Model UN/Model Arab League Program Presents Honor Cords to Seven Seniors

Hollins University’s Model UN/Model Arab League program has awarded honor cords to seven graduating seniors in tribute to their achievements.

Seniors earning recognition this year include Hannah Byrum, Katie Grandelli, Amber Hilbish, Hannah Jensen, Alicia Lumbley, Shenoah Manter, and Reilly Swennes.

“Even with the cancellation of conferences this spring, this is one of the strongest groups of seniors the organization has seen,” says Grandelli, outgoing president of Model UN/Model Arab League at Hollins. “These seniors attended a combined 33 conferences, held various leadership roles at those conferences, and won nine awards.” Grandelli served as secretary-general for two conferences last fall and was honored as Best Secretary-General for 2019 by the National Council on U.S. – Arab Relations (NACUSAR). She also traveled as a representative of the NACUSAR on an all-expenses-paid trip to Saudi Arabia in April of last year. Jensen, former president of the club, was among the Hollins students who received awards at the 30th Annual American Model United Nations International Collegiate Conference, held last November in Chicago, which featured more than 900 participants.

Professor of Political Science Edward Lynch, who serves as faculty advisor to  Model UN/Model Arab League, notes, “Hollins students in the program have made their presence felt, nationally and internationally. When the Capital Area Model Arab League Conference suddenly needed a secretary-general and chairs, they immediately thought of Hollins and our students came through, saving a conference that might have been cancelled otherwise. Katie in particular has provided stellar leadership, better than anyone I have worked with in 15 years of advising Model UN.”

Assistant Professor of Political Science Courtney Chenette, who is also a faculty advisor to the program, says of the graduating class, “These students are dedicated and creative advocates, representatives, and leaders. I am confident that their passions and Model UN/Model Arab League skills will help them fuel change, manage crises, and create community, far beyond Hollins.”

The Model UN/Model Arab League program will celebrate the accomplishments of these seniors during Hollins’ 178th Commencement Exercises in September.

 

 

 

 

 


“I Craved the Feeling that I Was Making a Difference”: A Senior Shares Her Journey Into the Entrepreneurial Mindset

Claire Tourigny ‘20 is an English major from Manchester, New Hampshire.

The story of how I came to discover the entrepreneurial mindset is not an unusual one, but it is strange. By that, I mean it’s a bizarre journey that includes a psychic and a trip across the ocean, but it’s one that I think a lot of people might resonate with.

I came to Hollins effectively a pre-declared English major, and in fact, the knowledge that I would be studying creative writing is what drew me to Hollins in the first place. I had spent my high school years bouncing between literary magazines and student newspapers, paying more attention to my books and journals than to my classes, and dreaming of one day becoming a successful writer.

Little has changed on that front. What stood out to me about Hollins was the English Department  –  the professors, the classes, the student involvement. Immediately after first-year orientation I filled my schedule with as many gen-ed and prereq courses as possible, just so I could get the boring stuff out of the way and devote the rest of my college experience to my writing. This would turn out to be the smartest decision I made that first semester, as it freed up the next three and half years for my winding journey through academia.

It was a dark and stormy night when my friend and I were deciding our class schedule for the fall of 2017. I’d picked three English-adjacent classes I wanted to take, but one of them was only two credits, and so I found myself a few credit hours short. So, what was a young creative writer with most of her gen-eds already over with to do, but select a class at random? I scrolled through the class catalogue, trying to find an introductory level class that fit in with my schedule, when I stumbled across “BUS 100 – Introduction to Business.”

Now, this is where things get a little bizarre.

See, the summer after high school, after I had already enrolled at Hollins and was planning my very lucrative future as a novelist, a fortune teller had told me that I was going to work in marketing. As a side note, this was one of those beach boardwalk palm readers who charged $15 for some generic rambling and told me that I would be married with children by age 20, so the validity of her claims is still a little bit up in the air. But nonetheless, I thought about that moment when reading the BUS 100 course description and thought, “Alright, I’ll bite.” Not because I had any faith at all in the predictions of the stars or whatever, but because… hey, why not?

So I signed up for the introductory business class, and like most decisions made based on the advice of a shady psychic, I immediately felt as though I had made the wrong decision. Even as sophomores, all of my classmates were so… businessy. And I was so decidedly not. There was a reason I had devoted most of my time to the written word up until that point. I stumbled and stuttered my way through classroom presentations, disappeared into my seat during discussions, and overall spent more time maintaining eye contact with the wall than my classmates.

