Forty-Fifth Honors Convocation Celebrates Student, Faculty, Staff Accomplishments

 

Hollins University recognized students for high academic achievement during the university’s 45th Honors Convocation on May 3.

Held each spring, Honors Convocation also highlights those faculty and staff members whose exceptional work and dedication have earned them special academic or service designation.

 

Student and faculty/staff awards announced at this year’s Honors Convocation include:

DEPARTMENTAL AND DIVISION AWARDS
Alice Bull Biology Award
Isabella Louise Jessee ‘22
Established in 1991 by students, alumnae, colleagues, and friends in honor of Professor Alice Bull, who taught biology at Hollins from 1964 until her retirement in 1990. The purpose of the award is to provide recognition to a deserving senior and/or junior student in biology.

Andrew James Purdy Merit Scholarship in Fiction Writing
Willow Marie Seymour ‘23
In memory of Andrew James Purdy, a member of the Hollins English faculty from 1968 to 1977, this scholarship is given to a senior English major pursuing an honors project in short fiction or a related literary
genre.

Andrew James Purdy Prize for Short Fiction
Winner – Griffin Harrison Plaag, M.F.A. ‘22
Runner-up – Erin Hall Comerford, M.F.A. ‘22
In memory of Andrew James Purdy, a member of the Hollins English faculty from 1968 to 1977, this award is given to a graduate student in the creative writing program who has written a body of fiction of outstanding quality.

ARETE Award in Classical Studies
Mairwen Isolde Meiying Minson ‘22
Established in 2006, this award is sponsored by the Classical Association of the Middle, West, and South (CAMWS) and is given to the junior and/or senior student(s) who have completed outstanding work in the field of classics in the past year. The awardee receives a certificate, a subscription to Classical Journal, and a free membership in CAMWS for the following academic year.

Daniel M. Murphy Prize for Spanish
Tyah Alethia Ray-Johnna Wright ‘22
This award, named for Dan Murphy, professor of Spanish at Hollins from 1993 until his death in 2012, is presented to a student of Spanish who, following Professor Murphy’s example, exhibits on a daily basis a profound love of the Spanish language and a dedication to learning about and teaching others about Hispanic cultures and literatures.

David L. Longfellow History Prize
Abigail Nicole Phillips ‘25
This prize, established in 1982 in honor of David L. Longfellow, former assistant professor of history at Hollins, is awarded to the outstanding first-year student in history.

Elise Deyerle Lewis Award
Van Hai Le ‘23
The late Elise Deyerle Lewis, class of 1927, donated a silver cup to honor the student in the junior class showing the greatest promise in mathematics. The award is in memory of Isabel Hancock, class of 1927, who was Mrs. Lewis’ roommate at Hollins, and later an outstanding teacher of mathematics at Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. The name of the student chosen is engraved on the cup, which remains on display at the university.

Elizabeth Alexander Thomas Award
Eleanor Linette Robb ‘24
This award, in memory of Elizabeth Alexander Thomas, class of 1968, recognizes and rewards one or more rising sophomore, junior, or senior art history majors whose academic work in art history shows exceptional depth and promise and to provide support for the art history department. Awarded funds may be used by the recipient(s) for any expenses related to academic work in art history, including museum admission fees and travel to collections and galleries.

Elizabeth Kennedy Chance Award
Aabhashree Lamichhane ‘22
Abhigya Tamang ‘23
Established by John K. Chance in memory of his mother, class of 1922, this award is given for excellence in economics.

Honors Convocation Procession
In their decorated robes, members of the class of 2022 process to duPont Chapel for the 45th Honors Convocation.

Evelyn Bradshaw Award for Excellence
Sarah Kathleen Vinson ‘22
This award, established in 1997 and given in honor of former Horizon Program Director Evelyn Bradshaw ’88, recognizes an outstanding Horizon student who inspires others through her perseverance, positive attitude, pursuit of knowledge, and love of Hollins. The chosen student will have her name engraved on a plaque that will remain at the university.

F.J. McGuigan Psychology Award for Excellence
Apoorva Verma ‘22
Established in 1974, this award, consisting of books and a certificate, is presented for excellence in undergraduate and graduate education and research.

Frances Niederer Scholars
Art History:
Sara Ann Ficke ‘22
Studio Art:
Kennah Nicole Hebert ‘23
Ashley Nichole King ‘23
An anonymous donor established a scholarship fund in 1983 to honor Frances J. Niederer, professor of art history at Hollins from 1942 until her retirement in 1980. The art department selects two outstanding art majors, at least one of whom is specializing in art history, as recipients in their senior year of the Frances Niederer Scholarships.

Freya Award
Gedin Cabrera ‘22
The purpose of this award is to recognize a student who throughout her time at Hollins has remained dedicated and committed to her activities on campus in a way that provides a quiet yet vital force in our community. It is for someone who has never reached out for the spotlight and has not been recognized for her efforts formally, but has still continued to work humbly and diligently in what she does to positively affect our campus.

