Karen Snyder Sullivan Travel Award

 Karen Snyder Sullivan

The Karen Snyder Sullivan Memorial Travel Award allows a Mount Holyoke College student to design her own dream trip anywhere in the world. Set up in honor of Karen Snyder Sullivan '68, an alumna who loved to travel, the award enables one Mount Holyoke student a year to travel during the summer with a budget of up to $7,000. The winner is not chosen by academic achievement, but by a sincere dersire to explore a new culture while traveling independently.

About Karen Snyder Sullivan

Karen Snyder Sullivan, Class of 1968, first travelled abroad during the summer between her junior and senior years at Mount Holyoke. The trip she made to Peru in 1967 helped Karen define her future career plans and gave her a sense of herself and the place she would make for herself in the world. Karen was a Latin American Studies major and, in the late 1960s, a forerunner and groundbreaker for women in international banking.

Karen loved to travel and found it an exhilarating, broadening experience. She had a keen, discerning eye for people and places and the ability to relate what was unique and distinct about other cultures to her own. From the African bush to the Roman Forum, she learned about the world and made that learning part of her life and the lives of those around her.


The Karen Snyder Sullivan Memorial Travel Award was established in 1986 by Karen's husband, Craig, to provide an opportunity for young women like Karen to begin their own voyage of discovery.

The world has much to teach us about other cultures and ourselves. Each year, this award offers a Mount Holyoke College student the opportunity to increase her awareness and understanding of the international community through travel.

The award carries a stipend of up to $7,000; the exact amount is determined by the student's budget proposal. The student selected will be one with a keen interest in exploring the world outside the structured classroom environment and one who relates the travel experience to her personal, professional, and academic goals.

Award Timeline

The process for the Karen Snyder Sullivan Travel Award is as follows:

  • Applications are due in mid October; finalist interviews take place in early November.
  • The Award recipient is notified of her selection in November.
  • The Award recipient is recognized at second semester convocation.
  • Travel takes place during the summer immediately following receipt of the award.


Each applicant must meet the following criteria:

She must be a Sophomore, Junior or FP currently enrolled as a student in good standing at Mount Holyoke.
She must not have traveled outside of the United States and Canada after the age of twelve (except under unusual conditions, to be specified in the application).

Travel Criteria

Travel proposals must be consistent with the following:

  • The trip must be taken during or immediately following the academic year in which the award is made.
  • The award recipient must have at least one full semester of study remaining at Mount Holyoke following the travel.
  • The trip must be made for a minimum of four weeks to destinations outside the United States and Canada.
  • No packaged/group travel academic/credit programs are allowed.

Selection Process

The Office of the Dean of Students coordinates the selection process for the Karen Snyder Sullivan Memorial Travel Award.

Completed applications are reviewed by the Selection Committee and approximately five finalists are selected to make informal presentations before the Committee in mid-October.

The night before the finalist presentations, all finalists are invited to attend a dinner where they can informally meet members of the Selection Committee and previous recipients of the Karen Snyder Sullivan Travel Award. On the day following the award dinner, each finalist makes an informal presentation of approximately 10-15 minutes to the Selection Committee. Each finalist is encouraged to take this opportunity for creativity in presenting her travel plans, goals, and unique expression of her vision of the world and her role in it. The Committee will make its final selection once all finalists have made their presentations and the award recipient will be notified the next day.


Applicants are encouraged to begin developing their travel proposals as early as possible; the best applications are well documented and researched. The applications of previous award winners are available for viewing in the Office of the Dean of Students, 300 Mary Lyon Hall.

Applications must be submitted with all required attachments to the Office of the Dean of Students by the date and time established by the Selection Committee. Applications consist of:

Application cover sheet

  • Statement of purpose
  • Itinerary
  • Budget
  • Letters of recommendation

The budget that is submitted as part of the application must outline, in detail, the estimated costs of the proposed travel. Please note that replacement of summer earnings is an eligible expense for financial aid students who plan to travel during the summer months.

To obtain an application, please visit the Dean of Students website.

For further information about the travel award, please contact:

Associate Dean of Students
300 Mary Lyon Hall