But through it all, the material engaged me in a way that few of my random gen-eds had before. Our semester-long project was to work with a few partners to create a business plan for a hypothetical startup, and while our group’s food truck/art gallery was one of the more bizarre companies pitched during the final presentations, I found myself engaged by the process of creating something from the ground up. The numbers behind it all eluded me, but the idea of finding a need in the local economy and fulfilling it was something I had never really considered to be a part of business before. See, my group and I decided that while Roanoke certainly had its fair share of art galleries and healthy restaurants, none of those were really accessible to your average student, so we created a food truck business that also displayed student art. Yes, it was a weird idea, but it was also (unbeknownst to me) my first glimpse of social entrepreneurship. I was new to the idea of the entrepreneurial mindset, and before taking the class, “business” to me was shaking hands with sweaty guys in suits and sitting at a desk inputting numbers all day. The Intro to Business class gave me my first glimpse into the big, wide world of entrepreneurship.

So I continued down the business track, thinking that if I was going to major in English, I ought to have something practical under my belt. Due to my aforementioned preconceived notion of business as sweaty handshakes, meetings about profit margins, and a lot of spreadsheets, I assumed that a businesswoman would need a head for numbers, so I took an accounting class during the spring of my sophomore year. As someone who has always struggled with numbers, this was a strange experience. I think everyone needs basic accounting competency, just like everyone should know how to write. What I learned is that math is just another type of language, and while I enjoyed the structure and stability of learning formulas, balancing equations, and filling out charts and tables, it was nothing I could imagine myself doing long-term. I am a writer, first and foremost, and I was not willing to give that up in order to fit into my skewed image of what a business student was. I completed my accounting class with an average grade and no desire to ever continue down that road.

The next stage of my journey was in London, during the first semester of my junior year. At this point, after my unsuccessful foray into accounting, I’d decided that I needed to start seriously thinking about a stable career that fell in line with both my interests and my skills. I know –  such an easy goal, right? Well, at the time, the only thing I could really think of was journalism. So I interned for a semester at a London-based tech publication. It was, all-in-all, a great experience. I enjoyed the company I was working with, and the opportunity to spend a few months living in a different country and building up a nice portfolio wasn’t anything to turn my nose up at. But journalism itself wasn’t what I thought it would be, or rather, it wasn’t what I wanted. Or, rather rather, it wasn’t what I learned that I needed.

By that, I mean simply that I learned something while spending a semester churning out tech articles and scheduling interviews. While I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as “selling out,” it wasn’t enough for me to simply spend my days writing about whatever I was told to write about. I wanted creative control over my own words. I wanted to choose what to write about based on my interests, not just trending news topics and hashtags. And more than that, I craved the feeling I got during BUS 100, when my group partners and I sat around a table, spit-firing out ideas on how to fill the need for low-cost food and accessible art in the Roanoke community –  the feeling that I was making a difference.

When I got back to Hollins in the spring of my junior year, I decided I was going to minor in business, and signed up for an e-commerce class as a way of fulfilling a graduation requirement. At this stage, I still had no idea where I wanted my business minor to take me –  I just knew that I wanted it to take me somewhere. I’ll admit, I was expecting very little from this class, solely based off of the fact that I did not think I would really engage with the material. Oh, how wrong I was.

In fact, no business class changed my perspective as much as this one, because it was this e-commerce class that introduced me to the world of inbound marketing. It hit me like an arrow –  all of a sudden, I realized that I could combine my love for writing with my interest in business. Our semester-long project was to design a website for a local small business that was just about to launch, and for the first time in my academic career, I found myself actually volunteering to take charge over the blog. I’m not good at numbers and I can’t for the life of me make a presentation without panicking, but I can write. And for the first time ever, I realized that my skills could actually be useful as an entrepreneur.

After the semester ended and senior year began, I was hired to work for the then-new Entrepreneurial Learning Institute (ELI) as a content marketer. Not only did I write the blog posts and help manage the social media presence, but I found myself at the base of something important, working beside other, frankly more talented students to help create the institute from the ground up. It was through working for ELI that I finally defined social entrepreneurship. It’s the idea that I just barely came across in BUS 100, the idea that a small startup can create powerful change just by fulfilling a need in the community. And through this definition, I realized that anyone, even a creative writer, can be an entrepreneur.

 

Photo Credit: Mary Daley Photography


Hollins Announces SAT, ACT will be Optional for Fall 2021 Student Applicants

In response to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Hollins University is suspending the standardized testing requirement for students applying for admission in the fall of 2021.

The one-year test optional policy means that prospective students do not have to submit SAT or ACT scores in order to be considered for enrollment in the class of 2025.

