DC Community Engagement Fellows, 2020-2021

Meet the CEFs

Papa Freduah Anderson '21 (PAA2)

I am Papa Freduah Anderson, a rising senior and a Chemistry major here at Williams with a BIMO concentration and also pre-med. Coming to Williams College was my first time outside my home country (I remember even being surprised that sunset was not until 8:30 pm in the fall that I arrived on campus). There were lots of things about this place that I did not know and I found myself constantly asking my entry, JAs, and peers so many questions with the hope of finding my place in this place. As an international student who spent the first 18yrs of my life in Ghana before college, I had never had to engage in conversations around my identity or race but in contrast to Ghana, the US, due to its highly diverse (racial, socio-economic, etc) population, presented a totally different environment where an understanding of identity, power, and privilege was integral to the navigation of life. Fortunately, I had a workshop with the Davis Center during First Days which provided initial context about Williams, and I have had several more workshops to further enrich my understanding. Irrespective of how many workshops one may have, there is no set path for finding your niche at Williams but one thing that I realized was very helpful was to always have people to talk to, especially at the Davis Center. As a CEF, I am here to listen and to help you navigate Williams through the lens of my experience, albeit an incomplete one. I enjoy talking about anything and would love to hear your story too.

Elisar El-Gaouny '21 (EME1)

 Welcome to the Davis Center at Williams College! My name is Elisar El-Gaouny. I go by she/her pronouns, and I was born and raised in sunny Southern California. I am a senior majoring in political science and concentrating in international relations. My father is Lebanese-Palestinian and my mother is Korean, so my identity as a second-generation immigrant has been incredibly formative in how to navigate Williams (I also speak Arabic and Korean semi-fluently so if you know these languages, I would love to practice). As a first-generation student, I always strive to apply a critical feminist lens to my studies, especially in my own major, which is notoriously masculine and Eurocentric. Because of this, my ambitions lie in increasing feminist discourse within the broader sphere of academia at Williams College. Outside of my academics, I love contributing my time towards feminist projects and organizations that focus on global human rights and reproductive health and justice. During my junior year, I studied at the University of Oxford under the WEPO program at Williams, and undertook courses that focused on the gendered nature of epistemology in medicine and clinical trials. Before my first year at Williams, I participated in the Summer Humanities and Social Sciences program, during which I made wonderful connections with BIPOC students and professors. While at Williams, I love playing my cello in the Berkshire Symphony and in chamber ensembles. As a CEF, I am here to listen and assist you in navigating Williams life. I am always willing and eager to help and to facilitate the best possible experiences. 

Leo '21 (LLH3)

I was born in Palm Desert, took my first steps in Cincinnati, learned how to read & write in Barcelona, and received my high school diploma in Miami. Soy colombiano y chino, a Queer studies and Spanish double major, mixed media artist, and gym bro.

Encounters with adversity in my hometown led me to combat prejudice by creating affirming spaces for marginalized youth and developing educational tools for navigating queer identity. At the Davis Center, I collaborate with my peers to understand experiences that differ from our own and celebrate each other’s unique identities. I’m frequently ruminating on GNC resources, mental/physical health in the Berkshires, academic/housing accommodations, the cute emotional support and service animals that populate our campus, and my now-virtual LGBTQ boxing class… email my UNIX to get connected!

Fiona Keller '21 (FWK2)

Hello! My name is Fiona Keller (she/her/hers) and I am a senior from Mount Vernon, Ohio. I am majoring in biology, concentrating in public health and am also on the pre-med track. I’m an "Office" fanatic, a baking enthusiast and an optimist. This will be my second year as a CEF. In my first year (2018-2019), I served as the DC representative on JAAB (JA Advisory Board) and focused on addressing awareness and resources regarding socioeconomic diversity on campus which I hope to continue working on this year. Outside of the Davis Center, I am very involved in the music community on campus. I play both violin and piano and am the music director of the co-ed acapella group Good Question (GQ). I have served as a research assistant in an immunology lab for three years and will be completing a thesis in that lab this year. I am also a tour guide and worked for a year as a college counselor for low-income, high-achieving students with Matriculate. I am passionate about increasing access to education for both prospective and current college students. Transitioning to Williams from my small, rural, uncompetitive public high school was definitely a challenge and I am always happy to talk about the difficulties of shifting from a public to private education (especially as a woman in STEM). As a CEF, my door is always open whether you want to talk or just need someone to listen. Hope to hear from you!

Dominic Madera '21 (DJM5)

Hello! My name is Dominic--or Dom--Madera, my pronouns are he/him/his, and I am a rising senior majoring in English Literature and Political Science with a concentration in Global Studies (Border, Diaspora, and Exile Studies). I’m originally from Houston, Texas, and my life prior to Williams was spent organizing in Texas, from Environmental Justice organizing with the Last Organic Outpost, to the world of Electoral Politics. This will be my third year working at the Davis Center. In previous years, I have taken on leadership roles, supervising the Davis Center’s Spring Break trip to Philadelphia in 2019 and helping create workshop curriculum for various groups on campus. Last year, I was a member of the Williams-Exeter Programme at Oxford (WEPO) cohort where I studied critical postcolonial geographies, Critical Theory, and English Literature. At Williams, I wear many hats. As a first-generation, working-class student, and Questbridge Scholar, I dedicated two years to helping others navigate the admissions process as an Advising Fellow for Matriculate. I served a similar role as campus Ambassador for the EMERGE Fellowship which specifically helps first-generation, low-income students of color from the Houston area. I have also, at different times, served as a WOOLF leader, a tour guide, a resident mentor for the Summer Humanities and Social Sciences program (SHSS,) a political organizer, and coffee enthusiast. Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions or to just chat! I am available via phone, email, zoom, or postcard!