Gertrude Claytor Poetry Prize
Winner – Griffin Harrison Plaag, M.F.A. ‘22
Honorable Mention – Anne-Sophie Louise Olsen, M.F.A. ‘22
This prize of the Academy of American Poets is given to a graduate or undergraduate student for the best poem or group of poems.

Goethe Award
Katherine “Katy” Babineau ‘24
This award, in recognition of special accomplishments in the study of German language and literature, is presented by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Herta Freitag Award in Mathematics
Akshita “Akshi” Agarwal ‘22
Simran Parajulee ‘22
The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding senior student in mathematics at Hollins who plans either to teach mathematics or pursue a career field related to mathematics.

Hollins Fiction Prize
Willow Marie Seymour ‘23
Established by Sally Durham Mason, class of 1959, in honor of Louis D. Rubin Jr., a member of the Hollins English faculty from 1957 to 1967. This award is given to an undergraduate student who has done outstanding work in the writing of fiction.

International Studies Award for Academic Excellence
Chanmolis “Molly” Mout ‘23
This award is given to a student for outstanding work in international studies during the academic year.

James Lewis Howe Award in Chemistry
Hannah Claire Arthur ‘22
This award is sponsored by the Virginia Blue Ridge Section of the American Chemical Society and is given each year to the outstanding chemistry major from each of the 14 colleges or universities within the section’s boundaries.

J.F. Maddox Foundation Award for Excellence in French
Zoe Madeline Thornhill ‘22
Isabella Grace Taylor ‘22
Amy “Faith” Herrington ‘22
Awarded annually to a student who has demonstrated superior achievement in French.

Judith Gregory Smith Award
Winner – Tram Nguyen ‘24
Winner – Olivia Kathryn Sacci ‘24
Honorable Mention – Ellie Eunbee Song ‘24
This award is given by Judith Riddick Reynolds, class of 1915, in memory of her granddaughter, Judith Gregory Smith, who would have been a fourth-generation alumna in the class of 1990. It recognizes excellence in the natural sciences.

Lisa Lindsey Award for Excellence in Theatre Arts
Theatre:
Elizabeth Ann Marie Dion ‘22
Nabila Nasrullah Meghjani ‘23
Deirdre Kelly Price ‘22
Dance:
Chloe Fiona Mahalek ’22
Established by Mary Varner Meryweather, class of 1941, as a memorial to her classmate and friend, Lisa Lindsey, this award, consisting of a cash prize and a certificate, is presented annually to a student who demonstrates outstanding achievement in theatre arts.

Mae Shelton Boger Award
Selden DuBose Frissell ‘23
Mae Shelton Boger, class of 1941, derived particular pleasure from her studies in French. This endowed award, given in her memory, is presented annually to an outstanding student of French who combines sound scholarship with pleasure in the pursuit of her studies.

Margaret Markley Smith Awards
Art History:
Amy “Faith” Herrington ‘22
Studio Art:
Sylvia Raven Lane ‘22
Abigail “Abbey” Hegwood ‘22
English:
Winner – Tabitha Renee Gills ‘22
Winner – Deirdre Kelly Price ‘22
Winner – Natalia Wioletta Sarram ‘22
In memory of Margaret Markley Smith, class of 1938, these awards are given to a senior majoring in art and a senior majoring in English for outstanding work.

Marion Garrett Lunsford Award
Maya Florence Ponnuswami-Hart ‘22
Samantha “Sami” Hoyer ‘22
Established as a fund in memory of Marion Garrett Lunsford, class of 1926, this award is given annually to a member of the senior class for distinguished accomplishment in music.

Mary Houska Scholarship
Egypt Tierra Matthews ‘23
Ambrielle Elizabeth Viney ‘23
The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding upperclass economics or business major who has demonstrated superior academic performance.

Mary-Barbara Zeldin Award
Emily Michelle Bulifant ‘22
This award, established by students, colleagues, and friends in honor of Professor Mary-Barbara Zeldin, who taught philosophy at Hollins from 1953 until her death in 1981, is given to a rising junior, rising senior, or senior for excellence in philosophy.

Mary Vincent Long Award in English
Grace Anita Gaynor ‘22
In memory of Mary Vincent Long, a member of the Hollins English faculty from 1938 to 1959, this award is given to a senior English major who exemplifies in the study of literature “a mind capable of going beyond concern with immediate facts to understanding and creation.”

Melanie Hook Rice Award in Creative Writing
Winner – Griffin Harrison Plaag, M.F.A. ‘22
Runner-up – Emily Elizabeth Davis-Fletcher, M.F.A. ‘23
Runner-up – Meghana Mysore, M.F.A. ‘22
In memory of Melanie Hook Rice, class of 1975, this award is given to a graduate or undergraduate student in the creative writing program who has demonstrated considerable writing skills and has either completed or made substantial progress toward writing a book-length work of nonfiction.

