Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette describes Mollie Davis ’22 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.
Since arriving her first year, the political science (pre-law focus) and theatre double major has been involved in Model United Nations and Model Arab League. Model UN simulates the UN General Assembly and its other multilateral bodies, with students taking on ambassador roles while debating topics such as gender equality, climate action, and global health. Model Arab League is a civic and public affairs leadership development program coordinated by the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NCUSAR) where students learn about the politics and history of the Arab world, and the arts of diplomacy and public speech. For Davis, participation has given her newfound confidence in both academic and professional endeavors. Davis’ outside of school activities while at Hollins have included traveling to Washington, D.C., to speak at gun reform rallies and conferences, participating in the internationally recognized “Guns In America” TIME magazine project, and volunteering for a 2020 presidential primary campaign.
“As a person who stutters, activities that involve public speaking are typically not the most welcoming environments,” she said. “But we deserve to be in those spaces just as much as fluently speaking people. Model UN and Model Arab League gave me the opportunity to push back against what society expects of people who stutter and I’m very grateful for that.”
Davis’ Model UN/Model Arab League experiences culminated this March when she joined 13 other Hollins students at the National University Model Arab League Conference in Washington, D.C., and was named Outstanding Delegate, the top honor given by NCUSAR. She was recognized for her representation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the Joint Defense Council, and at the time reflected that her success “had an impact on more than just myself.”
In addition to Model UN/Model Arab League, Davis has devoted significant time to immersing herself in the theatre world. “I’ve enjoyed getting to do hands-on tech work on different shows,” she noted. For her senior honors thesis, she wrote a one-act play that draws deeply upon actual events from her own personal life. “The play is about growing up in a military town and how a shooting at my high school changed how I view patriotism and politics.”
A reading of the play, which starred Davis in the role of the narrator, was produced this spring.
This summer, Davis will embark on a one-year fellowship with the Episcopal Service Corps, an organization that offers young adults the opportunity to perform a wide range of community outreach activities in locations throughout the United States. In August she will head to Denver, Colorado, “where I’ll be working at the employment services program of St. Francis Center, which helps unhoused men and women in the metro Denver area develop skills, gain work experience, and connect with full time employment.”
While in Denver, she plans to start the application process for entering law school in the fall of 2023.
“After the shooting at my high school just five months before move-in (for her first year at Hollins), I was hesitant to leave my hometown (Great Mills, Maryland),” Davis said. “There were nights where I considered rescinding my acceptance and staying put in the bubble I’d come to view Great Mills as. But I didn’t do that. I moved 300 miles away to go to Hollins and have not once regretted it.”
“I’m excited to live in the future that Mollie and other students will shape,” Chenette said.