Victoria West

“Hollins gives you direction.”

Victoria "Tori" West '15 always knew she wanted to combine her two loves—communication studies and political science—into a career. She had always assumed the best option was political speech writing, but after participating in a signature internship in New York City during the January 2014 Short Term with Estée Lauder, working on the company’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, she says that "it opened up my eyes to other avenues I could try." These connections are what Tori loves about Hollins. When applying to colleges, she looked for one "where I could get my money's worth out of it afterwards. I saw that with the alumnae relationships here, and I saw that with the internships here."

Tori's expectations about Hollins have come true in interesting ways. For example, during J-Term of her sophomore year she wrote a paper on presidential rhetoric that won first place at the 2013 Hollins Student Conference. She was asked to present the paper to several groups, including Hollins’ Board of Trustees. An alumna on the board, Alex Trower '86, vice president for global communications at Estée Lauder, was impressed by Tori’s work and suggested that she apply for an internship with her company. Tori's experience at Estée Lauder has reshaped her plans; she now plans to look toward the philanthropic sector for a career.

Tori also appreciates the connections she makes on campus. She believes in the sisterhood of Hollins, saying, "You want your classmates to succeed like you want your sisters to succeed." But it goes beyond even that; she feels that faculty members become family, supporting you in everything from academics to relationships. To Tori, these Hollins family connections are ones she'll be able to call on for the rest of her life.

—Becca Rowe '14