Record Number of Hollins Students Earn Honors at Appalachia Regional Model Arab League

Eight members of Hollins’ Model Arab League delegation won awards at the Appalachia Regional Model Arab League (ARMAL), held November 13-15.

The number of Hollins students recognized this year is a record for the university.

Model Arab League (MAL) is a project of the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that seeks to foster greater understanding of the Arabic-speaking world by U.S. students. NCUSAR also sponsors internships, study trips to the region, international conferences, and networking opportunities, and the organization’s student programs coordinator is a Hollins alumna: Katie Grandelli ’20. Hollins has taken part in MAL conferences since 2015. (The university has also participated in Model United Nations [MUN] conferences since 2000.) John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch teaches the MUN/MAL class and advises the MUN/MAL Club.

ARMAL, normally held on the Hollins campus, was conducted virtually this year. For the first time, the conference included a simulation of the Arab Court of Justice (ACJ), and Hollins is the first host of a regional MAL conference to have an ACJ; students who participated were assisted by Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette, a practicing attorney.

Hollins students earning honors at ARMAL this year include:

  • Lillian Albrecht ’24, who won two awards for her work on the ACJ: Outstanding Justice and Outstanding Advocate.
  • Salima Driss ’23, Jaiya McMillan ’23, and Susanna Helms ’24, who were recognized with Outstanding Advocate awards.
  • Acadia Czeizinger ’22, Mollie Davis ’22, Maggie McCroby ’22, and Bianca Vallebrignoni ’23, who received Distinguished Chair awards for leading various conference councils.

In addition, Carly Jo Collins ’21 and Delia O’Grady ’22 served as ARMAL’s Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General, respectively.

 

 

 

 


After Prominent Roles in Hollins’ Model UN/Model Arab League Program, Recent Grad Joins National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations

Katie Grandelli ’20 is an international studies major and a history and economics double-minor from Goldvein, Virginia.

The story of how I became the National Council on US-Arab Relations’ newest student programs coordinator is really the story of my four years within Hollins’ Model UN/Model Arab League program.

Model Arab League is the flagship youth leadership development program of the National Council on US-Arab Relations (NCUSAR). The program helps students learn about the politics and history of the Arab world, and the arts of diplomacy and public speech. It further prepares students to be knowledgeable, well-trained, and effective citizens as well as civic and public affairs leaders. The National Council hosts over a dozen conferences every academic year, and these conferences are overseen and organized by the student programs coordinator.

While Hollins continues to find success at large Model UN conferences (read about our success last November here), our program has consistently thrived at Model Arab League conferences. Since the real Arab League is only made up of 22 Arabic speaking nations, council rooms at MAL conferences are quite reflective of the Hollins dynamic—much more time and space for collaboration and cooperation. Students who experience smaller university environments with significant interaction with their peers and professors excel in Model Arab League.

My very first semester at Hollins found me sitting in Wednesday night’s Model UN/Model Arab League class, surrounded by fellow students with various degrees of model program experience. Even after three years of Model UN in high school, I knew I had still so much to learn. Hollins was hosting the Appalachia Regional Model Arab League (ARMAL) conference, and I spent the three days of my first collegiate conference as a permanent vice-chair for the Council on Palestinian Affairs, picking up the parliamentary procedure and learning to run a council as smoothly as I could.

The first half of my sophomore year found me in a very similar situation—Wednesday night Model UN/Model Arab League class, but now that the MUN/MAL club was functional again, there were club meetings to attend. ARMAL came around in the fall, and this time I was the chair for Palestinian Affairs. Our entire conference looked very different this year than years prior. We had moved to an innovative paperless system to cut down on the excessive printing that happens throughout the three days; Google Docs was (and continues to be) a friend of Model Arab League. Spring semester saw me as the second in command of the MUN/MAL club, where I planned meeting agendas, led debate preparation work for our spring conferences, and coordinated the mass of logistics it takes to put 12 Hollins delegates on the road. Even though I no longer needed it for credit, I continued to spend Wednesday night in the class, taking in any extra knowledge I could. I started learning how to anticipate the needs of the program and how to advocate for our success.

