Our Team

Program Staff

Nadia Williams, Program Director

Nadia Williams is Director of the Parsons Scholars Program, and is an Assistant Professor at Parsons School of Design. She is an Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellow with CCCADI (Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute), participates in Race Forward’s Racial Equity Art Innovation Lab, sits on the National Advisory Council of NCORE (National Conference of Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education), and co-founded the Radical Mama Educator inquiry-to-action group through NYCoRE (NY Collective of Radical Educators). Nadia is a graduate of the Parsons BFA Fashion Design department who began her career designing in corporate environments, and later moved to Mexico, where she explored part of her cultural identity and her commitment to social justice through design. At The New School, Nadia has has led a range of university-wide initiatives that center communities of color, and is continually impressed by the brilliance of our students who hold our university accountable to values of social justice. Over the course of 14+ years of teaching design courses at Parsons and in numerous public schools, she's had the joy of working with young people who actively give her hope for the future. At the center of all of Nadia’s work is the conviction that creative thinkers and makers as well as those who are tasked with devising creative solutions simply to survive modern society are are positioned to make the most meaningful societal impacts.

Francisco Donoso, Program Coordinator

Francisco Donoso, born in Quito, Ecuador and raised in Miami, Florida, holds a BFA in Painting & Drawing from SUNY Purchase College and maintains his studio practice in NYC. He’s interested in the intersections of art, education and social justice, with a love for youth empowerment. He’s participated in numerous residencies, fellowships and exhibitions in and around NYC. His work uses mapping as a metaphor to examine the journeys taken in migration and to ultimately question the certainty of placement in the world.

Estelle Maisonett, Program Administrator

Estelle Maisonett, is a Latinx artist and administrator, born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She holds a BFA in Painting & Drawing from SUNY Purchase College and maintains a mixed-media studio practice in NYC. She is passionate about using art and education as a platform to create environments and communities that empower historically under-served populations through a social justice lens. Drawing from the many identities she carries as a Mexican- American, Puerto-Rican, queer, woman, she creates large scale mixed-media collages that explore how identity is perceived through consumption. Exploring the urban landscape, she collects consumer trash that is collaged and documented in larger works. Her collages of face-less figures, made with clothing, and found items such as newspapers, generate conversations about economic access, social branding, and perception of identity. Estelle Maisonett has participated in residencies and exhibitions in and around NYC.

Juliet Gomez, College Access Coordinator

Juliet Gomez has recently joined the Parsons Scholars Program as their College Access Coordinator. Juliet is a native New Yorker who was educated in the public school system,  graduated from CUNY Brooklyn College after majoring in film production, and then attended NYU Gallatin where she studied educational theater and social work. Her master's thesis "Do You Fools Listen to Music or Just Skim Through It?: Locating Trauma Through Hip-Hop" examined the interconnectedness of trauma, hip-hop and hip-hop as a tool for healing in the hip-hop community.

She's been working in education for 16 years, and has been working in college access full time for the last 5. Juliet believes education is a social justice issue and is dedicated to helping young people design the most meaningful post-secondary pathways for themselves and their families.

Senior Advocates

Havanna Fisher, Youth Advocate

Havanna is a budding interdisciplinary artist from Harlem who works across the fields of design, performing arts and film. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in fashion design from Parsons and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in dance from Eugene Lang. She has a profound interest in using the skills and techniques that she has acquired to combine the arts with education to bring about political awareness and thus probable change within the American landscape of ideological identity.

Kevin Cadena, Youth Advocate

Kevin Cadena is a Colombian-American designer, creative technologist, community organizer and artist who is currently based in Queens, NY. Kevin intersects these mediums together in different ways to critique, enforce or speculate on culture, conventions, and ethics in his environment.

Born in New York and raised in Orlando, Florida, Kevin graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in graphic design. During his time in college, he was involved in planning conferences, workshops, and events around Providence.Since graduating, he has worked with many different organizations ranging from research labs and design agencies to museums and co-working spaces. In his free time, he enjoys supporting local music, playing video games, and reading about politics and culture.


Senior Mentors

Kadeem Lamorell, Mentor

Kadeem Lamorell is an Artist, Designer, Parsons Scholars Alumni and current Mentor pursuing a BFA in Fashion Design at the Parsons School of Design. He has exhibited in NYC at institutions such as MoMA PS1 and POWRPLNT Galllery. He  co-founded the art collective House of Diablos with Destinee Davidson and Sienna Quijano, as a means to build community with other artists of color. He is notably a National YoungArts Winner.

Before attending Parsons, he attended the High School of Fashion Industries, where he began studying Fashion Design on a more in-depth and professional level. The school provided him opportunities to show his first collection at the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Fundraiser and the school's annual Senior Fashion Show. He's also had the opportunity to intern with brand such as Pyer Moss, D'Marsh Couture, Jussara Lee, and Cynthia Rowley.

Dirm Luawo, Mentor

Dirm Luawo is a graphic designer from Queens, NY. He graduated from the High School of Art and Design and the Parsons Scholars Program in 2017, and is pursuing his higher education at Parsons, studying Communication Design. His art primarily focuses on the relationship between geometry, visuals and typography in a minimalist manner.

Emily Xie, Mentor

Emily Xie is Chinese-American artist, born in New York City. She is currently pursuing her BFA at the Parson School of Art and Design. Emily has a mixed media portfolio where she experiments with different mediums of art, including painting, printmaking, illustration, graphic design and abstract art. The majority of her work use paints, oil pastel and watercolor to express her personal identity and to highlight current issues in society. She enjoys exploring how American fast food not only negatively impacts human health but also harms the environment. In addition, her work explores how immigration should not be a reason to eliminate an immigrant’s status and how fear creates danger. Her work has been presented in the Parsons School of Design Open Studios, MoMA as part of the MoMa in the Making Art Program and Recanati- 92y Art Program at her high school.  Emily is excited to return to the Parsons Scholars Program as a mentor and believes she can support students by sharing her own experiences to build community.