Melanie Hook Rice Award in the Novel
Winner – Jamie Elizabeth Hudalla, M.F.A. ‘22
Runner-up – Meghana Mysore, M.F.A. ‘22
Runner-up – Cameron Kenley Vanderwerf, M.F.A. 22
In memory of Melanie Hook Rice, class of 1975, this award is given to a graduate or undergraduate student in the creative writing program who has demonstrated considerable writing skills and has either completed or made substantial progress toward writing a novel.

Mildred Persinger ’39 – Shocky Pilafian Award in Gender and Women’s Studies
Emily Michelle Lauletta ‘22
Nabila Nasrullah Meghjani ‘22
This award acknowledges excellence in academic achievement as well as significant contributions to social activism both within the Hollins community and beyond. The award seeks to recognize gender and women’s studies graduates who are working to effect social change and bring about social justice in a variety of arenas. This award is given to a graduating gender and women’s studies major.

Nancy Ellen Couper Ault Award in Ethics, Morals, and Values
Mohini Sudhakar ‘24
Available to any student of the college and is accordingly an interdisciplinary honor, encourages students to think critically about important ethical questions affecting a broad range of endeavors.

Nancy Penn Holsenbeck Prize
Winner – Vanity Leya Hernandez ‘24
Winner – Lindsey Smith Hull ‘23
In memory of Nancy Penn Holsenbeck, class of 1938, this award is given to a rising sophomore, junior, or senior English major who has demonstrated both a love and a command of the English language.

Nancy Thorp Poetry Prize
Sophia Khan ‘22
Juliet “Jules” Pleskach ‘25
In memory of Nancy Thorp, who attended Hollins from 1956 to 1958, this award is given to an undergraduate student who has written the best poem to appear in the student-produced literary magazine Cargoes.

Nicole Kohn Film Award
Naomi Rajoo ‘23
This award is given in memory of Nicole Kohn, class of 2002, to a filmmaking student of exceptional promise.

Patricia Dowd Overall Award
Grace Marie Hilton ‘22
Patricia Dowd Overall is a member of the class of 1954. In her honor a prize is given annually to the student who, in the judgment of the department of education, has demonstrated in the schoolroom the greatest mastery and promise in the art of teaching.

Pi Sigma Alpha Award
Christine Marie Emeric-Martinez ‘22
This award is given to the senior with the highest grade point average in courses taken in political science.

Sarah M. Cook International Studies Award
Zahin Mahbuba ‘22
The purpose of this award is to recognize an outstanding undergraduate student majoring in international studies.

Stephanie Mahan Hispanophile Award
Fanny “Isabel” Estrada Lago ‘22
This award is given to a senior Spanish major or minor whose enthusiasm and outstanding interest in things Hispanic most closely mirror the example set by Stephanie Lynn Mahan, class of 1995. Specifically, this student must have sought out first-hand experience in the Spanish-speaking world and must have generously shared her knowledge of that world with her peers.

Wyndham Robertson Library Undergraduate Research Awards
Elizabeth Lindsey Klein ‘23
Deirdre Kelly Price ‘22
Established in 2011 by the library for the recognition of exemplary undergraduate student research projects completed in Hollins courses. Two prizes are awarded, one to a first-year or sophomore and one to a junior or senior.

FACULTY/STAFF AWARDS

The Herta Freitag Faculty Legacy Award
Mary Jane Carmichael, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies
Awarded to a full-time teaching faculty member who has received external recognition of professional excellence from the last three years in the form of publications and papers, exhibits and performances, prizes, and other related expressions of their work.

Senior Class Faculty Award
Courtney Chenette, assistant professor of political science
Given by the senior class to a faculty member who has made a significant impact on their lives.

Hollins Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award
Initiated in 2021, recognizes two members of the faculty – one full-time tenure-track/tenured faculty member, and one non- tenure track faculty member – who motivate and inspire students through the demonstration of exemplary teaching practices, and who have made a positive impact on the teaching culture of the University through innovative and high-impact teaching methodologies, inclusive pedagogies, community engagement in teaching/learning, creative and/or interdisciplinary course development, instructional support, and/or campus leadership around pedagogy. Given that the inauguration of the award last year was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year the award was presented to two tenured or tenure-track faculty and two non-tenure-track faculty members.
Tenured/tenure track category:
LeeRay Costa – professor of anthropology and gender and women’s studies and director of faculty development
Non tenure track category:
Heather Derrick – lecturer of communication studies and director of oral communications

Roberta A. Stewart Service Award
Jeri Suarez, associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion
Granted to a Hollins employee who demonstrates long-term service, loyalty to the university, and deep caring for students and colleagues.