Ashley Browning, Hollins’ vice president for enrollment management, says the temporary policy is intended to help alleviate anxiety in a challenging and unprecedented time.

“We know opportunities to take SAT or ACT exams have been cancelled, and may continue to be postponed in locations throughout the country. Students may also be concerned that they will not be able to take the tests in an environment that allows for social distancing, or that their performance may be compromised in other ways,” she explains. “Our test optional policy this year will hopefully take away some stress and worry during the 2020-21 application cycle.”

Browning adds that Hollins applicants may still choose to submit SAT or ACT scores for consideration. “We take a holistic approach to evaluating applications that includes a wide range of factors. If a prospective student believes their test results are an accurate reflection of their current academic ability, we will welcome them as part of our review process.”

Hollins’ decision to go test optional, Browning notes, is just one of the ways in which the university is reaching out to prospective students at a time when stay-at-home orders remain largely in place. “This spring, we’ve been holding a number of interactive webinars where students and their parents can learn more about topics of interest and ask questions. We also offer a virtual campus tour, and our admission counselors and financial aid advisors are available via Zoom or phone to share information, including how affordable a Hollins education can be. Annually, we award $28 million in financial aid and scholarships, including scholarships ranging from $24,000 to full-tuition for admitted students.”

Founded in 1842 as Virginia’s first chartered women’s college, Hollins is an independent liberal arts university providing undergraduate education for women, selected graduate programs for men and women, and community outreach initiatives. In addition to 29 undergraduate majors and eight coeducational graduate programs, including a nationally recognized creative writing program, the university offers the Rutherfoord Center for Experiential Learning, which supports extensive career preparation, study abroad, and undergraduate research opportunities; the Batten Leadership Institute, which teaches students how to understand and navigate feedback, conflict, and negotiation; and the Entrepreneurial Learning Institute, which provides students with the resources needed to develop an entrepreneurial outlook across all fields, including the social sciences, business, humanities, fine arts, and STEM.


Hollins Student-Athletes Earn Chi Alpha Sigma Honors

Eighteen Hollins University student-athletes have been inducted into the national honor society Chi Alpha Sigma for the 2019-20 academic year.

Chi Alpha Sigma is the first and only nonprofit organization that recognizes college student-athletes who have excelled in both the classroom and on the field of competition. Inductees must achieve junior academic standing or higher, earn a 3.4 or higher cumulative grade point average, and be a team member for at least a full season.

 

Hollins’ newest inductees are:

  • Juliette Baek ’20 – Tennis
  • Megan Bull ’20 – Swimming
  • Shravani Chitineni ’21 – Soccer
  • Grace Davis ’21 – Cross-Country/Swimming
  • Hanna DeVarona ’21 – Swimming
  • Elizabeth Eubank ’21 – Tennis
  • Carsen Helms ’21 – Basketball/Lacrosse
  • Logan Landfried ’21 – Riding/Lacrosse
  • Emily Miehlke ’21 – Swimming
  • Hannah Piatak ’21 – Volleyball
  • Claire Reid ’20 – Riding
  • Cecilia Riddle ’20 – Basketball/Track and Field
  • Alex Sanchez ’20 – Swimming/Riding
  • Caylin Smith ’21 – Soccer
  • Molly Sullivan ’21 – Swimming
  • Madi Szurley ’21 – Lacrosse
  • Keyazia Taylor ’21 – Basketball
  • Yasmine Tyler ’21 – Basketball

Current Hollins student-athletes who previously earned induction include:

  • Kalyn Chapman ’20 – Track and Field
  • Francesca Reilly ’20 – Cross-Country/Track and Field
  • Kendra Rich ’20 – Soccer
  • Sarah Snoddy ’20 – Tennis
  • Delaney Waller ’20 – Lacrosse
  • Kate Woodruff ’20 – Lacrosse

Founded in 1996, Chi Alpha Sigma provides outstanding student-athletes with an opportunity to become connected within a fraternal association that aligns their educational and athletic successes for a lifetime.

 


Library Announces Undergraduate Research Awards for 2020

Wyndham Robertson Library is honoring exemplary student projects completed in Hollins courses during this academic year with the presentation of the 2020 Undergraduate Research Awards.

An annual celebration since 2011, the awards recognize extensive and creative use of library resources; the ability to synthesize those resources in project completion; and growth in a student’s research skills. Each winner receives a $250 cash prize, and their projects are archived in the Hollins Digital Commons, where they can be read by a worldwide audience. Finalists for the award also have their work published in the repository.

Here are the winners and finalists for the 2020 Undergraduate Research Awards:

First-Year/Sophomore Category

Winner: “Rejecting Bolivarianism: Political Power in South America” by Jaiya McMillan ’23, recommended by Associate Professor of History Rachel Nuñez.

