MHC Students Bring Home Awards

Mount Holyoke students have recently been awarded prestigious scholarships that will enable them to study and undertake projects at home and abroad.

Han Xu ’12 and Gergana Karadzhova ’12 have both received Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) scholarships that will help fund their postgraduate study in Germany. Hilary Pollan ’12 (at right) has been awarded a Davis Projects for Peace grant to create a college preparation program in Holyoke, and Jordan Seto ’12 has been named a Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact.

Xu, who is majoring in history and politics, plans to conduct independent research on West Germany's foreign policy - Ostpolitik - toward Eastern Europe during the late 1960s to early 1970s.

“My proposed DAAD project will draw from archival collections in Berlin, and explore West Germany's delicate role in shaping the regional milieu across the Iron Curtain,” said Xu, who previously studied abroad in Prague and Warsaw. “The scholarship best fits my post-graduation plan, as I am interested in delving deeper into archival research and East European history.”

Karadzhova, who is double-majoring in German studies and Russian studies, plans to earn a master’s in culture, arts, and media at Luneburg University. She previously studied abroad in Potsdam, Germany, with the help of another DAAD grant.

Pollan will use her $10,000 grant from Davis Projects for Peace to launch a program in Holyoke that will help adult learners preparing for the GED to set their sights on pursuing postsecondary education. Presently, the majority of GED recipients in Holyoke don’t go on to enroll in postsecondary education.

The eight-week program, for up to 15 students from Holyoke Community College’s Adult Learning Center, will offer participants skill-building and mentoring sessions that will help prepare them for college, said Pollan.

“Holyoke already has constructed many parts to a pipeline that helps students transition from Adult Basic Education to post-secondary institutions,” she said. “My project will add another segment to this pipeline.”

Davis grants are awarded to college students who have designed projects that promote peace and address sources of conflict. Improved adult access to higher education is an important factor in addressing poverty in communities, said Pollan.

MHC President Lynn Pasquerella nominated Seto for the Newman award, which was named for Frank Newman, one of the founders of Campus Compact. The award honors student leaders who have demonstrated an investment in finding solutions for challenges facing communities throughout the country.

Seto has worked with Tapestry Health, a community-based health services provider and advocacy organization known in western Massachusetts for its high-quality outreach and education work in the areas of reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases, substance abuse, and nutrition.

"I am extremely honored to receive the Newman Civic Fellow award, which highlights the essential struggle for equality and choice that underpins the social justice movement," said Seto.

"We need change in all elements of society to facilitate equality: education, the political process, income distribution, taxation, social welfare, and of course healthcare," she said.

“Jordan invests in building enthusiasm among fellow students for community activism with a particular focus upon equity and access to quality health care,” said MHC’s Community-Based Learning Program coordinator Alan Bloomgarden. “The thread running through her work is her passion for improving health outcomes among people in distressed communities.”