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.


Senior 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.


Senior Mentors

Tatiana Glover, Mentor

Tatiana Glover is a New York native currently pursuing a BFA in Integrated Design and Fashion Communications at Parsons. Tatiana is a collaborative designer as she likes to mesh her digital designs skills and fashion aesthetics. She is currently freelancing as a fashion designer for her niche brand ‘Mahogany’, which will debut in Fall 2018.

She graduated High School of Fashion Industries in 2015. As many would say she truly has a passion for fashion and she’s not afraid of showing it. Her capstone class was focused on creating videos of artists from underrepresented backgrounds. It is evident that Tatiana is a collaborative designer as she continues to mesh her digital designs skills and fashion aesthetics. She is one of few who were awarded a full scholarship to study abroad in Paris. One thing that many might now know is that Tatiana is great with young children  has been interning as a teacher assistant with a non-profit for the two years but also continues to come back each semester as a mentor in the program. 

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.

Allison Esannason, Mentor

Allison Esannason is a 21-year-old Queens, NY native who currently attends Parsons School of Design. Being a senior in the fashion design program, Allison realized her deep-rooted passion for history and culture by exploring community engagement and anti-gentrification options through unconventional means. For her senior thesis, Allison is currently starting her lifelong project "District 28.," a non-profit art institution created to explore blackness and provide community spaces in the Arts. Her thesis aims to redefine museum spaces and their involvement in overlooked communities. She is exploring the influence and importance of fashion and fashion education within these spaces while increasing access to educational resources about the depth and psychological history of black culture through artistic and scholarly themes.


Junior 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.


Junior Mentors

Kadeem Lamorell Junior 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 Junior 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.


Sophomore 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.