“A choice doesn’t have to be perfect to be the right one” — Emily Kyte ’17, taking on risks and redefining bounds, to make a difference in the lives of refugees.

By MHC Development on June 22, 2016 at 1:50 PM

Emily Kyte ’17 (pictured kneeling) at a medical clinic in Jordan recording basic patient demographics in Arabic.

Emily Kyte ’17, a geography major and Arabic minor, left her comfort zone far behind to study abroad in Amman, Jordan this past spring semester. With support from Lynk-funding, she has taken on a new challenge this summer and is making a difference in the lives of refugees, working as an intern for Alhadaf, a non-profit in the Hashemite Kingdom that serves marginalized populations through education, training, psychosocial support services, and medical campaigns. So far this summer, she has designed and taught an ELL (English Language Learner) course for Iraqi refugees, worked with logistics and translation at a health clinic, and is helping to open a new community space for refugees. She writes to us from Jordan:

I started taking Arabic my first year of college. My "Arabic community" was the foundation to my community and finding my place/self at Mount Holyoke. The intensive, daily instruction gave me work ethic, and taught me to laugh at myself a little more and take more risks in all parts of my life. As a first-generation student (who would not be here without generous financial aid) from a nontraditional home structure, this was key to deciding to stay after a really challenging adjustment my first year. With an incredible degree of encouragement from Jordanians, Arabic speakers, and Arabic learners, quiet ideas turned into a reality. After lots of Facebook-stalking my Arab friends, YouTube videos, and "head-nods" from those who have lived in Jordan, my family approved of my decision. I am the first person in my family to ever really travel outside of the U.S., so this experience meant redefining bounds, meanings, and conceptions of the world for my entire family.
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Arielle Derival '17 develops key leadership skills as a student-dining manager

By MHC Development on April 4, 2016 at 10:15 AM

Arielle Derival '17, a Miami, FL native and Posse Scholar, is the student-dining manager for the Rockefeller and Torrey dining halls. An Africana and Spanish double major with a Law, Public Policy, and Human Rights nexus minor, Derival seeks to incorporate her passion for service in every aspect of her undergraduate experience. As a manager, she is developing key leadership skills, mastering how to take initiative, improving her communication skills, and working alongside others to accomplish goals. Rebecca San Juan '17, the Career Development Center's Experiential Learning Journalist, writes more about Arielle's leadership experience:

Posse scholar Arielle Derival ’17 points the swivel spout to the dirty dish in her hand... Student workers filed in and out of the damp room, past the shelves of Honeycrisp apples, Sunkist oranges, and ripening pineapples, and received their orders from Derival. They worked in union to be out by 8 p.m.

Work in dining services is required of all first-year students on work-study. Derival spent her first year at Mount Holyoke College working in the Abbey-Buckland dining hall. She juggled the typical responsibilities: swiping OneCard I.D.s, scrubbing dishes, and clearing dirty silverware. She was prompt and worked efficiently. She secured additional shifts at Prospect in order to earn more money.

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Celebrating Community #10: Amnesty International

By palme22c on February 10, 2016 at 8:45 AM

Effort and hard work have always been at the core of Amnesty International, and Amnesty International: Mount Holyoke College embodies this ethos with flair. Founded in 1993, this campus chapter meets weekly to educate its members and raise awareness in the wider Mount Holyoke community about human rights abuses. Worldwide humanitarianism is what Amnesty International does best, and Mount Holyoke students enjoy a hands-on role through campus organization and activism. 

Working for human rights changes lives—of both those who benefit from the services and of those volunteering their time and effort to humanitarian causes. Rita Kerbaj ’14 is a prime example of this. A politics major and Spanish minor while at Mount Holyoke, Rita, pictured left, was on the board of Amnesty International, in addition to having served as a Harriet Newhall Fellow, a writer for the Mount Holyoke News, and a member of the V8s a capella group, and knows very well the value of learning both in and out of the classroom. Her thesis on the reconstruction of memory surrounding enforced disappearances in Argentina and Lebanon shared the worldwide view of Amnesty International and distilled her studies of global issues. Now living in Lagos, Nigeria, Rita continues to embody the global focus and impact of Amnesty International now, working in business development with with the leading e-commerce site in emerging countries, Kaymu.

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Arielle Derival '17 in Lima, Peru, working to promote and defend the rights of women domestic workers.

By MHC Development on August 7, 2015 at 12:23 PM


Arielle Derival '17, center, at La Casa de Panchita in Pima, Peru.

Arielle Derival '17, an Africana Studies and Spanish double major with a Nexus minor in law, public policy, and human rights, writes from Lima, Peru, where she is working with La Casa de Panchita. This 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:

The journey so far has been nothing but amazing. I have had the opportunity to work with the lawyer who helps domestic workers with any conflicts they may be having at work, speaking to them in detail about their rights and letting them know about protective laws.


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Building Community Fact #16: Ham Hall

By MHC Development on February 16, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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.

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