Meet the graduates of 2016: Katie Ho ’16

By MHC Development on April 28, 2016 at 3:03 PM

In a little over two weeks, over 550 seniors will be celebrating Commencement and awarded their degrees, as they prepare to leave these gates to go make positive change in communities around the world. From artists to writers and athletes to scientists, each student has had their own transformative experience at Mount Holyoke. Katie Ho ’16, a computer science major and Chinese minor, talks about her proudest accomplishment here at MHC:

"Cofounding HackHolyoke, the first collegiate hackathon hosted on a women's college campus. Being part of an all-girls robotics team named Einstein's Daughters through middle and high school back in California was when I first became aware of the lack of women in STEM. However, I have since started to build off of my imposter syndrome to encourage other young girls and high school graduates to pursue computer science and engineering. Through HackHolyoke, we were able to create a supportive space for both beginners and seasoned coders of all majors and backgrounds.

Read More Leave a comment

Ellen Chilemba '17: "Combining social responsibility and entrepreneurship is a great way of ensuring sustainable models."

By MHC Development on March 23, 2016 at 11:26 AM

"I'm setting up a micro-finance organization to help women in Malawi get interest free loans." Photo: Humans of New York 

Four years ago at only 18 years old, Ellen Chilemba '17, an economics major at Mount Holyoke, founded Tiwale, an organization aiming to empower women in Malawi through entrepreneurship to develop sustainable ventures and transform communities. They offered leadership workshops teaching business skills, along with interest-free loans of about $70 to help women get started. Tiwale later added scholarship grants to their program. Scholarships covering school fees, transportation, equipment, and a living stipend are awarded to participants with excellent grades who are interested in continuing their education.

Today, Tiwale continues to expand—they have purchased a plot of land and are now preparing to build their own Women's Center for Education and Entrepreneurship.

In addition to being named one of Forbes Africa's 30 under 30 for 2015, Ellen has also been recognized with the Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development Work, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation Entrepreneurial Award, the Mastercard and Ashoka Future Forward: Youth Innovations for Employment in Africa Award, among others. While Ellen's passion lies in development work, she also has interests in music, sculpture, fashion, and plants.

Read More Leave a comment

From MHC chai groups to #DhabaForWomen

By MHC Development on November 19, 2015 at 11:03 AM

At MHC's LITS, where it all started, circa 2012. The chai group met regularly on campus in various locations. They are now trying to build community in Pakistan with a #DhabaForWomen.

Natasha Ansari '13 and Sadia Khatri '14, along with other MHC alumnae, have been reclaiming traditionally male-dominated public spaces in Pakistan using the hashtag #GirlsAtDhabas. Little did they know how quickly it would spread. Inspired by the community and conversations they had as students on campus, Natasha and Sadia continue to work towards changing gender expectations throughout South Asia:

Our time spent at Mount Holyoke has been fundamental to our activism, particularly with our work with #GirlsAtDhabas. It was conversations we had in various classrooms, Eliot House, the Library, dorm kitchenettes and lounges, where ideas were facilitated around inclusivity, diversity and community, which have stayed with us, and today, have mobilized us halfway across the world.

Every Friday after lunch, a group of South Asian women from different backgrounds would gather for chai and conversation, joined by other members of the College community. Hours often passed like this, discussing faith, gender, feminism, womanhood, South Asia and class, while someone else rushed inside the kitchen to brew more chai. Because tea drinking is not (in principle) defined by any single identity, it became a fantastic way to create community.

Since moving back to Pakistan, after Mount Holyoke, we have attempted to build similar community over chai, and our efforts have found greater resonance than we anticipated. Our newest initiative, #DhabaForWomen, will be a community space + teashop modeled after Eliot House. It will serve as a pocket of oxygen in Karachi, as Mount Holyoke once did for us in South Hadley. 

Read More Leave a comment

Sadia Khatri '15: Breaking the cricket barrier in Pakistan

By MHC Development on September 11, 2015 at 9:57 AM

Pakistan girls break boundaries by playing street cricket. Photo: Getty Images.
Read More Leave a comment

Sadia Khatri '15: Reclaiming roadside food and tea stalls as safe spaces for women with #GirlsAtDhabas

By MHC Development on August 13, 2015 at 9:33 AM


Read More Leave a comment

Giving thanks on the eve of graduation.

By MHC Development on May 8, 2015 at 12:38 PM

In an education, sometimes it is not just the answers that matter; it is also the questions. When I reflect on my Mount Holyoke experience, there are three questions that seem most prominent: the “Will you?” the “Why?” and the questions we cannot form.

We begin our Mount Holyoke experience with a “Will you?” The College asks us, “Will you come here?" And we say yes. Once we arrive on campus, we realize that the “Will yous?” do not cease.

One of the most formative experiences of my Mount Holyoke education has been working for the Mount Holyoke News as a news section editor. This opportunity changed my life. In this position, I have worked with and met people, people who have fascinating stories, viewpoints, and ideas. I have grown as a writer and as a person, feeling more confident not only in crafting and editing news articles but also in my ability to take on challenging new projects in other aspects of my life.

Read More Leave a comment

“Sisterhood is a verb.” For Tayllor Johnson ’15, poetry provides power, inspiration… and a career path.

By MHC Development on April 14, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Until she was 15, Tayllor Johnson didn’t have a good word to say about poetry. Now, the senior psychology major and English minor says, "Poetry is the essence of my being."

Johnson's passion for poetry has led to remarkable opportunities. As a high school senior, she was invited to take part in a poetry workshop at the White House. And this past fall, author and activist Kevin Powell, who was giving a talk at Mount Holyoke, unexpectedly asked Johnson to perform a poem before he spoke. She had only three minutes to prepare, but brought down the house with a spirited performance of "Verification."

Read More Leave a comment

Career exploration at MHC leads to a Barclays internship for Aderike Ajao '16

By Michelle Ducharme on March 16, 2015 at 8:41 AM

This summer, Aderike Ajao ’16—a double major in economics and politics—will spend ten weeks in sales and trading as an intern at Barclays in New York.

Read More Leave a comment

Who's Your Mary?

By MHC Development on February 20, 2015 at 12:50 PM

"To Nani, with lots of love"
Nooria Puri '15 tells us about her "Mary"

Read More Leave a comment

Who's Your Mary?

By MHC Development on February 16, 2015 at 10:30 AM

"My warrior, my inspiration, my hope!"
Mina Khan '15 on the "Mary" in her life

Read More Leave a comment