Junior year is when things got fun. Monday and Thursday nights were MUN/MAL club meetings; Wednesday continued my near-traditional presence in the Model UN/Model Arab League class. It was turning into something more than simply a learning opportunity for me; I was now there to provide data and support from club meetings for class members. I again served as Chair for Palestinian Affairs at ARMAL that fall and was much more involved in the planning for the entirety of the conference due to my role as co-president of the club. I also spearheaded the selection and training for the five other council chairs, spending more and more of my time poring over parliamentary procedure and learning how to teach it best to others.

Spring semester came, and I was off to London for what I thought was going to be a semester without Model UN/Model Arab League. I was wrong. I flew back to Washington, DC, for a jet-lagged and coffee-filled three and a half days to be part of Hollins’ delegation at the National University Model Arab League conference in early April. Three weeks later, I again left London for an eight-day trip to Saudi Arabia, made possible by both the National Council and the Saudi NGO, GatewayKSA. It was one of the most interesting and eye-opening weeks of my life, and I wrote about my time here. My time abroad in London and in Saudi Arabia gave me a truly international gaze and the great understanding that every single person I am interacting with brings something unique to the table.

In the fall of my senior year, I was not only president of the MUN/MAL club, I was also the secretary general of Hollins’ 2019 ARMAL. While staring down the beginning of my honors thesis and other academic requirements, my weeknights still looked like they had in years past. Monday, club meeting where we held practice debates. Wednesday, Model UN class. Thursday, another club meeting that was much more open ended; they usually turned into research and preparation meetings. ARMAL came and went in a flurry of Google Docs; we had hosted another successful conference yet again.

A week later, the then-current student programs coordinator asked if Hollins could send two chairs and a secretary general for the upcoming Capital Area Regional MAL conference. So  two of the council chairs from ARMAL and I spent the next weekend at Georgetown University, again filled with coffee, staffing and driving a conference that was completely unknown to us. Those two days at CARMAL brought out our ability to adapt, overcome, and generally figure it out. Maria Jdid ’21 brought home the Outstanding Chair award, and much to my surprise, I was honored as the Best Secretary General of 2019 by NCUSAR. My hours in the Secretariat Offices at both ARMAL and CARMAL were spent sitting with the student programs coordinators, gaining a wider perspective on NCUSAR’s role in conference preparation and greater MAL outreach as a whole.

My last semester of Model UN/Model Arab League at Hollins was a doozy. Right when I was deep into the logistics and preparation work for our final two conferences of the year, conferences were cancelled across the board, and students who could leave campus were sent home. Coincidentally, some of the news regarding the unraveling of the school year due to COVID-19 broke on a Wednesday night, when I was sitting in Model UN class for what would be my last time.

Throughout my four years, I was constantly surrounded by inspiring leadership within our Model UN/Model Arab League program. Those who came before me laid the groundwork and were invaluable resources; those coming after me bring new ideas, dedication, and renewed enthusiasm for the program’s future. I know that the Hollins MUN/MAL program will reach points higher than I could have ever imagined.

What I learned from serving in various leadership positions in Model Arab League is that a program can only succeed if all members know that their voices are heard and that they are an important part of the success of the entire organization. Recalling my lessons learned in Saudi Arabia, I strove to make our MUN/MAL program as accessible to all interested students as possible. Hollins is one of the only institutions at the national Model Arab League level that receives no direct funding (unlike the majority of schools we debate against), so I made sure that our team had as much access and help as possible to grant opportunities to fund our conference expenses. This drive for even more of an inclusive program is something that I will carry with me into my new position and into this new era of online conferencing.

And now I am continuing within the organization that gave me so many opportunities during my undergraduate studies. As the student programs coordinator for NCUSAR, I will facilitate and act as the main point of contact regarding the entirety of the Model Arab League program, as well as working within the Council’s larger initiatives. I hope to use this opportunity to build Model Arab League into even more of an accessible learning and leadership opportunity for interested students all across the nation as well as at international universities.

My conference friends who graduated in the years before me usually saw the end of their undergraduate studies as their adjournment from Model Arab League. But much to my excitement, it’s not a motion to adjourn for me just yet.

Photo Credit: Carly Lewis Photography


Hollins Alumna Recalls First Job With Rep. John Lewis

As we remember Congressman John Lewis and his incredible life devoted to social justice and equality, Mary Kate Vick Fuller ’88 remembers the civil rights icon as her first boss and the unforgettable lessons he taught her.

