Hollins Announces SAT, ACT will be Optional for Fall 2021 Student Applicants

In response to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Hollins University is suspending the standardized testing requirement for students applying for admission in the fall of 2021.

The one-year test optional policy means that prospective students do not have to submit SAT or ACT scores in order to be considered for enrollment in the class of 2025.

Ashley Browning, Hollins’ vice president for enrollment management, says the temporary policy is intended to help alleviate anxiety in a challenging and unprecedented time.

“We know opportunities to take SAT or ACT exams have been cancelled, and may continue to be postponed in locations throughout the country. Students may also be concerned that they will not be able to take the tests in an environment that allows for social distancing, or that their performance may be compromised in other ways,” she explains. “Our test optional policy this year will hopefully take away some stress and worry during the 2020-21 application cycle.”

Browning adds that Hollins applicants may still choose to submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration. “We take a holistic approach to evaluating applications that includes a wide range of factors. If a prospective student believes their test results are an accurate reflection of their current academic ability, we will welcome them as part of our review process.”

Hollins’ decision to go test optional, Browning notes, is just one of the ways in which the university is reaching out to prospective students at a time when stay-at-home orders remain largely in place. “This spring, we’ve been holding a number of interactive webinars where students and their parents can learn more about topics of interest and ask questions. We also offer a virtual campus tour, and our admission counselors and financial aid advisors are available via Zoom or phone to share information, including how affordable a Hollins education can be. Annually, we award $28 million in financial aid and scholarships, including scholarships ranging from $24,000 to full-tuition for admitted students.”

Founded in 1842 as Virginia’s first chartered women’s college, Hollins is an independent liberal arts university providing undergraduate education for women, selected graduate programs for men and women, and community outreach initiatives. In addition to 29 undergraduate majors and eight coeducational graduate programs, including a nationally recognized creative writing program, the university offers the Rutherfoord Center for Experiential Learning, which supports extensive career preparation, study abroad, and undergraduate research opportunities; the Batten Leadership Institute, which teaches students how to understand and navigate feedback, conflict, and negotiation; and the Entrepreneurial Learning Institute, which provides students with the resources needed to develop an entrepreneurial outlook across all fields, including the social sciences, business, humanities, fine arts, and STEM.

Hollins Student-Athletes Earn Chi Alpha Sigma Honors

Eighteen Hollins University student-athletes have been inducted into the national honor society Chi Alpha Sigma for the 2019-20 academic year.

Chi Alpha Sigma is the first and only nonprofit organization that recognizes college student-athletes who have excelled in both the classroom and on the field of competition. Inductees must achieve junior academic standing or higher, earn a 3.4 or higher cumulative grade point average, and be a team member for at least a full season.


Hollins’ newest inductees are:

  • Juliette Baek ’20 – Tennis
  • Megan Bull ’20 – Swimming
  • Shravani Chitineni ’21 – Soccer
  • Grace Davis ’21 – Cross-Country/Swimming
  • Hanna DeVarona ’21 – Swimming
  • Elizabeth Eubank ’21 – Tennis
  • Carsen Helms ’21 – Basketball/Lacrosse
  • Logan Landfried ’21 – Riding/Lacrosse
  • Emily Miehlke ’21 – Swimming
  • Hannah Piatak ’21 – Volleyball
  • Claire Reid ’20 – Riding
  • Cecilia Riddle ’20 – Basketball/Track and Field
  • Alex Sanchez ’20 – Swimming/Riding
  • Caylin Smith ’21 – Soccer
  • Molly Sullivan ’21 – Swimming
  • Madi Szurley ’21 – Lacrosse
  • Keyazia Taylor ’21 – Basketball
  • Yasmine Tyler ’21 – Basketball

Current Hollins student-athletes who previously earned induction include:

  • Kalyn Chapman ’20 – Track and Field
  • Francesca Reilly ’20 – Cross-Country/Track and Field
  • Kendra Rich ’20 – Soccer
  • Sarah Snoddy ’20 – Tennis
  • Delaney Waller ’20 – Lacrosse
  • Kate Woodruff ’20 – Lacrosse

Founded in 1996, Chi Alpha Sigma provides outstanding student-athletes with an opportunity to become connected within a fraternal association that aligns their educational and athletic successes for a lifetime.


Library Announces Undergraduate Research Awards for 2020

Wyndham Robertson Library is honoring exemplary student projects completed in Hollins courses during this academic year with the presentation of the 2020 Undergraduate Research Awards.

