Student Success Leaders

Each first-year seminar has an upper-class student mentor called a student success leader, or SSL, who attends your seminar, helps you with advising, and answers academic questions. Once you have been assigned your seminar over the summer, your SSL will get 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.

Hannah Arthur

Hello, class of 2024! My name is Hannah Arthur, and I will be your SSL for Molecules that Changed History with Professor Derringer. I am a rising junior from Northern Virginia (NoVA). I’m a chemistry major, with a concentration in biochemistry and a minor in physics, and I’m also on the pre-veterinary track here at Hollins. You can usually find me studying in Dana Science Building, in what we call “The Bubble,” or working in the chemistry research lab. I’m a member of both the volleyball and riding teams, and I am also a member of the Pre-Medical Society. Hopefully, I will be traveling to study abroad at the University of Limerick in Ireland next spring. At home, I work as a veterinary assistant, and I can’t wait to start applying to vet school next summer. Outside of school, I am a huge fan of both Star Trek and Star Wars, and I also like to read books about early American history. Ask me about my biography collection, or about the Star Wars prequels! If you have any questions about Hollins, whether it’s being a student-athlete, a chemistry major, pre-vet, or anything at all, please feel free to email me at I’m looking forward to meeting you all and welcoming you to Hollins. See you in the fall!

Photo of Christine-Emeric-Martinez

Welcome class of 2024! My name is Christine Emeric, and I’m so excited to be your SSL for Supreme! America’s Highest Court with Professor Chenette. I am passionate about creating a more diverse and inclusive community at Hollins, social justice, and advocating for legal rights for my home territory of Puerto Rico. I enjoy learning and celebrating all cultures I am exposed to. I am very involved in the deaf community and encourage anyone interested to learn ASL. I am a rising sophomore, studying political science and international studies, while pursuing the Batten Leadership Certificate. Outside of school and work, I enjoy traveling and spending time at the beach with my friends and family. Getting involved in Student Government Association, Model Arab League, and the ISOP/Early Transition Program helped me find belonging my first year at Hollins. I look forward to helping you find community and working with each of you this fall. Enjoy your summer break, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me at!

Sara Ficke

Hello, class of 2024! My name is Sara Ficke, and I will be the SSL for Designing Women with Professor Hendricks. I’m a rising sophomore studying psychology and art history. I’m originally from Panama City Beach, Florida, but now I consider Hollins to be my home, as well. When I’m not in class, you can find me in the library, walking the loop around campus, or buying cookies from the RAT. I also love to go off campus to hike with my friends or explore the Roanoke area. I was in your shoes just one year ago, and I know how exciting and overwhelming it can be. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or just want to talk at I can’t wait to meet you all and welcome you to campus!

Maya Hart

Hi everyone! Welcome to Hollins! My name is Maya Hart, and I’m going to be the SSL for Professor Wahl-Fouts’ first-year seminar. I’m a music major with a concentration in theory and composition, and I’ll be a junior this fall. I’m from a small town in central Pennsylvania called Lewisburg. At Hollins, I’m involved in choir, the Asian Student Alliance, CCE (Cultural & Community Engagement), and I’m friendly with the theatre department. My nonacademic passions include reading YA novels (I could talk about the Harry Potter universe for hours!), singing a cappella, and perfecting my elaborate hot chocolate recipes. Most of all, I enjoy hanging out with my friends—as much as I love the academic opportunities I’ve received here, the people I’ve met are my favorite part of Hollins! (And the animals are great too! In this picture, I’m with my friend’s dog, Darcy.) If you have any questions about Hollins, college in general, or anything else (or if you want a link to an eight-hour playlist of 2012 pop music!), please email me at I can’t want to see you all in the fall!

Candice Housden

Hey y’all! My name is Candice Housden, and I’m going to be the SSL for Political Printmaking with Professor Martens. I’m a rising senior majoring in studio art and minoring in history. I’m from Luray, Virginia, but Hollins is my home! My hobbies include printmaking (which I’m excited to learn more about with y’all in this class!), working at the Wyndham Robertson Library, and watching cooking competition shows. During my time at Hollins, I’ve been active in many activities on campus, ranging from club meetings to Roundtable. I’m a first-generation college student who is ready to help answer any and all questions that y’all may have about Hollins and transitioning into higher education. That being said, welcome to Hollins! Feel free to email me at if you have any questions or just want to pop in to say hi!

Celeste Leeds-Laliberte

Hello everyone! My name is Celeste Leeds-Laliberte, and I’ll be the SSL for Professor Burnside’s Digital Literature. I’m a rising junior from Texas, and I’m double majoring in classical studies and creative writing. I’m a trip leader for the Hollins Outdoor Program and will be participating on the rock-climbing team this semester. When I’m not doing homework, I’m probably stuck in some corner overthinking my writing or zoning out with a book. I’m really excited to be working with all of you, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at!

Joey Mathis

Welcome class of 2024! My name is Joey Mathis, and I’ll be your SSL for bell hooks: rage, love, and creating beloved community. I’m a rising sophomore and intend to be a communication studies major, with Spanish and English double minors. I’m from Saint Cloud, Florida, so Hollins is a little bit like my home-away-from-home. On campus, you can usually find me in the library or a common room, but I also like to explore Downtown Roanoke. I love reading, writing poetry, listening to music, and napping. I am so excited to see/meet you all in the fall, and in the meantime, feel free to email me at if you have any questions about Hollins, this class, or me!

