Students enter Hollins with goals and dreams as unique and varied as their fingerprints. Regardless of whether or how those goals evolve over your time here, the people and programs at Hollins are ready to support you.
Meet some of our students and recent graduates who are using their Hollins experience as a springboard to personal and professional fulfillment.
Adarra Blount ’23 is completing her undergraduate career at Hollins with a wealth of real-world experience, including internships with the North Carolina Museum of History, the White House Historical Association, and the Fuquay-Varina Museums, also in North Carolina. One of her goals is to attend graduate school, and to that end she spent a week last year enrolled in the Political Science Predoctoral Summer Institute at Georgetown University.Adarra’s story
Elizabeth Klein ’23
A double major in history and Spanish, Elizabeth Klein ’23 devoted her senior honors thesis to exploring Jewish participation in 19th century westward expansion in the United States. “I’m truly grateful for this opportunity and countless others as I’ve pursued my passion for studying Jewish-American history,” she says.
Spend just a few moments with Arin Waters ’23 and you realize that the empathy and compassion she feels for others is almost palpable. Throughout her time at Hollins, the senior biology major and social justice minor has devoted herself to practicing behavior, conceiving initiatives, engaging in research, and planning a career to improve the quality of life for her fellow students and society at large.
Lindsey Hull ’23, who is majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing, immersed herself in the Appalachian tradition of storytelling for her senior thesis. Hollins’ Batten Leadership Institute inspired her to pursue an internship with the Cardinal News digital news outlet, where she has honed her writing and reporting skills.
Yareli Sosa Antunez ’23’s work as a Hollins research fellow has propelled her into an exciting opportunity: After graduation, she’ll begin a two-year position as a research associate with the Research Engagement and Community Health (REACH) Equity Team at the University of Miami, partnering with the principal investigator there on a project examining mental health and other health disparities among Latino men with HIV.
“I’m very passionate about economic development and equitable development,” says economics major Marissa Gannon ’23, who will be spending next year in London studying public and social policy at a university considered among Great Britain’s “Ivy League” of top research schools.
Jenny Noyes ’23, a double major in biology and environmental studies, has taken advantage of some significant research opportunities while at Hollins and has earned certification as an EMT in preparation for eventual study at PA school, all while meeting the challenges of an autoimmune disease.
An internship with a major Los Angeles management/production company has inspired Letitia Thym ’23 to explore a career in Hollywood. “Storytelling is such an important part of life.,” she says. “It’s what inspires us. It’s what motivates us. That to me is such an important part of how society runs and it’s a crucial part of people’s lives.”
Public health major Jasmine Carmichael ’23 has been praised for pursuing “a passion for examining public health issues with a social justice/health equity lens. In particular, she has shown tremendous interest and promise in investigating the social determinants of health with a focus on addressing health disparities.”
History major Zoe Brooks ’23 says she enjoys “taking hard-to-understand primary source information, distilling it, and making it more accessible to everybody. History deserves to be taught, and it deserves to be taught in its entirety. The idea of having that as a career…there’s something really cool about that.”
The Iota of Virginia Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Hollins University welcomed 18 new student members at an initiation ceremony held on May 1.
Ajaya Green ’23 is intent on joining the fight to bring racial equity to the criminal justice system. “I believe this system is just so flawed against marginalized groups,” she explains. “I want to become a defense attorney, and knowing how bad the system is stacked up against minorities will help propel me along my journey.”
Theatre major Mattie Tindall ’23 and Hannah Chaikin ’23, who is double majoring in film and French, adapted and codirected for the Hollins Theatre Main Stage “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Oscar Wilde’s classic 19th century novel about a man who sells his soul for eternal youth.
Ashleigh Clyde ’26 is seizing a chance to grow Hollins’ culture of activism during her first year on campus, thanks in large part to the course she took during the January 2023 Short Term called “Trial and Error.” During the class, she was inspired to create a speech and debate team at Hollins.
Ambrielle Viney ’23 has won the Outstanding Student Leadership Award from Region VIII of the Association for Orientation, Transition, and Retention in Higher Education (NODA). According to a NODA press release, the award “is designed to give special recognition to students for their creativity, energy, enthusiasm, and outstanding abilities, which are the backbone of any successful campus programs.”
Five Hollins University students presented posters at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), held March 26 – 30 in Indianapolis. Seniors Megan Brown, Nupur Sehgal, Cristina Pokhrel, and Uyen Nguyen, and junior Tram Nguyen, highlighted the results from three different research projects during the ACS Technical Program.
Katelynn Budzyn ’25 has been invited to present at the Fifth Annual SUNY New Paltz Undergraduate Art History Symposium, one of the foremost events for students interested in art history and related fields.