 


Through Design Thinking, Zahin Mahbuba ’22 Seeks to Transform the World – One Person at a Time

Zahin Mahbuba ’22 has enjoyed an especially memorable – and impactful – senior year at Hollins.

During the 2021-22 academic session, the international studies major and economics minor from Bangladesh furthered her aspiration of becoming a trendsetter at Hollins and beyond through the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program sponsored by Stanford University’s Hass Plattner Institute of Design (d.school).

UIF empowers student leaders to help their peers build the creative confidence and entrepreneurial mindset needed to address global challenges. “It is absolutely life changing,” said Mahbuba, who was accepted into the program last fall after successfully completing UIF’s rigorous application process with her faculty sponsor, Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette. She remotely completed UIF’s four-week training program, where she learned “how you can build stuff, how you gather resources, how you get people on board.”

Mahbuba and Chenette spent the next several months focusing on how immigrant populations and refugees often become entrepreneurs after arriving in America or other Western countries, an innovative mindset that Mahbuba thought could be used to develop experiential learning opportunities for Hollins students. “How can you create things in your environment and ecosystem that don’t exist yet, but you know should be there?” she summarized in an October 2021 interview.

To that end, Mahbuba served as a student success leader for the Fall Term 2021 first-year seminar “Sustainability and Social Innovation,” where she engaged in a design-thinking framework. “One of my major goals last semester was to get as many people as I could to understand design thinking, especially in our first-year seminar where that was our entire focus,” she explained.

University Innovation Fellows
Zahin Mahbuba ’22 (second from left) traveled to Stanford in March.

Supported by a $5,500 grant she received when she was honored last summer with Hollins’ first-ever Changemaker Award for entrepreneurship, Mahbuba’s UIF experience culminated this March when she traveled to Stanford with Chenette to spend five days working with a cohort of 200 people from around the world. “This was a bunch of students my age in college who have amazing ideas and are doing amazing things. If you just left them in a room or in the school for a year, I think they could literally change the world.” She also got to meet professors from d.school who, even though they were from different departments and represented different disciplines, “all shared a strong belief in how design can be an agent for change.”

From the beginning, Mahbuba said, the UIF sessions “put innovation in the space of understanding how it can benefit communities.” Mahbuba’s group was given the task of solving a real-life problem for a rural family with financial restrictions that suffered from asthma. “One of the students created an inexpensive air pollution detector that you can put in your room to measure air quality. It can alert the family to open a window, turn on a fan, or just stop cooking for a couple of hours. Another team I met developed a software program that was installed in a village that had never had an internet connection. Through that, they were able to provide internet access to children for remote schooling.”

She noted that innovation “doesn’t always look like a product. It can be changing a specific system or working toward affordably helping people in the community.”

Mahbuba presented to her cohort her passion for “relearning how to learn. It’s about educational systems and how things are not always in silos. In order for design thinking to become the next transformative tool in the world, we have to integrate learning beginning at a very young age. By the time we get to college, we’re already trying to figure out how to connect the dots and we miss out on what the bigger picture looks like. You walk out of a math class and into an English class with no focus on connecting what you’ve learned from math and how that might relate to English.” If such a mindset is adopted, she concluded, it becomes easier to “understand the situational problems that we face on a day-to-day basis.”

University Innovation Fellows at Stanford
Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette (left) and Zahin Mahbuba ’22 on the Stanford campus.

The students in Mahbuba’s cohort were creative and driven. The sessions in which she participated were intense. But, she emphasized that “nothing about this was competition. Our competition was to beat the problem we were facing. We had to actively and continuously work together to find simple solutions, and we shared this worldly view of what we can do to better the community.”

Nevertheless, the UIF program sought to balance the often-frenetic schedule. “There were many opportunities for self-reflection and mindfulness,” Mahbuba said. “We did one activity where we just went outside, laid down on the grass, and looked at the sky. It taught me to see the beauty of slowing down. When you do that, you see things more for what they are. Hustling 24/7 actually wears you down and keeps you from completing meaningful work.”

 

Mahbuba said she has come out of the UIF program with an even greater appreciation for making impressions on a personal level. “Impacting one life at a time is something. It’s developing relationships with communities and people to implement transformative change instead of thinking, ‘Oh, this is an entire population I need to help.’ Being able to go to Stanford and work with these people and at the same time work on an individual basis with communities and families and households has shown me that impact starts with bite-size pieces. It’s how these people can benefit and then take the opportunity to develop that even more.”

Recently inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Mahbuba has been accepted into graduate school programs at the University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, Northeastern University, and Florida International University. However, she’s decided to defer going to grad school. “The programs in which I am interested center mostly around educational development and a process toward a lot of institutionalized change,” she explained. “They require fieldwork above and beyond the internship experiences that I’ve had at Hollins. So, I think its important for me to join the workforce for a year. One of the companies I’m pursuing is a legal firm that works with marginalized communities on educational and legal development, an area I’m very interested in.”