I worked for Mr. Lewis for my first job out of Hollins in Washington, D.C. I had completed a short-term internship with Sen. Sam Nunn in January 1988. After graduation in May 1988, there was an opening in John Lewis’ office. I knew I wanted to work on Capitol Hill and didn’t care if it was for a Republican or Democrat. I just wanted to stay with Georgia representation, since I was born and raised in Rome.

Mr. Lewis was a great boss and always took the time to teach me about the Civil Rights Movement and how he led the Selma march with Martin Luther King. He was very humble and quiet, but when the words flowed, it was amazing. He considered himself a minister and talked to me about how we were all in “one house,” as he called it, under God. He was passionate about teaching young people the history of [race in] our country and how he wanted to make changes so our children’s children would live in a great country.

He had a wall of photos in his office and loved telling me about his 40-plus arrests. He would point to each photo and tell the story. The one I really remember is of him getting beaten and pushed into a car. I can still see the photo. What courage he had. It was just incredible.

I was in charge of all the tours, opening mail, and dispersing it to legislation [department for the office]. He hated it when constituents came to his office and wanted to tour the Capitol, but the tours were already booked. I asked him if I could memorize the guided tour and give tours myself. He agreed, and we never had to turn people away. I had really turned my receptionist’s job into something more, and he appreciated it.

When there were dinners in D.C. and he was in Atlanta, he often chose me to represent him. He said, “I like how you shake hands and look people in the eye.” I loved representing him to constituents.

I read an article about him the other week where he talked about looking people in the eye when you shook their hand. I remembered having a conversation about that with Mr. Lewis. He listened intently to people and talked about how important it was to hear what people have to say. My dad always said that you treat the president of the company and the janitor the same, and that was the kind of man Mr. Lewis was.

I was also in charge of answering the phones for the office. When the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 was being voted on – [the law prohibits manufacturing, importing, selling, etc. firearms undetectable to metal detectors] – the phones were ringing off the hook. That same day, Barbara Bush had invited all the secretaries on the House of Representatives’ side to the White House for tea and cookies and to see her dog Millie’s puppies.

When Mr. Lewis came from the floor from voting, he asked me why I wasn’t at the White House meeting Barbara Bush. I said the office was too busy to leave and that I had stayed to answer all the calls. He replied, “Mary Kate, this is a chance of a lifetime, and I don’t want you to miss it. Forward your phone to my office, and I will personally answer your calls myself while you are gone. I hugged him and ran out the door to the White House. He was right. It was the chance of a lifetime.

At that time, I knew Mr. Lewis was important and had shaped our country, but I really didn’t know how big his role was until later. When I was an elementary school teacher in Rome years later, I taught my students about him.

Rest in peace, Mr. Lewis, and thank you for all you taught me.

Mary Kate Vick Fuller ’88 lives in Rome, Ga.


Rutherfoord Center for Experiential Learning Guarantees Access to a World of Possibilities

Hollins University is pleased to announce the creation of the Rutherfoord Center for Experiential Learning, which ensures undergraduates beginning in their first year can benefit more than ever from dynamic, real-world experiences beyond the classroom.

“The establishment of the Rutherfoord Center enables Hollins to build upon its strong foundation of experiential learning programs,” said Interim President Nancy Gray. “Bringing these programs together in a new way allows for more collaboration and interaction while at the same time expanding opportunities for students.”

Made possible by the generosity of Jean Hall Rutherfoord, Hollins class of 1974, and her husband, Thomas D. Rutherfoord Jr. (pictured), the Rutherfoord Center encompasses study abroad at an array of destinations around the world; domestic and international internships; initiatives that promote innovation and engagement while connecting academic work with practical application; leadership practice; and undergraduate research projects conducted in close partnership with Hollins faculty.

“Through the Rutherfoord Center, students can develop a global perspective and build their creative thinking and problem-solving skills in a tangible way,” Gray said. “They acquire the experience necessary to thrive in both professional and educational settings after earning their undergraduate degrees.”

The Rutherfoord Center guarantees every student can pursue each of these programs throughout all of their four years at Hollins. At the same time, they gain mentorship; receive expert help in identifying leadership, study abroad, research, and career options; and explore prospects for financial assistance.

Gray emphasized that the power of experiential learning cannot be overestimated. “Experiential learning transforms personal and social development. It enhances resiliency, tenacity, curiosity, and self-reflection. It’s an immersive process by which students gain knowledge and skills by observing, inferring, and most of all, doing.”