Lili Massac '23 (LAM7)

My name is Lili, my pronouns are she/her/hers, and I’m from NYC! I am a rising sophomore who is considering being pre-med, but still deciding on a major (choosing between Economics, American Studies, and Psychology ... so VERY undecided). Beyond this basic information, some of my more general interests are dancing/performance arts (I’m part of the Hip Hop Dance Team NBC!) and social justice and identity (in particular the black and multiracial experiences). I remember my 7th grade English teacher said something that can be summed up in a quote by Michelle Obama, "If you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others." I don't think she is talking about introductions here, but I still get pretty overwhelmed by introductions. So, when it comes to introductions, I usually stick to something pretty basic because defining yourself in a quick few words is a lot of responsibility. If anyone has specific questions about anything I just said or literally anything at all... I'd love to chat!

Cyrus Naider '23 (CSN1)

Hey y’all I’m Cyrus, I use he/him/his pronouns, and I’m from Cleveland, Ohio! I’m a rising sophomore of color here at Williams and I plan on majoring in both Comp Lit and WGSS (I’m still undecided about where I want to focus my studies, but it’ll probably be somewhere in the realm of a queer/trans/BIPOC lens). I hope to one day become a college professor in literature and I want to continue to learn how to help others within academia. A big part of my Williams experience so far has been about creating spaces where I felt comfortable being myself and expressing my identities as a queer/trans Latino at a PWI, which took a bit of searching but in the end led me to close friends and a sense of community. On campus, when I’m not chilling in a friend’s room, I’m mostly hanging out in Goodrich or Lee’s in their booths doing work. I’m mainly a homebody who is content to stay in and read a good book or binge a show but every once in a while going out and exploring can become a really memorable and fun time too. I am looking forward to helping folks navigate through processes on campus (such as housing, accommodations, etc), offering support to folks transitioning and how to navigate college spaces as a trans person, talking with folks about their experiences on and off-campus, making sure folks have access to resources they need, and more! As a DC CEF, I am here to talk about anything you may want to talk about or need, even if you just need a space where you can be heard!

Sonia Nyarko '21 (SNN1)

Hello! My name is Sonia Nyarko (she/her/hers) and I am a senior in the Class of 2021. I am a double major in Biology and History, and am doing a thesis in the latter. I am also on the pre-med track. My hometown is Burtonsville, MD, and I was raised in the DMV, but was born in Auckland, New Zealand. Outside of being a Community Engagement Fellow, I am involved on campus in a few ways. I sing in the Williams College Gospel Choir, I am the co-president of Sisterhood, the Public Relations Executive for the organization for those Underrepresented in STEM+, and I am on the Davis Center Building Committee. Separate from my positions, I also endeavor to spearhead programming and events on an individual or team basis. For example, I worked with the Davis Center to take a group to see American Underground at the Barrington Stage in 2019, and also organized a group to see Just Mercy in January 2020. In June 2020, I also organized with other student leaders to hold a discussion between Black alumni and students. I am really excited to be serving as a CEF this semester. Now more than ever, in a semester unlike any other at Williams, it is pivotal to cultivate and develop community in a multitude of ways. I am committed to putting forth my best efforts and ideas to foster inclusivity and closeness through programming that accommodates both remote and on-campus students and community members. Together, we can persevere and make this period of time the best that it can be for all of us.

Shiara Pyrhhus '23 (SP23)

My name is Shiara Pyrrhus and I am a first-year student. I am a prospective English or Sociology major and French or Africana Studies concentrator. I live in Revere, MA with my family but I was born in Haiti. I love my culture and heritage, as my mentor likes to say, “we’ve been winning since 1804 (the date of the Haitian Revolution),” and I have so much pride in where I come from. My Blackness is very important to me so I’ve joined a lot of clubs having to do with my identity. The club I felt the most comfortable in was Sisterhood and now that I am co-president, I am excited to continue to strengthen that community for Black women on campus. My relationship with God allows me to endure anything that comes my way. It’s a personal journey for me, but worshipping Him through music has brought me a lot of joy. Joining the Gospel Choir and becoming Vice President has been one of the highlights of my Williams experience. I am extremely family-oriented, there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my little sister or my mother. My family and I are very close. In fact, in school, I made it a priority to call my mom every day even if it was for five minutes. During my free time, I like going on walks, listening to music (I listen to anything from gospel to rap depending on my mood), reading, and watching a lot of Netflix. I would love to hear from you!

Jiwon Sung '22 (JS20)

Hi everyone! My name is Jiwon, and I am a rising junior majoring in Economics. I use she/her/hers. I’m originally from Seoul, South Korea, and this is my seventh year studying in the United States, as I went to boarding school in rural New England before coming to Williams. Though coming to Williams itself was not a huge transition, I remember coming to an extremely diverse country such as the US from a fairly homogeneous country such as South Korea and having conversations about diversity, racial discrimination, power, and privilege were all very new. Remote learning has been a challenge, especially due to the time difference, and this pandemic has taught me how much we are protected and insulated in the purple bubble as students. In my free time, I love to go on runs and watch new shows on Netflix. I recently took up baking as a result of this pandemic as well. This is my third year working at the Davis Center, and I would love to be a resource to anyone who needs help!