"My professors at Hollins were always working to engage their students and help them become good learners," says Allison Connolly '00. "That should be our goal: to help our students be lifelong learners. It's that desire to keep learning that's important, and that's what I gained at Hollins."
Connolly puts this philosophy to good use as an award-winning assistant professor of French at Centre College. A double major at Hollins in French and Spanish, she earned her Ph.D. in French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Originally from Des Moines, Iowa, Connolly had never heard of Hollins until someone told her about the summer program, and she signed up. "I had never considered a women's college," she says. "But by the end of the two weeks of Hollinsummer, I knew I would apply there. Even though it was unusual for someone from Des Moines to go to school in the South, it was just the right place for me."
At Hollins, she studied closely with French professor Annette Sampon-Nicolas. "She was and remains my strongest professional influence," Connolly says. "I probably subconsciously model my teaching after her. Her courses were difficult and required a lot of work, but that's what kept me interested."
A life-changing experience was going abroad to Paris, where she studied art history, painting, sculpture, and music. "It's served me very well in my career, because I'm required to teach a first-year humanities course as well as art history and music. And had I not taken those courses in Paris, I wouldn't even know how to talk about any of it. It made my education very well rounded."