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Student Success Leaders

Each of these leaders will be connected to one of the First-year Seminars. Once you have been assigned your seminar over the summer, your SSL will be in touch with you to discuss how to build your schedule for the fall and to answer any questions you have about academics at Hollins.


Deborah Birch

Hi, ladies! My name is Deborah Birch, and I am a member of the class of 2016! I am from McLean, VA, which is right outside of Washington, D.C. I will be the SSL for Professor Lynch's first-year seminar for the 2013-14 academic year. I am a double major in political science and psychology, and I plan to work in politics after I graduate. I recently completed an internship for Rep. Eric Cantor, majority leader in the United States House of Representatives. I am the cochair for the Hollins University Republicans, ride horses (at Hollins, and I have my own horse, Romeo, at home), and I will be the editor for the political science department newsletter for fall semester. I love sports and am a huge Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics fan. I am also a big Auburn University football and University of Connecticut basketball fan. Can't wait to get to know all of you and help you have the smoothest of transitions into life as a Hollins woman!

Morgan Blalock Hi beautiful ladies of 2017! My name is Morgan Blalock, and I'm a member of the class of 2016. I'll be Professor Moeckel's SSL this year, and I can't wait! I'm a creative writing and classics double major here at Hollins, and I'm also Academic Policy Board Chair, a member of J-Board, and a writer for Hollins Columns. I'm originally from Newport News, VA, and I have serious addictions to both coffee and Christian Bale. I'm planning on going to grad school after my time here to study creative writing more and hopefully teach at a college I love as much as this one. I'll be thrilled to meet all of you when you get here and to help you make Hollins and Roanoke your new home!
Hilla Haidari Hello class of 2017! My name is Hilla Haidari, and I'm from Annandale, VA. I will be Professor Leedom's SSL for the 2013 FYS. I am a double major in economics and international studies. I plan to go into development and urban studies, so I love my courses at Hollins. I'm a member of FMLA and GIA, and I live in Sandusky House so I usually do a lot of volunteer work at Hollins and in the Roanoke area. I also enjoy attending the wonderful lectures at Hollins. When I'm not in the beautiful Wyndham Robertson Library, I'm probably doing DIY projects, running around "the loop," reading, or watching Breaking Bad or Futurama. I can say, without a doubt, that choosing to attend Hollins is the best decision I've made in my life. I can't wait to help guide you through your journey here!
Catherine Hensly

Hello class of 2017! I’m Catherine Hensly, a senior majoring in economics and business. I’ll be the SSL for Professor Salowey’s seminar this fall (for the second year running!). As the copresident of the Riding Club, the SGA treasurer, and a Writing Center tutor, I stay pretty busy running around campus. I’m frequently spotted dodging to and from Pleasants Hall or up to the barn to ride. However, when I find the time, I love to travel, read, and watch movies. Have any questions, want to tell me about a great film you just watched, or have you found a particularly excellent recipe involving Nutella? Feel free to shoot me an email sometime over the summer at henslycm@hollins.edu. I’m so excited to meet all of you this fall as you begin your Hollins journeys – see you soon!

Johnna Henry

Hello, ladies! My name is Johnna Henry, and I’m a sophomore from Jackson, Mississippi! I’m a double major in art history and creative writing. I’m an active member of NEFA, the fine arts house on campus, Arts Association, and I am a reader for the campus literary magazine, The Album. When I’m not in the library studying or avidly discussing contemporary art, I am crafting, writing poems, or hiking. I’m looking forward to being Professor Nolan’s SSL for Fashion Forward and meeting all of y’all!

Sarah Knox

Hi there! My name is Sarah Knox, and I am from Bedford, VA. I am a member of the class of 2014, double majoring in biology and environmental studies. I am also a member of the Hollins soccer team. When I am not in class, you are likely to find me on the soccer field, in the Dana Science Building studying, or outside exploring the natural areas on our campus. In my free time, I also enjoy hiking, kayaking, birding, running, and spending time with friends and family. I am passionate about wildlife and the environment, and I plan to pursue a graduate degree in wildlife biology after Hollins. I am currently conducting my senior thesis on wingflashing behavior in Northern Mockingbirds. I am very excited to be a part of Professor Wilson and Jon Guy’s first-year seminar, Thinking like a Mountain. I look forward to meeting you all!

