Hearing perspectives from students who are living and breathing the current Davidson experience is one of the best ways to get to know this community.

Connect with individuals individually or by emailing the group at admissionambassadors@davidson.edu.

Prospective students from outside of the U.S. can also connect with International Admission Ambassadors.

Connect with these students by signing up for a 30 minute Q&A session just for students that offers deeper insight into the daily life of a Davidson student from current students. Bring your questions!

Senior Admission Fellows

Photo Short Bio
Zayna Abuhakema

Zaynab Abuhakema '24

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Summerville, South Carolina

Major: Physics

Minor: Theatre

Campus Involvements: Vice Chair of Honor Council, President of the Middle Eastern and North African Student Assoc., President of Health Justice Committee, Social Chair of Warner Hall Eating House, Vice President of Davidson Refugee Support, Vice President of Outreach of the Society of Physics Students, Social Justice Theatre Troupe, Muslim Students Association 

#WhyDavidson: When starting the college application process, Davidson was not on my radar. I wanted a larger school, very far away from home, with a huge campus. It was not until my rheumatologist convinced me to just try touring the campus, that I gave It a chance. I am so grateful I did! When I toured Davidson, I was inspired by the beautiful campus, the community of students and the joy I sensed around me. I saw an amazing balance between rigorous academics and an involved social life, and knew I needed to be here. After applying early decision, I never looked back. These past three years have flown by in an instant, and it has been the most incredible and enriching experience. Go ‘cats!

Fun Fact: I have never gotten sunburnt!

Favorite Bite to Eat in the Davidson Area: Sabi Asian Bistro. 

Connect with Zaynab at zaabuhakema@davidson.edu.

Nate Bagonza

Nathanael Bagonza '24

Pronouns: he/him

Hometown: Haverhill, Massachusetts

Major: English

Campus Involvements: Host of Union Board Trivia, Chidsey Leadership Program Fellow, Prose Editor of the Hobart Park Literary Magazine, WALT 1610 Radio Host, Black Student Coalition, Screenwriter with Davidson Filmmakers, Kappa Sigma

#WhyDavidson: I chose Davidson during the early days of the pandemic, but still, Davidson's warm and welcoming community drew me in. I replaced a typical college visit with lots and lots of videos I found online showing the days in student’s lives here, and I was sold. I could tell that Davidson was a community that I would be able to make my own. The open-heartedness and camaraderie of the student body, as well as the college's close-knit setup were exactly the type of intellectual environment I was looking for. I liked the idea of running into friends on the way to class and exchanging greetings with strangers and familiar faces being a daily occurrence.

While I’ve always valued the humanities, I also had no idea what I wanted to study when I came to Davidson. The way the liberal arts is done here gave me the time and space to explore a variety of topics I wouldn’t have otherwise, and eventually led me to the major I have today that is completely different than what I imagined coming in. I have the Humanities Program and the Ways of Knowing to thank for that!

Fun Fact: I will often scroll to the bottom of articles and web pages and read them from the bottom up!

Favorite Bite to Eat in the Davidson Area: It is Milkbread 1000%, the Hot Dip, french fries, and glazed donut combo is elite!

Connect with Nathanael at nabagonza@davidson.edu.

Kelsey Chase

Kelsey Chase '24

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Concord, New Hampshire

Major: Political Science

Campus Involvements: Student Solicitor of the Honor Council, Formal Chair of Warner Hall Eating House, Major Events Chair for Union Board, Davidson Spanish in K-8 (Sk8s)

#WhyDavidson: When I was applying to college, I had three criteria; I wanted a small, liberal arts college, I wanted to be near a city, and it had to be somewhere warmer than New Hampshire. Given the majority of small liberal arts colleges are located in rural New England, there were only a few schools that met my requirements, including Davidson. However, when my college counselor suggested that I visit, I was hesitant because I’d never gone someplace more southern than Washington, D.C. When I visited in late January of my senior year (my very last college visit!), I quickly fell in love with Davidson because of the fundamental kindness that was present across the students and faculty I met there. Afterwards, I frantically emailed my regional counselor to tell her that even though I’d missed the early decision deadlines, had I known that it would have been my top choice, I would have applied early decision. Thankfully, it worked out! To this day, my Why Davidson holds true – I am continually impressed by how Davidson students pursue their individual passions and yet are deeply invested in the success of their peers. The distinctly supportive community here is the reason why Davidson is the right fit for me.

Fun Fact: I lived in Spain growing up! 

Favorite Bite to Eat in the Davidson Area: Eez Fusion Sushi. 

Connect with Kelsey at kechase@davidson.edu.