For nearly two years, Alexa Hulse ’24 has conducted interviews and written news, profiles, and blog posts for the New York-based Jewish feminist quarterly “Lilith.” “It’s not only a feminist magazine but also a feminist workplace,” she explains. “They treat me as an equal even though I’m an intern. They’ve been supportive throughout and helped me make the connections that I needed.”
Erin Masarjian ’25 and her artistic talents are getting noticed. Roanoke’s Art on 1st, which showcases emerging and aspiring artists, is featuring two of her pieces in its Pop Art Exhibition, which continues through March 11. Three more of her works can be seen in “The Healing Power of Hope,” a multimedia exhibit presented through May 8 by the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the William King Museum of Art.
Javeria Piracha ’25 has made a contribution to the growing study of the issue of Indigenous rights to heritage. The applied economics major has analyzed the interaction between Indigenous peoples and those owning their cultural property, and that research recently earned her a speaking opportunity at a prestigious academic conference.
Kori Silence ’25 was one of approximately 30 students competitively selected from across the country to take part in the University of Oregon Law School’s LSAC PLUS pre-law summer program this year. Participants engaged in digital legal learning for four weeks and received LSAT and application support and a stipend.
Savannah Scott ’22 will spend two years working with the Tanana Chiefs Conference, an Alaska Native nonprofit organization, as part of a CDC program dedicated to developing the next generation of public health professionals.
Jacquelyne Abe ’24, who is double majoring in public health and environmental science, interned this summer with the Virginia Department of Health Professions and will present “Uncovering Racial/Ethnic Gaps in a State Oral Healthcare Workforce” at the Southern Demographic Association’s Annual Meeting in October.
When Clinton, North Carolina, envisioned celebrating its rich diversity by organizing the community’s first-ever multicultural festival, the city’s planning director called upon a local resident and Hollins University sophomore to lead the initiative.
Growing up in the Republic of Congo, Julia Mouketo ’23 didn’t have to look far to find a role model for discovering her career path. “My mom works in institutional communications, but because of her studies and training, she has always told me that at heart, she is a journalist,” the senior communication studies major recalled. “I remember even when I was very young, probably no more than three or four, I was saying, ‘I want to be a journalist like my mom!’”
Twelve Hollins University students were among the 240 undergraduates from across the country presenting at the 11th annual Summer Research Symposium at Virginia Tech on July 28.
During the summer of 2022, Autumn Green ’24 was among eight undergraduates from across the U.S. conducting historical legal research through the Digital Legal Research Lab at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. The initiative is funded by the National Science Foundation as a Research Experience for Undergraduates site and is considered an interdisciplinary hub for the social scientific study of freedom making in the United States during the 19th century.
Meghana Mysore M.F.A. ’22 is one of six Steinbeck Fellows for the 2022-23 academic year. Named in honor of American author John Steinbeck, the fellowship offers creative writers of any age and educational background a $15,000 grant to finish a major writing project.
Eight delegations comprised of student representatives from George Mason University, Georgia Southern University, Georgia State University, Hollins, Roanoke College, Virginia Military Institute, and Roanoke’s Community High School participated in the event, now in its eighth year.
For Hollins students, January Short Term is an exciting opportunity to build career preparation through two programs coordinated by the university’s Center for Career Development and Life Design.
Photo: Adarra Blount ’23 interned with the White House Historical Association in Washington, D.C., during the January 2022 Short Term.
Natasha Campbell ’19 has been chosen as an Artist Resident at The Sam and Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts, Inc. She is one of only 18 artists selected for the 2023 Residency Program from over 600 applicants hailing from around the world.
Abigail Phillips ’25 has been selected as a recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, which plays a significant role in the U.S. Department of State’s efforts to expand the number of Americans studying and interning abroad. The award will support Phillips as she spends a year studying abroad in Japan.
Charvi Gangwani ’24 has been invited to attend the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session Together with the World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.23/WCC), which takes place March 4 – 6 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The biology major will meet scientists from around the world, attend cardiovascular research and educational sessions, and explore the Expo Hall to learn about the latest cardiovascular treatments.
This spring, Hollins students will contribute to the Virginia Law Audit Project (VLAP), a crowd-sourced, nonpartisan, statewide initiative in which state statutes, administrative code, and the Virginia Constitution are reviewed. VLAP’s mission is to identify all forms of discrimination and propose legislative amendments to further equity in the language and substance of the law. (photo, left to right) Jay Garcia ’26; Lisa Sales, president of the Virginia Chapter of NOW; and Elizabeth Barker ’26.