To learn more, visit  https://www.hollins.edu/rutherfoordcenter.


Hollins Professor Completes Leadership Program at 2019 HERS Institute

LeeRay Costa, professor of anthropology and gender and women’s studies and director of faculty development at Hollins, has completed the 2019 HERS (Higher Education Resources Services) Institute at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. She joined 64 competitively selected women leaders from across the U.S. and Canada to take part in the intensive, residential leadership development program.

The Institute provides participants with the opportunity to develop their individual leadership strengths to boldly lead change on their campuses and in their roles. They also expand their knowledge of the national higher education landscape to become even stronger assets to their institutions.

The HERS Institute was created in 1976 to proactively fill the higher education pipelines across the United States with dynamic women and combat an undeniable gender gap. Recent research has concluded that women hold less than 40 percent of tenured positions, only 36 percent of full professorships, and just 30 percent of the presidencies at the nation’s colleges and universities. Research has also noted that women only apply for a position if they meet 100% of the qualifications, while men will apply if they only meet 60% of the qualifications. HERS Institute alumnae, which today number more than 6,000, have noted that the program’s unique ability to create a non-competitive space re-energized them around what they could bring to their roles, and helped them develop the confidence needed to lead at their respective institutions.

“I learned critical skills for leadership within the contemporary context of higher education, including how to communicate effectively and engage in difficult conversations, manage and lead change, cultivate talent, create a culture of inclusion, equity, and belonging, navigate leadership transitions, and administer and manage budgets,” Costa said. “I look forward to applying what I learned to my faculty development work at Hollins, including providing workshops and training to support faculty teaching, research, and overall career development. I am also excited to help foster a campus workplace that is inclusive, equitable, diverse, and committed to faculty satisfaction and well-being.”

Each HERS Institute attendee is required to complete a self-designed leadership project for their institution, a personal case study that pursues organizational change on campus. Costa created Hollins’ first faculty development program.

“During its inaugural year, the program will focus primarily on two areas,” Costa explained. “First, inclusivity, equity, and diversity, and second, high impact learning practices. This project supports Hollins’ institutional values and mission. It also engages faculty in innovative and experiential approaches to teaching and learning that will empower Hollins’ students to be effective and inspiring leaders, problem solvers, creators, and change agents.”

Costa has been a member of the Hollins faculty since 2001 and was named director of faculty development in March 2019. Her research, teaching, and community activism focus on social justice and a desire to understand processes of social change. In 2018 she launched the Hollins Contemplative Collective, which seeks to cultivate the holistic well-being of faculty, staff, and students and to integrate into curricular and co-curricular life practices of mindfulness and healing that are embodied, inclusive, and both individually and collectively transformative. A previous recipient of Hollins’ Herta Freitag Faculty Legacy Award and Senior Class Faculty Award, Costa holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.

 


Signature Internships, Leadership Development Prep Sami Makseyn ’19 for Law School

At age 14, Sami Makseyn ’19 faced the biggest challenge of her young life. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she spent 11 days in a coma and missed nine weeks of school. The experience transformed her into a force for change: Passionate about healthcare advocacy, she helped found a nonprofit organization for youth advocacy in politics and legislation when she was just 18. Before she turned 21, she had already worked in both American government and international government.

In part, Makseyn says she has been able to accomplish so much because of Hollins’ Signature Internship Program, one of the factors that convinced her to enroll at the university. “My choice in college was influenced by the fact that I later wanted to go on to law school, but internships intimidated me. How was I going to take time during a semester to do an internship? They’re not paid, so how would I live somewhere?

“With Hollins and the January Short Term, I was able to do an internship, receive a stipend, have housing provided, and not miss any school.”

Makseyn completed three Signature Internships, all in Washington, D.C. In her sophomore year, she interned with the office of U.S. Senator Al Franken (“I served on their healthcare, transportation, and Native American affairs teams.”); junior year brought her to the nonprofit Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (“I worked on their economic justice project, which deals with discrimination in employment.”); and this year she interned with the American Healthcare Association (“I got to understand the kind of work that goes into healthcare legislation.”).

Studying abroad in London her junior year, Makseyn interned with a member of Parliament: Virendra Sharma, whose constituency is largely Indian and Southeast Asian. “Type 2 diabetes occurs among those populations at a much higher rate. Many people go undiagnosed for a long time and then they’re not sure how to deal with it. So, I created a type 2 diabetes guide that offers local resources and general information about the disease and treatment.”

