABQ because I think it's an innovative way to get people thinking about questions that affect us all as Amherst College community members.