Kelsey DeForest

“Leader” isn’t just a title.

Ask Kelsey DeForest '13 how attending Hollins has given her the foundation for a rewarding life and you can expect her answer to be peppered with such words as confidence, trust, and especially leadership.

"Hollins students play a significant role in strategic planning and other aspects of directing the university," says Kelsey, who is serving as president of the Student Government Association. "We are trusted to make decisions. Leader is not just a title. We're actually getting work done."

Kelsey has complemented her Hollins classroom education with exceptional internships. To her, "they've been fantastic tools to help me figure what I want to do after Hollins. I've interned on a Senate campaign, in the Virginia House of Delegates, for Hollins as a fundraiser, with the Miss Virginia Organization, and most recently with a women's rights political organization."

When Kelsey interned with Betsy Carr, a member of Virginia's House of Delegates and a Hollins alumna, she said the contrast between her experience and that of interns from other colleges was remarkable. "Interns in different legislative offices told me they typically spent their days delivering coffee and lunch and occasionally answering emails and phone calls. I was counted on to represent Delegate Carr in one-on-one meetings with lobbyists, interest groups, and constituents and report back to her legislative aides."

After graduation, Kelsey plans to enter nonprofit management, but she admits, "I'm not going to be a fundraiser my entire life. I'm probably going to have five other careers. Hollins addresses that by giving me the flexibility and skills that are going to help me succeed. I'm going to come out of Hollins with the ability to speak in public, write well, do research — that's the value of a liberal arts education."

Read Kelsey's Opening Convocation remarks (PDF) »

Hometown: Shaker Heights, Ohio
Majors: Political science