At the same time, Mahbuba is actively working with Chenette on making the UIF program an ongoing opportunity for future generations on campus. “I don’t want this to be a one-off thing for me. We’d like the next cohort to contain a group of Hollins students who are innovative thinkers with diverse backgrounds.”

 


Hollins Announces Winner of the 2022 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature

Hollins University has honored Vietnamese author Muon Thi Van as the winner of the seventh annual Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

Muon will receive an engraved medal and a $1,000 cash prize for Wishes, illustrated by Victo Ngai and published by Orchard Books. Inspired by events in the author’s life, Wishes is the story of a Vietnamese family’s search for a new home on the other side of the world and how that impacts one of the family’s youngest members.

Muon Thi Van, winner of the 2022 Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature.

“Muon Thi Van takes the reader on a heart-wrenching journey, from leaving the familiarity of home to navigating the perils of an ocean voyage to finally arriving at a place of hope and new beginnings,” stated the judges for this year’s prize, acclaimed children’s book authors Marla Frazee, David LaRochelle, and Meg Medina. “All of this is done with just 75 carefully chosen words. The originality of having inanimate objects voice the child’s feelings, and the depth of emotion captured in so few words, astounded [us] and made for an inventive, powerful book that has lingered in our hearts long after we read it.”

The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is just the latest honor for Wishes. It was named the Best Picture Book of 2021 by BookPage; received the 2022 ILA Notable Books for a Global Society award; and was co-winner of the Golden Poppy Award for children’s picture books. Wishes is also an NPR Best Book of the Year, a Horn Book 2021 Fanfare Pick, and a 2021 New York Public Library’s Best Books for Kids List Pick.

Judges for this year’s Margaret Wise Brown Prize also named one Honor Book: The Longest Letsgoboy, written by debut author Derick Wilder, illustrated by Cátia Chen, and published by Chronicle Books. “The story is told from a dog’s point of view,” the judges said. “As Letsgoboy takes the final walk of his earthly life with his little girl, the narration and dog language are perfectly attuned to how a child takes in the word as well. The Longest Letsgoboy transports the reader on a journey which is by turns joyous, heartbreaking, comforting and full of love.”

Wishes Book Cover
Margaret Wise Brown Prize judges praised “Wishes” as “an inventive, powerful book.”

The judges added that both Wishes and The Longest Letsgoboy “explore the difficult terrain of loss using a sophisticated sense of language for children. Whether spare to capture the very essence of longing and hope in leaving a homeland, or immersive in a rich, inventive vocabulary about companionship, these works represent the power of language to help children understand the deep changes they sometimes face.”

Each year, Hollins invites nominations for the prize from children’s book publishers located across the country and around the world. A three-judge panel, consisting of established picture book authors, reviews the nominations and chooses a winner.

Hollins established the Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature as a way to pay tribute to one of its best-known alumnae and one of America’s most beloved children’s authors. The cash prizes are made possible by an endowed fund created by James Rockefeller, Brown’s fiancé at the time of her death.

“The Margaret Wise Brown Prize is one of the few children’s book awards that has a cash prize attached,” said Lisa Rowe Fraustino, director of the graduate programs in children’s literature at Hollins.

The engraved medal presented to the winners was conceived by award-winning sculptor, painter, and Hollins alumna Betty Branch of Roanoke. Winners and Honor Book recipients are presented an original linocut certificate designed and donated by Ashley Wolff, author and/or illustrator of over 50 children’s books.

Margaret Wise Brown graduated from Hollins in 1932 and went on to write Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, and other children’s classics before she died in 1952. Hollins celebrated her life and work with a year-long Margaret Wise Brown Festival in 2011 and 2012, which featured stage and musical adaptations of her work along with readings, workshops, guest lectures, and other activities for all ages.

The study of children’s literature as a scholarly experience was initiated at Hollins in 1973; in 1992, the graduate program in children’s literature was founded. Today, Hollins offers summer M.A. and M.F.A. programs exclusively in the study and writing of children’s literature, an M.F.A. in children’s book writing and illustrating, and a graduate-level certificate in children’s book illustration.

This fall, Hollins’ children’s literature program will release information on how to submit books for consideration for the 2023 Margaret Wise Brown Prize.


Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest Recognizes Six Young Writers

A Florida student has captured the top honor in Hollins University’s 58th Annual Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest.

The competition presents scholarships, prizes, and recognition for the best poems submitted by young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school, or are homeschooled. This year, 442 contestants from 43 states and six countries submitted works for consideration. Winners are chosen by students and faculty in Hollins’ creative writing program.

