Hollins Announces New Dean of Graduate Studies

Image of Julie DeLoiaHollins University has named Julie DeLoia, Ph.D., as dean of graduate studies at the university. She will oversee the university’s established graduate programs and be responsible for developing new programs.

DeLoia comes to Hollins from Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke, where she had served as dean of the college and professor of arts and sciences since 2017. She also held a secondary appointment at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University School of Medicine, where she was a professor in the department of interprofessionalism. Previously, she held various academic appointments and leadership positions at the George Washington School of Public Health, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

DeLoia holds a B.S. in biology from Westminster College and a Ph.D. in human genetics from Johns Hopkins University. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wistar Institute.

“We are excited to welcome DeLoia as a member of the Hollins leadership team,” said Hollins President Pareena Lawrence. “The university and our graduate programs will benefit greatly from her broad experience and expertise. She is a proven leader with a track record of innovation, including developing and launching successful distance education programs, creating flexible, hybrid course programming for working students, and tracking marketplace trends through alumni and employer engagement to inform curricular revisions.”

“I am honored to be joining Hollins University, which is one of our nation’s outstanding institutions and one that is committed to superb liberal arts education,” said DeLoia. “I have been impressed and inspired by President Lawrence’s energy and dedication to growing Hollins in alignment with its mission and values and look forward to being part of the Hollins community.”

Hollins offers coed Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees in children’s literature, liberal studies, screenwriting and film studies, teaching, and teaching and learning, and Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degrees in children’s book writing and illustrating, children’s literature, creative writing, dance, playwriting, and screenwriting. For more information about the university’s graduate and certificate programs, visit https://www.hollins.edu/grad.


Hollins, Virginia Western Announce Guaranteed Admission Agreements

Hollins University and Virginia Western Community College have established Guaranteed Admission Agreements (GAA) for graduates of four Associate of Science programs from Virginia Western.

Students who obtain a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 in academically transferable courses and complete all requirements for Associate of Science degrees in business administration, general studies, social sciences, or social sciences – education, are guaranteed admission to Hollins.

“Hollins and Virginia Western recognize the need to partner and facilitate the path for women who seek to earn a four-year college degree and transfer their credits seamlessly into the Hollins curriculum and degree programs,” said Hollins President Pareena Lawrence. “Our GAAs will empower more students to continue their undergraduate education at an institution that prepares women to succeed in all sectors of society with an emphasis on leadership, life skills, and professional development.”

Lawrence noted that GAA students who enroll at Hollins will enjoy a number of benefits. “They are eligible for admission to competitive programs, financial aid, scholarships, parking, housing, and all other student services just as any other Hollins student. And, GAA students with a minimum of 58 credits will be given junior status and can enroll directly into 200 level courses or higher at Hollins.”

At a signing ceremony on Friday at Virginia Western, President Robert H. Sandel shared his excitement regarding the new agreements with a group of students. “Hollins is an outstanding university and has always been a wonderful partner for Virginia Western. These new agreements will give our students another pathway to seamlessly transfer and continue their education in pursuit of a strong career,” he said.

All of the courses that are accepted by Hollins will be applied towards the student’s baccalaureate degree and major program. A minimum grade of “C” must be obtained in each course the student wishes to transfer. GAA students can expect to graduate from Hollins with a baccalaureate degree after the successful completion of a minimum of 64 credits, two four-credit Short Term activities (classes, trips, independent study, or internships), and two physical education courses.

Moving forward, Lawrence said Hollins will provide up-to-date information to GAA students at Virginia Western pertaining to transfer procedures, financial assistance, housing policies, tuition and fee payments, and deadlines. Hollins will also develop a GAA guide for use by counselors, faculty, and students at Virginia Western.

Hollins is an independent liberal arts university offering undergraduate education for women, selected graduate programs for men and women, and community outreach initiatives. Founded in 1842, Hollins features nationally recognized programs in creative writing and theatre, extensive internship and study abroad opportunities, and a dedicated alumnae network.

Virginia Western Community College is a forward-thinking community college inspiring individual, community, and economic transformation. It provides quality educational opportunities that empower students for success and strengthen communities. The college provides credit based academic programs and non-credit workforce training along with distance learning online and dual enrollment courses in area high schools. To learn more, visit www.virginiawestern.edu.