Makseyn augmented her real-world experience, and honed her public speaking, multitasking, research, and debating skills, by participating in Model United Nations (MUN) and Model Arab League (MAL) at Hollins. MUN and MAL conferences feature “crisis simulations and you have to figure out how to deal with them,” she explains. “I learned how to find my voice. It’s something I think is particular to Hollins as a women’s college and an environment where your peers are so supportive. We go to conferences with coed schools and I’m assertive and well-spoken. I don’t think I would have gotten that confidence anywhere else.”

With a likely focus on healthcare law (her senior thesis, “Medicare for All?: An Analysis of American Healthcare and the Potential for Universal Coverage,” has received honors status), Makseyn will attend The George Washington University Law School this fall. Concurrently, she plans to complete a Master’s in public health. “Eventually I want to work in politics, so I want to be well-versed in healthcare policies. It’s so important to me and to a lot of people.”

Even though she knows she wants to perform legal work, Makseyn says she is grateful that Hollins and the Signature Internship Program in particular have given her the opportunity “to dip my toes in so many different fields. I’ve seen everywhere my political science degree can take me. If I wasn’t going to go to law school immediately, or decided I wasn’t going to attend law school after all, I would be completely confident I could find a job that I would enjoy based on everything I’ve done here. Nothing is off limits.”

 

 

 


“A Woman Of Action,” Lilly Potter ’19 Plans To “Do Something Positive In The World”

To illustrate his daughter’s fearlessness, Lilly Potter ’19 says her dad loves to tell the story of her childhood trip to India for a family wedding. “We encountered a cobra charmer and I just went and tried to pet the cobra. Fortunately, my dad got me away in time.”

The double-major in English and international studies has certainly learned to set boundaries in the ensuing years, but while at Hollins, her curiosity and sense of adventure have continued to flourish. She has devoted January Short Terms to traveling in Japan and Greece and spent full semesters studying abroad in London and Paris. She completed internships with Peace Boat US in New York City; the Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired in Washington, D.C.; and the Nursing Times in London.  Her community service includes volunteer work last summer with the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center, where she gained firsthand experience with the inner workings of an international nonprofit organization. The trip was funded in part by Hollins’ Hobbie Trust Fund, which provides financial assistance for students to engage in a research or service project that is clearly connected to ethics or values.

“It’s a testament to Hollins and its flexibility that I was able to fit in so much,” Potter says. “The school made each of these experiences possible. I don’t hear from my friends at other schools that they receive the same support to participate in these kinds of extracurricular opportunities.”

Potter was drawn to Hollins because she says she knew that “Hollins makes good writers and good writers seek out Hollins. I think the ability to express myself orally and through the written word is something with which Hollins has gifted me, along with being able to synthesize different topics that may not have an immediate correlation. Everything connects if you really look for it.”

Believing Hollins has given her “a Renaissance education,” Potter has taken classes in philosophy, gender and women’s studies, statistical analysis, “and a lot of French” in addition to the coursework in her majors. She is also earning a certificate in leadership studies from the Batten Leadership Institute. “That was one of the strongest pulls of Hollins for me. I didn’t see women-centered leadership development courses at other universities.”

This fall, Potter will be attending William & Mary Law School. “It’s a really good fusion of my love of English and rhetoric and my desire to get out there and do something positive in the world. I’m interested in human rights law, and I’d like to live internationally and work in either the nonprofit or foreign service sectors.”

Professor of English Marilyn Moriarty has known Potter since her sophomore year, when she became Potter’s academic advisor in English. “Lilly is a woman of action, dedicated to her work and animated by a social conscience. She is intelligent and dedicated, works hard but remains modest about her accomplishments, and has the needed character traits to set goals, persevere, and achieve them. In addition to being capable and truthful, she is also tactful and kind. These many qualities convince me that she will make an excellent lawyer.”

When asked what she will miss the most about Hollins, Potter cites “a community that’s small and majority women, one that’s focused on women’s rights. I’m very grateful for the incredible, ferocious, and intelligent women and other people that I’ve met here. They really inspire me.”

 

 

 

 

 


Hollins Students Recognized for Prominent Leadership Roles at Model Arab League

Hollins University welcomed to campus 12 delegations and nearly 100 students from middle school to college for the Fourth Annual Appalachia Regional Model Arab League (MAL), held November 9 – 11.

