My name is Elena Frogameni, and I’m a member of the graduating class of 2022. As I made my way to the Williston Memorial Library today, I was reminded of my very first walk across campus as a prospective student. My tour guide was filled with joy as she spoke of her time at Mount Holyoke; I so vividly remember her grin as she detailed the best study spots on campus, her favorite student organizations and how she took salsa dancing lessons in her free time. In my four years at Mount Holyoke, I’ve found that joy in every corner of campus as professors, students and staff share in the excitement of learning in community.
I’m incredibly lucky to be able to attend a world-class institution like Mount Holyoke right in my own backyard. Born and raised in the Pioneer Valley, I felt it stood out as a place where I could develop global perspectives while also learning from and contributing to my own community.
As a politics and French double major, I’ve been able to expand my worldview and build skills to help me engage in a future career in international politics. Last summer I was able to put my French skills to use as I interned at the U.S. State Department’s Africa Regional Services located in the U.S. Embassy in Paris. I’ve also been able to work with other students to address local issues by way of community-based learning courses and public-service training through the Weissman Center, internship offerings through my Nexus concentration in journalism and my leadership experience with the College Democrats.
My favorite memory of this beautiful combination of global and local perspectives is in the spring of my sophomore year when I simultaneously took courses on social housing — a community-based learning course on housing policy in western Massachusetts — and on European public policy, which focused on housing policy during the 20th century in Europe! I’m continuing to think about the intersections between global and local challenges as I work on a proposed thesis examining the impact of official language policy on preventing or precipitating intrastate violence.
At MHC I’ve had the support and encouragement of faculty, staff and fellow students who pour their time, energy and hearts into making Mount Holyoke a community that lifts students up to achieve their dreams and goals.
Under the mentorship of the late professor Jon Western, I worked with a team of students to conduct research into the institutional resilience of democracies, work that was recognized by The New York Times. On my squash team, I’ve found an athletic community that shares in the joy of movement and sport. The support of the Fellowships Office helped me to successfully apply to the U.S. Rhodes Scholarship this year, allowing me to attend the University of Oxford to pursue graduate education in international diplomacy and policy.
My educational experience would not have been possible without generous scholarship support from members of the Mount Holyoke community — support that allows students like me to continue receiving the high-quality education, support and extracurricular opportunities that make MHC unique. As I walk in the Laurel Parade this spring, I’ll do so with a deep appreciation for the joy of learning and service, which Mount Holyoke has helped me cultivate within myself.
— Elena Frogameni ’22
Politics and French double major