Williams Firsts Student Union

We are a group of annually elected Firsts students representatives committed to enhancing your experience at Williams through thoughtful programming and advocacy. We welcome your feedback and would love to connect with you!

Orientation Co-Directors

Name:  Samantha Luna
Class year:  2024
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:  American Studies, Latinx Studies Concentrator
Hometown: Queens, NY
Campus activities: Firsts Student Union (FSU), Ritmo, Admission Ambassador, Summer Humanities and Social Sciences Program (SHSS)
Most memorable Williams experience: Every show with my beloved dance team Ritmo 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: It is okay to feel challenged or vulnerable during your transition to college. Being First at Williams may involve making tough adjustments, so it is important to pace yourself and take the time you need to feel comfortable. There are many resources, including the Williams Firsts staff and students, that are here for you. You are not alone in your Williams journey. This is also a time for self-discovery and growth, but if the thought of that is nerve-wracking, remember that the Firsts community always has your back!



Name: Bishesh Subba
Class year: 2025
Pronouns: he/him/his
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Hasbrouck Heights, NJ
Campus activities: HSA, EOS, Research Assistant, Library Services, Gym monitor, SSP
Most memorable Williams experience: Holi Celebration. It was really fun to celebrate Holi with my friends, and it reminded me of home. As a Hindu, it is a very important festival to me and I was happy to be able to participate with my friends. 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Be your own competition. Meaning, don’t try to compare your success or limitations to someone else. Everyone is different, so your competition should be yourself and becoming a better version of yourself every day.



Orientation Leaders

Name: Angie An
Class year: 2025
Pronouns: she/her
Major: History and Psychology, concentrating in Asian Studies
Hometown: Murrieta, CA
Campus activities: Peer Advisor, Williamstown Elementary Outreach Classroom Helper and Student Leader, Chair of Student Exploration of Education, Writing TA, FSU!
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Too many things to say… but the most important thing to keep in mind is to be present! Your four years will fly by faster than you realize. These years represent a period of discomfort, and there’ll be times when you’ll want to fast forward through the difficulties. However, your time here will also be full of beautiful memories and people, so remember to stay grounded and soak in the now!


Name: Brenda Diego
Class year: 2026
Pronouns: She/Her 
Major: Prospective WGSS major and latinx concentration 
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Campus activities: Comdrxs, QuestBridge, CISA, SEE, CLiA, FSU
Most memorable Williams experience: Living in Willy Hall. It was in the center of campus so lots of my friends would all get together in my croom and we would have dance parties, watch movies and of course chismear.  
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Don’t be afraid to ask questions or for help. Not everyone knows everything so don’t let people intimidate you and asking for help does not make you anything less. Get out of your comfort zone and reach out to people, whether it is FSU, other student organizations, different academic offices, etc. We are all here to help each other, and to learn from each other!



Name: Chris Flores
Class year: 2026
Pronouns: He/Him
Major: Prospective Chemistry, Biology Major 
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Campus activities: Williams Firsts, Outing Club, Admissions Ambassador, OurSTEM+
Most memorable Williams experience: Falling down a cliff on Mountain Day. This was one of my first outdoor adventures at Williams, which catapulted me into getting out more. Since then, I have learned to ski, canoe, rock climb, and built a sense of adventure!
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: 
Williams is yours for the taking! Never forget that you belong here. That’s why you should explore the academic support networks like office-hours (PLEASE go!), tutoring, and talking with the Deans to stay on top of your classes. Make sure to not underestimate your classes, so you are not up late near the end of the semester calculating grades. Don’t forget to have fun! Go out and explore the area, you only have so much time here, so make the most of it and take a hike! 
Williams can be intense but so can the mountains where the view at the top makes it all worth it!


Name: Codey Smithson
Class year: 2026
Pronouns: he/him
Major: Chemistry and Psychology with a Neuroscience Concentration
Hometown: Sebastian, FL
Campus activities: Brass Ensemble, Neuropharmacology Research, Williams Firsts, QuestBridge
Most memorable Williams experience: Log Trivia with the other research assistants and the principal investigator in the lab I work in, even though we got 2nd to last place. 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Take risks in all elements of your life, whether that be in your academics, research, extracurriculars, or even your social life. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and build connections. Some of my best friends have grown out of simple conversations that started from a class group project and turned into a flourishing friendship. I would never have been a research assistant in my first semester at Williams if I had never cold-emailed professors and remained persistent about my interest. Be resilient and keep taking risks during your time here at Williams and beyond and you will be grateful that you did. I reflect regularly on much of my time here this past year and it just leaves me grateful for all of the opportunities that I have gotten because I stepped outside of my comfort zone. 