Photo: Flanked by Virginia Western Community College students, Virginia Western President Robert Sandel and Hollins President Pareena Lawrence sign the Guaranteed Admission Agreements between the two institutions. 


Princeton Review Touts Hollins as a “Best Value College”

Hollins University is one of the nation’s best colleges for students seeking a superb education with great career preparation at an affordable price, according to The Princeton Review.

The education services company profiles Hollins in the 2019 edition of its annual guide, The Best Value Colleges: 200 Schools with Exceptional ROI for Your Tuition Investment, published by Penguin Random House/Princeton Review Books.

Information on the book, including its school profiles, is accessible for free on The Princeton Review’s website.

“We salute Hollins and all of our Best Value Colleges. They stand out for their outstanding academics and their affordability via generous financial aid to students with need and/or comparatively low sticker prices,” said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s editor-in-chief and lead author of the book. “Students at these colleges also have access to extraordinary career services from their freshman year on, plus a lifetime of valuable alumnae/i support.” The Princeton Review ranks Hollins #17 in the category, “Top 25 Best Alumni Networks.”

The book’s editors at The Princeton Review state, “A Hollins education is an affordable education. And students are thrilled to report that the Financial Aid Office is nothing short of ‘fantastic.’ Importantly, through a combination of need-based aid, scholarships, and cost-effective loans and grants, the university is able to distribute over $24 million annually in financial aid.”

The editors add, “The career outlook for Hollins students is pretty rosy. That’s partially thanks to the fact that undergrads are able to tap into a ‘highly active alumni base.’ They also have a wonderful Career Center at their disposal. Indeed, from the beginning of the first year, undergrads can swing by the office and start plotting their path to career success.”

The Princeton Review crunched more than 40 data points to tally ROI (return on investment) ratings of the colleges that determined its selection of the 200 schools for the book. Topics ranged from academics, cost, and financial aid to graduation rates, student debt, alumnae/i salaries, and job satisfaction.

 


Hollins Goes to Greece!

One of the qualities that makes January Short Term at Hollins so special is the opportunity for undergraduates to engage in a travel/study program. Professor of Classical Studies Tina Salowey and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Chris Richter are leading a group of 20 students as they spend three weeks this month immersing themselves in the history and culture of Greece.

“Tourists tend to think of Greece as a destination, but for this J-Term abroad course, we will study it as a crossroads, where people of different backgrounds have traveled from ancient times to the present,” Salowey explains.

The topics the group may experience onsite include Greek myths that involve travel quests, ancient pilgrims who traversed Greece to attend Panhellenic festivals, early modern perceptions of the territory as a crossroad of East and West, and the related ways that Greece historically has been a site for invasion, occupation, and empire, as well as a point of transit for refugees. Geographically, the Hollins student travel group will emphasize Athens/Attica, the Peloponnesus, and parts of central Greece.

Follow our students’ adventures this month on the Hollins Goes to Greece ’19 blog.


Hollins Senior Builds Upon Her Model Arab League Experience During Week in Qatar

For Hayley Harrington ‘19, one of the most rewarding aspects of her college career has been her involvement with Model United Nations and especially Model Arab League (MAL), a diplomatic simulation program whose goal is to give students a greater understanding of the Middle East and the Arab peoples.

“Learning on-the-spot public speaking and negotiation skills and how to conduct research quickly is an incredible skill set,” Harrington says of the benefits of taking part in MAL. “It’s served me well in taking classes that are heavy on oral presentations and in just being able to talk to people and collaborate. I have a deep love for Model Arab League.”

MAL is the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations’ (NCUSAR) flagship student leadership development program, and Harrington is currently president of the organization at Hollins. In November, she served as secretary-general for the Fourth Annual Appalachia Model Arab League, which welcomed to campus 12 delegations and nearly 100 students from middle school to college for the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the Arab Region.

Last summer, Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch nominated Harrington, who is double majoring in international studies and art history, for a fellowship with NCUSAR. She was one of only ten undergraduates from across the country who were accepted into the program, where over the course of the following year they “engage with the community, talk about what we have learned, and break down some of the stigmas and misconceptions that people have toward the Middle East,” she says.