Amanda Fuenzalida

Amanda Fuenzalida '24

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Naples, Florida and Santiago, Chile

Major: Biology

Campus Involvements: Smith Artist Series Chair for Union Board, Intern with Bonner Scholars, Vice President and choreographer for Dance Ensemble, Research with Professor Debbie Thurtle-Schmidt in the Biology Dept. 

#WhyDavidson: When exploring colleges, I did not have the opportunity to visit a single school I was interested in, but I was fortunate enough to attend a college mentorship program in high school where a Davidson alumni was interning. Although Davidson had been presented to me before, all it took was one conversation with this alumnus for me to be set on applying and attending Davidson. There is just something magical about the Davidson community that made me feel connected, and although it was a place I had never been able to visit prior, I felt so welcomed when I finally arrived in my first year.

Fun Fact: I am fluent in two languages and have studied 2 more consistently since starting at Davidson!

Favorite Bite to Eat in Davidson Area: If you’re a brunch person (like me), Famous Toastery is the spot!

Connect with Amanda at amfuenzalida@davidson.edu

Olivia Howard

Olivia Howard '24

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Dacula, Georgia

Majors: Biology and German Studies

Campus Involvements: President of Jewish Student Union, Bonner Scholar, Defense Advisor of the Honor Council, Fostering Inclusivity and Respect in Science Together (FIRST) Action Team, Black Student Coalition

#WhyDavidson: When I toured Davidson my senior fall, I fell in love with the campus and community. Although academics did play a role in my decision, the aspect that stuck with me the most, when making my final decision, was how much the Davidson community cared about its students. During the time I had to make my decision, COVID-19 had just shut down the world. Throughout this time the faculty and staff at Davidson continued to reach out to me and be a guiding hand as I considered my next steps in a time of uncertainty. I have continued to see this commitment to helping and supporting students first-hand throughout my years at Davidson.

Fun Fact: I cannot watch a new movie or show without reading spoilers first.

Favorite Bite to Eat in the Davidson Area: Carrburritos!

Connect with Olivia at olhoward@davidson.edu.

Ann Nishida

Ann Nishida '24

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Ridgewood, New Jersey

Major: Biology

Minor: Music

Advising Track: Premedicine

Campus Involvements: Secretary of the Pan Asian Student Association (PASA), President of the Japanese Student Association, Mentor of Strategies for Success, Media Consultant, Conversation Partner for the Self-Instructional Languages Program, Pianist for the Music Dept. 

#WhyDavidson: Davidson is a place where I can see myself succeed. As a first-generation college student of color, it has been difficult for me to navigate through the college application process. I only knew names of large universities and it was hard for me to imagine myself in any of them. An encounter with a Davidson student at a concert was how I discovered Davidson. When I toured, I fell in love with the beautiful nature on campus, the welcoming community that waved to us as we walked by, and the Honor Code that shaped life at here. At Davidson, I’ve gotten so much support and opportunities to explore my interests and step foot into new fields, which allowed me to grow both academically and personally.

Fun Fact: BTS was actually how I discovered Davidson!

Favorite Bite to Eat in Davidson Area: Pho Nam. 

Connect with Ann at annishida@davidson.edu.

a young woman wearing a dark teal blouse with black hair

Italy Ramos '25

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Major: Biology

Advising Track: Premedicine

Campus Involvements: Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), Club Running, QuestBridge Scholars Network, Pre-Medicine Society, Organization for Latin American Students (OLAS), research with Dr. Nicole L. Snyder in the Chemistry Department.

#WhyDavidson: Starting the college search process, I was not entirely sure of what exactly I was looking for. Coming from a small high school, I was eager to find a place where I could know others and be known by others. A place where I would be challenged to have integrity and be pushed by my peers to have honest discussions in a collaborative environment. My senior year of high school I participated in Access Davidson. It was during a student panel that I saw the excitement and energy Davidson students and faculty brought to the classroom and extended to the campus. I listened to students talk about their activities with such commitment and their classmates with tangible familiarity. I knew I wanted to be a part of the community they created and wholeheartedly embraced. During my time at Davidson, I’ve experienced the community I was searching for. I have shared Thanksgiving meals with professors and librarians, researched internationally with my peers, coached a first-year Flickerball team, and have been mentored by my local church leaders. Now, the Town of Davidson and Davidson College has become a home away from home.

Fun Fact: I can determine if any product is from Ikea just by looking at it! My favorite desk is called Lisabo. Visiting Ikea and eating veggie dogs is one of my favorite things to do.