Name: Em Salinas Romero
Class year: 2025
Pronouns: any
Major:  Geosciences; Women’s, Gender, Sexuality Studies
Hometown: Nokomis, FL
Campus activities: Firsts Student Union, Vive, Table Tennis, Questbridge, SSP, research
Most memorable Williams experience: Going to the green river on a sunny perfect day with friends (and then someone slipped and got hurt ToT – be careful when adventuring!!)
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: I’m not going to lie, sometimes you’ll have really tough moments here. Coming here, I expected academics to be hard, but it’s not just academics. Life sometimes hits you hard for no reason, it’s just that we all go through different things in various degrees. I just want you to be assured that you’re loved and that the Firsts community has your back. I know we’re just a bunch of strangers at the moment, but don’t be afraid to make connections here and lean on others. Sometimes things click immediately, sometimes things take time. It’s easy to be hard on yourself- just make sure you’re being kind to yourself 🙂


Name: Gaby Quizhpi
Class year: 2026
Pronouns: she/they
Major: Prospective American Studies Major with Environmental Studies and Latino/a Studies concentration
Hometown: Queens, NY
Campus activities: Ritmo, Firsts Student Union (FSU), Comadrxs, Asian Dance Troupe (ADT)
Most memorable Williams experience: Going to see a Laufey concert with my friends at a town an hour away. From rounding up people to go with me, to getting our zip-car canceled, to trying to keep our driver awake on the ride back, I felt as if I had found a good group of people at school.
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Be open to meeting new people all the time. Even though that’s a given, you’d be surprised by the different people that will come your way and the unlikely friendships that you’ll make. Of course, also expect that you won’t click with some people, and that’s okay, too. Your social life is an important part of going to college and can even shape or guide your academic journey. Don’t worry about your social life getting in the way of your academics either, make sure you find that balance early on!


Name: Hector Mendoza
Class year: 2024
Pronouns: he/him
Major: astrophysics
Hometown: Boston, MA
Campus activities: Firsts Student Union (FSU), research, Robotics
Most memorable Williams experience: probably founding FSU last summer, giving founding fathers 1776 yktv
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Homesick. You will most likely experience it. Even I go through it, when home for me is three hours away. Homesick could mean missing the people and the culture, rather than the physical location. I recommend carving time out of your week to calling home or friends from home, and try to find groups or communities here at Williams that remind you of home. For me that’s the FSU and Vista, because there I find people who are first gen and Latino. It helps make Williams a better space. 



Name: Jason Lu
Class year: 2026
Pronouns: he/him
Major: Physics and Political Science
Hometown: Homosassa, FL
Campus activities: SSP, WRAPS, Coalition for Immigrant Student Advancement (CISA), research for physics, Mt. Greylock Regional High School tutoring, Dining Hall worker, Club Badminton, CASO
Most memorable Williams experience: Late night cooking with my girlfriend in Mission kitchen
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Don’t compare yourself to others at Williams. Williams is full of those whose parents could afford to send them to wealthy prep schools with consulting internships and opportunities we probably never had. Props to them, but not everyone’s dad can donate a dorm building. Don’t be intimidated by those people and their backgrounds. Live with pride in your life, and strive to be better than you were yesterday.



Name: Johnathan Martir
Class year: 2026
Pronouns: He/Him
Major: Prospective Political Economy & American Studies
Hometown: Bronx, NY
Campus activities: FSU, Ritmo, CAFE, CLiA, SHSS
Most memorable Williams experience: Going skiing for the first time during Winter Study and almost crashing into a tree! It’s really fun I swear
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Aim to try out something new every month! Your first year is a great time to experiment with different hobbies and interests on campus and it’s where you’ll make long lasting friendships at Williams.



Name: Karl Aleman-Valencia
Class year: 2025
Pronouns: she/they
Major: Comparative Literature & Art History with French Concentration 
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
Campus activities: Ritmo and CenterSeries Committee 
Most memorable Williams experience: Mountain Day my first semester. Stone Hill is so beautiful. 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Step outside your comfort zone. It’s going to be uncomfortable at times but it’ll be worth it in the long run. 