Finalist: “The Practice of Clitoridectomies: Its Influence on the Gikuyu Tribe, Kenyan National Identity, Cultural Nationalism, and British Powers” by Savannah Scott ’23, recommended by Associate Professor of History Rachel Nuñez.

Junior/Senior Category

Winner: “The Effect of Long-term Stress on Hippocampus and the Involvement in the Pathophysiology of Psychological Disorders, Suicide, and Alcohol Use Disorder” by Hinza Malik ’21, recommended by Associate Professor of Psychology Richard Michalski.

Finalist: “Sustainable Operations, Industry Performance, and Environmental Sustainability: A Case Study on U.S. Marine Fisheries and Pacific Bluefin Tuna” by Kalyn Chapman ’20, recommended by Associate Professor of Business and Economics Pablo Hernandez.

To learn more about this year’s winners and finalists and their research projects, visit the Undergraduate Research Awards web page.

The Undergraduate Research Awards are jointly sponsored by Wyndham Robertson Library and Hollins’ Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

 

 


Hollins Researchers Partner With Other Universities To Study Impact Of COVID-19 On Tick-Borne Illnesses

Two Hollins professors are collaborating with scientists from four other universities to determine if the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the time people spend outdoors and if that change could result in increased exposure to ticks or tick-borne diseases.

Elizabeth Gleim
Elizabeth Gleim (Photo Credit: Nancy Evelyn)

Elizabeth Gleim, assistant professor of biology and environmental studies, and Meg du Bray, a visiting assistant professor in environmental studies at Augustana College who will be joining the Hollins faculty this fall as an assistant professor of environmental studies, are working with researchers from the University of Georgia, Duke University, Clemson University, and the University of Rhode Island on a new study entitled, “Investigating COVID-19 Impacts on the Epidemiology of Tick-Borne Diseases in People and Pets.”

“We’re examining whether people are spending more time outside due to COVID-19 restrictions and whether this might be affecting them, their families, and/or their pets’ (if they have any) risk of contracting a tick-borne illness,” Gleim explains.

Gleim and her fellow researchers are inviting any person 18 years or older who resides in the United States or Canada to fill out a short survey that “should only take about 10 to 15 minutes of your time,” she notes, “or less if you do not have children and/or dogs.”

The research team is hoping to have as many people as possible participate in the study. “We encourage everyone to please share the survey with any individuals or groups that you think would be willing to complete it,” Gleim says.


Coronavirus: Sharing Their Expertise

Two Hollins professors have been interviewed recently for their expertise in areas related to the COVID-19 coronavirus concerns impacting the country and the regional community around Roanoke.

NOTE: The Hollins University administration is maintaining and regularly updating a coronavirus-related web page for full information on how the school is approaching the situation as well as linking to key external resources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health. You can find this at https://www.hollins.edu/coronavirus-preparedness/

On March 2, visiting professor of public health Cynthia Morrow was interviewed by local TV station WDBJ7 seeking her advice and recommendations for how those concerned should best approach the situation as it presently stands. Morrow was a Commissioner of Health in New York during the H1N1 – or swine flu – pandemic back in 2009 and offered several practical bits of advice including good hand and overall hygiene as well as “social distancing,” or maintaining a safe distance during interactions with others. You can view her interview below or see the full WDBJ7 report here.

Peter Chiappetta, a visiting assistant professor of business and financial consultant, was interviewed by WDBJ7 on March 9 to discuss concerns around the impact the fears and realities of the coronavirus outbreak were having on the financial markets, including a temporary halt in NYSE trading earlier that morning. You can view his interview below or see the full WDBJ7 report here.


Hollins Students to Deliberate “Ethics and Higher Education” at Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl

Students from Hollins University will compete head-to-head against undergraduate teams from Virginia’s 15 leading independent colleges and universities at the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges‘ 21st annual Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl, which takes place February 9-10 at the University of Lynchburg.

Teams will consider a variety of case studies highlighting ethical dilemmas in higher education. Notable personalities from business, law, education, finance, journalism, and other fields will listen to students’ presentations and offer reactions.

Grishma Bhattarai ’20, Jules Jackson ’21, Kaiya Ortiz ’21, Georgia Rosenlund ’21, and Aqsa Fazal ’23 are representing Hollins at the Ethics Bowl this year. The team’s faculty coordinators are Associate Professor of Philosophy James Downey and Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy Charles Lowney.

