Junior Dayishaa Daga ’22 credits her closeness with professors with her success in pursuing two rigorous STEM majors, biological sciences and data science. In addition to feeling connected to faculty through her academics, Dayishaa serves on multiple committees and clubs that have helped her feel closer to the community. This summer before her junior year, funding through the College’s Lynk initiative enabled her to pursue a remote internship in data science in her home country of Nepal. She learned new skills related to her major and explored possible career paths.
Coming to Mount Holyoke from Beijing, junior Amy Shiying Wang initially struggled with translating familiar concepts, particularly in her biology class, since her high school science classes had been taught in Chinese. She credits her professors’ patience, responsiveness and encouragement for her success. With their support, she explored her passion for biochemistry and computer science, and was able to combine both of her majors into the perfect internship opportunity: a lab at Baylor College of Medicine, where she used computational biology techniques to analyze RNA sequences. She is also exploring classes outside of the STEM fields. “I also take full advantage of a liberal arts education,” she says. “I think it makes me a better scientist — and definitely a better human being — when I have cohesive learning.”
A recent Fast Company article discusses how women's colleges provide a leading edge in preparing women for leadership and success. Kristen Renn, PhD '86 focuses on diversity in higher education and believes they fulfill an important role:
It took 346,00 bricks, 40,000 masonry blocks, 3,000 cubic yards of concrete, 10 tons of reinforcing steel, and $1,250,000 to build Ham Hall. Coined the “Tower of Babel” by Mount Holyoke president emeritus Roswell Gray Ham, the hall was hailed as a new foray into economical, multicultural living. Construction began in 1964 under the auspices of President Richard Glenn Gettell. The building was completed and dedicated in September 1965 in honor of president emeritus Ham.
Intended to function as a “language hall,” Ham was designed to provide an immersive language-learning experience. The hall was also popular with international students fluent in the languages spoken on each floor. With five floors of students studying German, Russian, French, Italian, and Spanish, Ham housed 121 students of varying class years in a truly unique setting. Many students chose to live in the dorm for all four years of their education at Mount Holyoke.
One reason for Ham’s popularity and a driving factor in its dedication as a dorm with an international focus was Mount Holyoke’s study abroad program, or absence thereof. When Ham Hall was constructed, Mount Holyoke lacked any formal program for students to study outside the country during their time in college, although 25–30 students a year did utilize intercollegiate access to study abroad programs.