Name: Lucia Rios
Class year: 2024
Pronouns: She/Her
Major: American Studies and Latina/o Studies 
Hometown: Richmond, CA
Campus activities: Ritmo, Vista, Williams Firsts, QSU
Most memorable Williams experience: My first fall show on Ritmo! It was my first one so I was nervous but nothing beats the love and support I felt from my teammates in that moment. 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Don’t be afraid to reach out. This can apply to anything, whether it is reaching out to a new friend to grab a meal or asking a professor for help. It never hurts to reach out :))  Make those connections! 



Name: Nadia Joseph
Class year: 2025
Pronouns: she/her
Major: History and Africana Studies
Hometown: East Hartford, Connecticut
Campus activities: Black Student Union (BSU), Students of Caribbean Ancestry (SoCA), and Sisterhood
Most memorable Williams experience: The 50th Anniversary of the BSU Gala was very special to me because the BSU Board worked together to plan an amazing, illustrious event in under a month. I remember it being so much work, but in the end it was beautiful to see all of that work come together and to watch the entire community of alumni, faculty, current students, and friends dress up and enjoy each other’s company! 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: You’re not an imposter! You along with the rest of your class were all admitted for a reason, so try not to lose sight of that. You’ve got to find your community here because it makes the academics and social life more bearable.
Start with your entry and try to get involved with groups you align with! One last thing is also to make sure you take care of yourself! It is very easy to get caught up in school work and club activities, but it means nothing if you aren’t well, so prioritize your well being over everything else.


Name:  Sama Kreidi
Class year:  2024
Pronouns:  she/her/hers
Major:  Biology, Arabic Studies
Hometown: Carol Stream, IL
Campus activities: Southwest Asian and North African Student Union (SWANA), Coalition for Immigrant Student Advancement (CISA), Peer Health, CLiA Science Fellow, Biology Research
Most memorable Williams experience: My “third” Mountain Day! Before Williams, I never really considered myself an outdoorsy person. However, I always had an interest in exploring the outdoors! Though the hike was difficult, I remember being greeted by music, purple mountains, and the sweet smell of pumpkin spiced donuts and hot apple cider. 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Romanticize your life. Williams can be a challenging atmosphere to adjust to—the academics, the homesickness, the isolation. One way I’ve learned to cope is to romanticize the little moments I experienced at Williams. Game nights with friends, stargazing on Cole Field, trivia at the Log, sunrise hikes up Pine Cobble, petting the cows on Stone Hill, late-night dance parties, and Tunnel coffee on a slow Sunday morning. Your time will fly here, slow down and enjoy the seemingly mundane snippets of your life. Your time at Williams is what you make of it. 


Name: Sara Lopez-Quintana
Class year: 2025
Pronouns: she/her/hers
Majors: Chemistry; Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies
Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ
Campus activities: OURSTEM+, Oral Health Society, chemistry research, Williams Women’s Soccer, Get Baked, Summer Science Program
Most memorable Williams experience: Some friends and I held an impromptu dinner party full of laughter during a stressful time in the semester – it was the reset we all needed and I cherish the warm memory. 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Embrace your full story – we Firsts often come into Williams with a facade that we’re in control of our lives to hold our own against students who had opportunities/advice/information that we didn’t before college. However, when we hide our narrative from others, we make it impossible for them to understand where we come from and we prevent ourselves from accessing the immense amount of support that the wonderful people of Williams have to offer.



Name: Sam Samuel
Class year: 2026 
Pronouns: she/they 
Major: Environmental Studies, Political Science 
Hometown: Shelton, CT 
Campus activities: Club Volleyball, Black Student Union, Sisterhood, Queer Student Union/QUARE, OURSTEM+/BSTEM+, ACE, WRAPS, Lehman Community Engagement, Makerspace, Admission Ambassador, SSP 
Most memorable Williams experience: Split between time spent with the volleyball team and my summer at Summer Science Program. Gained close friendships and tons of fun moments from both. 
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Be kind to yourself! Whether this is the pace of your transition, if you belong, academics, or social life, it’s all about striking a balance between them all and picking yourself up in moments of defeat. So hold yourself to reasonable standards and remember we’re (and many others!) here to support you.  



Name: Winnie Zhang
Class year: 2026
Pronouns: she/her
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Queens, NY
Campus activities: CASO, Williams Firsts, Campus Tour Guide
Most memorable Williams experience: Exploring the beautiful scenery of Williamstown/the Berkshires with friends
Words of wisdom for incoming Firsts: Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try new things! You never know where it might take you or the doors that will open up. Most importantly, don’t let your background define your self worth or let it hinder you from participating in certain activities or opportunities. Be proud of your experiences and the journey that led you to where you are today.