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.

Hello 2020! My name is Dylan Bingham, and I will be Professor Nolan’s SSL for Uppity Women. I am currently a film and art history double major, with concentrations in film theory and Renaissance and Baroque Art. Being from Los Angeles, it was a big adjustment coming to Hollins, but I definitely found a second home. Hollins really helped me grow as a person and a leader, and I am forever thankful for taking the chance in coming here! Over the course of my time at Hollins, I have become very involved with the Hollins Activity Board, Cargoes (one of our wonderful literary magazines), and Near East Fine Arts (one of Hollins’ specialty houses). Aside from all that, I enjoy cross-stitching, hammocking, and going to art museums. I am so excited to be an SSL for the fall and can’t wait to meet all of you!

Hello all! My name is Laura Carden, and I will be Elise Schweitzer’s SSL for the 2016-17 year. I’m a senior studio art major from Kentucky. I’m a member of the Near East Fine Arts house and have been since my sophomore year. You’ll be able to find me either in my studio on the third floor of the VAC or goofing off with my friends in East. This fall, I will be returning from Italy, where I will have had the opportunity to take printmaking and painting classes with the University of Georgia’s study abroad program. Here at Hollins, I’ve had the chance to be president of my specialty house, a CASA volunteer, and, most importantly, a supportive and loving friend and classmate (yes, I am a proud Hufflepuff). I can’t wait to work with the ever-amazing Professor Schweitzer and introduce you all to the wild and pretty mythical world of color theory! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at I can’t wait to meet you in the fall!


Welcome Hollins Class of 2020! I’m Shannon Ciccarello, a rising senior from Stafford, Virginia. I am a double major in mathematics and classics. On campus, I serve as the captain of the golf team and a QR tutor. Off campus, I’ve had internships in biostatistics and data analysis, and I studied abroad in Greece. When I am not golfing or doing homework, I enjoy playing the beautiful pianos around campus and using the tennis courts with friends. I am a fan of Harry Potter, bad math jokes, the library, and all things chocolate. In the fall, I will be the SSL for Professor Franko’s seminar on Greek tragedy. I am so pumped for the class, and it is my hope that you will love the Hollins community as much as I do.

Hi all! My name is Liza Davis, and I am from Richmond, Virginia. I am a rising sophomore here at Hollins, and while I am still undecided in my major, I am considering a double major in French and communication studies. I am involved in the Hollins riding program, and I am a member of the Hollins Activity Board. I plan on studying abroad in Paris while I am at Hollins, and I love learning foreign languages. This past J-Term, I was lucky enough to complete my first internship at a photography studio here in Roanoke. When I’m not studying or riding, I love to watch Grey’s Anatomy or Mad Men on Netflix and hang out with my friends. I am thrilled to be Madame Sampon-Nicolas’ SSL for my FYS “Consuming French Culture.” Feel free to email me with any questions that you have (, and I can’t wait to meet the class of 2020!

Hey everyone! I’m Olivia Dierker, and I’m very excited to be the SSL for Thorpe Moeckel’s Edible Poetry. I’m a rising senior from Cincinnati, Ohio, and I went to Hollins specifically to study creative writing. I wouldn’t trade my experiences here for the world! I’ve just come back from studying abroad in London – a wonderful opportunity that Hollins provided for me and a great chance to finally flex my six years of studying German. On campus, I’ve had the honor of having leadership positions in specialty housing, as well as editing for Cyborg Griffin, Hollins’ speculative fiction magazine. If I’m not on my tablet scribbling silly pictures or gazing fondly upon pictures of my two cats, Ringo and Bitsy, I’m probably thinking about deer (which are great animals, in case you didn’t know). It’s very important to me that you feel able to reach out to me with questions, concerns, existential moral quandaries, or anything else. I’m not just in your class to help you academically – I’m here to make sure your transition to Hollins is as amazing as it can be. Please feel free to contact me at – and I look forward to meeting you all this fall!

Hi everyone! My name is Monica Doebel, and I will be the SSL for Professor Bohland’s first-year seminar. I’m a rising senior here at Hollins, double-majoring in gender and women’s studies and English. I’m originally from Sterling, Virginia (just outside D.C.), and I’m returning from a spring semester abroad in London. On campus, I work as a tutor in the Writing Center, am a resident of Carvin Global Village, and am involved in ACCENT (Association of Countries, Cultures, Events, and National Traditions), and the gender and women’s studies department newsletter. I’ve previously had an internship in the publishing industry, and this summer I will be an intern at the Feminist Majority Foundation. My hobbies include hunting down all the documentaries Netflix has to offer, embarking on overambitious hiking expeditions, night driving through small towns, and making playlists for all of the above occasions. I’m passionate about all kinds of things, from feminist theory to citrus fruit, from geography to floral prints. Please feel free to contact me at with any questions, concerns, fears, or if you just want to chat. I can’t wait to meet you all and be a part of your journeys at Hollins!

