Arielle Seriah Derival ’17

“I am proud that we have changed the conversation around immigration and undocumented individuals into a positive and purposeful one.”

Name: Arielle Seriah Derival ’17

Hometown: Miami, Fla.

Major: Africana studies and Spanish double major; Nexus concentration in law, public policy and human rights

Campus involvement: I am currently a Community-Based Learning fellow with the Amherst Regional Public Schools Family Center. I work with marginalized students such as students of color or undocumented students through its Success After High School program. We help students apply for college and jobs, prepare for interviews, learn how to type emails, etc. On campus I am chair of the Undocumented Immigrant Alliance and a member of FAMILIA, the Student Government Association’s Student of Color Committee and M.E.Ch.A de Mount Holyoke. I have spent the past three years managing the Rockies/Torrey dining halls and the Rooke Theatre box office. I am also a Posse Scholar.

Proudest accomplishment at MHC: Being one of the founding board members of the Undocumented Immigrant Alliance (UIA). UIA started in fall 2014 because of a lack of awareness around what it meant to be undocumented on our campus. We formed a diverse group of students with the sole purpose of raising consciousness and creating resources for the undocumented community on our campus. I am proud that we have changed the conversation around immigration and undocumented individuals into a positive and purposeful one.

Favorite course you thought you might not like: Every course I have taken at Mount Holyoke and in the Five Colleges has been nothing short of amazing! I’ve learned so much and feel very fortunate to have taken courses in departments such as Africana studies, Spanish, politics, gender studies and more. 

Best takeaway from internship or research experiences: With the help of Lynk funding, I had the opportunity to intern at La Casa de Panchita in Lima, Peru, in summer 2015. La Casa 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. I had the opportunity to work with lawyers who help domestic workers with any conflicts they may be having at work and also speak to them about their rights and protective laws.

In summer 2016, I interned in California at Oakland Community Organizations, a faith-based group for social justice. I was with its Live Free campaign, working to fight against mass incarceration and gun violence and to create economic opportunities for formerly incarcerated people. I interviewed 30 community leaders and also informally assessed the successes and failures of the organization as a whole.

Future plans: I am applying and interviewing for positions in various industries, including legal, education, consulting and community organizing. My plan is to work for a year or two, save money and apply to law school with the hope of becoming an immigration lawyer.