Favorite Bite to Eat in Davidson Area: The Gobi Manchurian from Masala Mastee is my absolute favorite dish to eat. Pair this dish with garlic naan and the Gulab Jamun for a feast you will never forget!

Connect with Italy at itramos@davidson.edu.

a young man wearing a blue turtleneck and blazer

Tim Schietroma '25

Pronouns: he/him

Hometown: Florham Park, New Jersey

Major: Political Science

Advising Track: Prelaw

Campus Involvements: Mock Trial, Davidson Generals, Club Soccer, Spring Musical, Pre-Law Society.

#WhyDavidson: The Davidson conversation. There’s just something different about chatting with a fellow Davidson student. There’s an unspoken affinity. There’s an unparalleled sense of intellectual curiosity. There’s a feeling of belonging. Even with everything else Davidson has to offer, it’s the conversations with my peers that ultimately make Davidson home.

Fun Fact: I am a Regional Referee for the United States Soccer Federation, where I officiate professional, semi-professional, and youth matches across the US—as well as three other countries!

Favorite Bite to Eat in Davidson Area: Barcelona Burger in Mooresville!

Connect with Tim at tischietroma@davidson.edu

Lilly Sirover

Lilly Sirover '24

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Haddonfield, New Jersey

Major: Biology

Minor: Public Health

Advising Track: Premedicine

Campus Involvements: Cross Country and Track, Davidson Delilahs, Co-President of the STEM Enrichment Volunteer Program, Orientation Team Leader, Liaison for Warner Hall Eating House and Mwandi Mission Hospital, and Thesis Student in Dr. Lom's Biology Lab. 

#WhyDavidson: I am from a small town in New Jersey. I knew that in college, I wanted to be a part of a tight-knit, supportive community of individuals who are ambitious, passionate, and kind. When I visited Davidson as a transfer student being recruited to the cross country and track teams, I was welcomed to the beautiful campus by now friends who made me feel at home. I have been able to engage with all aspects of campus, including clubs and social life, which is a unique experience as a student-athlete. I am competing as a Division I athlete in the Atlantic 10 Conference, receiving an excellent pre-medical education, and singing a cappella with my friends!

Fun Fact: While traveling abroad with the Davidson in Zambia program, I did the rope-swing off Victoria Falls Bridge, which is over 400 feet above the Zambezi River!

Favorite Bite to Eat in the Davidson Area: The white bean hummus sandwich, with both avocado and mozzarella, from The Pickled Peach on Main Street.

Connect with Lilly at lisirover@davidson.edu

Sam Waithira

Samuel Waithira '24

Pronouns: he/him

Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya

Major: Economics

Minor: Applied Mathematics

Campus Involvements: Bonner Scholar, Resident Advisor, Davidson International Assoc., Davidson African Students Assoc., Rotaract, Davidson Finance and Investment Assoc. 

#WhyDavidson: As an international student, I was looking for a place where I would receive a good amount of support. Davidson college stood out to me due to its unique programs that address the unique needs of international students. Davidson’s Alvarez Scholars program and the Weinstein travel grant are part of Davidson’s unique international offerings. In addition, Davidson has a lot of opportunities and resources for the student body to explore from different fellowships, numerous study abroad options, grants offered a several college departments, and a dedicated faculty and staff who genuinely help students succeed. Because of this, I love to refer to Davidson as a bag of resources!

Fun Fact: I am a huge Adele fan! My passion for her music knows no bounds, and my Spotify stats confirm it – I'm among the top 0.001 percent of listeners who just can't get enough of her soulful melodies.

Favorite Bite to Eat in the Davidson Area: Kung Foo Noodle in Birkdale Village in Huntersville. I always get the Pot belly soup noodle with pot belly substituted with fried Tofu.

Connect with Sam at sawaithira@davidson.edu.

Ruby Zhou

Ruby Zhou '24

Pronouns: she/her

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Major: English

Advising Track: Predental

Campus Involvements: Cats Excursions Chair for Union Board, Activity Tax Council, Polymer Chemistry Research in Dr. El-Zaatari's lab, Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellow, Rusk Eating House, Davidson Research Initiative Scholar, Davidson Research Network Scholar (published)

#WhyDavidson: I chose Davidson because of the close faculty and student relations we foster here. Davidson does an incredible job at breaking down the barriers between students and faculty. Professors here genuinely want to know who you are (students regularly babysit and dog/cat-sit for them)!

Fun Fact: I've won international and national art competitions!

Favorite Bite to Eat in the Davidson Area: Pickled Peach (Slow Braised and Pulled Chicken Sandwich with microgreens)

Connect with Ruby at ruzhou@davidson.edu.