Fellowships & Awards

Mount Holyoke European Alumnae Award

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


Yitongyue Lin
Yitongyue Lin (Lilian), Class of 2021

Yitongyue Lin (Lilian)’s Winning Essay for the European Alumnae Award 2021:

“It is with great respect and sincerity that I apply to this award. Born and raised in a multicultural community in Xinjiang, China, I set a goal to understand development problems of environmental injustice specifically with focus on how these issues affect underrepresented people. Ideally, I could see myself working in field research alongside living in the community to assess development and ecological risks, finding viable solutions and promote credible cooperation between the population, practitioners, and corporate.

Participating in the postgraduate taught program, Sustainable Development, at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, I will continue to hone my interdisciplinary International Relations background while developing a specific focus in environmental governance.

In fact, my academic and professional development have been consistently supported by the MHC alumnae and global initiatives. After studying abroad in Andalusia, Spain for a year, I received MHC Lynk funding luckily and obtained a precious MHConnect internship opportunity at UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, SDG Academy. In this role, I was able to connect with policy makers, governments, and scholars in sustainability education advocacy, which totally shifted my academic focus and inspired me to work in the sustainability and development field. At the same time, I worked offline as a program manager for a Chinese non-profit that promotes water risk awareness and information transparency. In this role, I directed a team of eight researchers investigating water quality and sanitation at one of the most remote villages in Guizhou, China.

This management opportunity taught me how to diagnose an environmental challenge quickly by allocating limited human resources and technical equipment strategically during time-pressured field research. However, I found myself needing systematic theories of environmental governance as well as intensive training in quantitative and qualitative development research methods. Studying at this world-leading research institution, I will attend small-sized lectures and professional workshops in understanding the relationships and characteristics between economic development and the environment. In the meantime, I will be prepared with practical skills in GIS applications, NGO management, and policy advocacy; which will transfer seamlessly into my future career path on promoting environmental justice during a development intervention.

Indeed, I just received the Cheng Postgraduate Scholarship from St Andrews, which means that I am the only student from South East Asia who pursues sustainable development studies with the award this fall. However, the amount of the award will only cover one third of my tuition fees, and I am still looking for other resources to assist with my postgraduate expenses and ease my family’s financial burden. The European Alumnae Council award will go directly to my postgraduate study and help me travel abroad smoothly.

As a first-generation college student coming from a farmers’ family, I would be one of the few women from far west of China to practice and lead sustainable development solutions for empowering people of color with socio-economic and environmental injustices. I would be extremely grateful and thankful if I were to receive this honorable award.”


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 2019 winners, who attended the 15th European Alumnae Symposium in Greece, are…

winners of the Renee Scialom Cary Award for Study Abroad Students
The 2019 winners of the Renee Scialom Cary Award for Study Abroad Students who attended the 15th European Alumnae Symposium in Greece, are Zhaouyuan (May) Chen, Gabby Arzuaga and Taylor Hall
Our winners’ essays:

Gabrielle Lynn Arzuaga ’21, MHC Montpellier, France

‘For a young Latina from a small, rural town in western Massachusetts who never thought she would have the chance to leave New England, a Mount Holyoke education is a literal key to the world. As a low-income college student, her financial situation is always on her mind. The fear that the next bill would be too big for her to pay is an ever imminent fear. Unlike her classmates who get to spend school breaks backpacking around Europe or partying somewhere in South America, she had to work 2 jobs and long hours to pay for the next semester’s textbooks and tuition. Studying abroad never even crossed her mind. But when Mount Holyoke presented her with the opportunity to study abroad, with scholarships and grants to cover costs, she was speechless. She would have access to other cultures, different languages, and far away places that she had only ever dreamed of. Through Mount Holyoke, she would be able to explore a whole new reality that she thought was far out of her reach. For this young Latina, a Mount Holyoke Education is a literal key to the world, and she could not be more thankful for it.’

Zhaouyuan (May) Chen ’21, the London School of Economics, UK

‘”I won’t be silenced.” My tear falls for Princess Jasmine because I find my shade on her as she changes. Mount Holyoke transforms me to be independent like Jasmine, who is enthusiastic about exploring the unknown and fearless at making changes.

I used to be a reserved girl who hardly challenges authority. Back-to-back forty-five-minute lectures are never enough for questions. Years of schooling, I never learned how to understand rather than memorize until I stepped into a whole new world. Here with my peers, I performed African Drum at President Sonya’s inauguration; with the Glee Club, I sang “Do-Re-Mi” for strangers in Salzburg. Amiable professors presented me how the African Nations developed over endless wars, jumped back and forth between Europe and America to piece together modern arts progression, discussed a wide range of topics from my confusions to future of the world. People at Mount Holyoke help me expand my knowledge and cognition.

Hard to specify how much I learned within such a compact two-year. Benefiting from the Mount Holyoke education, I crave for knowledge in a variety form. Instructed to be an autonomous individual, I embrace the world with my liberal soul.’

Taylor Hall ’21, University College Dublin, Ireland

‘As a first-generation college student, I learned very early in life to take advantage of
every opportunity I was given, because especially in a poor farming town, those opportunities are far and few between. From a town with twice as many cows as people to a treasure-trove of knowledge and opportunities, I was terrified, overwhelmed, and absolutely awed at everything that Mount Holyoke had to offer. In my short two-years in college so far, I have done more than I ever imagined I would, between having the chance to complete my work-study in my chosen field, getting the chance to study abroad in Ireland, and having professors push me harder than ever before to explore my curiosity and demonstrate that I am capable of so much more than I ever dreamed, I am more prepared than ever before to prove my ability to the world and to myself. I believe with all of my heart that Mount Holyoke will continue to open doors for me that I never knew existed, and will push me to be my truest self so that I can one day create more opportunities for students like me.’

Congratulations to our winners!