Similar in organization and format to Model United Nations, MAL is the flagship student leadership program of the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR). Through role-playing, the conference allows both American and international students the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of real-life diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners and deepen their knowledge of the Arab world and it peoples.

During this year’s Appalachia MAL, students discussed such issues as the Palestinian conflict, global climate change, building greater Arab unity, and promoting more private investment in the region. For the first time, all conference council chairs were Hollins students. Notably, Hayley Harrington ’19 and Carly Collins ’21 acted as secretary-general and assistant secretary-general, respectively, while Hannah Jensen ’20 was awarded Outstanding Chair and Sami Makseyn ’19 was named Distinguished Chair.

Other Hollins students receiving honors at the Appalachia MAL include:

Emmalee Funk ’20 and Madison McElhinney ’20: Outstanding Delegation, Palestinian Affairs Council

Claire Hintz ’21: Outstanding Delegate, Summit of Arab Heads of State

Tien Nguyen ’22: Outstanding Delegate, Social Affairs Council

Mary Elizabeth Cochran ’21: Distinguished Delegate, Environmental Affairs Council

Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch announced that Hollins will participate in the National University Model Arab League conference at Georgetown University in April 2019. “Only 22 universities worldwide are invited to take part in the national conference,” Lynch said. In addition, he and Harrington will be traveling to the Arab nation of Qatar during Hollins’ Thanksgiving Recess as part of a faculty-student delegation sponsored by NCUSAR to the Persian Gulf Region. The delegation will meet with government officials, private business people, academics, and journalists.

Ed Lynch NCUSAR
Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch addresses the Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference on Nov. 1 in Washington, D.C.

 

Earlier this month, Lynch was a featured speaker at NCUSAR’s 27th Annual Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference in Washington, D.C. Before an audience of 350 people that included high-ranking policymakers from the U.S. and the Arab-speaking world, Lynch discussed Hollins’ active participation in MAL and the intellectual benefits students receive from it.

“Students learn to do rapid-fire research and how to debate and negotiate,” he explained. “They also get invaluable experience with public speaking and working together as a team.”

 

 

Top photo: Hollins University’s delegation to the Fourth Annual Appalachia Regional Model Arab League. Hollins represented Saudi Arabia and Sudan at the conference.

 

 


Open Enrollment Under Way for Executive Leadership Certificate Program

Hollins University’s Batten Leadership Institute has announced its Executive Education Certificate in Leadership Program for 2018.

The program features both women’s and co-educational cohorts, each of which consists of 12 sessions beginning in early April and continuing through early October.

“The Batten Leadership Institute challenges and develops leaders through tactical and intense certificate programs and customized organizational training,” said Program Director Abrina Schnurman-Crook. “We offer concrete, practical, and experiential learning exercises that link theory to practice and provide knowledge and skills that can be put into action from day one.”

Continuing in the program this year, Schnurman-Crook added, is “research from neuroscience and the emerging field of neuroleadership to improve performance, manage diversity, and facilitate better learning and decision-making.”

In other highlights, the program will explore:

  • Diagnosing challenges and responses
  • Conflict, risk, and change
  • Team functioning
  • Feedback from multiple perspectives
  • Interpersonal situations from a strategic view of systems
  • Understanding systems and culture applied to each particpant’s specific organization
  • Assessment portfolios, including multiple 360-degree assessments

In order to maximize learning and engagement, each cohort is limited to ten participants. The cost of $3,800 includes course materials, books, refreshments, and online assessments and individual appointments for assessment review, which will take place in February and March. Scholarships are available, and a ten percent discount is offered to organizations that enroll two or more employees.

“Over the past 13 years, this program has invested 526 training hours with professionals in the Roanoke area, who have expanded their capacities in emotional intelligence, team functioning, and conflict and communication,” Schnurman-Crook explained. “They have learned strategic uses of authority across power structures and systems. They have gleaned significant value in networking with others across industries and agreed to be held accountable in their cohorts for creating real movement within themselves, while challenging others to do the same.”

For more information, contact Abrina Schnurman-Crook at 540-362-7488 or aschnurmancrook@hollins.edu. To register, visit the Executive Certificate in Leadership Registration page. While official enrollment ends February 14, the enrollment process will conclude as soon as the program is full. At that point, a wait list for priority registration in 2019 will begin.