The public is welcome to attend the Ethics Bowl and admission is free. The opening session will be held on Sunday, February 9, at 2:30 p.m. in the University of Lynchburg’s Sydnor Performance Hall in Schewel Hall. Then, the competition’s preliminary matches commence at 3:30 p.m. in various rooms throughout Schewel Hall. Rounds three and four start at 8:45 a.m. the next day (Monday, February 10), with the final round of competition beginning at 11:20 a.m. in Sydnor Performance Hall. This year’s winner will be announced at 12:30 p.m.

Since its inception in 2000, the Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl has presented more than 150 different cases based on ethical dilemmas in contemporary life. Hollins won the competition in 2014.

 


Workshops Focus on the Power of Merging Entrepreneurship with the Liberal Arts

Members of the Hollins community recently engaged with an internationally recognized thought leader in entrepreneurial mindset education to refute some of the conventional wisdom about launching a new enterprise.

Gary Schoeniger, founder and CEO of the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative training and consulting firm and co-author of the bestselling book, Who Owns the Ice House? Eight Life Lessons from an Unlikely Entrepreneur, spent two days on campus exploring with faculty and students the role of entrepreneurship in society and how entrepreneurs derive joy and meaning from their work.

“Our overall objective is to dispel the myth that entrepreneurship is solely the pursuit of building businesses,” said Karen Messer-Bourgoin, professor of practice at Hollins and director of the university’s Entrepreneurial Learning Institute. “Combining a traditional liberal arts education with an entrepreneurial mindset can help distinguish Hollins graduates by equipping them with the attitudes and skills the world now demands to help solve the most complex social, political, economic, and environmental challenges of our time.”

During his faculty workshop, Schoeniger identified specific interdisciplinary concepts that help cultivate entrepreneurial thinking and learning not only in the classroom but throughout the university and beyond. “I’ve never thought of entrepreneurship as a business discipline. I’ve always thought of it as a behavioral phenomenon,” Schoeniger explained. “We are all born with an innate drive to become all that we can become. We’re naturally curious, that’s how we figure out our environment. We also are born with an innate desire to solve problems.”

Messer-Bourgoin added, “The goal of the faculty workshop was to stimulate a deeper understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset and promote entrepreneurial teaching and learning in the classroom.”

In his discussion with students, Schoeniger described entrepreneurship as “an altruistic paradox. You want to benefit (personally) but you also want to make an impact (on others). Entrepreneurs aren’t just inventing new products and services. They’re solving problems on the micro and macro levels, from the smallest and most mundane issues to things that change the world.”

Schoeniger encouraged students to go out into their communities, talk to entrepreneurs, and find out “how ordinary people identify, evaluate, and bring an idea to life. I promise, you’re going to hear interesting stories. After you do that 20, 50, 100 times, you’ll hear common language, common logic, and common situational factors, patterns that transcend time, socioeconomics, and gender.”

Those conversations, Schoeniger said, will often lead to the crux of how entrepreneurs achieve success and reach fulfillment: the articulation of a compelling goal, which he calls “something that’s gripped you, something you’re thinking about all the time. Because if you don’t have a compelling goal, you’re never going to get to be who you are. The entrepreneur chooses the life they want to live. They don’t just allow their circumstances to dictate their lives.”

Schoeniger’s message resonated with  Zahin Mahbuba, president of Hollins’ Entrepreneurship Club. “The entrepreneurial mindset is not just a business problem-solving mechanism. It is a lifestyle that transpires change-making in society,” she said.

And, Hollins undergraduates are embracing that mindset. One who attended the student workshop noted, “I want to take social entrepreneurship home to make a difference in my community,” while another remarked, “I always thought that being an entrepreneur meant dealing with profit and coming up with business plans. The key to becoming an entrepreneur is making yourself useful to others.”

 


Hollins Swimming Earns Fifth Straight Scholar All-America Team Honor

The Hollins University swim team has been selected as a Scholar All-America Team for the Fall 2019 semester by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).

With a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.51, the Green and Gold earned the honor for the fifth straight fall term.

“We are very proud of our swimmers both in the classroom and the pool,” said Ned Skinner, head swim coach. “Each one contributed to this accolade and I am very impressed by the way they take pride in their school work. In addition, two of our student-athletes achieved a 4.0 GPA, which is outstanding.”

The CSCAA named a record 762 programs from 480 institutions to the Scholar All-America Team. The teams were selected on the basis of their fall grade point averages and represent more than 17,000 student-athletes. Over 60 percent of the selections are from women’s programs.

Founded in 1922, the CSCAA is the nation’s first organization of college coaches. Its mission is to advance the sport of swimming and diving with coaches at the epicenter of leadership, advocacy, and professional development.