Hometown: East Wenatchee, Washington
Allison Neher ’07 chose Mount Holyoke because she wanted to explore a new part of the country and expose herself to new ideas and ways of thinking. “I also wanted to be challenged. Mount Holyoke offered me all these things,” she said.
Ally intended to major in English or politics until, toward the end of her first year, she realized she could build a major--and a career--around her environmental interests. She’s now an environmental studies major with a concentration in sustainable agricultural systems and a minor in biology. This summer she interned at the Urban Ecology Institute in Boston, thanks to a fellowship from Mount Holyoke’s Center for the Environment. Her internship involved contributing to a database that holds information on each public tree in the city of Boston. The now-complete database will be used for upkeep and maintenance of the urban forest as well as data for environmental justice research.
The internship wasn’t Ally’s first foray into environmental research. During the spring of her junior year Ali and her roommate, Nino Guruli ’07, received a grant from Mount Holyoke’s McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives. It funded summer research in the Republic of Georgia on the links between environmental change and acute conflict. Then, the following spring, the two friends presented a paper on their findings at the eleventh Annual World Conference of the Association for the Study of Nationalities in New York.
“We are still working with the research, and I’m writing my senior thesis on this topic,” Ally said. “I’m so proud of this project. I still have to pinch myself sometimes to believe it wasn't just a dream. I never could have imagined, even in my wildest dreams, that I would have a chance to do all of the things I've done at Mount Holyoke.”