Sandra Lin, a student at Bell High School in Bell, Florida, won first place for her work, “this is what they did.” She will receive a $350 cash prize; publication in Cargoes, Hollins’ award-winning student literary magazine; ten copies of Cargoes; a renewable scholarship of up to $5,000 provided through the Creative Talent Award in Creative Writing for a total value of $20,000 in scholarship funds over four years (applicable if she enrolls at Hollins); and free tuition and housing for the university’s Hollinsummer creative writing program for rising ninth through 12th grade students.

Five students earned second place honors in this year’s contest. They will receive publication in Cargoes; two copies of Cargoes; a renewable scholarship of up to $1,000 provided through the Creative Talent Award in Creative Writing for a total value of $4,000 in scholarship funds over four years (applicable if the students enroll at Hollins); and a $500 scholarship to apply toward Hollinsummer.

Elane Kim
Stanford University Online High School, Stanford, California
“Hanok”
“Sonnet as Open Sign”
(Cited for two of her poems, Kim is a Double Second Place Winner. Instead of the $500 scholarship, she will receive free tuition and housing for Hollinsummer in addition to the other second place prizes.)

Josephine Almond
Walton High School, Marietta, Georgia
“Strawberry Jam”

Nina Ballerstedt
Norcross High School, Norcross, Georgia
“Nani Tells the Story of My Great-Grandfather and the Tiger”

Beatrix Kim
The Pennington School, Pennington, New Jersey
“Farmhouse Feminism”

Jessica Kim
La Canada High School, La Canada, California
“Firework Girls”

Nancy Thorp, a member of the class of 1960 at Hollins, was a young poet who showed great promise when she was a student. Following her death in 1962, he family established the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest to encourage and recognize the work of young poets.


Nine Hollins Student-Athletes Named NSCA All-Americans

The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) has presented nine Hollins University student-athletes with its 2022 All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year Award.

The program spotlights collegiate student-athletes whose athletic accomplishments reflect their dedication to strength training and conditioning. NSCA All-Americans are also cited for their academic and personal accomplishments as well as integrity as student-athletes.

Hollins’ Director of Sports Performance and Student Wellness Leslie Williams nominated the following NSCA All-American Award recipients:

Madisen Charles ’22 (soccer)
Austin Gore ’23 (equestrian/riding)
Tate Hurley ’24 (lacrosse)
Carlia Kearney ’23 (tennis)
Katherine Komarek ’24 (swimming)
Kaitlyn Okin ’22 (cross-country)
Tia Tucker ’24 (basketball)
Dymond Williams ’24 (track & field)
Selena Wolfe ’24 (volleyball)

“This recognition goes to student-athletes who give a great effort, provide a positive example to their teammates in training, and consistently go above and beyond in the weight room and taking care of their physical development,” Williams noted. “Our sports performance team is proud of the accomplishments made by all of our student-athletes, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with an outstanding group of future leaders at Hollins. We appreciate the NSCA for honoring their efforts.”

“We are proud to have Hollins University Sports Performance join the NSCA in its mission to safely improve athletic performance,” added Eric McMahon, NSCA’s coaching and sport science program manager. “Supporting our student-athletes like these nine recipients guarantees a stronger future for the NSCA.”


Meet Be Lalanne, A HOPE Scholarship Recipient

Hollins University fosters an environment where young women have the opportunity to become leaders, decision makers, and cultural shapers.

Last fall, Hollins announced a new scholarship that prioritizes lifting the burden of private college tuition for students with financial need. Designed for students living in the Roanoke Valley region, the Hollins Opportunity for Promise through Education (HOPE) scholarship program supports young women who wish to pursue a Hollins degree with zero tuition debt.

We are excited to introduce one of the first recipients of the HOPE scholarship program: Be Lalanne, a senior at Roanoke’s William Fleming High School. We sat down with Be to discuss the scholarship and what it means to her and her family.

Q: Tell us about yourself: where do you go to school, what do you do for fun?
On the weekends, I usually hang out with my friends or I like to stay home and play with my dog or be with myself sometimes. I spend most of my time at my job, Krispy Kreme. As for school activities, I got to try DECA and get involved with the Special Olympics, which was really fun.

Q: What are you thinking about studying at Hollins?
I plan on majoring in mathematics with specifics in computer science. Math is one of my favorite subjects, and I think I’m good at it. Once I understand the formula and the specifics of what’s going on, it clicks for me. Math is my strong point. I like technology in general, so it would be a good mix of majors.

I was taking French in high school, but I didn’t get the full experience because of the move to online classes during COVID. I want to minor in French because most of my family speaks the language. My family is Haitian, so most of them speak Creole or French, so I’d love to learn French. I want to study abroad in France, too. That’s something that I’m really interested in.