An annual celebration since 2011, the awards recognize extensive and creative use of library resources; the ability to synthesize those resources in project completion; and growth in a student’s research skills. Each winner receives a $250 cash prize, and their projects are archived in the Hollins Digital Commons, where they can be read by a worldwide audience. Finalists for the award also have their work published in the repository.

Here are the winners and finalists for the 2020 Undergraduate Research Awards:

First-Year/Sophomore Category

Winner: “Rejecting Bolivarianism: Political Power in South America” by Jaiya McMillan ’23, recommended by Associate Professor of History Rachel Nuñez.

Finalist: “The Practice of Clitoridectomies: Its Influence on the Gikuyu Tribe, Kenyan National Identity, Cultural Nationalism, and British Powers” by Savannah Scott ’23, recommended by Associate Professor of History Rachel Nuñez.

Junior/Senior Category

Winner: “The Effect of Long-term Stress on Hippocampus and the Involvement in the Pathophysiology of Psychological Disorders, Suicide, and Alcohol Use Disorder” by Hinza Malik ’21, recommended by Associate Professor of Psychology Richard Michalski.

Finalist: “Sustainable Operations, Industry Performance, and Environmental Sustainability: A Case Study on U.S. Marine Fisheries and Pacific Bluefin Tuna” by Kalyn Chapman ’20, recommended by Associate Professor of Business and Economics Pablo Hernandez.

To learn more about this year’s winners and finalists and their research projects, visit the Undergraduate Research Awards web page.

The Undergraduate Research Awards are jointly sponsored by Wyndham Robertson Library and Hollins’ Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.



Hollins Researchers Partner With Other Universities To Study Impact Of COVID-19 On Tick-Borne Illnesses

Two Hollins professors are collaborating with scientists from four other universities to determine if the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the time people spend outdoors and if that change could result in increased exposure to ticks or tick-borne diseases.

Elizabeth Gleim
Elizabeth Gleim (Photo Credit: Nancy Evelyn)

Elizabeth Gleim, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies, and Meg du Bray, a visiting assistant professor in environmental studies at Augustana College who will be joining the Hollins faculty this fall as an assistant professor of environmental studies, are working with researchers from the University of Georgia, Duke University, Clemson University, and the University of Rhode Island on a new study entitled, “Investigating COVID-19 Impacts on the Epidemiology of Tick-Borne Diseases in People and Pets.”

“We’re examining whether people are spending more time outside due to COVID-19 restrictions and whether this might be affecting them, their families, and/or their pets’ (if they have any) risk of contracting a tick-borne illness,” Gleim explains.

Gleim and her fellow researchers are inviting any person 18 years or older who resides in the United States or Canada to fill out a short survey that “should only take about 10 to 15 minutes of your time,” she notes, “or less if you do not have children and/or dogs.”

The research team is hoping to have as many people as possible participate in the study. “We encourage everyone to please share the survey with any individuals or groups that you think would be willing to complete it,” Gleim says.

Coronavirus: Sharing Their Expertise

Two Hollins professors have been interviewed recently for their expertise in areas related to the COVID-19 coronavirus concerns impacting the country and the regional community around Roanoke.

NOTE: The Hollins University administration is maintaining and regularly updating a coronavirus-related web page for full information on how the school is approaching the situation as well as linking to key external resources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health. You can find this at https://www.hollins.edu/coronavirus-preparedness/

On March 2, visiting professor of public health Cynthia Morrow was interviewed by local TV station WDBJ7 seeking her advice and recommendations for how those concerned should best approach the situation as it presently stands. Morrow was a Commissioner of Health in New York during the H1N1 – or swine flu – pandemic back in 2009 and offered several practical bits of advice including good hand and overall hygiene as well as “social distancing,” or maintaining a safe distance during interactions with others. You can view her interview below or see the full WDBJ7 report here.

Peter Chiappetta, a visiting assistant professor of business and financial consultant, was interviewed by WDBJ7 on March 9 to discuss concerns around the impact the fears and realities of the coronavirus outbreak were having on the financial markets, including a temporary halt in NYSE trading earlier that morning. You can view his interview below or see the full WDBJ7 report here.

Hollins Students to Deliberate “Ethics and Higher Education” at Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl

Students from Hollins University will compete head-to-head against undergraduate teams from Virginia’s 15 leading independent colleges and universities at the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges‘ 21st annual Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl, which takes place February 9-10 at the University of Lynchburg.

Teams will consider a variety of case studies highlighting ethical dilemmas in higher education. Notable personalities from business, law, education, finance, journalism, and other fields will listen to students’ presentations and offer reactions.