Junior Advocates

Nelson De Jesus Ubri, Youth Advocate

Nelson De Jesus Ubri is a first-generation Dominican-American residing in the Bronx, NY. He received a BFA in Architectural Design from Parsons The New School for Design and is now pursuing a Master of Architecture at Columbia University’s GSAPP. A multidisciplinary designer, he has been developing Upstream-Downstream. It is a research project that analyzes the Dominican Republic's infrastructure and architecture as a case study to better understand a country's vulnerabilities in the North Atlantic Hurricane Basin. He was awarded a Fulbright to further his research in 2017. Nelson is also an instructor at Dimension Learning, a non-profit organization that provides STEM programs to NYC students. He teaches middle school students about 3D printing and Computer-Aided Design (CAD).

As a program alumnus himself, Nelson is eager to work with the newer generations of Parsons Scholars to assist and guide them with their higher education goals and exploration of art and design.

Darielle Harris, Youth Advocate

Darielle is a Black/Puerto Rican Queer, Non-binary activist, Brooklyn native, and avid daydreamer. They have a long history in political education, and activism work as an alumnus of Queer youth of color led organizations. They are currently working on creating a “personal is political” podcast and video web series. Darielle hopes to use their voice and media to further the conversation on how desirability shapes society; how race, gender, and body oppression are overlapping structures, and decolonizing mental, physical, and spiritual health especially as a Black queer person.
 
They believe that the standards we hold ourselves and community to are the baseline for a world where oppressed people can envision, create and manifest our dreams and desires outside of oppressive structures. They work, live and create centering accessibility, intersectionality, and manifesting daydreams. They are a fierce advocate of young people of color’s right to pursue the arts and look forward to joining our community! 

Junior Mentors

Daniel Vargas, Mentor

Daniel is a Bronx-based interdisciplinary artist and first year BFA student at the Parsons School of Design. He graduated from Bronx High School for Visual Arts and enjoys using his imagination to create work in photography, painting, and illustration. His photography highlights small unnoticed objects in our everyday lives. As a former Parsons Scholar, Daniel deepened his skill set by completing courses in illustration, fine arts II, digital photography, and game design. Daniel’s work has been exhibited in the Museum of Chinese in America and The Bronx Museum. Daniel is also an undocumented student, which he has used as an aspect in some of his works, highlighting his culture and beliefs through photography, and paintings. He wants to help people bring out who they are and help others see their potential and make them feel proud of their own culture and heritage. Daniel has worked in the past with first year High School students as a Peer Group Connections Leader, teaching the values of education and identity. 

 

Priscilla Villacres, Mentor

Priscilla Villacres (she/her) is a passionate artist and activist from South Queens. She is the product of Ecuadorian and Colombian parents. She is a multi media artist who has a strong appreciation for paint and fine arts media. Her work explores both her personal life and struggles, and her observations with marginalized folk in the 21st century. 

Priscilla is a recent graduate of The High School of Art & Design as well as the Parsons Scholars Program, and she now attends Parsons School of Design. She has been awarded a plethora of artistic and academic awards. She has exhibited at MoMa, Parsons School of Design, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

 


Sophomore Advocates

Deja Holden, Youth Advocate

Deja Holden is a systems thinker interested in the ways people connect with each other and form community. She received her BFA from Parsons School of Design in Communication Design and her BA from Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts in Political Science. She is originally from the Bronx and is super excited to support the Scholars in whatever paths they choose to take.

Sophia Mak, Youth Advocate

Sophia Mak is a queer, gender non conforming, chinese-american maker and performer, currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Sophia received their BA in studio art and cultural anthropology from Bard College and their MA from NYU's Dept. of Art & Public Policy (Tisch). Sophia uses performance as a method for decolonization and research to explore east asian trans-masculinities, intergenerational trauma, and ancestral connection through the racial metaphor of the banana. An alumni of The Hemispheric Institute’s EMERGENYC, Sophia continues their life investigations as an artist, youth worker, first-gen child of immigrants, dedicated friend and sibling.


Sophomore Mentors

Jeanette Torres Molina, Mentor

Jeanette Torres Molina is a proud Mexican-American multimedia artist and the eldest of three children. Born in the late 2000s and raised in various parts of Brooklyn, she has always grown up surrounded by a big loving family, who have become one of her biggest support systems even though art wasn't always considered as a way to make a living. Many in her family have given up music, painting, drawing, and photography because of the ideologies of what a career was, only to regret not following through. This was only another obstacle she had to face.

Fast forward four and a half years, Jeanette has since appeared in seasonal art shows at Brooklyn High School of the Arts, as well as Parsons the New School for Design. She is also an alumni of the Parsons Scholars Program. Jeanette’s artwork has been recognized for its political and cultural themes and she has been awarded the Alexander Medal, Presented by The School Art League, and has had her work displayed at Brooklyn Borough Arts Festival, at Borough Hall.

Currently she is working on a graphic novel based on human trafficking, the sex trade interning it, child abuse, OCD, the affects hard drugs have on the human body and the being in those bodies. Through this project she is determined to make it as authentic and personal as the human being dragged into this issue.

Sherleen Montan, Mentor

Sherleen Montan is a Dominican born artist who currently resides in Brooklyn. She is currently attending the Parsons School of Design as a fashion student. She has exhibited in the living gallery and Brooklyn Borough art show. Her art is very experimental and uses multiple mediums that highlight her identity and background. Her goal is to use her artwork shed light on social issues faced in her home country.