Q: What made you choose Hollins?
Hollins is really close to home. It was the first college I looked at because my guidance counselor suggested it. When I found out Hollins was an all-women’s college, that caught my eye because I thought that was super cool. I started looking into what Hollins was known for, the campus, the study abroad programs, and everything else; that’s what made me really like the school and want to study there.

Q: What made you decide to apply for the HOPE Scholarship?
I had gotten a lot of emails about the scholarship, but I didn’t think too much about them at first because I didn’t think I’d win. A lot of people apply and I thought the chances would be low. My mom and I were talking about how we were going to pay for college, like what loans to apply for. That’s when I mentioned the HOPE scholarship emails, and my mom encouraged me to apply and said what she always says: “You never know what could happen.”

Q: When you learned you got the scholarship, how did you feel?
It was such a big surprise. After I had applied for the scholarship, my mom and I went to visit the Hollins campus for the first time. After the tour was over, we sat down with Madeline in Admission and she asked me questions like, what other colleges am I looking at attending, am I planning on staying in the area, what am I interested in. I was answering her questions, but I mentioned that once I saw Hollins’ campus, met the people, and saw all that the university had to offer, I said, “This is where I want to be.” That’s when Madeline said, “I have something to tell you.” Then there was this long pause and I’m
thinking to myself, “Something happened. What’s happening?”, and she said, “You won the HOPE Scholarship!” I just sat there in shock and looked at my mom. My mom looked at Madeline and
said, “Are you serious?!”, and we just looked at each other and started crying. It was so heartwarming. To celebrate, we got some pizza and party confetti poppers, then we watched a movie!

Q: What does the HOPE scholarship mean to you and your family?
The scholarship means a lot to all of us. I am a first-generation college student, so I know this takes a lot of stress off me and my mom. Knowing I don’t have to work really hard after school and find a job that pays better for school is a relief. This scholarship really encourages me to go to college and learn. My mom is so happy and I’m hoping this will encourage my sister to go to college, too.

The Power of HOPE
After speaking with Be, there is no doubt she will flourish at Hollins. From mathematics and computer science, to French and studying abroad, Be will make her family proud as a first-generation college student.

If you are a young woman living in the greater Roanoke Valley and desire a college degree, but worry that the cost of tuition puts this dream out of reach, you have HOPE, the Hollins Opportunity for Promise through Education. Visit our HOPE program website to learn more about the requirements.


Hollins Student Delegation Typifies “Collaboration, Cooperation, and Celebration” at NUMAL Conference

A 14-student delegation represented Hollins University at the three-day National University Model Arab League (NUMAL) Conference in Washington, D.C., including the winner of the event’s highest award.

The National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR) welcomed 22 colleges and universities to the 2022 conference, which was held March 24-27. The goal of the NUMAL Conference is to simulate the diplomacy and decision making of the Arab League, an alliance of  more than 20 Arab countries formed in 1945 to promote economic, political, cultural, and scientific cooperation as well as independence and sovereignty among its member nations.

Bianca Vallebrignoni ’23, president of the Model UN/Model Arab League club at Hollins, coordinated the delegation’s trip to the conference with the support and attendance of Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette and John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch, the club’s faculty advisors. All students who participated in the conference successfully applied for grants from the Warren W. Hobbie Ethics and Service Endowment, whose purpose is to facilitate experiential or service learning opportunities that require students to confront values or ethical issues.

Mollie Davis '22
Mollie Davis ’22 was named the 2022 NUMAL Conference’s Outstanding Delegate.

Mollie Davis ’22 was named the conference’s Outstanding Delegate, the top honor bestowed by NCUSAR. Davis was recognized for her representation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Joint Defense Council. The senior called her four years on the Hollins Model UN/Model Arab League team “the biggest opportunity I’ve had to push back against what society expects of people who stutter, and I’m grateful for that.” Motivated to make space for all advocates, Davis further reflected that her success “had an impact on more than just myself.”

“Model conferences deepen students’ understanding of diversity within the Arab world through research,” noted Chenette, “but also strengthen and amplify the voices of diverse leaders through debate.”

Hollins delegates served in critical roles at every level of conference planning and execution, The Secretariate student leadership included Susanna Helms ’24, who was chief justice in the Arab Court of Justice simulation and adjudicated cases designed and prepared over the last year by Salima Driss ’23. NCUSAR’s student program coordinator, Katie Grandelli ’20, continued her Model Arab League leadership legacy in her professional capacity, “extending the Hollins dynamic of collaboration, cooperation, and celebration to all participants,” said Chenette.

Held annually, NUMAL celebrated its 39th year in 2022. Started as an informal demonstration simulation at Georgetown University in 1983, NUMAL has grown to host over 400 students from approximately 25 colleges and universities annually. Delegates train year-round through mock simulations, course-structured research, and participation in regional Model Arab League conferences to prepare for this highly competitive international simulation. The 2022 conference was hosted by the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington.

