Name:  Karen Almaraz
Class Year:  2020

Major:  Anthropology

Hometown:  Bronx, NY 

Why I chose to be an Orientation Assistant:  I want to help the incoming class situate themselves into this Wheaton environment.  I know how scary or maybe confusing the transition from high school to college may be (especially if it requires you to move to another state) and I want to provide the incoming class my support. 

How the Marshall Center added to my Wheaton experience:  The Marshall Center has provided me a space in which I can express all aspects of my identity.  As a woman of color, the Marshall Center has allowed me to talk about the identities I strongly carry and to learn about other people’s experiences as well. 

What I like best about Wheaton:  I like the small student to faculty ratio. It allows for the students to get to know their professors better and to establish stronger connections to them. 

Involvement on Campus:  I am currently in Paraíso Latino, Wheaton’s Latin dance group, and Latinx Student Association (LSA), and part of Anthropology club.  I am also a member of the Emerson Feminist Perspective house. 



Name:  Jacai Edwards

Class Year:  2020

Majors:  African, African American, Diaspora Studies and Political Science

Hometown:  West Hartford, CT

Why I chose to be an Orientation Assistant:  I want to aid incoming students and help make the transition to college that much easier, utilizing transparency, honesty, and communication.

How the Marshall Center added to my Wheaton experience:  The Marshall Center has allowed me the opportunity to create spaces where I can facilitate and participate in intergroup dialogue about difficult and challenging topics, while also being a wonderful resource in relation to academics and everyday life. 

What I like best about Wheaton:  I like the small classrooms that create room to have a closer relationship with professors and other students in your class. 

Involvement on Campus:  I’m a part of Trybe, a Hip Hop and multicultural dance group.



Name:  Melane B. Goncalves  

Class Year:  2022

Major:  BioChemistry – Pre-Med Track

Hometown:  Providence, Rhode Island

Why I chose to be an Orientation Assistant:  When I attended the intercultural pre-orientation, I had a great experience. The orientation assistants and the guest speakers really made my transition into college more welcoming and I would like to bring that same welcoming energy to the incoming students.

How has the Marshall Center added to my Wheaton experience:  The Marshall Center has also played a role in welcoming me into the Wheaton community by providing very helpful resources such as tutoring and information sessions on academic success. Not only is it a good place to go to when I need help with something academically but also when I need something fun to do, they provide fun activities and events.

What I like best about Wheaton:  Something I really love about Wheaton is the great community that we have on campus. Since our campus is small, it is easy to establish awesome connections and relationships with almost everyone.

Involvement on Campus:  Black Students Association (BSA) and Yoga.



Name:  Justin Martinez

Class Year:  2022

Majors:  Hispanic Studies and European History

Hometown:  Bronx, NY

Why you chose to be an OA:  The transition to college is daunting – a new environment, with new people, and new ideas.  This “newness” that defines college can be extremely overwhelming for a first-year student. I would like to take away this daunting nature of the college transition experience.  I am excited to take part in fostering new relationships within this diverse group of people, relationships that have the ability to last an entire college career.  My goal as an OA is to be a familiar face and a friend on campus.  As simple as this may seem, it can make a world of difference.

How the MC has added to your Wheaton experience:  The beauty of the Marshall Center can be found in the name!: Marshall Center for Intercultural Learning. I work as a dialogue facilitator in the Marshall Center. Through this role, I have been able to meet people from vastly different backgrounds and learn about their world views.  I have been allowed to express my views, but also have them challenged.  This, in addition to the brilliant people I have met through the Marshall Center, has truly added to my Wheaton experience.

What I like most about Wheaton:  The small size of Wheaton can be your best friend and your worst enemy….but in the best of ways.  Let me explain.  Everyone (and I mean everyone) knows who you are.  Your professors know you before you know them and your friends will know who you are dating before you know who you are dating.  Now, that seems like a lot; however, this is the most beautiful thing about Wheaton. It is a close-knit community where all are welcome and find a sense of belonging.

Involvement on Campus:  QT-POC (President), Paraíso Latino (Co-Director), Wheaton College Chamber Orchestra, Posse, and Dialogue Facilitator.



Name:  Kavita Premkumar

Class Year:  2022

Majors:  Secondary Education and English

Hometown:  My hometown is Bangalore, India

Why I chose to be an Orientation Assistant:  I chose to be an OA because even though my hometown is Bangalore, India I’ve always struggled with the question, “Where are you from?”, because I think I’m from so many more places than just that, which is why I wanted to be an intercultural orientation assistant to help incoming students with questions like that.

How the Marshall Center added to my Wheaton experience:  The Marshall Center has been the space where I’ve had some of the most difficult (and yet, enlightening) conversations here at Wheaton.

What I like best about Wheaton:  What I like best about Wheaton is that anything you want, you seem to get, if you ask politely.  You can set in motion all kinds of change, as long as you ask!

Involvement on Campus:  As a result of one of these requests, I’ll be co-president of Tulip House, a theme house for interpersonal violence healing, prevention and advocacy.  I’m also Logistics Manager for SASI (the South Asian Club), Intercultural Liason for the Feminist Association, Secretary for Alliance (the LGBTQIA+ club) and a writer for the college newspaper and yearbook.



Name:  Miranda Prince Figuereo

Class Year:  2021

Major:  I’m planning on double majoring in Film and New Media and Hispanic studies as well as a minor in French.

Hometown:  Las Vegas, Nevada

Why I chose to be an Orientation Assistant:  I remember coming to Wheaton and being part of the Intercultural program.  I met many of my best friends through the Intercultural Pre-O and I’ve only created a stronger support system since then.  Entering college can be an awkward and nerve-racking time, so having that smaller introduction was really nice to have.

How the Marshall Center added to my Wheaton experience:  The Marshall Center has been a great support system through workshops and even stress relieving sessions.

What I like best about Wheaton:  Through my first year at Wheaton, I have learned to love the small details of the community around me.  Wheaton’s small population allows for students to express themselves freely because they get to know the people around them more easily.

Involvement on Campus:  My freshman year I decided to join Wheaton’s only step team, S.O.L.E., and it’s been one of my best Wheaton experiences yet.  I can’t wait to ring in the new school year with a bunch of new faces!



Name:  Krystal Ssonko

Class Year:  2021

Major:  Women and Gender Studies

Hometown:  Stamford, CT

Why I chose to be an Orientation Assistant:  I loved intercultural orientation when I was an incoming freshman.  It was a great way for me to get acclimated to campus and college life.  I also met most of my friends there, some of which whom were OA’s.  The OA’s helped guide my experience at Wheaton and I would love to help give someone else an amazing entry to college as well. 

How the Marshall Center added to my Wheaton experience:  The Marshall Center has been a great place for me to de-stress and hang out with friends as well as learn more about opportunities on campus.

What I like best about Wheaton:  There are so many great ways to get involved on campus.  Even though Wheaton is small there is always something going on and ways you can push yourself out of your comfort zone. 

Involvement on Campus:  I am involved in Trybe, VUJ, and Christian fellowship.