Fellowships & Awards

European Alumnae Council Award for Graduate Study in Europe

In the cooperation with the McCulloch Center for Global initiatives at Mount Holyoke College, the European Alumnae Council annually offers a monetary award to a Mount Holyoke graduating student who wishes to pursue graduate work in Europe. For more information on how to apply please contact the McCulloch Center.

Past winners of the Mount Holyoke European Alumnae award are:

  • Mary Pura ’17 – to pursue a master’s degree program in English Literature and Society at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Emily Castner ’18 – to pursue an International Master’s program in Mathematics at Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • Javeria Kella ’19 – to pursue a Master’s degree in Development Studies at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Ann C. Hewitt ’20 – Ancient Studies & Anthropology, to pursue a postgraduate degree program in Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Yitongyue Lin (Lilian) ’21 – International Relations & Spanish, to pursue an MS in Sustainable Development at the University of St Andrews, Scotland
  • Maya Mauroof ’22 – International Relations, to pursue a Master’s degree in Interdisciplinary International Affairs at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Natalie O’Neil ’23 – Russian & Eurasian Studies with a minor in Politics, to pursue a MSc at the University of Glasgow in Media, Communications, and International Journalism
Natalie O'Neil '23
Natalie O’Neil ’23

Natalie O’Neil’s Winning Essay for the European Alumnae Council Award 2023:

“This fall I will begin pursuing a Master’s degree in Media, Communications, and International Journalism at the University of Glasgow to study online disinformation systems and political communication. Disinformation campaigns pose a real threat to our global society and is a problem that still needs effective solutions.

Continuing my education on this issue is something that will help me expand on the strong academic foundation I have built as a Russian and Eurasian Studies and Politics student at Mount Holyoke. More specifically, for my Master’s dissertation I intend to research the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests in Ukraine to better understand how Russia is utilizing old disinformation narratives to justify their current invasion, paying special attention to the differences in material generated for western and non-western media platforms.

I first gained an interest in disinformation systems through a research paper I completed during my junior year. The semester after, I had the opportunity to study abroad and I chose to go to the University of Glasgow. While there, I learned more about disinformation campaigns by taking a course called Media and Democratization in Central and Eastern Europe, a class which gave me more insight into how nations closer to Russia combat disinformation, how the UK handles the issues of media interference, and which solidified my academic interest in media and disinformation systems.

My time in Glasgow had a huge impact on me both academically and personally. After returning to Mount Holyoke for my senior year, I knew that I both wanted to continue my education on disinformation and that I wanted to return to the city, university, and department that set me on the path toward my goals for the future.

There is a real lack of constructive public conversation and education about disinformation campaigns and where they originate. My future goal after obtaining a Master’s degree is to use that new experience and knowledge to work in research and public education about disinformation narratives and campaigns, especially as they emerge from Russia. The opportunity to study for my Master’s in Scotland, and in Glasgow specifically, is the best path forward for me to reach these goals.

The program I have chosen offers a unique emphasis on practical media and research experience, utilizing research groups such as the Glasgow University Media Group and connections with several major media outlets, including BBC Scotland, which is headquartered in Glasgow. Additionally, closer proximity to European countries who have some of the most innovative programs in place to combat disinformation, such as targeted school curricula focusing on media literacy in the Baltics and EU initiatives including the EU DisinfoLab, will provide more concrete ideas and evidence for what strategies do or do not work to fight false narratives on a larger scale.

I am incredibly excited to be taking my next steps in pursuing my future goals, and, if granted, I would use this award towards paying the tuition fee set for international students within my program at the University of Glasgow.”

Renee Scialom Cary Award for Study Abroad Students

In celebration and fond memory of its founder, Renee Scialom Cary ’48, biennially MHEAC offers a limited number of awards to current Mount Holyoke students studying in Europe to allow them to attend the European Alumnae Symposium taking place on that year.  Entries are currently closed.

Applicants must submit their request supported by a short statement (max. 200 words) elaborating on the following statement: “A Mount Holyoke education is a key to the world: My experience.” The final selection is made by the officers of the European Council. The winning essays are published below. 

The 2022 winners, who attended the 16 th European Alumnae Symposium in the Netherlands, are…

  • Ina Dombrowski ’24, Cork, Ireland
  • Renee Russo ’23, Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland
  • Mickiyah “Mickey” Pope ’23, Queen Mary University of London, UK
Our winners’ essays:
Ina Dombrowski
Ina Dombrowski ’24, Cork, Ireland

Ina Dombrowski ’24, Cork, Ireland

A Mount Holyoke education is a key to the world. I learned this during my very first Zoom classes as a first-year. I realized this in the serene spaces I have found across campus. And I continue to turn my key to the world as I prepare my next steps as a Mount Holyoke student.

To explain all of this, I could literally list all of the new things I have learned and exciting experiences I have had. But the world which Mount Holyoke has introduced me to goes far beyond my notebooks. In the buzz of our lecture halls alone, I have met the families of Hmong immigrants, walked the mystical streets of Bulgakov’s Moscow, sat in the studios of great American impressionists, and traversed Venus’s broiling surface.

Now as I prepare for my semester abroad in Cork (though by the time we meet together for the Symposium, I will already have been two months in Ireland), I can hardly imagine what new parts of the world I’ll discover next and new doors I will unlock along the way. And once I am an alumna myself, I hope to help turn this key on a brighter world and future.

Renee Russo '23
Renee Russo ’23, Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland

Renee Russo ’23, Graduate Institute Geneva, Switzerland

Keys are only needed when doors are locked, otherwise, we move freely. Mount Holyoke’s liberal arts education allows that freedom. Even during quarantine, MHC opened doors and helped build connections. These connections are what make Mount Holyoke education a key to the world. Global community is fostered throughout MHC.

From classroom discussions to living in the French LLC, I crafted friendships while strengthening my knowledge of global politics, economics, and history. In 2020, I attended courses with students in ten time zones. In one class, an alumna spoke about her entrepreneurial experience in India, and two years later I contacted her and crafted an internship using LYNK funding.

When doors were locked professors found ways to help unlock these through letters of recommendation, introductions, and knowledge of opportunities. The interdisciplinary approach and world-class connections allow students, like me, to not only know what doors to approach but how to turn the key.

I am now earning my Master’s at the Graduate Institute Geneva in Sustainable Trade and Finance because Mount Holyoke provided the key. As I approach graduation I choose to turn the key, walk through the door, and most importantly — hold it open for others to follow.

Mickiyah "Micky" Pope
Mickiyah “Mickey” Pope ’23, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Mickiyah “Mickey” Pope ’23, Queen Mary University of London, UK

“It’s a leap of faith. That’s all it is. A leap of faith.”

On my first visit to Mount Holyoke, I visited the dining hall and sat with all STEM majors. They greeted me feverishly, then showed me all the projects they had been working on. I remember one of them saying, “If you want to come here, be prepared to take a leap of faith every single time.”

At first, I figured she was referring to the equations written sloppily on her paper. Math hadn’t been my forte. However, sitting alone in my room on the carpeted floor the day college decisions came out, I realized she was referring to this. That silent wanting. I wanted to take that leap of faith.

When I first got to Mount Holyoke, a tradition I experienced was Mountain Day. On a warm day in September, I climbed a mountain and saw the world from an angle I never considered before. I have never been able to rid of that feeling since I first enrolled. That is why, with Mount Holyoke’s help, I can always take a leap of faith.

Congratulations to our winners!