One of the highlights of Harrington’s fellowship thus far took place over Thanksgiving. She and her respective fellows spent a week engaged in a study visit to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, joined by five professors (including Lynch) and NCUSAR staff members.

“Those were five very jam-packed days,” Harrington recalls. “Pretty much from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, we were busy.”Hayley Harrington '19 - 2

The group met with constituencies that ranged from ambassadors, embassy workers, and U.S. military personnel to top consultants and financial leaders to learn more about the richest country in the world per capita. They also gained perspective on the land, air, and sea blockade instituted by other Arab nations in June 2017 because of Qatar’s alleged interactions with terrorist organizations.

“What people need to know about Qatar is their goal is to be a mediator,” Harrington explains. “They’re a very small, very wealthy state, and in that position they think it’s in their national interest to facilitate negotiations between differing political factions in order to achieve peace.” She notes that Qatar has worked with organizations and states such as Hamas and Israel. And, though Qatar in no way supports Iran, “it’s important that they maintain relations and get along with one another. Iran is a neighbor and represents Qatar’s only access to airspace to Western Europe,” she adds.

“The goal of the blockade was to collapse the economy of Qatar and they’ve ended up coming out stronger,” Harrington concludes. “They’ve diversified their economy because they have to provide more of their own resources. They’ve made connections with countries outside of the Gulf and they’ve strengthened relations with the United States. They’ve continued to export their biggest resource, natural gas, so that the United Arab Emirates isn’t without power.”

One example she observed that typifies Qatar’s resiliency in the face of the blockade is the country’s national dairy farm. “Qatar was cut from their entire dairy supply and so their thought process was, ‘Well, what if we just build a giant dairy farm and support ourselves instead?’”

Harrington says Qatar’s innovative spirit also underpins their preparations to host the World Cup in 2022. Using sustainable, effective design and employing recyclables as much as possible, the country is building six stadiums to accommodate the event and is planning to repurpose the materials so that the structures don’t simply deteriorate afterward. And, instead of building new hotels that will sit empty after the World Cup competition ends, “they’re bringing in cruise ships and leaving them docked” to accommodate attendees.

Qatar is “a wonderful country,” Harrington believes, but she is quick to note that it is by no means perfect. “There are definitely a lot of human rights issues that they are actively working to take steps to improve,” she says.

While it will take time for her to process everything she learned during her week in Qatar, Harrington “can definitely say that it’s been one of the most impactful experiences of my education and of my time at Hollins. I worked with nine other incredible, very accomplished, very intelligent undergraduate students and five very intelligent, very accomplished professors. It meant a lot to hear what other people have to say and get differing opinions, ideas, and thoughts.

“I think it also changed the way I look at other parts of the world. Trying to achieve an objective truth is very difficult, but looking at and comparing the ways we look at different countries versus how they see themselves is definitely something for which this trip has helped me grow skills and insight.”

Harrington is looking forward to serving on the National Secretariat for the National University Model Arab League conference at Georgetown University in April 2019. Then, following her graduation from Hollins next spring, she aspires to attend Virginia Tech and pursue a master’s degree in landscape architecture. The opportunity came about as a result of her work last summer with the Small Cities Institute, a research and teaching collaboration between Hollins, Roanoke College and Virginia Tech co-founded by Associate Professor of International Studies Jon Bohland where faculty and students tackle issues facing small urban areas around the globe.

“We worked on some of the barriers that prevent people from accessing equitable workplace participation and workforce development in the Roanoke Valley,” she says.

Harrington admits that landscape architecture “has very little to do with the international studies and art history departments,” but the graduate program represents “a really nice synthesis of everything I want to do” in a career.

“At the end of the day, I really care about people, and the core of what I care about is helping and working with others to make the world a better place for someone other than myself.”

 

 

 

 


Hollins Students Recognized for Prominent Leadership Roles at Model Arab League

Hollins University welcomed to campus 12 delegations and nearly 100 students from middle school to college for the Fourth Annual Appalachia Regional Model Arab League (MAL), held November 9 – 11.

Similar in organization and format to Model United Nations, MAL is the flagship student leadership program of the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR). Through role-playing, the conference allows both American and international students the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of real-life diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners and deepen their knowledge of the Arab world and it peoples.