Cecelia Parks Hello ladies! My name is Cecelia Parks, and I can't believe that I am already a senior at Hollins! I am from Bridgewater, VA (though I just got back from a semester in London), and I am double majoring in history and political science, as well as getting my certificate in leadership studies. When I’m not living in the library, you can probably find me up at the barn, where I am on the riding team. I’m actively involved in the College Democrats, the Library Advisory Committee, the Academic Policy Board, and the Judicial Board here at Hollins. In my free time, I love watching The West Wing and Saturday Night Live, reading, baking, and contra dancing. I am so excited to work with Professor Bohland and Professor Schumm and to get to know all of you! Welcome to Hollins!
Alex Pell

Hello everyone! My name is Alex Pell, and I’m an international studies and theatre double major. I live in Austin, Texas, where I first fell in love with photography. I also love spending my time exploring coffee shops, traveling, and trying to dance. I have been involved on campus with Hollins theatre, APO, the Hollins Outdoor Program, and Arts Association. I’m so excited to be working with Professor Sulkin, and I can’t wait to get to know all of you!

Brenna Rivett

Hello ladies! My name is Brenna Rivett, and I am a junior from the small town of Purcellville, VA. I am a double major in environmental studies and international studies, and I am also pursuing a leadership certificate from the Batten Leadership Institute. On campus, I serve on the Hollins Activity Board as the social events chair, I work in admission as a tour guide, and have a work-study position working backstage in the theatre (which I love)! When I am not living in our beautiful library, I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, running, watching old Gilmore Girls reruns, traveling as much as I possibly can, and being outside. I am very passionate about the environment and plan to pursue a graduate degree in environmental policy and development after I leave Hollins. I am so excited to be working with Professor Sampon-Nicolas this fall, and I can’t wait to get to know all of you!

Deborah Rogers Hello class of 2017! My name is Deborah Rogers, and I am a junior here at Hollins. I am majoring in music while working on certificates in piano teaching and art administration. I play piano, guitar, compose my own music, and I am always up for a jam session in Presser at any hour. I am rather excited to be helping Professor Wahl-Fouts with her first-year seminar this fall! Some of the activities that I enjoy participating in here on campus are singing in the choir, canoeing with HOP, hanging out at HAB events, attending the dances, and performing in the student recitals. I love fantasy books about dragons, reading about music analysis, poetry, watching TV shows like Doctor Who and Downton Abbey, and I have an eclectic taste when it comes to music including Celtic Woman, TobyMac, Nickelback, and Ravel. If you need to get in touch with me, send me an email at rogersdj@hollins.edu. I love talking about music and Hollins!! I really can’t wait meet all of y’all this fall!!!
Pavithra Suresh Hey there! My name is Pavithra Suresh, and I'm an international studies and communication studies double major. I'm originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, but Hollins has become my second home. I'm very passionate about traveling and service, but in my free time I love to drink tea and ruminate over Beat generation poetry. I'm so excited to be the SSL for Professor Richter's seminar How to Watch TV! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me at sureshpl@hollins.edu. See you soon!
Katie Ward Hey ladies! I'm Katie Ward, and I'm from Raleigh, North Carolina. I spend nearly all of my time on campus in our beautiful theatre department. On the top of a ladder, fiddling with everything for the current production. But when I come down, I am also a DJ for our campus radio and an avid photographer and bookworm. I am so happy to be able to be the SSL for this upcoming school year! I can't wait to meet you!
Rosalind Waiwaiole Hi, I'm Rosalind "Roz" Waiwaiole! I am a native of Hawaiian ancestry, brought up on the island of Oahu. Growing up, I was always interested in music, hula, and art, which has carried me through creative endeavors. In moving to the mainland, I have been able to live in a variety of states in which I have been able to meet many people from different cultural backgrounds. This, too, is something that I am used to, being that Hawaii is a melting pot of culture. After raising my children and moving to the state of Virginia, I decided to further my education. As I attended Patrick Henry Community College, my interest in art peaked, and I wanted to expand my knowledge. I have always created visual art in a mixed media form but wanted to explore painting. In doing so, I transferred into the Horizon Program at Hollins University. It has been a wonderful experience. There is an energy among the faculty and students that surpasses my expectations. Hollins has provided me with positive reinforcement and truly cares about my success, as well as every other student on campus. I look forward to another year of study in my field of studio art.
Kindra Wyatt

Hello new Hollins ladies! My name is Kindra Wyatt. I'm a commuter student from Salem, VA, and grew up mostly homeschooled on an organic flower farm. Here at Hollins, I'm an international studies major, anthropology minor, and Batten certificate candidate. I've been cochair for Students for Environmental Action, publicity director for the Global Interest Association, and a student representative on the Environmental Advisory Board, as well as living on campus for a year in Carvin Global Village. I spent my 2012-13 academic year studying abroad in Bangalore, India, and am probably just as excited to come home to Hollins as you are to arriving! I had Women, Health and Power as my first-year seminar, and it had a huge impact on me, so I'm very honored to have been chosen as Professor Pfeiffer's SSL this year. I can't wait to meet you all! Feel free to contact me with any questions at wyattkr@hollins.edu.