From Campus to the Persian Gulf to Cuba, a Hollins Junior Earns a Worldly Education

Hanna Strauss ’19 has embraced the notion of “global citizen” in a way few other college students have experienced.

During the summer following her first year at Hollins, Strauss spent eight weeks in Oman studying Arabic at the Center for International Learning in Muscat, the country’s capital. Last April, the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR) awarded her a fellowship to participate in a week-long visit to Qatar. Strauss is now preparing to spend her entire 2018 Spring Term in Cuba through an intensive program in which only two other Hollins students have ever participated.

“I was raised in a way that enabled me to appreciate other peoples’ cultures,” explained Strauss, who is double majoring in Spanish and political science. Embodying that understanding began at an early age: She took part in a Model United Nations program in middle school, an endeavor that took her to conferences at the UN itself in New York City.

“I was privileged to have that opportunity and decided to take it forward,” she recalled, and in addition to her two study trips to the Persian Gulf region in as many years, she has been actively involved in NCUSAR’s Model Arab League Conferences, particularly the Appalachia Regional Model Arab League (ARMAL) conference held annually at Hollins. ARMAL brings together college and high school students to learn firsthand what it is like to put themselves in the shoes of real-life Arab diplomats and other foreign affairs practitioners. Students act as representatives from Arabic-speaking countries ranging from Morocco to Iraq.

During each of the past two years, Strauss has served as the conference’s secretary-general, meaning responsibility for the event’s success has sat squarely on her shoulders. When she took on the project for the first time last year, she said she “had had some previous general experience with organizing, but I didn’t have any knowledge of what had come before with planning this particular conference. I went in pretty much completely blind last year.” Nevertheless, Professor of Political Science Ed Lynch was impressed with her dedication and enthusiasm and asked her to serve as secretary-general again when ARMAL returned to Hollins this November. He said his trust was well placed.

“Hanna performed well above and beyond the call of duty in preparing for the conference,” he stated. “In advance, she held weekly meetings to go over the rules and procedures, arranged practice debates, and created her own web page of directions, information, and best practices for council chairs.”

Strauss also established a paperless format, instituting a system that enabled conference chairs to submit resolutions to her through Google Docs and other platforms. She recruited help with running documents and checking on participants, “which made our conference just a little bit more prestigious,” and worked closely with Hollins food service provider Meriwether Godsey to provide meals and snacks, noting that “they made everything run really smoothly.”

“I took on a lot more this year, but I went in very confident,” she reflected.

Lynch believes a major factor in the achievement of this year’s ARMAL conference was Strauss’s work last spring in reactivating the Model UN/Model Arab League Club at Hollins, an organization that had been dormant on campus for roughly ten years.

“This revival, while done with my support and good wishes, was wholly a student-led initiative, from writing the club’s constitution to successfully petitioning the Student Government Association Senate,” Lynch said.

“I had thought about bringing the club back since my first semester at Hollins, and my fellowship to Qatar was the catalyst,” said Strauss. “We have a Model UN class here at Hollins, but I really wanted to supplement that.” The Model UN/Model Arab League Club now boasts more than 30 members and provided crucial support to the ARMAL conference, such as workers to assist Strauss with operations and funding for refreshments.

This year’s ARMAL welcomed 92 students from five colleges, two high schools, and one middle school, including 12 Hollins students. Delegates discussed a wide range of issues concerning the Middle East and North Africa, including changes in U.S. policy, efforts to alleviate poverty and isolation, and dealing with regional civil wars. Three Hollins students won awards: Samantha Makseyn ’19 was named Outstanding Delegate to the Political Affairs Council; Reilly Swennes ’20 was recognized as Outstanding Delegate to the Joint Defense Council; and Katie Grandelli ’20 was awarded Distinguished Chair for her work leading the Council on Palestinian Affairs.

Strauss, who is president of Hollins’ junior class, is pleased at the cohesiveness that is resulting from the Model UN/Model Arab League Club’s resurrection. “I wanted to make it like a family, more Hollins-y. I hope this will perpetuate after I graduate.” Down the road, she is “thinking about law school,” but for now she is relishing the many opportunities she’s enjoyed and continues to anticipate as a Hollins student.

“Just like being at Hollins has made me a better person, experiences such as traveling to the Middle East have rounded me out. They add something significant to you and your personality.”