Hello Class of 2020! My name is Meika Downey, and I am a senior history and political science double major. Though growing up in Vermont, I now call the teeny-tiny town of Brookneal, Virginia, home. The Blue Ridge Mountains have captured my heart, and I am sure yours will, too. My Student Success Leader, when I was a first year, had a big impact on me, so I am very excited to be serving you all as an SSL. At Hollins, your education is specialized and is definitely however you make it; I am here to help you through your academic journey, not only during your first year, but also help prepare you for all four. During my time at Hollins, I have served in the Student Government Association (SGA) as my class’s vice president, a member of the Hollins Activity Board (HAB), an admission tour guide, and I am a tutor at the Writing Center on campus! I am also (definitely) interested in history and talking politics. I love playing tennis, cats, and all that is Hollins. I’m so excited to meet you all!

Hi there! My name is Rose Franzen, and I’m a rising sophomore psychology major. I will be the Student Success Leader for Professor Pempek’s “Positive Psychology” first-year seminar, and I’m so excited to meet all of you. In addition to psychology, my academic interests include communication studies, theatre, and math. When I’m not studying or attending meetings for the various campus organizations I’m involved in, you’re likely to find me in rehearsal for a Hollins theatre production or busy at work on my latest crafting project. If you have any questions about Hollins or making the transition to college life in general, please feel free to email me at I can’t wait to see you all in the fall!

Hello class of 2020! My name is Erika Goad, and I’m from a very small town in Carroll County, Virginia. I’m a rising senior majoring in English (creative writing) and double minoring in communication studies and film. When I’m not in class, you can probably find me in the admission office where I hold a student assistant position. In my free time, I love to spend time with family and friends, read, binge-watch Netflix, eat black raspberry ice cream, and listen to The Lumineers. I’m very excited to be the SSL for Professor Joseph’s first-year seminar (“Women Hold Up Half the Sky”: Women’s Work and Popular Culture). If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at I can’t wait to meet all of you this fall!

Hey! I’m Erin Harrover, and I’m originally from Manassas, Virginia. I am class of 2019, and I intend on majoring in biology on the pre-med track and considering minoring in philosophy with a concentration in ethics. I am going to be class of 2019 secretary this coming year, on the traditions committee on the Hollins Activity Board, and participating in Ethics Bowl! I am super excited (that pun was purposeful) to meet all of you and be an SSL for Professor Gettings’ Philosophy of Superheroes seminar! When I am not doing homework, which is rare, I enjoy spending time with my friends, playing video games, and petting dogs. If you have any questions, you can contact me at!

Hey everyone! My name is Taylor Humin, and I am excited to be welcoming the class of 2020 to the Hollins family. I’m a rising senior double major in English – creative writing and French, and a member of the Hollins Honors Program. This year, I will be serving as Senior Class Vice President and as a member of the Hollins Activity Board. I’m also an active member of the Arts Association, a member of the French Club, and am a writer for Hollins’ Odyssey Online chapter. I’m thrilled to be serving as the SSL for Professor Larsen’s seminar: “Tales of Distant Lands.” This fall, I’ll be returning from my semester abroad in Paris and look forward to sharing some tales from distant places of my own. Welcome to Hollins!

Hey, guys! I’m Dade Hundertmark from Cary, North Carolina, and I’m a sophomore double majoring in philosophy and international studies. I’m the SSL for Professor Lynch’s class “How to be a President,” and I’m beyond pumped to be a part of your first year experience at Hollins. This university is my home, and it’s my “base of operations” for all I do, including being a member of the equestrian team, a participant in the Model Arab League/Model United Nations, and the vice president of a nonprofit. This fall, I’m proud to say I’m returning to Hollins from Morocco, where I’ll have been studying Arabic through connections from Model Arab League, and from an internship with the North Carolina Council for Women. I am so excited to help you guys figure out how Hollins can help you reach your passions, professionally and personally. If you have any questions, or just want to chat, you can email me at I am always down to talk with anyone about anything Hollins. Can’t wait to see y’all in the fall!