During this year’s Appalachia MAL, students discussed such issues as the Palestinian conflict, global climate change, building greater Arab unity, and promoting more private investment in the region. For the first time, all conference council chairs were Hollins students. Notably, Hayley Harrington ’19 and Carly Collins ’21 acted as secretary-general and assistant secretary-general, respectively, while Hannah Jensen ’20 was awarded Outstanding Chair and Sami Makseyn ’19 was named Distinguished Chair.

Other Hollins students receiving honors at the Appalachia MAL include:

Emmalee Funk ’20 and Madison McElhinney ’20: Outstanding Delegation, Palestinian Affairs Council

Claire Hintz ’21: Outstanding Delegate, Summit of Arab Heads of State

Tien Nguyen ’22: Outstanding Delegate, Social Affairs Council

Mary Elizabeth Cochran ’21: Distinguished Delegate, Environmental Affairs Council

Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch announced that Hollins will participate in the National University Model Arab League conference at Georgetown University in April 2019. “Only 22 universities worldwide are invited to take part in the national conference,” Lynch said. In addition, he and Harrington will be traveling to the Arab nation of Qatar during Hollins’ Thanksgiving Recess as part of a faculty-student delegation sponsored by NCUSAR to the Persian Gulf Region. The delegation will meet with government officials, private business people, academics, and journalists.

Ed Lynch NCUSAR
Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch addresses the Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference on Nov. 1 in Washington, D.C.

 

Earlier this month, Lynch was a featured speaker at NCUSAR’s 27th Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference in Washington, D.C. Before an audience of 350 people that included high-ranking policymakers from the U.S. and the Arab-speaking world, Lynch discussed Hollins’ active participation in MAL and the intellectual benefits students receive from it.

“Students learn to do rapid-fire research and how to debate and negotiate,” he explained. “They also get invaluable experience with public speaking and working together as a team.”

 

 

Top photo: Hollins University’s delegation to the Fourth Annual Appalachia Regional Model Arab League. Hollins represented Saudi Arabia and Sudan at the conference.

 

 


Classics Symposium to Highlight Greece’s Martial, Mythological Landscapes

Hollins University’s classical studies department will host its annual Classics Symposium on Thursday, November 8.

The theme of this year’s event is “Being There: Martial and Mythological Landscapes of Greece” and will feature the following talks, which will both be held in Talmadge Recital Hall, located in Bradley Hall. Admission is free.

 

 

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
“Mourning, Monuments, and Memory: Reading Ancient Greek Battlefields”
Matthew A. Sears, associate professor, classics and ancient history
University of New Brunswick

Sears will focus on the experience of visiting the battlefields themselves, both today and in antiquity. To what extent were trophies, inscriptions, major topographical landmarks, etc., meant to be seen by ancient Greeks? Are we to imagine visits to battlefields as regular occurrences? If so, how would a nearby battlefield, or one far away but with significant significance for one’s city, affect one’s view of war, citizenship, and the state?

6 – 7 p.m.
“Musing on Mountain Landscapes in Central Greece”
Betsey A. Robinson, associate professor, history of art
Vanderbilt University

Thinking across ongoing work and recent explorations of Greek mountains and fountains, Robinson will turn to central Greece to consider the great ranges of Helikon, Parnassos, and Chelmos; their prodigious water sources (Hippokrene, Castalia, and the Styx); and other wonders (coral atop Helikon, July snow on Chelmos). Myth mixes with religion here, and eyewitness accounts contrast with the reputation and abstracted qualities of these landscapes.

Since 1975, the classical studies department has presented the Classics Symposium, a one- or two-day event focusing on a single theme of current interest in classical studies. Renowned scholars deliver public lectures and encourage dialogue about the ancient world.

 

Photo: River Styx on Mt. Chelmos with Parnassos and Helikon in the background. Credit: Betsey Robinson

 

 


New Institute at Hollins Emphasizes Entrepreneurial Learning Across Disciplines

Hollins University is collaborating with Roanoke Valley innovators and an international venture development company to launch new opportunities devoted to entrepreneurship.

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Learning (IEL) at Hollins University will foster creative and innovative thinking and provide students with the resources needed to develop an entrepreneurial outlook across all disciplines, including the social sciences, business, humanities, fine arts, and STEM.