 


Omicron Delta Kappa Welcomes Hollins Students

 

 

Ten Hollins University students are among the 342 new initiates from 11 universities welcomed into Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the National Leadership Honor Society, for 2022.

Students initiated into the society must be sophomores, juniors, seniors, or graduate/professional students in the top 35% of their class; demonstrate experience in at least one of the five pillars of leadership celebrated by ODK (academics, athletics, service, communications, and arts); and embrace the ODK ideals. Fewer than five percent of students on a campus are invited to join each year.

Hollins students joining ODK this year include:

Regina Davis ’22, English major, Blackstone, Virginia

Fanny Estrada Lugo ’22, Spanish major, Cassatt, South Carolina

Natalia Sarram ’22, English major, Carlsbad, California

Adarra Blount ’23, history major, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina

Jasmine Carmichael ’23, public health major, North Chesterfield, Virginia

Margaret Gildersleeve ’23, communication studies major, Woodbridge, Virginia

Egypt Matthews ’23, business major, Fayetteville, North Carolina

Claire Ross ’23, English major, Ashburn, Virginia

Aden Watts ’23, psychology major, Fort Gay, West Virginia

Leah Wilkins ’23, political science major, Beaumont, Texas

Headquartered in Lexington, Virginia, ODK has 313 circles of record at colleges and universities across the United States. The society honors and develops leaders through scholarships, workshops, career development, leadership resources, and a lifelong connection to other members. ODK also champions its leadership values of collaboration, inclusivity, integrity, scholarship, and service. Among the society’s distinguished members are Presidents Joseph R. Biden Jr., George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford, Richard M. Nixon, and Franklin D. Roosevelt; physicians Michael DeBakey and Jonas Salk; journalists Ann Compton (Hollins class of 1969), Walter Cronkite, Roger Mudd, Cokie Roberts, and George F. Will; authors Pat Conroy, James Dickey, and Tom Wolfe; and athletes/coaches Peyton Manning, Arnold Palmer, Dawn Staley, and Pat Summitt.


Hollins Theatre Majors Earn Top Honors from KCACTF Region IV

The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Region IV has presented two Hollins University seniors with prestigious awards in its Design, Technologies, and Management category.

Elizabeth Dion ’22 received the Stage Management Fellowship Award, while Nabila Meghjani ’22 won the Heart of the Art Award in Costume Design. Both were honored for their work on Hollins Theatre’s Main Stage production in October 2021 of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker.

Elizabeth Dion '22
Elizabeth Dion ’22

“According to the nominee list, 168 students in Region IV were nominated for the Stage Management Fellowship Award, and 71 were nominated for the Heart of the Art Award in Costume Design, so we’re extremely proud of both Liz and Nabila for their recognition,” said Assistant Professor of Theatre and Theatre Department Chair Wendy-Marie Martin.

The Stage Management Fellowship Award is earned based on professionalism and completeness of the prompt script and other paperwork; personal demeanor and communication skills based on interviews and at workshops; and written materials submitted prior to the KCACTF Region IV Festival. Dion, who is double majoring in theatre and international studies, will represent Region IV at the KCACTF National Festival in Washington, D.C., in April, and have the opportunity to present work and network with student and professional stage managers from across the country.

Nabila Meghjani ’22
Nabila Meghjani ’22

To earn a Heart of the Art Award, a student must be “deemed to have exhibited an immense amount of passion for their work,” according to the KCACTF. Meghjani, a double major in theatre and gender and women’s studies, typified the award’s standards for “a student who [the respondents] could tell poured every ounce of their energy into their project or their presentation.”

KCACTF is a national theater program involving 18,000 students annually from colleges and universities across the country. Since its inception, KCACTF has given more than 400,000 college theater students the opportunity to have their work critiqued, improve their dramatic skills, and receive national recognition for excellence. More than 16 million theatergoers have attended approximately 10,000 festival productions nationwide. KCACTF Region IV represents colleges and universities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Virginia.


Hollins Indoor Track & Field Earns Highest Ranking Ever

The Hollins Indoor Track & Field program has received its highest ranking in school history from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

In the newest edition of the NCAA Division III Women’s Indoor Track & Field National Rating Index (TFRI), released February 1, Hollins is ranked number 15 in the USTFCCCA South Region. This is Hollins’ first appearance in the USTFCCCA TRFI this season.

The USTFCCCA is a non-profit professional organization representing cross country and track & field coaches of all levels. The organization represents thousands of coaching members encompassing NCAA track & field programs (DI, DII, and DIII) and includes members representing the NAIA and NJCAA, as well as a number of state high school coaches associations. The USTFCCCA serves as an advocate for cross country and track & field coaches, providing a leadership structure to assist the needs of a diverse membership, serving as a lobbyist for coaches’ interests, and working as a liaison between the various stakeholders in the sports of cross country and track & field.