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
Maya Mauroof’s Winning Essay for the European Alumnae Council Award 2022:
“I chose the Joint BA/MA program in Geneva because I was convinced that it was the best next step toward my goal of entering the field of diplomatic service in my home country. I am from the Republic of Maldives, which most people know of as a famous tourist destination or a global poster child for climate change. My academic interests and career aspirations have more to do with the latter.
As an International Relations major at MHC, I began merging my personal experiences from being born and raised in a low-lying island nation with relevant academic scholarship. In doing so, I discovered a specific interest in global climate governance which is what motivated me to apply for the Graduate Institute’s Interdisciplinary Master in International Affairs.
For the master’s dissertation, I plan to analyze the effectiveness of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in influencing international climate change negotiations. There is an abundance of literature on how larger, powerful states influence global climate agendas, however, there is little systematic research on the resources, strategies, and effectiveness of SIDS in recent international climate negotiations. As a small islander, that is appalling to me because I have witnessed how despite low contributions, higher vulnerabilities, and low adaptive capacities, SIDS have shown time and again that “mice can roar”. I was 10 years old when I saw the Maldivian government conduct an underwater cabinet meeting to bring attention to the impacts of sea-level rise on low-lying island nations ahead of a climate summit in 2009.
I was too young to understand then, but I later learned it was through such leadership and commitment that SIDS managed to push for tougher emission targets under the broader framework of the United Nations Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC). In my thesis, I want to focus on the involvement of the Alliance of Small Island Developing States in the 26th Conference of Parties to UNFCCC which concluded last November in Glasgow.
After graduate school, my goal is to work at the Maldivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fast-track to an advanced degree offered by the joint BA/MA program makes it all the more appealing because climate change is an urgent problem for us in the Maldives, therefore, the sooner I can begin work, the better. Last semester, I had the privilege of being educated and trained by experts at the top of their field, in an institution at the heart of International Geneva. Opportunities like this are hard to come by for first-generation, low-income, international college students like myself.
If granted, this award will go toward funding my tuition at the Geneva Graduate Institute. I was also delighted to find that this award comes with free registration and a travel allowance to attend the European Alumnae Symposium in the Hague. The Netherlands is my second home because I went to high school in Maastricht, therefore, it would be an honor to meet Mount Holyoke alumnae in a country that holds such a special place in my heart.”
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 ’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, 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 “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!