According to Hollins President Pareena Lawrence, IEL reflects the vision articulated in Hollins’ strategic plan, which will guide the university from 2019 – 2024. “We seek to create a vibrant and inclusive global community that prepares and challenges our students to learn holistically across traditional boundaries with innovative curricular and co-curricular opportunities,” she states. “IEL will support this vision with an emphasis on bringing ideas and theory to action.”

Professor of Practice Karen Messer-Bourgoin, a member of Hollins’ class of 1984, will serve as the institute’s inaugural director. Messer-Bourgoin returned to Hollins in 2017 to impart her extensive business experience from Wall Street to Main Street to the classroom.

“IEL will provide both theoretical and practical learning experiences for students to ‘see’ gaps, opportunities, and spaces to do things differently, to think creatively about ways to fill those gaps and spaces, and to move from ideas to new services, products, and processes,” she says. “Our approach is grounded in the liberal arts and takes full advantage of our emphasis on critical thinking, creative problem solving, collaboration, and the interconnectedness of disciplines. It gives students opportunities to transform ideas into innovations and solutions that are viable in today’s fourth industrial revolution.”

One of the distinguishing attributes of IEL is that students in all majors and minors at Hollins can take advantage of professional alliances within the Roanoke Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The Advancement Foundation, Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce, RAMP (Regional Accelerator and Mentoring Program), Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council, and Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center are among the organizations participating.

In addition, IEL is partnering with prehype, a product innovation firm with offices in New York City, London, Copenhagen, and Rio de Janeiro. “prehype is composed of an incredibly smart team of entrepreneurs with a muscular ad-hoc network of accessible talent,” The New Web reports, while Media Shift notes that the company “brings the creativity and exhilaration of a startup venture into big company structures.” Hollins is receiving an unlimited license for prehype’s Applied Entrepreneurship course and course materials, which will include proprietary sessions covering opportunity identification, problem reframing, signal mining, and other current and relevant topics. The course will be team-taught by prehype staff and Hollins faculty. In addition, up to 10 students each year will have access to prehype’s New York City office for a January Short Term class experience/internship.

“IEL’s resources provide a foundational knowledge in the field of innovation and serve to connect students and faculty to external entrepreneurial experiences and mentors,” says Patricia Hammer, vice president for academic affairs at Hollins. “Other exciting components that we’re developing are possibilities for learning from entrepreneurs across industries in Bangalore, India, and a partnership with Ahmedabad University in India, which will provide new opportunities for our faculty and students in the fields of leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovative thinking, among others.”

Hammer explains that one of the goals of IEL’s first year will be to “raise the profile and awareness of entrepreneurial learning in our campus community as an innovative mindset. There will be applications across our curriculum working collaboratively with our Batten Leadership Institute, Career Center, and other key academic and administrative departments.”


Through NIH Research, Biology Major Continues Working Toward Goal of Attending M.D./Ph.D. Program

Last summer, biology major Sunny Greene ’19 was part of a research team in the Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). One of only 1,300 students chosen to work in the program from over 10,000 national and international applicants, Greene spent 12 weeks investigating a rare genetic disorder called Chediak-Higashi Disease (CHD), of which there are only 300 cases known worldwide.

The NIH experience offered Greene valuable credentials and crucial preparation for achieving her goal of gaining acceptance to one of the nation’s highly selective M.D./Ph.D. programs, so she was delighted when the UDP invited her back this summer to continue her research into CHD.

“I was back in the same lab working with the same people, but this summer’s research focused on a different facet of the disease,” she explains. “Last year, I primarily conducted tissue culture experiments on fibroblast skin cells, but this year I was studying CHD’s neuropathology.”

While the classic CHD case affects children and is characterized by partial albinism, easy bruising, prolonged bleeding and clotting issues, and immunodeficiency, adult sufferers of CHD are prone to experiencing neurological symptoms similar to Parkinson’s: balance issues, motor skill loss, and/or some developmental delay. “We have no idea what causes these neurological symptoms, so I did a lot of experiments on the neuropathology of the mouse models of CHD.”

Greene zeroed in two factors that cause Parkinson’s, the first being Purkinje cell loss in the cerebellum. “This part of the brain is located at the base of the skull and Purkinje cells are responsible for the cerebellum’s role in managing motor function. One theory is that Purkinje cell loss or death might cause Parkinson’s, because if you lose them, they never grow back, and you’re going to lose motor function over time.”

