In the Loop: Winter 2018

on January 31 | in Homepage, In the Loop | by

According to the college guides

Hollins receives high marks in several key areas

Hollins was again named to the Princeton Review’s list of the nation’s most environmentally responsible colleges. The company selected schools for the 2017 edition of The Princeton Review Guide to 375 Green Colleges after assessing data from its survey of hundreds of four-year colleges on their commitment to the environment and sustainability.

Hollins received Forbes magazine’s highest grade for financial soundness. The “A” rating appeared in the publication’s 2017 Financial Grades report, which lists nonprofit colleges with at least 500 students. According to Forbes, “Our grades measure…balance sheet strength and operational soundness, plus certain other factors indicative of a college’s financial condition, including admission yield, percent of freshmen receiving institutional grants, and instruction expenses per student.” Forbes also ranked Hollins among America’s top colleges for the year.

U.S. News and World Report’2018 Best Colleges ranks the university as the 37th Best Value School in the category of national liberal arts colleges. Hollins is one of only three Virginia colleges and universities and six women’s colleges nationally to be ranked among the 40 Best Value Schools.

 U.S. News also places Hollins at number 112 in the national liberal arts colleges category. The publication notes that schools in this category “emphasize undergraduate education and award at least half of their degrees in the liberal arts fields of study.”

Literary lights

Two Hollins authors praised for work

Photo of Cathryn HanklaProfessor of English Cathryn Hankla ’80, M.A. ’82 was among the nine authors who were finalists for the 20th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Also nominated were Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Poliner, Beth Macy M.A. ’93, and Lee Smith ’67. The Library of Virginia’s annual literary awards recognize the best books published the previous year by Virginia authors or on a Virginia theme. The finalists were chosen by an independent panel of judges from hundreds of books nominated for the awards.

Hankla was one of three finalists in the poetry category for Great Bear, published by Groundhog Poetry Press (see Hollins, spring 2017).



Photo of Elizabeth PolinerAs Close to Us as Breathing, a novel by Associate Professor of English Elizabeth Poliner, captured the 2017 Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Established in 1976 and presented by the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and the Department of English at the University of Rochester, the Kafka Prize is given annually to a woman who is a U.S. citizen and has written the best book-length work of prose fiction, be it a novel, short story, or experimental writing. Previous winners include Toni Morrison, Ursula Le Guin, and Anne Tyler.




How I spent my summer vacation

Summer internships deepen knowledge and inspire futures

Photo of Meaghan HarringtonWith a lifelong interest in archaeology and a love of the Indiana Jones movies as her springboard, a history and classical studies double major has realized what she calls “a total dream”: working at the premier excavation site in America.

Meaghan Harrington ’19 spent six weeks performing hands-on fieldwork during the annual Archaeological Field School in Jamestown, Virginia, site of the first permanent English settlement in North America. A partnership of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation and the University of Virginia, the field school immerses its students in “the methods and theories of American historical archaeology,” according to the school’s website.

Harrington went through a rigorous and selective application process to become one of only 13 students accepted for the 2017 summer session.


Photo of Sunny GreeneBiology major Sunny Greene ’19 was part of a research team with the Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP) with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She competed with more than 10,000 national and international applicants to earn one of only 1,300 12-week student positions within the NIH Intramural Research Program, the world’s largest biomedical research institution.

“I worked on a rare genetic disorder called Chediak-Higashi Disease (CHD), of which there are roughly only 300 cases known worldwide,” Greene explains.

Because of her time at NIH, Greene says she is convinced she can pursue both her passions in the medical field: “I enjoy the clinical side and I love the research side and I kind of want to marry the two together,” she explains. “Both are important to me because I want to see who I’m helping.”


Photo of Veronica Able-ThomasOne of the ways in which the study of the liberal arts demonstrates its power is when faculty from one academic major actively support and encourage a student from a completely different major, even when those programs seem to have nothing in common.

It was during her January 2017 Short Term in France that chemistry major Veronica Able-Thomas ’19 learned “about a summer research opportunity that would complement my pre-med track and biochemistry concentration at Hollins,” she says. Professor of French Annette Sampon-Nicolas urged Able-Thomas to pursue a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI) in Roanoke, where undergraduate students spend 10 weeks in a rigorous experiential learning program.

Able-Thomas was one of only 20 students accepted out of more than 80 applicants to the SURF program. She spent the summer working with Assistant Professor James Smyth and Research Assistant Professor Samy Lamouille in the Molecular Visualization SURF program investigating brain cancer. Able-Thomas presented her research project at the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Research Symposia. She says her work as a SURF student has persuaded her to consider specializing in oncology.


For more stories about summer internships, visit


Photo of Bell Hooks 


Noted feminist author, cultural critic, public intellectual, and social justice activist bell hooks visited campus for two days in October. The film department hosted an evening conversation in which hooks talked about race, sex, and class in film. The next day, hooks talked with campus community members about spirituality and social justice. That evening featured her conversation with Beverly Guy-Sheftall, a pioneer of black feminism and the Anna Julia Cooper professor of women’s studies and English at Spelman College.


Photo of Karen Cardozo

Karen M. Cardozo, who has worked as a career counselor at Harvard University and at Williams College, as a dean of student and academic affairs at Mount Holyoke College, and as a faculty member on all campuses of the Five College Consortium of Western Massachusetts, has been named executive director of career development.






Photo of artwork from Drawn From the Vault

Mary Page Evans, Mustard Field Series. Pastel. Gift of the artist, 2005.173.


Drawn from the Vault, an exhibition mounted last fall in the Wilson Museum, featured a selection of drawings on paper in a variety of media. Many of these works dated from the second half of the 20th century and had never been exhibited. Included in the exhibition were drawings by Mary Page Hilliard Evans ’59 (shown) and Susan Seydel Cofer ’64.

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