Grishma Bhattarai ’20, Jules Jackson ’21, Kaiya Ortiz ’21, Georgia Rosenlund ’21, and Aqsa Fazal ’23 are representing Hollins at the Ethics Bowl this year. The team’s faculty coordinators are Associate Professor of Philosophy James Downey and Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy Charles Lowney.

The public is welcome to attend the Ethics Bowl and admission is free. The opening session will be held on Sunday, February 9, at 2:30 p.m. in the University of Lynchburg’s Sydnor Performance Hall in Schewel Hall. Then, the competition’s preliminary matches commence at 3:30 p.m. in various rooms throughout Schewel Hall. Rounds three and four start at 8:45 a.m. the next day (Monday, February 10), with the final round of competition beginning at 11:20 a.m. in Sydnor Performance Hall. This year’s winner will be announced at 12:30 p.m.

Since its inception in 2000, the Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl has presented more than 150 different cases based on ethical dilemmas in contemporary life. Hollins won the competition in 2014.


Workshops Focus on the Power of Merging Entrepreneurship with the Liberal Arts

Members of the Hollins community recently engaged with an internationally recognized thought leader in entrepreneurial mindset education to refute some of the conventional wisdom about launching a new enterprise.

Gary Schoeniger, founder and CEO of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative training and consulting firm and co-author of the bestselling book, Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons from an Unlikely Entrepreneur, spent two days on campus exploring with faculty and students the role of entrepreneurship in society and how entrepreneurs derive joy and meaning from their work.

“Our overall objective is to dispel the myth that entrepreneurship is solely the pursuit of building businesses,” said Karen Messer-Bourgoin, professor of practice at Hollins and director of the university’s Entrepreneurial Learning Institute. “Combining a traditional liberal arts education with an entrepreneurial mindset can help distinguish Hollins graduates by equipping them with the attitudes and skills the world now demands to help solve the most complex social, political, economic, and environmental challenges of our time.”

During his faculty workshop, Schoeniger identified specific interdisciplinary concepts that help cultivate entrepreneurial thinking and learning not only in the classroom but throughout the university and beyond. “I’ve never thought of entrepreneurship as a business discipline. I’ve always thought of it as a behavioral phenomenon,” Schoeniger explained. “We are all born with an innate drive to become all that we can become. We’re naturally curious, that’s how we figure out our environment. We also are born with an innate desire to solve problems.”

Messer-Bourgoin added, “The goal of the faculty workshop was to stimulate a deeper understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset and promote entrepreneurial teaching and learning in the classroom.”

In his discussion with students, Schoeniger described entrepreneurship as “an altruistic paradox. You want to benefit (personally) but you also want to make an impact (on others). Entrepreneurs aren’t just inventing new products and services. They’re solving problems on the micro and macro levels, from the smallest and most mundane issues to things that change the world.”

Schoeniger encouraged students to go out into their communities, talk to entrepreneurs, and find out “how ordinary people identify, evaluate, and bring an idea to life. I promise, you’re going to hear interesting stories. After you do that 20, 50, 100 times, you’ll hear common language, common logic, and common situational factors, patterns that transcend time, socioeconomics, and gender.”

Those conversations, Schoeniger said, will often lead to the crux of how entrepreneurs achieve success and reach fulfillment: the articulation of a compelling goal, which he calls “something that’s gripped you, something you’re thinking about all the time. Because if you don’t have a compelling goal, you’re never going to get to be who you are. The entrepreneur chooses the life they want to live. They don’t just allow their circumstances to dictate their lives.”

Schoeniger’s message resonated with  Zahin Mahbuba, president of Hollins’ Entrepreneurship Club. “The entrepreneurial mindset is not just a business problem-solving mechanism. It is a lifestyle that transpires change-making in society,” she said.

And, Hollins undergraduates are embracing that mindset. One who attended the student workshop noted, “I want to take social entrepreneurship home to make a difference in my community,” while another remarked, “I always thought that being an entrepreneur meant dealing with profit and coming up with business plans. The key to becoming an entrepreneur is making yourself useful to others.”


Hollins Swimming Earns Fifth Straight Scholar All-America Team Honor

The Hollins University swim team has been selected as a Scholar All-America Team for the Fall 2019 semester by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).

With a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.51, the Green and Gold earned the honor for the fifth straight fall term.

“We are very proud of our swimmers both in the classroom and the pool,” said Ned Skinner, head swim coach. “Each one contributed to this accolade and I am very impressed by the way they take pride in their school work. In addition, two of our student-athletes achieved a 4.0 GPA, which is outstanding.”

