Recent graduate Marisol Fernandez ’20 credits Mount Holyoke with the “compassion, relationships, critical thinking skills, and overall growth” that helped her succeed at Mount Holyoke and beyond. As a student, Marisol learned about the effectiveness and power of representation, thanks to her connections with faculty and staff in the Office of Student Involvement. She hopes to eventually serve in a professional role that enables her to provide hands-on support to students who face similar challenges — to Posse scholars, first-generation and low-income students, Latinx students, and “any other student who is just trying to find themselves in a big, scary world.”
When you invest in Mount Holyoke, particularly through one of our scholarship aid destinations, you are paving the way for dynamic students like Marisol to grow, pursue their passions and support those who follow in their footsteps.
“Your gift matters. No matter how big or small, it all makes an impact in the experience of future generations of Mount Holyoke students!”
— Marisol Fernandez ’20
Spanish and Psychology/Education
North Miami Beach, Florida
Why did you choose Mount Holyoke?
As a Posse Scholar, I always say that Mount Holyoke chose me. Looking back at it, had I attended any other institution, I don’t think I would have acquired the compassion, relationships, critical thinking skills and overall growth that I was able to find while on campus.
What do you value most about your Mount Holyoke education? How has this community helped you thrive?
I truly value our diverse curriculum and the way my professors pushed me to go above and beyond — even when I didn’t feel that I could — especially by exposing us to such high levels of academia. As a current graduate student studying higher education, I’m taking a student development theory class where I find the readings to be accessible and understandable because I have experience reading theory, but many of my peers are struggling with comprehension. Had it not been for Mount Holyoke, I would be in the same boat. But instead, I have an upper hand in furthering my education.
What academic project or pursuit are you most proud of and why?
While on campus during spring 2020, prior to the pandemic and the College sending everyone home, I was starting research based on multicultural social justice education with my advisor, professor Jen Matos. While the research wasn’t able to be completed as we had originally planned, the work we did prior to leaving campus, and the readings and reflection we did remotely are things I think about during almost every class session in my master’s program. It allowed me to learn about my peers and the future of social justice education, while also steering me to consider the faculty side of higher education.
What are your long-term goals and how do you think your Mount Holyoke education will help you to achieve those goals?
My long-term career goal is to support students who experience the same struggles I experienced in undergrad, whether as a president of a college, dean or vice president, director, or some sort of role that will support those offices. Through my experiences at Mount Holyoke, I learned about the effectiveness of representation and how it empowers students to go above and beyond (shoutout to Ivonne Ramirez, Nashalie Vazquez, professor Jen Matos, and professor Stephanie Huezo!) and truly believe in themselves. I was forced to think critically, compassionately and emotionally inside and outside of the classroom and I hope to one day be able to give back to Posse scholars, first-generation and low-income students, Latinx students, and any other student who is just trying to find themselves in a big, scary world.
What would you say to an alum who donates to Mount Holyoke to support things like student scholarship aid and internships?
Your gift matters. No matter how big or small, it all makes an impact in the experience of future generations of Mount Holyoke students! Thank you for supporting us, always. I hope to be in your position someday and be able to help the future of Mount Holyoke.
How has scholarship aid impacted your Mount Holyoke experience?
I would not be at Mount Holyoke without Posse. I had never heard of it and could not have been able to afford it without my scholarship. The Posse Foundation has molded my entire college experience, and I am grateful to have been able to experience undergraduate education at such an impactful institution.