Aqsa Fazal ’23, Olivia Sacci ’24, Jessica Willebeek-LeMair ’23
Through the Hollins Partnership program, Aqsa Fazal ’23, Olivia Sacci ’24, and Jessica Willebeek-LeMair ’23 will gain undergraduate research experiences this summer in collaboration with faculty at Virginia Tech.Their story
Charvi Gangwani ’24 is among the 34 young people representing 23 countries announced as the 2022 Three Dot Dash Global Teen Leaders (GTLs) by the We Are Family Foundation (WAFF). The WAFF selected the GTLs based on their social good innovations, organizations, projects, and promise for a more just, equitable, and peaceful future.
Margarite Fisher ’22, a business major and French minor, will pursue a master’s degree in digital marketing beginning this fall at the Rennes School of Business in France.
Tyler Sesker ’22, who is majoring in gender and women’s studies with a pre-law concentration, will enter the Master of Public Policy program at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy this fall.
Hana Olof ’22, a biology major and psychology minor, intends to become one of the scientists who unlocks the mysteries of the gut microbiome and harnesses its potentially considerable impact.
After coming to Hollins, Chin Wai “Rosie” Wong ’22 found that she could “study communication in a more systemic and scholarly way that just opens paths and makes me want to keep pursuing it.
Mollie Davis ’22
Mollie Davis ’22 is described as someone who “advocates for something bigger and beyond themselves.” She has demonstrated that kind of activism throughout her Hollins undergraduate career and is now preparing to start a new chapter in bringing impactful change to a community’s quality of life.
Emily Lauletta ’22, who is majoring in GWS and minoring in social justice, was accepted at four graduate schools and this fall will be attending Claremont Graduate University in California, where she will pursue an M.A. in applied gender studies.
For the past three years, Emma Thomas ’22, an English major and communication studies minor, carried a full course load at Hollins while working as a supervisor at UPS in Roanoke.
As she wrapped up her high school career, Faith Clarkson ’22 wasn’t sure what she wanted to study in college. But, after visiting Hollins University’s website, she was convinced she had found the perfect school to guide her.
During the 2021-22 academic year, Zahin Mahbuba ’22, an international studies major and economics minor from Bangladesh, participated in the University Innovation Fellows program sponsored by Stanford University’s Hass Plattner Institute of Design.
Alea Rodriguez ’23 is a self-described “go-getter,” and that quality is a major reason why the biology major and chemistry minor is on her way to achieving her goal of a career in women’s health and the treatment of infertility.
The National Strength and Conditioning Association has presented nine Hollins student-athletes with its 2022 All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year Award.
Hana Olof ’22 and Soha Munir ’23 joined Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Alex Wooten in representing Hollins at the 68th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA), held March 23 – 26 at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Three Hollins University students and their professor were among the presenters at this spring’s national meeting of the American Chemical Society. Megan Brown ’23, Tram Nguyen ’24, Nupur Sehgal ’23, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Son Nguyen attended the event, which was held March 19-22 in San Diego.
For Hannah Slusser ’24, being a part of FLI’s year-long programming and activities during her first year at Hollins meant “instant friends. You meet these people and they have the same background as you. I definitely was a shy person before I came here, but now I definitely talk a lot more and I know how to express myself to other people.”
Kayla Richardson ’24 and Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch recently presented a paper on Catholic social thought and free market theory at the annual conference of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists.
Carlia Kearney ’23 wasn’t part of Hollins’ FLI program for first-generation, limited-income students during her first year at the university, but that didn’t disqualify or discourage her from eventually becoming an enthusiastic participant.
Zahin Mahbuba ’22 is passionate about becoming a force for building experiential and entrepreneurial learning in the educational programs of developing nations. This academic year, the international studies major and economics minor from Bangladesh is participating in a Stanford University program that she hopes will help her in establishing a basis for achieving that goal, while at the same time promoting initiatives for students at Hollins.
As a leader in Hollins University’s program for first-generation, limited-income students, Summer Allison ’23 focuses on helping first-year students build relationships, connect with valuable resources, and learn important tips for success.
Two research projects conducted by three Hollins chemistry majors received honors at the 2021 Virginia Academy of Science Fall Undergraduate Research Meeting, held October 2021 at Hampden-Sydney College.
Herrington, an art history major who is also completing a certificate in arts management at Hollins, is this year’s recipient of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown, Maryland’s Jean Cushwa College Internship. She will assist with curatorial research, exhibition installation, and more.
Contending in the National Association of Teachers of Singing’s musical theatre category, Cook reached the national semifinals as a sophomore. She returned this year as a Virginia honors recipient to the NATS Mid-Atlantic Regional competition, which features vocalists from Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Beginning in October, Brenner will spend seven months with the Teaching Assistant Program in France, which is managed by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States. She’ll teach at the primary school level in a school or schools near Paris.
After graduating this spring, DeVarona will begin her Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in communication and marketing at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She plans to become a health communication specialist.
During her sophomore year, Waynick began research on the human oral microbiome, which plays a key role in supporting the body’s health and well-being. She completed the project as her senior thesis and plans to pursue research opportunities after graduation.