Jaiya McMillan

Hey everyone! My name is Jaiya McMillan, and I can’t wait to be the SSL for Professor Pfeiffer’s first-year seminar! I’m a rising sophomore majoring in political science and Spanish. I was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, but now I call Jackson, Mississippi, home. This past year, I was involved in Student Government Association, Model UN/Model Arab League, and the Early Transition Program. When I’m not sitting in various places around campus reading, you can find me studying in the library or watching Game of Thrones in a common room with friends. It’s hard for me to believe that just a year ago, I was sitting in your place, anxiously awaiting the start of my first year here, but I truly cannot wait to meet all of you and show you how magical Hollins is. If you have any questions (and I seriously mean any), please feel free to contact me at Have a great summer, and I’ll see you soon!

Kaiya Ortiz

Hello everyone! My name is Kaiya Ortiz, and I am going to be your SSL for Professor Nuñez’s first year seminar What is a Nation? I am a rising senior majoring in history and am originally from Hawai’i. When I am not working on classes, I usually spend my time on campus either at the library reading or in my room reading. So you can get to know me a bit better, here are some fun facts about me: my favorite color is navy blue, my Starbucks drink of choice is the Very Berry Refresher, and my roommate and I for the past four years were also in Professor Nuñez’s What is a Nation? seminar when we were first years! I am super excited to welcome you all to Hollins this fall and would love to answer any questions you have about this course, or anything Hollins-related. Feel free to email me at

Prakriti Pandey

Hello!! Welcome to the class of 2024. I am Prakriti Pandey, and I am so excited to be your SSL for Edible Poetry with Professor Moeckel this year. I am a rising sophomore, and I love math and poetry. I am an international student from Kathmandu, Nepal. I can’t wait to join you guys for this experience again because it was my first-year seminar when I was a first year. Besides poetry, I love math, so if you have any questions related to it, I am more than happy to help. Last semester, I was a part of theatre, Model United Nations, and ASA (Asian Student Association). I know what it is like to be a first year, away from family, and I am here to help you all along the way. If you have any questions, big or small, or you just want to chat, feel free to contact me at I know the past few months have been rough, but let’s hope for the best, and please stay safe. I hope to start new with you and help you to make your first year at Hollins smooth and memorable.

Deidre Price

Hi everyone! My name is Deirdre Price, and I’m the SSL for the theatre department’s first-year seminar, Performing the Unknown: Improvisation for the Stage and Beyond. I’m a rising junior, a native of Northern Virginia, and a double major in theatre and English. When I’m not in the theatre rehearsing a show, you can find me working as a tutor in the Writing Center, hanging out in Beale Garden, reading submissions for Cargoes literary magazine, playing music in Presser, hiking in the Blue Ridge, or relaxing at home with my best friends. I’m so excited to meet all our new students and to work with you in such an exciting and dynamic first-year seminar, and I can’t wait to help introduce you to the wonderful world of Hollins University. Have a great summer—I’ll see you in the fall!

Naomi Rajoo

Hello, class of 2024! My name is Naomi Rajoo, and I am looking forward to being your SSL for Professor Jégousso’s seminar on Anglophone Haitian Literature. I am a rising junior majoring in film. I am from Mauritius, an island from the Indian Ocean, known for the extinct Dodo Bird and the tasty food. I love movies, animals, and cakes. In my free time, you can probably find me looking at squirrels or ducks around campus, complaining about having to speak English, or filming/editing in the VAC (the art building)! I am thrilled to meet you all and introduce you to the Hollins community. If you have any questions, or just want to talk, please feel free to message me on! Enjoy your summer vacation, and see you soon!

Abigail Richards

Hello, class of 2024! My name is Abigail Richards, and I am a rising junior business major. I am so excited to be the SSL for Professor Hernandez’s first-year seminar! I am a player on the university’s soccer team, and I am also a trip leader for Hollins Outdoor Program. Besides getting outside and staying active, I also love to paint, craft, and volunteer. I cannot wait to meet everyone! I know this is a time of big transition and can be anxiety-inducing, but I am here to help you navigate and thrive in your time here at Hollins. Feel free to reach out to me for any reason, I’d love to hear from you. My email is Welcome to Hollins, and see you in the fall!

Savanna Sewell

Hello! My name is Savanna Sewell. I’m a senior communication studies and French double major, and I am so looking forward to being the SSL for Professor Bratic’s first-year seminar for the second year in a row! I am so excited to be back on campus with y’all this fall. I am originally from Cary, North Carolina (right by Raleigh, about three hours southeast of Roanoke), and in my free time, you can find me baking, listening to music, or hanging out with the cats and dogs of the Roanoke SPCA. I have found a wonderful community here on the Hollins campus, and I am looking forward to sharing that sense of togetherness and those bonds with you. I am so thrilled to meet y’all! Please feel free to reach out with any questions you might have or just to strike up a conversation! I am on Facebook, and my email is