She also explored a particular pathway in the brain that, if not functioning correctly, could create symptoms of Parkinson’s. “An enzyme called tyrosine hydroxylase, or TH for short, is part of this pathway and it converts the amino acid L-DOPA into dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps in part to regulate movement. If TH isn’t functioning properly, you’re stuck with just L-DOPA and you’re not going to have enough dopamine.”

While this research shows promise, Greene says much of her work proved frustrating. But, she found that her experience with failure as a researcher last summer with NIH was invaluable in building her persistence and resilience.

“What I learned from my epigenetic reading is that the essence of research is that you’re not trying to prove anything, you’re trying to disprove something. In order to be successful, you have to fail. Goodness knows, I failed so many times this summer, but I was more prepared for it having gone through it the previous summer.”

Greene was also ready to handle lab politics for the first time. “The research world can be dog-eat-dog and very competitive. Sometimes egos get into the way of each other. But I drew upon my experience from the Batten Leadership Institute (BLI) at Hollins to deal with that, and as a result I feel that someday I can be a successful leader in the lab.”

Greene says she is tentatively planning to work at NIH again next summer as a springboard to gaining one to two more years of solid research experience, a prerequisite for many M.D./Ph.D. programs. In the meantime, she’s enjoying her senior year experience at Hollins. “It’s a time to reflect and enjoy where you are and who you are, and so honestly my goal this year is to have fun with that. I’m taking Latin 101 and learning about Roman culture, and I’m also taking a theatre appreciation class because I’ve always loved theatre, and I’m mentoring students through BLI.

“I want to do things to make myself a well-rounded person. M.D./Ph.D. programs want to see that. Of course, they want to know that you are dedicated to your science, but they also want to know what you’re doing outside of that to enrich your research.”

 


Senior Gains Crucial International Experience Close to Home

During her distinguished college career, Hanna Strauss ’19 has studied Arabic in Oman, completed a fellowship in Qatar, and spent an entire academic term living and studying in Cuba.

But this past summer, a part of the globe – one particular continent, to be exact – came to her.

Strauss worked with the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), a U.S. State Department program established in 2014 to promote economic growth and prosperity and bolster democracy in Africa. Each year, YALI brings 700 young African leaders to the United States to network with one another and with the American people.

Specifically, Strauss served as a summer program associate with a subsection of the YALI program called the Presidential Precinct, which was held largely at sites located just a few miles from her hometown of Keswick, Virginia. Featuring the homes of three U.S. presidents (Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier, and James Monroe’s Highland) as well as such historic institutions as the University of Virginia and Morven in Charlottesville and the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, the Presidential Precinct hosts representatives from across the African continent for six weeks of leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring.

“They live at and learn about all these different sites and get to interact with activists who are involved with various initiatives here in the States,” Stauss explains. “Then they get to bring those connections when they return home to what they’re doing in their own communities. I met leaders from 16 different countries with a wide range of backgrounds and interests. Everyone I met was amazing.”

Strauss partnered with a fourth-year student at the University of Virginia and focused on meeting the Presidential Precinct’s needs for digital media and public image communications. Through her work, the double-major in Spanish and political science says she bonded with “a lot of activists who are doing things that I am interested in: human rights, women’s rights, and disability rights.”

While she is grateful for the opportunities she’s had to study abroad as a Hollins student, Stauss believes her summer internship with the Presidential Precinct was equally as important in terms of worldly experience. “This was completely new. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never been to Africa, so just the idea of traveling there and then actually meeting people who came from different countries was such an incredible honor. Everything I learned this summer is going to help me. It definitely gave me more perspective and just really validated why I chose Hollins and why I needed to have a liberal arts education.”

This year, Strauss is serving as president of Hollins’ Student Government Association. She is drawing upon all her experiences over the past three years to inform how she leads and works effectively toward achieving what she sees as her highest priority, building a more inclusive campus.

“Through actions as well as words, I want to make sure everyone knows their voice is important. There’s no reason someone should leave Hollins believing their voice is worth less than anyone else’s. That’s the whole point of empowering people.”