Hello y’all. I’m Whitney McWilliams, a 19-year-old native of Birmingham, AL. I am the only girl in my immediate family and the second bird out of the nest. I have two siblings, Keeshon, a junior at Morehouse College, and Jordan, the coolest sixth grader on this side of the planet. Here at Hollins, I am a rising sophomore and a gender and women’s studies major. I will be pursuing a psychology and social justice minor sometime in my tenure at Hollins. During my time here, I have been an adamant participant in SGA as First-Year Class President, and starting in the fall, I will continue my dedication to my class by resuming as Sophomore Class President. I will be assisting Professor Costa in her seminar on bell hooks, a phenomenal activist and author. Google her. Join us this fall! As your SSL, I hope to have a fun and engaging semester. You’re going to be fine. Hollins is going to take care of you, and I can’t wait to help in the process. Wanna chat about bell hooks or the plethora of questions you’ll have come up with during this process? Go ahead and shoot me an email at

Hello, class of 2020! My name is Dani Raymond, and I’m a junior communication studies and English double major from Fredericksburg, Virginia. I am co-captain of the swim team and president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) here on campus. I am passionate about Hollins history, athletics, and planners. Also, my favorite things in the world are my dogs and my plants. I am so excited to be teaming up with Professor Weber in her “Steppin’ Up and Speakin’ Out” seminar this fall. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me at See you soon!

Hello, Class of 2020! My name is Katie Taylor, and I am a history major and a member of the Class of 2019. I’m from a small town outside Boise, Idaho, so I know how scary it can be leaving everything familiar and moving to a brand new place. However, I have definitely found a second home here at Hollins. On campus, I serve as a member of the Hollins Activity Board, a member of the Student Life Committee, and live in Near East Fine Arts, which is specialty housing for artists on campus. I will also be working in the Writing Center as a tutor starting this year! When I’m not running around campus from class to meeting, you can probably find me on the porch of East making puns with my friends. I love to create, listen to music, and give a running commentary on cooking shows. I play tennis, softball, and volleyball for fun and love to hike anywhere and everywhere. I am beyond excited to be the SSL for Professor Nuñez’s seminar; I can’t wait to get to know you all! Feel free to send me an email at at any point with any question or concern. See you soon!


Hey! My name is Gabby Turner. I am an environmental science major, and I will be the SSL for Professor Hernandez’s “Incompatibles?” first-year seminar. I am from Skidaway Island off of the coast of Savannah, GA, and you could definitely say that it’s hard for me to pick whether I love the marsh or the mountains more. I love rock climbing, hiking, photography, music, theatre, and movies. I have a huge passion for the environment and for sharing that passion with other people. If you can’t find me, I’m probably in the climbing gym, catching up on my favorite Netflix shows, or petting someone’s dog on the loop. This year, I completed the Jamaica Cultural Immersion Program and my final year with the Hollins Honors Program. I am also an active member of the Hollins Community Garden, Students for Environmental Action, and the Hollins Campus Tree Advisory Committee. I would love to talk to you about any of these programs and clubs and my experiences with them. If you have any questions or concerns, or just want to reach out, please feel free to email me ( See you in the fall, and welcome to the Hollins family!

Hello there! My name is Leiana Valenzuela, and I’ll be a junior this fall. I am going to be the SSL for Professor Gerber-Stroh’s first-year seminar, and I can’t wait! I am from East Los Angeles, California, but I have come to call Hollins my second home. During my time here, I have been involved with ETP (the Early Transition Program) and Housing and Residence Life as an RA, so I can more than likely answer any questions you may have about first coming to Hollins! I am a film major with a passion for art in any form. I take great pride in my heritage as a Latina, my ever-growing collection of Washi tape, and making playlists on Spotify. I also like to watch all kinds of movies whenever I get the chance, because there is so much that I haven’t seen! If you want to talk to me about film or just about Hollins in general, please feel free to contact me at See you soon!

Hi! My name is Jadrian Williams ( I’m in the class of 2018, and I am majoring in music (voice), minoring in French, and going for the Arts Management Certificate. Originally, I am from Richmond, VA, but my family now lives in Roanoke. So, if you see me or my family around Roanoke, it’s because we live here. Some of my favorite things to do are: sing, especially in French, laugh at things, make puns relentlessly based upon whatever situation I am currently in, and play games. Game nights are my favorite, and while I don’t always win, I like to be included :). I will be the SSL for the first-year seminar “Taking the Crooked Road through Virginia’s Musical Heritage.” I’m really excited to work with you all next year and share with you everything that I learned while in this exact same seminar my first year, while also learning new things from all of you. I am positive that this semester will be an amazing one. Looking forward to everything that is to come.