The CSCAA named a record 762 programs from 480 institutions to the Scholar All-America Team. The teams were selected on the basis of their fall grade point averages and represent more than 17,000 student-athletes. Over 60 percent of the selections are from women’s programs.

Founded in 1922, the CSCAA is the nation’s first organization of college coaches. Its mission is to advance the sport of swimming and diving with coaches at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy, and professional development.


Hollins Is Awarded Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence for 2020-21

Hollins University is welcoming a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence (S-I-R) next year to further infuse a global perspective into the school’s curriculum.

The Fulbright S-I-R Program, which supports international academic exchange between the United States and more than 160 countries around the world, has approved a joint proposal by Hollins and Virginia Tech to bring an S-I-R to their respective campuses for the 2020-21 academic session. The Scholar will spend 80 percent of their time at Hollins.

Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Elizabeth Gleim co-authored the proposal with Gillian Eastwood, assistant professor of entomology at Virginia Tech. They hope the S-I-R will provide an international point of view, especially in the field of infectious disease, to the new undergraduate public health programs launched at both universities this academic year.

“The Fulbright program requires applicants to select two specific countries from a particular continent from which to draw potential candidates for the Scholar position,” Gleim explained. “Gillian and I narrowed our choices to Kenya and South Africa. Africa has so many fascinating disease systems, and in those two countries, scientists are conducting some very interesting research. Also, approaches to and access to healthcare in Africa are different than what students might be familiar with here in the U.S. Because diseases don’t recognize borders or boundaries, it’s important that our public health students have an understanding of these different health care settings around the globe and that they are familiar with disease systems outside of the U.S. regardless of whether one plans to work domestically or internationally.”

In their proposal, Gleim and Eastwood illustrated how the S-I-R would serve their institutions beyond the classroom. “In addition to teaching, we envision this individual sharing their expertise and their culture with our campus communities and our communities at large through guest lectures and other activities, including outreach to local schools,” Gleim said. “At Hollins, we look forward to having the S-I-R become actively involved with our Office of Cultural and Community Engagement (which cultivates diversity and inclusiveness on campus), for example, by becoming involved with our International Student Orientation Program (which prepares students from abroad for living and studying in the United States).” She also hopes that participation in the S-I-R program might create new opportunities for Hollins students to conduct research overseas within the Scholar’s home country.

Gleim noted that their proposal was significantly enhanced by the existence at Hollins of an endowed fund created specifically to bring international faculty members to campus. “Without a doubt, Hollins’ financial support of the Scholar via the Jack and Tifi W. Bierley International Professorship significantly enhanced our proposal.” She added that small liberal arts colleges are among the colleges and universities to whom the S-I-R program gives preference, particularly those who are seeking to grow service to minority populations.

Established in 1946, the Fulbright Program is funded by an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State. Its goal is to increase mutual understanding and support between the people of the United States and other countries while transforming lives, bridging geographic and cultural boundaries, and promoting a more peaceful and prosperous world.



Hollins Once Again Boasts Two Award-Winning Delegations at Model UN

Four Hollins students received honors at the 30th Annual American Model United Nations International Collegiate Conference, held November 23-26 in Chicago.

Hannah Jensen ’20 and Mollie Davis ’22 won Outstanding Delegation for the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, while Emma Jensen Babson ’23 and Bianca Vallebrignoni ’23 were named the Outstanding Delegation for General Assembly Second Committee.

This is the second year in a row Hollins has returned with two award-winning delegations from the conference, which draws over 900 participants each year.

In addition, Salima Driss ’23 and Jaiya McMillan ’23 argued a case before the International Court of Justice.

Katie Grandelli ’20 and Carly Collins ’21, co-presidents of the Model UN/Model Arab League Club at Hollins, spent hours outside of class time preparing students for the conference. Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch and Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette serve as faculty sponsors.

Earlier in November, four Hollins students took part in the Capital Area Regional Model Arab League Conference in Washington, DC,  at the request of the sponsoring organization. Three of the students – Hannah Byrum ’20, Mary Elizabeth Cochran ’21, and Maria Jdid ’21 – served as chairs, and Jdid won the award for Outstanding Chair. Grandelli was honored as Best Secretary General for 2019.

Hollins students will attend the National University Model Arab League Conference at Georgetown University in March 2020.


Photo caption: A large delegation of Hollins students traveled to Chicago to take part in the American Model United Nations International Collegiate Conference.