The Power of Investing in Women: A Q&A with Arielle Derival ’17

April 18, 2017 at 1:26 PM

At Mount Holyoke, we see the transformative power of investing in women on a daily basis. For generations, women from all around the globe have found their voices, discovered their passions, realized their dreams, and stretched their perceptions of what is possible at Mount Holyoke.

Image of Arielle Derival ’17

Meet Arielle Derival ’17, a Posse Scholar who came to Mount Holyoke from Miami, Florida as a first-generation college student. Arielle has used her time at Mount Holyoke to help support others within her community, in the Pioneer Valley and abroad. Arielle used Lynk funding in the summer of 2015 to intern at La Casa de Panchita, an NGO that promotes and defends the rights of women domestic workers in Lima, Peru. On campus she chairs a number of student organizations and serves on the Student Government Association’s Student of Color Committee and M.E.Ch.A de Mount Holyoke. As a Community-Based Learning Fellow, she works with marginalized students within the Pioneer Valley to help prepare them for success after high school. You can read more about Arielle’s experience here.

Name: Arielle S. Derival ’17
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Major: Africana Studies and Spanish

Activities/Interests: I am currently a Community-Based Learning fellow with the Amherst Regional Public Schools Family Center. I work with marginalized students such as students of color or undocumented students through its Success After High School program. We help students apply for college and jobs, prepare for interviews, learn how to type emails, etc. On campus I am chair of the Undocumented Immigrant Alliance and a member of FAMILIA, the Student Government Association’s Student of Color Committee, and M.E.Ch.A de Mount Holyoke. I have spent the past three years managing the Rockies/Torrey dining halls and the Rooke Theatre box office. I am also a Posse Scholar.

Why did you choose Mount Holyoke?

I chose to attend Mount Holyoke College because of the small student population environment. I was excited to be able to create personal relationships with students, professors, and administrators. I chose MHC because being from Miami, Florida, I knew that coming to South Hadley, Massachusetts, would not be easy but that it would be a worthwhile learning experience.

What is the greatest lesson you learned at MHC?

The greatest lesson I have learned at MHC is how much I love attending a liberal arts college. I have been able to take many courses in various departments and have a lot of fun. I have learned that it is okay to not have the answers to every question; we are all in an environment where we are meant to learn and ask questions. In the end we will all make the right decisions for our lives.

Is there a MHC moment or relationship that changed your life?

An MHC moment that has changed my life was the creation of the Undocumented Immigrant Alliance (UIA). UIA started in fall 2014 because of a lack of awareness around what it meant to be undocumented on our campus. We formed a diverse group of students with the sole purpose of raising consciousness and creating resources for the undocumented community on our campus. I am proud that we have changed the conversation around immigration and undocumented individuals into a positive and purposeful one. I hope that UIA will continue to be a strong force on our campus and students will always remember to include undocumented students and other marginalized voices in any and every conversation.

List your top 3 favorite things about MHC.

  1. Pangy Day
  2. Awesome professors and staff who care about your success
  3. Five college courses/opportunities

What do you hope to do after you graduate from MHC?

I am applying and interviewing for positions in various industries, including legal, education, consulting and community organizing. My plan is to work for a year or two, save money and apply to law school with the hope of becoming an immigration lawyer.

What is one thing you would want to say to an alum who donated to MHC?

To any and all alums that have donated to MHC, I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to you. If it wasn’t for your generosity and belief in MHC as an institution, I would not be getting ready to graduate in May 2017 with my bachelor’s in Africana Studies and Spanish. Thanks to you, I hold many memories near and dear to my heart. I will go out into the world and continue to be an uncommon woman!

How has scholarship aid impacted your studies and experience?

Being the first to attend college in my family is amazing, but having supporters, friends, family, and encouragers behind you 100% is even better. Scholarship aid has helped me to accomplish my dream of going to college. I have been able to take rigorous academic courses, be part of wonderful, hard-working organizations, and create life-long friendships. I have a great passion for helping others and making a difference in the world. Being a student at Mount Holyoke has not only helped me to succeed academically but also to learn more about myself and what I am passionate about. This institution has made me a strong, conscious, politically aware young lady who will be very successful in life.

What did you learn from your internship/research experience?

With the help of MHC LYNK Funding, I had the opportunity to intern at an NGO, La Casa de Panchita, in Lima, Peru in summer of 2015. The NGO promotes and defends the rights of women domestic workers who are often discriminated against based on age, gender, color, language, or culture. It also aims to protect children and prevent the employment of children 14 years or younger who go to the cities in search of domestic work. I had the opportunity to work with lawyers who help domestic workers with any conflicts they may be having at work and also speaking to them about their rights and protective laws. I also taught English courses, cooking/nutrition, as well as tutored the children of domestic service workers.

How has your internship experience impacted your academic goals or plans post-graduation?

Working at La Casa de Panchita in Lima, Peru during the summer of 2015 has only solidified my passions for wanting to travel and work in the community with all marginalized groups. Although I am passionate about going to law school and becoming an immigration attorney, I also believe in the power of the people and doing the groundwork/ community organizing with those who experience systems of oppression.

If funded via Lynk, was Lynk funding critical in your decision to pursue an internship?

I am very appreciative that MHC has LYNK funding because if I did not have the funding, I would not have been able to have an international experience for the first time during my college career. With LYNK, I was able to stay in Peru for 2 months with a wonderful host family. I will forever be grateful.

MHC Advancement

Written by MHC Advancement