Bull embarks on a ten-week virtual internship, June 7 – August 13, with NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The mathematics major with a concentration in data science will be participating in the Enrich Knowledge Graphs Through Graph Data Science project.
The Hollins sophomore so impressed her supervisor during her 2021 J-Term Signature Internship that she was asked to stay on virtually with the nonprofit, nongovernmental organization headquartered in New York City this spring.
Vest joined the Troutville, Virginia, Volunteer Fire Department in March after earning her Wilderness First Responder designation, one of the many highlights of her four years of involvement with the Hollins Outdoor Program (HOP).
The political science major is one of only 185 scholars competitively selected nationally by the Law School Admission Council to attend an intensive five-week summer program at one of seven partner institutions. Wilkins will work with law school faculty at the University of Houston Law Center.
“This is where I have had the most experiences, where I’ve been myself the most. I’ve been challenged, and I’ve challenged myself. It all happened here. It all happened at Hollins.”
Throughout her time as a Hollins undergraduate, Te’ya Mitchell ’21 has been guided by a passion for transformative change. She launches a new chapter in that commitment this July when she embarks on a four-year fellowship with Urban Teachers, an inclusive organization whose mission is preparing educators to improve the lives of children in urban schools.
Anna Johnson ’21 recently earned first place awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival Region IV and the Southeastern Theatre Conference. Both honored her for her sound design work on Hollins Theatre’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.”
During January Short Term, Hollins’ Center for Career Development and Life Design teamed up with alumnae and nearly 30 organizations and enabled students to safely and successfully complete an internship while mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Tyler Sesker ’22 is one of only six undergraduates from across the nation chosen for pre-law positions this summer in the Investigative Internship Program at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Criminal Justice Clinic.
While studying abroad in London during the 2019 Fall Term, Carly Lewis ’21 worked with a global digital creative and marketing company specializing in promoting talent in the music and entertainment industries.
Alex Lesniak ’20 shares how the experience she acquired and connections she made as a Hollins undergraduate led shortly after graduation to a rewarding opportunity with the American Institutes for Research.
The biology major/chemistry minor, who also served as captain of the Hollins volleyball team her senior year, is attending the Salus University Pennsylvania College of Optometry.
Grandelli is the newest student programs coordinator for NCUSAR, a non-profit, non-governmental, educational organization dedicated to improving American knowledge and understanding of the Arab world.
The environmental sciences major/social justice minor wants “to gain more knowledge in international issues, the progression of human rights, and environmental degradation” as she prepares to work in the human rights career field.
Downey explored the desegregation of the Women’s Army Corps in the late 1940s and early 1950s at Fort Lee, Virginia, in pursuit of her M.A. degree in history at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her work received the 2020-21 VCU Graduate School Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in the Humanities and Fine Arts category.
Mary Offutt ’20
This fall, Offutt will begin pursuing her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree at the Charleston School of Law in South Carolina. After law school, she intends to take the Virginia state bar examination and join a family law firm as an associate.Mary’s story
Claire Tourigny ’20
“It was through the Entrepreneurial Learning Institute that I finally defined social entrepreneurship. It’s the idea that a small startup can create powerful change just by fulfilling a need in the community. I realized that anyone can be an entrepreneur.”Claire’s story
As a Hollins undergraduate, Byrum interned with two government relations firms, a U.S. Senator, and a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. At the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, she will “get to tackle the most pressing issues of the world in a variety of ways.”
Cabrera wants to engage in public health projects on a global scale after she completes the Master of Public Health program at the Ivy League research university.
As part of the organization’s Global Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability department, Osborne will spend the next 18 months engaged in customized professional rotations while receiving continuous leadership development, coaching, mentoring, and hands-on practical experience.
Mitchell will become development coordinator for America Needs You (ANY), a New York City-based agency that seeks to improve college completion and employment rates for first-generation college students. The business and economics double major interned with ANY during January Short Term this year.
Kayla Surles ’22
The sophomore guard and communication studies major from Raleigh, North Carolina, ranked second in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference this season in scoring and tied for first in assists.
The Hollins sophomore and Chanmolis Mout ’23 both competed at this year’s statewide Scholastic and College Chess Championships, which drew players from six universities.
“I wasn’t just an individual working for Peace Boat US,” Wong explained. “I was actually a representative of the organization, which cultivated a greater sense of responsibility in me. I felt this honor whenever I wrote, talked, or even walked on the street.”
Shifflett, a biology/pre-med major, earned approximately 20 scholarships by mostly exploring resources in and around her hometown of 1,100 residents.
The political science major completed three internships in Washington, D.C., another with a member of Parliament in London, and was active in Model UN and Model Arab League. She is attending The George Washington University Law School.